Lesson Plan

The Internet - Where Nothing ever Dies

Personal and Private Information and your Digital Footprint and their importance
Cara B.
RCS MIddle School
Ravena, United States
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts, World Languages, English Language Learning, Health & Wellness

Students will understand, explain and list the difference between private and personal information.  They will also be able to explain what a digital footprint is, why it is important, and how to protect their own digital footprint while on-line.

English Language Arts
Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter

Activity: Conversing

Go over the pros and cons of the Internet as a resource.

ASK: Who uses social media websites, video-sharing, or game websites.  In addition to posting to these websites did you have to register for them?

Go over some vocabulary - Register (online): To enter your information in order to sign up and get access to a website.  Digital Footprint - the information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as a result of their online activity.   Anonymous - Someone who can’t be identified based on the information at hand (most people think no one knows who they are or what they do when they are online. Believing they are anonymous is why people sometimes do things online that they would not do face to face. However, it’s nearly impossible to be completely anonymous online.)

Going to switch gears for a moment and I am going to tell you a story:  Our principal has hired a research company to collect information that will help us make the school better for you. Several observers will watch students and record where each of you goes, how many times you go there, and how long you stay there, including to the water fountain, your locker, the bathroom, the cafeteria, to visit another student and who you talk to. You will be identified only by a number. At the end of the day, the research company will put all the data together and write a report for the principal. ***

***The story and questions used this in this lesson were taken from the Common Sense 9-12 Lesson "What's the Big Deal about Internet Privacy"


Student Instructions

Students will discuss as a class the social media, video and game websites they use and how they have to sign up for these sites.

Students will discuss the words register, digital footprint and anonymous and their meanings.

Students will listen to the story.

2 Direct Instruction

Have students think and discuss story, have them share their thoughts with the class.

GUIDE them toward the following questions:

Who else could see the information? Do you think any of the information should remain private? Are you satisfied with the explanation that the information is needed “to make the school better,” or do you want to know more about how the information will be used?

Tell the students that the story is not true; no one will be collecting information about them in the school. Are 2 things we need to think about however, sometimes this matches the kind of information that many websites collect whenever you visit them (or wherever you go on the Internet.) Companies can learn all kinds of things about you, based on where you go and what you do when you’re online.  

Do you care that sites collects information about you? Why or why not? Students may say that they don’t mind, but they want to know the site is doing it, or that they don’t like strangers having personal information about them.

Does it matter what kind of information your site collects about you? Make sure students understand the difference between sites that collect personal information such as names, addresses, and email, and sites that collect other information about things they do on the Web but keep the identities of their visitors anonymous.  Why might they do this? Talk about Cookies: Small computer text files placed in your computer by the sites you visit that collect information about your computer system and the webpages you view

Why do websites want information about their visitors? They use the information to decide how to change the site, to decide how much to charge advertisers, and to customize a site for each visitor to encourage them to use the site more or, for commercial sites, to buy more. Without your knowledge, some sites may also share your information with others in exchange for more information about you or in exchange for money.

So in following this logic what kinds of information do you want to keep private in the real world? On the Internet? And why?

Online persona;

Personal Information: Information that can’t be used to identify you, such as your age, gender, how many brothers and sisters you have, your favorite food, etc.

Private Information: Information that can be used to identify you, such as your Social Security number, postal address, email address, phone number, etc.

How things never disappear on internet;  Digital Footprint - how what you do and put on the Internet will stay there forever.  And if you someone put information about you on the Internet - it's going to stay there.

Show videos


Student Instructions

Students will participate in whole class discussion.

Students will watch videos.

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Exploring

Work with the students to complete a list of things that are considered personal information and private information.

Student Instructions

Students will create a class list that contains specific types of personal and private information.

4 Independent Practice

Go over the assignment with the students.  

It is important to know what information is safe to put on the Internet and what information is best kept private.  Remember once things are on the internet they never disappear.  You will be creating a Slides Presentation that will describe your online persona.  

Please include the following:

All the information included is considered public information; something you wouldn’t care if a stranger might find out.

Original background - you cannot use one of the pre-made slides backgrounds; you must create your own using different colors/patterns/shapes/images

Need to include slide transitions/animations

You need to have different slide layouts.

Colored text boxes

Different fonts/colors


Spelling counts

Word Art



You need to tell me where your pictures came from at the end of your slides presentation.  

Student Instructions

Students will create a slides presentation of that shows their online persona that contains only personal information.  

5 Wrap-up

Activity: Presenting

Have the students present their slides presentations to the class and have class discuss whether the information included was personal or private information.

Student Instructions

Students can show off their presentation.