Monday, December 29, 2014

Rexroth - 20% Project: Collaboration & Communicate with Grandma & the World

  • What Would Grandma Think?

    In the first two weeks of class, I have used a three step lesson to try to focus students on paying attention to their online profile and lay the groundwork for our classroom expectations when using digital resources and posting assignments.

    From day one: whenever I introduce an assignment for anything that will be published online or published in class I ask the students to imagine that they are ready to read their post to their Grandma and have to explain it to her.

    Another way to use this litmus test is, “Okay, I am going to take what you have published and read it to your parents over the phone.”  

    So WWGT becomes the code to remind them when they are working on digital publication.

    The second part of this lesson come by classifying two different language usage.  One being “Twitter Style” and the second being “Formal” academic.  As I use several different web 2.0 apps.  Some are limited characters, (twitter,, todaysmeet) this is when it is allowable to use “twitter style” english.  There are also times when I want them to answer short and sweet.  So say they need to communicate the major cause of a war, do it in 140 characters or less. They also need to keep in mind WWGT.

    “Formal” academic language is should be used in all other digital communication.  In the last year I have begun to integrate terms like “published” rather than “hand in”.  This has been reinforced by the ability to use technology that makes it very easy to literally “publish” their works for class, the school, and beyond.

    The third part of the lesson asks them to inventory their “digital footprint”.  First I put out a google form of for all of them to fill out as to who many places they have left their mark in the digital world.  The social media areas are easy for most, but I remind them to list the email accounts, the services they have signed up for, youtube tags, and others.  Also this year I have added another category for the inventory.  The number of areas they have signed up for in the academic world. From google accounts, to, to, the list is every expanding.

    Then comes a reflection on what they find when they google themselves.  How much is you?  Are there others with your name?  Are you surprised by what you find?  

    Then last I have them google my name.  (Their is a Rick Rexroth who graduated from Hopkins High School six years before I did and his mother’s name is the same as mine.  He has had some interesting things happen in his life and has a large digital footprint, so it makes for a good example.)
    Reaching out to the world
    This is an area where I have not done much with, however I have a plan to expand this.
    First, I am working on a collaboration with another AP Euro teacher in Minnesota.  There are two schools that may be good matches as they are both “google schools” so shared docs will/can make it easy to collaborate.  In talking with the other teachers, we plan to start with peer advice, like giving feedback on an essay.  Then move into full blown collaboration where the shared product is submitted to both of us  for both of us for credit.
    Second, I have made contact with an old college friend who teaches science in Norway.  I hope to start a “pen pal” style relationship between his students and mine.  Again, start small with “get to know you” questions, and then expand into education systems, college plans, and other teen cultural areas. This I see the need for creating another step in digital communication.  That is to make students aware of American cultural ideas as well as idiomatic phrases.
    Third, the new frontier of Mystery Skype!  I hope to try this out in early 2015 and find a connection.  I envision the creation of a welcome message” or “first contact” type message to be crafted beforehand, so that can be another extension of the collaboration and communication.

    Remember to always say,

Friday, December 26, 2014

Michael Babine-Dinnen: 20% Project for the Collaborating for Community Course

In the growing piles of standards to be covered in all of our classes, I find myself constantly sorting through each one and trying to plug it into a hierarchy of importance for me to ensure I meet with all of my students. One standard that I have not done a lot of thinking about though is the fact that I do not touch on being a digital citizen within my classes. After having time to think about digital citizenship and talking with my students, I am now convinced that it has to be towards the top of my pile of standards to cover with each class.

My plan comprised of two separate activities: the first one related to giving credit to digital media and the second required my students to use an online discussion forum. First, in my reading and in my interactions with my students, it repeatedly came to my attention that students do not have a real good grasp on where their get their digital media...besides YouTube. Therefore, I worked on a project where my students had to repeatedly cite where they retrieved their media from within their assignment. My students had to create a timeline and each event required a video or an image and each image required a citation, which was woven into the rubric of the grading process as well. Here is an example of a student's submission where she properly cited where she obtained her image from:

In working on this assignment, I awarded more credit for being more specific and for being more accurate. Some students posted in the link of the image while others would do something similar to the above example with providing the website while others would have the website and also have the person who made the video or the individual who took the picture when possible.

