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Friday, December 11, 2015

Web Literacy Lesson for the Primary Grades

It's amazing to think of the wealth of information that we have available to us now because of the internet.  I often how wonder we managed to find the information we needed before Google (BG).   It's fun to have conversations with students about at a time when we couldn't just, "Google it." Students have a hard time imagining a world without the plethora of information that we have available to us at our fingertips.

As educators, I believe it is important for us to engage in conversations with students about the information we find online and web literacy. Too often I see students (and adults) taking some of this information they find online, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Google or another social media site as gospel.

I composed a lesson a couple of years ago to address this issue with my students.   It's one of my favorite lessons to teach.  I have taught his lesson, with various modifications to grades K-12.  Feel free to change it to meet the needs of your students!  Let me know how it goes if you do use it with your students.

Part I

When prepping this lesson for my primary students, I like to walk around their classrooms ahead of time snapping photos of items they have created.  This year there were lots of art projects from Thanksgiving.  I snap several photos of their creations and then email them to myself so I can dump them into the Google Slides that I show them when teaching.  This is the slide that students see when we get to the web literacy part of our lesson:

I follow this slide with several slides of pictures being sure to tell students that I so busy creating all these crafts while on my Thanksgiving break!  Eventually, one or two students will pipe up, "hey, that's mine!" I then admit that I passed off their work as my own.  Then, it's time to have a short conversation about not taking other people's work and sharing it as our own.    When teaching this lesson with older students we talk a lot about images we find online, and how to properly attribute these images if we use them in a project at school.

Part II

The next part of our lesson deals with websites.  I try to share a"green" (good/safe for surfing) website each week when I meet with our Kindergarteners.  The fact that we talk about a new website each week allows me to "set up" the Octopus website with my students.  I play it up when exploring the website.  I show them the images of the Octopus, talk about where it lives, etc.  I tell students that it's amazing what you can find on the internet!

 You might have to get creative with your older students (and adults) when setting this up. I introduce the students to the following sites and a YouTube video about Google Nose for my older students. 

All About Explorers (Grades 3-12)

Google Nose (Grades 3-Adult)

With primary grades, I just show the Octopus website, then proceed to the next part of the lesson.  When teaching the lesson to older students we take our time to peruse all three websites before proceeding.  

Part III

The next part of the lesson deals with social media and images.  We have a conversation about how easy it is to share and view images that are shared on various forms of social media.  To introduce this part of the lesson, I ask students if they remember when Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast.  I tell the students that there were thousands of images shared on social media showcasing the devastation it caused and I am going to show them the top photos shared on social media during Hurrican Sandy.

 I like to create a slideshow in my presentation with the images contained in this  blog post from Mashable to reinforce this part of the lesson.  I go through each image with the students.  We talk about what we see and how powerful the images are.  Then, I tell the students that I have something to tell them.  I tell them that "everything that I taught you today is completely fake."  Some students will blurt out, "Mr. Badura, you shouldn't lie!" While others will say, "I knew it all along!"  It's fun to listen to some of their responses.

We end the lesson with a whole group discussion.   We talk about ways to recognize innacurate information online.  We discuss the fact that we need to realize that not all the information we find online is factual.

It's one of my favorite lessons, and I feel that it has a lasting impact.  Let me know how it goes with your students.

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