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Engaging Middle School Digital Citizenship Lessons

Use these middle school digital citizenship lessons to help your students be aware of online safety and best practices for online spaces.

Digital Citizenship Lessons

Digital citizenship lessons are a necessity in middle school. Teaching students what it means to be a responsible digital citizen is more important than ever since the internet has become the norm when it comes to doing research for papers, assignments, and more. Therefore, it’s crucial that students learn how to use the internet and its tools responsibly. That’s where digital citizenship lessons come in.  

The Importance of Teaching Digital Citizenship

But what does digital citizenship mean? 

According to Media Smarts, Canada’s Centre for Digital Media Literacy, “Digital citizenship is the ability to navigate our digital environments in a way that’s safe and responsible and to actively and respectfully engage in these spaces.”

To be a responsible digital citizen means looking for reputable sources when researching online, being aware of the privacy and security aspects of internet usage, using critical thinking skills while online, being aware of and not interacting with cyberbullies, and using media and technology in a responsible way. 

To do this not only means using digital citizenship lessons to learn how to use tools such as email effectively but also learning how to use the internet in a way that does not infringe on others’ copyrighted material and knowing how to use the material found online properly and respectfully.

What are some digital citizenship lessons I can teach in the classroom? 

With computers becoming commonplace in the classroom and using the internet becoming more popular than researching through books, there are many digital citizenship lessons available for teaching students how to become responsible digital citizens.

It is important that students are aware of how essential it is to promote kindness and positivity online, as well as engage in respectful online discussions and constructive interactions with others. But what other digital citizenship lessons do they need to learn? 

Check Out This Digital Citizenship Lessons Unit With 10 Lessons

Discover this fantastic Middle School Digital Citizenship Unit designed to empower your students with vital skills for a confident journey through the digital landscape. Immerse your middle schoolers in a rich learning experience that covers online etiquette, privacy savvy, managing smartphone use, unravelling influencer strategies, avoiding digital pitfalls, and embracing ethical online conduct. These 10 exciting digital citizenship lessons are filled with engaging tasks for both independent and group work. This meticulously crafted unit will help your students navigate the digital world armed with knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Lesson Overview:

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Digital Citizenship
  • Lesson 2: Online Safety and Privacy
  • Lesson 3: Responsible Technology Use
  • Lesson 4: Smartphone Addiction
  • Lesson 5: The Impact of Your Digital Footprint
  • Lesson 6: Online Etiquette
  • Lesson 7: Common Scams
  • Lesson 8: Smartphone App Privacy
  • Lesson 9: Influencer Marketing
  • Lesson 10: Sub Plans – Topic: Twitch.TV

What’s Inside:

  1. 10 Engaging Lessons: Tailored to the unique needs of middle school students, these lessons are designed to capture their attention and foster meaningful discussions about digital citizenship.
  2. MP3 Audio Files: Students can read the articles independently or use the provided MP3 audio files.
  3. Answer Keys: Effortlessly guide your students through the lessons with our comprehensive answer keys that provide insights into each topic.
  4. Video Links: Enhance learning through multimedia experiences with carefully curated video links that reinforce key concepts.
  5. Influencer Marketing Lesson: Explore the modern landscape of influencer marketing and equip students with the critical thinking skills to navigate advertising messages.
  6. Group Work Stations: Foster collaboration and dialogue with group work stations that encourage peer-to-peer learning and interactive discussions.
  7. Graphic Organizers: Help students organize their thoughts and ideas visually, promoting deeper understanding and engagement with the content.
  8. Pre-Made Google Slideshow: Seamlessly integrate technology into your lessons with our pre-made Google Slideshow that’s ready to use.
  9. Print & Digital Formats: Cater to your classroom’s needs with both print and digital formats, ensuring accessibility and flexibility.

You can find this Middle School Digital Citizenship Unit on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or Shopify CAD.

Let’s discuss a student’s most coveted item: their smartphone. 

This Smartphone Addiction Non-Fiction Article is designed to educate your students about the signs of smartphone addiction while providing valuable suggestions for fostering healthy smartphone habits – all in an engaging way. 