The second part of working to better prepare my students to be digital citizens had me create a TedEd video and then have a discussion forum for them to post to with their responses and then also respond to their classmates posts. The goal of this assignment was to have my students interact with each other in a digital way so that they could work on proper etiquette in working online. I wanted them to interact and disagree online by restating the original posters idea and then agree or disagree with the idea and explain why. Here are a couple examples of student postings:

During my 20% project, I spent my time doing multiple things that had me stroll down multiple paths. I spoke with my students frequently about how they interact with digital media and how frequently they know the source of what they are viewing; I worked in going down multiple rabbit holes on Twitter so that I could see what people were up to in their classrooms and beyond; and then I spoke with my colleagues to see what they were reading about and what they were learning about in their own studies.

As for the resources that I found most valuable, I think I found my students to be incredibly valuable as I learned about what they were doing with figuring out how to be digital citizens. I also found the Digital Citizenship site from Edina to be incredibly helpful as a resource.

Finally, the open ended nature of this assignment was kind of difficult for me. I like having direction and then following those directions as I work. However, I think that by having it be open ended, I was able to go down paths that I may not have gone down otherwise.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Becky Fritz 20% Project For the Collaboration and Community Course

20% Plan - Incorporating Digital Citizenship

  • I spent the majority of my time, when looking through the Digital Citizenship resources, looking for ways to address what I see as the most pressing and immediate need for instruction in my classroom.  Although citing sources and being careful with copyright is important and would be impactful in my class, because as a 1:1 classroom we are often using the internet for resources for our digital projects, I felt that writing a professional email was one that had a multitude of important uses in the future.  Writing a well-thought out, polite, proofread letter would be important for the rest of their lives, both in and out of school.

  • I could have used more of the online resources you recommended, specifically from Common Sense Media, but I chose to borrow more from an already existing program at Hopkins called #HopkinsOnline because the videos and content are great and were really tailor-made for our kids.  In addition, if this is a lesson that we end up using as a school, instead of just for my science class, I thought it’d be a good idea to build on what was done in the past.  In this way, I think of this lesson as the next iteration for our 1:1 iPad students when teaching them email etiquette.

  • The purpose of #HopkinsOnline is to teach digital literacy skills & responsibility. It’s an online platform that’s intended to create a community of learning around online skills and digital responsibility.  We launched it two years ago and there have been several iterations--the next one being unclear at the moment.  There are great lessons embedded in the badges and I’d like to borrow a few of the screencasts for the instruction portion of the lesson.
  • Another reason I love the #HopkinsOnline lesson is that I think it’s important to address tone and intent, and not just spelling & grammar.  Many of the lessons that I found online were focussed more on the structure of a professional email. I wanted this lesson to be one that will help them after they’re out of junior high; in college and in their future careers.

  • The lesson is intended to be done over the course of two class periods and has three assessments completed out of class.  The first day, with the discussion of internet slang and comparing and contrasting how they write to friends vs teachers, is designed to be teacher-led with multiple cooperative and digital activities interspersed throughout.  I constructed this lesson, however, specifically so that the first teacher-led day could be left out and the second day - with more videos - could be done independently (which fits more with our old badge-earning style).  If a teacher wanted to have students work on their own they could take the activities from the second day and put them on their website so that their kids could work on their own.  Because students learn more by practicing, the second and third homework assignment are very similar: write a professional email.  My intention is that the 2nd homework assignment (the 3-2-1 email) be assigned immediately after the lesson on how to write a professional email, and the 3rd assignment (parent email about grades) be sent a week or two later.

  • The open-ended style of this lesson meshed well with how I learn.

Lesson: The Why & How To of Writing a Professional (Teacher) Email

Essential Question
How should you write a letter to your teacher? aka How to write a professional email.

Lesson Overview
Students explore the components of a well-written, professional email. They learn
that such emails have a 4-part structure that is similar to that of traditional professional business letters.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to ...
  • ‡identify the four main parts of letter/email writing.
  • ‡compare and contrast the format of emailing a teacher (professional) to that of emailing or texting their friend (personal).

