My secret plan was to engage students in some type of digital literacy during the period between Thanksgiving break and winter break. I felt sure this would keep them on task and cause less grief for all involved. It was time to introduce my students to the beginning steps of becoming digital citizen. Sad, but true, in today's age we have to teach our students to be safe online, just like in real life.
This past summer, I took several workshops that involved introducing ways to have students become more digitally savvy. One resource introduced was Common Sense Media. If you don't know this site, you should. Common Sense Media started as a place that reviewed movies, books, TV shows, and video games to help parents to decide if it was a good choice for their child. Now, Common Sense has expanded to include a whole scope and sequence revolving around Digital Citizenhip.
The offerings are impressive, covering grades K-5, including multiple topics and a newly added section for assessements. I love that the lessons don't always deal with students going on the computer to learn. They include an opening, 1-3 teaching parts, and a closing. The lessons even involve having students cooperatively learning, getting out of their seats for work, and discussion questions (also great for exit ticket questions).
You can pick and choose the lessons you want to use which makes it easy to customize to your student population. For my students, we went through lessons on staying safe online (K-1), a-b-c searching (1st), going places safely online and my creative works (2nd), and rings of responsibility (3-5). 3rd-5th grade also has accounts for Common Sense's Digital Passport, an online digital literacy platform (later post).