Lesson Plan

Digital Etiquette/ Which Me Should I be

(This lesson is adapted from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/which-me-should-i-be-6-8) Students will understand that there are consequences based upon the representation of themselves and their communication online.
Sparkle P.
Special Education Instructor
Isaac Newton Middle School
New York, NY
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My Grades 8
My Subjects English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
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Students will be able to ... ‡

  1. Reflect on the benefits and risks of presenting their identities in different ways online.
  2. Evaluate – from an ethical point of view – the feelings, motivations, contexts, and possible outcomes associated with adopting different roles online.
  3. Judge whether certain ways people present themselves online are harmless or harmful. 
Social Studies
Grades 6 - 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

From $220

Have students write or talk with a partner about a time they shared something or made a comment online and regretted it. Have student volunteers share their experiences. 5 mins

Show  videohttps://www.brainpop.com/socialstudies/culture/digitaletiquette/

All Non tech resources found at (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/which-me-should-i-be-6-8)

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term identity.

ASK: Do people ever express parts of their identities online that they might not express offline?

Guide students to recognize that people sometimes present themselves differently on the Internet than they would face to face.

Define the key vocabulary terms exaggerate and deceive.

ASK: Have you ever heard of people who exaggerated something about themselves online?

 Have you ever heard about people who deceive others by pretending to be someone else while they were on the Internet?

Why do you think they did this?

DISCUSS:  with students where these events took place (which website or online community). Solicit their initial thoughts on whether it is a good idea to do the kinds of things they described and why.  


2 Direct instruction

(10 minutes) DEFINE the Key Vocabulary terms motivate, consequences, and anonymous.

Explain that the last term will play an important part in the activity they will do following the movie.

REMIND the class that it’s perfectly normal to try out different identities online. However, they have to think about what motivates them to do so, and the possible consequences.

Tell them: sometimes you might express different parts of your personality online because you want to be accepted by friends or people in an online community, or you might do it to experiment and see how others react. ‡Other times, you might cross over into lying to or deceiving others by pretending you are someone you’re not. ‡It is important that you take responsibility for who you are and what you want to be online, and also consider how this might affect people you interact with online.

EXPLAIN: to the class you will now show them a video about Henry, a real boy who enjoys participating in an online world where he doesn’t (fully) reveal his identity. 


ASK: What do you think motivates Henry to hide his age? Henry wants to fits into the community and not be judged by his age. He doesn’t want to have to “prove” himself.

What were the consequences of Henry hiding his age?

In this case, Henry’s deception did not seem to harm himself or anyone else. On the positive side, Henry feels more respected because he is treated like an adult.


Student Instructions

In partners create a Pros and Cons graphic organizer for Henry's decision.

With tech: Students live edit, adding to the class created Google doc chart.

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Assessing

Take a Stand (20 minutes)

DISTRIBUTE: copies of the Take a Stand Student Handout, one to each student. 

EXPLAIN: to students that you are going to read aloud the scenarios from the handout. As you read each scenario, they should move to the spot on the tape line that represents where on the spectrum of HARMLESS/HARMFUL they believe the behavior falls. (Note: If space is an issue, students can place sticky notes with their names on them on a line on the board.)

GUIDE: students to complete the activity, referring to the Take a Stand Student Handout — Teacher Version for detailed instructions.

REVIEW: the ethical questions involved in trying different identities online. Remind students that doing this can have both benefits and risks. These depend in large part on what motivates people to present themselves differently, as well as the online settings and situations. All these can affect the consequences of their actions. Students need to be especially careful about exaggerating or deceiving others online, because this can often have harmful consequences.

4 Independent Practice

From $220

Students will then go to Brainpop Make a Map tool (https://www.brainpop.com/conceptmap/create.html?topic=/socialstudies/cul...)

This step can also be done with traditional pen and paper in notebooks. For a more of a final project presentation feel students can use chart paper and markers

Using this tool students will create a concept map to explore the question "How does my online Identity affect my present and future?"

Submit to teacher when complete


5 Wrap -Up

Free, Paid

ASK: What consequences – positive or negative – might people experience if they present themselves differently online?

Exit Ticket: Have your views changed on this topic? How will this affect how you present yourself online?

Student Instructions

Students will use the padlet  tool to respond to the exit ticket. They will be able to see each other's answers as the responses are displayed on the smart board.