Assignments (Assessments)
  • Google Form - formative assessment code switching
  • 1st Email - formative assessment email to me 3-2-1 style
  • 2nd email - summative assessment email w/ parent cc

Day 1

Identify What They Know - Internet Slang

Wordle Activity

Internet slang, otherwise known as textspeak or netlingo, seems to change daily. Often such Internet slang is used in emails, IMs, and text messages. Challenge students to work with partners to figure out what the following acronyms mean:
‡ LOL – laugh out loud
‡ TTYL – talk to you later
‡ G2G – got to go
‡ L8R – later

Have students brainstorm with their partners all of the different Internet slang examples they know. Have them discuss when it’s appropriate to use this kind of slang and with whom. Ask students to type their words in this Google Form.  Remind them to separate each word with a comma.  To make sure that each phrase is counted the same way, ask them to capitalize all letters.

Teacher: highlight the column with their responses and paste them into Wordle Create.  Show the class what the most popular slang is that they use.

Compare & Contrast Professional & Personal Emails

Double Bubble Map

Professional email (to a teacher) vs a personal email (to a friend): how are they similar and how are they different?
Ask students to create their own double bubble map.
Once students have had a chance to work on their own, complete one together as a class.  While going through a map together, remind students that they should always proofread their emails by double-checking their work. They should consider the following five guidelines with emails to their teacher (this should be added to their bubble map if missing).

Does the email to their teacher have ...  
  1. a clear and specific subject line?
  2. a greeting, body, and closing?
  3. proper capitalization?
  4. proper punctuation?
  5. correct spelling?

HW Assignment #1
Google Form - formative assessment code switching

Day 2

Email Introduction


Explain: Email might be old fashioned but it is one of the ways your teachers now and in the future will be communicating with you. It is also one way that you will communicate with teachers, employers and college admissions in future.

Watch the following video.  Ask students to follow the directions in the video.

Watch the following video.  Ask students to create an email signature for their account.  Include name, grade, and school.

Subject Line & Body


Explain: There are four parts to an email: the subject line, the greeting, the body, and the closing.  These could be in notes form or you could have them take notes while watching the videos.

Subject: This is actually one of the most important parts on an email although most students forget it.

Greeting or Salutation: The greeting usually starts with 'Dear' and is followed the person's name and then a comma.

Body:  Make sure you include details like what, where, when, how and why.  These are the non-negotiable parts of a professional exchange via email.  It’s also important to proofread your email for correct spelling, capitalization, and grammar.

Closing: The closing includes a short capitalized expression such as 'Sincerely' or 'Best' and is followed by a comma. Skip a line after the body before writing your closing.

Here’s a sample of an email that includes all of the necessary parts of a professional email: subject, greeting, body, and closing.

The Subject Line


Watch the following video about the importance of a subject line in an email.

The Body


Watch the video below to learn more about the body of an email.


Read this super short article posted in USA Today College called:  5 Things to Remember When Emailing a Professor.  It is relevant to junior high students too!

Discussion or TPS:
Which do you think is the most important of the five (Be Formal, Specify, Be Thorough, Be Kind, Proofread)?  Explain why.

Which do you think is the one most difficult for a junior high student to do or remember to do?  Explain why you think that.

If you were asked to add one tip to this list to make it a “Top Six” list, what would you add?  Why do you think it is important to add? Explain.

HW Assignment #2
1st Email - formative assessment email to me 3-2-1 style

Teacher: provide feedback about their email.

HW Assignment #3 (intended for a week or so later)
2nd email - summative assessment email w/ parent cc

Traci Bergo 20% Digital Citizenship

I have really struggled with this assignment, hence the late posting. I spent many hours searching for 'digital citizenship' in 'physical education'. The search results were not very helpful in that area. 

Most of my day is spent teaching adapted physical education, primarily to lower functioning students. Most are non-verbal or have limited communication abilities and are unable to access and use social media independently. Talking about digital citizenship with this population is not even possible!