This non-fiction article includes not only regular and modified versions of the article but also comprehension questions and post-reading activities. Here’s what one teacher has to say about this article: 

“First of all, the topic has the attention of my students as they want to defend their use of phones. Second, the formats and extra resources here make this a well-formatted nonfiction text to study and gave ample opportunity for student to practice nonfiction reading skills. It fit nicely with some other articles we read, and this gave a platform for strong discussion. Again, their work is superb!” – Terry J.

You can find the Smartphone Addiction Non-Fiction Article on Teachers Pay Teachers USD and Shopify CAD

 

To dive deeper into smartphone addiction, you can go through the Smartphone Addiction Media Literacy & Consumer Awareness lesson. Students will first go over why consumer awareness is so important. Then, after taking a brief look at their own phone habits, the class will read articles about phone addiction, parental controls, and how to learn to unplug. 

The Smartphone Addiction Media Literacy & Consumer Awareness lesson also has comprehension questions, journal entries, and more to get students really understanding the importance of this concept. There is a quiz to test what they have learned, plus extension activities that will have students looking closer at their cellphone usage, talking to others about smartphones (and the time before smartphones), and more. 

Tayler V says, “This resource is a great connection between media literacy and technology safety (in health education). It sparked awesome classroom discussions!”

You can get the Smartphone Addiction Media Literacy & Consumer Awareness Lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers USD and Shopify CAD

Lastly, when it comes to smartphones, students can learn more about the applications they use and see how safe they really are with this Smartphone App Privacy Media Literacy & Consumer Awareness lesson. Just like the previous lesson, the importance of media literacy and consumer awareness is reinforced, and students will look into ways they can make their phones more secure, as well as learn what data their phones might be giving to other people. 

Tralanya W. says, “My students loved this assignment! I love the subject matter and chose this lesson because the students enjoy lessons that they can relate to.”

Students will also complete comprehension questions, journal entries, a quiz, and extension activities. You can find this Smartphone App Privacy Media Literacy & Consumer Awareness Lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers USD and Shopify CAD

Teaching Students About Proper Email Etiquette

As we move further into this digital age, it can seem like students would innately know how to use email, but this is a skill that should be taught with digital citizenship lessons if we want students to use it correctly. 

When it comes to digital citizenship lessons, students need to know that using email is not texting. Students – and many adults – love to use slang, shorthand, and abbreviations when they text, but when it comes to emailing, especially in a professional environment, whether it is future academic situations or in their future careers, learning how to use email effectively, responsibility, and correctly is a huge benefit. 

With this Email Etiquette Unit – Digital Citizenship Lessons, students will learn the following: 

  • Email Etiquette
  • LMS (Online Learning) Etiquette
  • How To CC / BCC On An Email
  • How To Attach Files To An Email
  • How To Organize Your Inbox
  • When To “Reply,” “Reply All,” and Forward an Email

In this unit, students will learn the various parts of an email and why email etiquette is so important. They will go through practice sheets with examples of appropriate or inappropriate email examples. Students will also learn what appropriate learning management system (LMS) behaviour is and topics we might not even think about – when to use “reply,” “reply all,” or forward an email, what “cc” and “bcc” mean, and the importance of keeping an organized inbox. 

Here’s what teachers are saying about the Email Etiquette Unit – Digital Citizenship Lessons

“This resource is so important now that students are utilizing school tech and their school email and Google accounts to communicate. I use this at the beginning of the year to set the expectation of how students are to communicate with me and it sets them up for success in the real world as well.” – Melissa G.

“When you get a message on Schoology that begins with “Hey bruh” it’s time to do a lesson on email etiquette. I’m thankful I found this resource. I plan to use it at the start of the school year.” – Theresa P. 

