This week, Common Sense Media’s Education Program Manager, Merve Lapus dropped by the library at Hoover Middle School to watch teacher Chad Gaver and his 7th graders engaged in a conversation with librarian Allison Rothman-Hall about the basics of being safe and smart online. It was all part of a coordinated district-wide effort called Digital Media Safety Instruction Day that was lead by the San Francisco Unified School District, and supported by the San Francisco District Attorney's office. On November 11, 2013, every student in kindergarten to 12th grade across the district took time in class to talk about digital citizenship. They were taught a grade-level appropriate lesson from Common Sense Media's Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum on topics ranging from managing their online presence to avoiding cyberbullying.
While giving their students tangible skills, SFUSD also efficiently satisfied educational requirements for E-Rate funding - federal regulations allowing the district to continue to receive financial support for affordable classroom technology.
Back at Hoover, the lesson was especially relevant to a 7th grade class, zeroing in on social media etiquette. Allison and Chad had taken a lesson from our scope and sequence designed for 6th to 8th graders on managing and nurturing online relationships and reputations. Using three different fictional case studies, the students were asked to weigh in on whether the characters in the stories behaved ethically, thought critically, and participated responsibly. This lesson covered everything from when and how to post and tag photos, to whether or not it's considerate to break up a relationship in a text message or on Facebook. These discussions yielded thoughtful reactions that will help students pause and think when faced with these choices in their own lives.
Assoc. Superintendent, Kevin Truitt with students on November 11, 2013
“We’re not waiting for something to happen before we take this topic on,” says Kevin Truitt, associate superintendent for Student Family & Community Support, at SFUSD. “It’s all our responsibility to keep on top of new media as it emerges and help students navigate the online world.”
To host your own Digital Media Safety Instruction Day, visit our K-12 Scope and Sequence to pick the lessons appropriate for your students or see the starter kit we developed for Digital Citizenship Week.