You can find this Email Etiquette Unit – Digital Citizenship Lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or Shopify CAD. When you complete this unit, you might also be interested in learning more about The Benefits of Teaching Resume Writing in Middle School

With Digital Citizenship Lessons, Remember Not to Overlook Plagiarism

When it comes to digital citizenship lessons, teachers should not overlook plagiarism. Using the internet for research can make it very tempting just to copy and paste the information found into an essay or assignment, but students need to learn the importance of plagiarism and proper AI use – more now than ever, especially with the rise in popularity of the many artificial intelligence tools available. 

In our Plagiarism Unit, students will learn what the meaning of plagiarism is, and they might be surprised to learn of the many things they might not even have thought were considered plagiarism. 

With this Plagiarism Unit, students will learn the following digital citizenship lessons: 

  • What Is Plagiarism? 
  • Identifying Plagiarism
  • Plagiarism and AI Tools
  • How To Avoid Plagiarism When Summarizing
  • How To Avoid Plagiarism When Paraphrasing
  • How To Avoid Plagiarism When Using Direct Quotes
  • Plagiarism Stations
  • Creating A Works Cited Page
  • Creating In-Text Citations

This unit has videos, articles, group and independent work, and stations to cover all the bases of plagiarism. Plus, there are anchor charts, comprehension questions, examples of plagiarism and correct quote and citation usage, and more. 

By the end of this Plagiarism unit, your students will know all there is to know about correct internet usage and how to use the information they find online properly. Even if they knew some of the information included in this package, there is sure to be information that will be a surprise for all (for example, did you know that it’s possible to plagiarize yourself? It is!). 

Here’s what teachers are saying about this Plagiarism Unit

“I am planning my first few weeks/lessons for September, and this is one of those lessons I will be using right from the starting block. Too few students understand the importance of not using someone else’s words, or the importance of citing. Thank you so much for this comprehensive resource. I love it!” – Jodi Z.

“Your resources are always great, and this is no exception. This will tie in nicely with the new digital literacy component to the new language curriculum. Thank you!” – Ashley F.

You can find this Middle School Plagiarism Unit on Teachers Pay Teachers USD and Shopify CAD

Technology is continuously evolving, and new digital challenges will arise as time goes on. This is why it’s so important to teach your students how to be the digital citizens they were meant to be by using these digital citizenship lessons in your classroom. 

In your digital citizenship lessons, ensure that your students know how important it is to use critical thinking skills when it comes to the information they find online and that they know how to identify misinformation, fake news, and biased content. 

Along With Digital Citizenship Lessons, Help Students Understand Fake News

Media is all around us, and people love to share the things they find on the internet, whether they’re legitimate or not. As a component of their digital citizenship lessons, students need to learn how to think critically about the information they find online. That’s where this Fake News Unit comes in. 

This Fake News Unit includes the following lessons: 

  • What is Media Literacy?
  • What is Fake News?
  • How to Spot Fake News.
  • Fake News Stations (5 Different Topics)
  • Creating Fake News Final Assignment

In this unit, students will learn what fake news is, how it spreads, and how people make money from it. Through videos, articles, anchor charts, and stations, your students will finish this unit with the knowledge they need when it comes to finding relevant and useful information. 

What teachers have to say about this Fake News Unit: 

“This is honestly one of my favourite resources I have ever purchased. I have done this unit with grade 8 and a 6/7 class and it has been a hit! Students have loved all the opportunities to explore fake news, and to create their own fake news websites. It is honestly such a great resource and is so highly recommended.” – Jennifer R. 

“After spending some time learning about the different types of fake news my students were very engaged with the stations in this resource.  I loved listening to their conversations as they worked in groups and evaluated the sites.  This was a much more informative and enjoyable way for my students to show what they’d learned than previous approaches I’ve used.  Thank you!” – Rebecca C.

When planning your digital citizenship lessons, you don’t want to miss out on teaching students about fake news. You can find this Fake News Unit on Teachers Pay Teachers USD and Shopify CAD

There are so many ways you can teach your students how to be responsible digital citizens, and we hope this blog post about digital citizenship lessons enlightens and encourages you to do so. Your students, their parents, their future teachers and employers, plus all of the content creators of the internet, will thank you. 

 

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