I do have one section per day with typical students in my GOPE (girls only physical education) class. So I did this 20% assignment with them in mind. However, I'm still having difficulty coming up with ideas of how this applies to physical education. 

The PE department at EHS has a classroom set of FitBits. I just began using them with the students the end of November. Within the FitBit app, users are able to 'cheer', 'taunt' and 'message' friends that are FitBit users. I think this would be a logical place to start the digital citizenship conversation related to PE class. 

When I use the FitBits again next semester I plan to talk about the messaging being appropriate. I may have the students blog about the use of the FitBit and what they learn from the data they get from wearing it. But before doing that, I'll definitely discuss digital citizenship. Maybe I'll show a video and talk about what is acceptable when posting. 

I did find a PE teachers website that was helpful. This particular teacher likes to use technology in his PE classes. I like this lesson where he talked about digital citizenship:  I also like this graphic: I could show this to the students and have them comment or blog somehow on it. 

The more I write about this, the more clearer it becomes. As I told my own children when they started using social media, you need to use proper 'netiquette'. They shouldn't post anything they wouldn't want their grandmother to see or read. The old, not so familiar anymore, 'Golden Rule' certainly applies here. It's just a matter of getting the younger generations to believe in it and understand how serious poor digital citizenship can be for them. 

Allyson King 20% Project Collaborating for Cummunity

While completing my PLN with my students I made sure to model digital etiquette and safe use of technology and information. I had a discussion with my students about what information we should include on our form and what is appropriate information to ask from people that we may not know. I explained that because we wanted lots of people to take our survey, including people we do not know, it is best to not include any personal information about us, including our last names and school. In addition we should not ask for personal information from people taking our survey.
Recently I was asked to join a group of teachers that are piloting a moodle course so after break I will be starting it with my 5th graders. Over the first week of introducing this to my students I will be highlighting these three aspects of digital citizenship through these three videos from Teaching Digital Citizenship and the questions in the lesson guide.

The open ended nature of this assignment was a struggle for me especially because I see my students for such a short amount of time and we have not used a huge amount of technology outside of IXL and Xtramath.  The moodle course that I am going to be starting with my 5th graders assisted in giving me direction for this assignment.

Emily Larson 20% Project for the Collaboration and Community Course

This project focuses on addressing the importance of proper online etiquette within and beyond the walls of the classroom.  All the students that I work with have an educational diagnosis of autism. Autism often  creates difficulties with social thinking, and interpreting social information, which often results in the misreading or missing social cues and misinterpreting messages.  Many of my students prefer the online world of communication because there are no nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, facial expressions, etc., to interpret, but they also lack (to a varying degree) basic rules of what it means to be a digital citizen.

4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility-Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. Teachers:
c. promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.
d. develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools.

Task 1: Discuss the following questions: 
1.What digital citizenship mean? 
2. What do you need to do to be an accountable online?

Task 2: Watch the following clip.   
Task 3:  With a partner discuss and list all the digital information that you believe can be found about you online.  Then watch the haiku deck slide show.

Digital Citizenship Lessons - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Task 4: Have the students Google themselves.

Task 5:  Have the students discuss the following scenarios and answer the following questions:
1.  Is this an instance of good digital citizenship?
2. What are the good or bad consequences that could come from the action?
3. What would you do, if needed, to change the situation?


Task 6: Personal reflections questions:
1. How did you feel about the video?
2. What steps do you feel like you need to take to become a better digital citizen?
3.  What are your online goals? 

Task 7: Students will make their own top 5 list on what they are going to do to be responsible digital citizens. 

How did I spend my time:
The first few weeks of this assignment I spent most of my time reading and reviewing the lessons on the Tech for Teachers and Digital Citizenship Providence Day School digital compass sites.  I found the information there very valuable.  The Tech for Teachers site brought me to the InCtrl website which has other great lesson on digital citizenship, and I incorporated some of their ideas into this lesson.  There rest of the time I spent looking at lessons and clips found on Pinterest to create the rest of the lesson.  

What resources did you find most valuable? 
Many of the resources available are valuable and helpful.  I am most likely to use the Tech for Teachers site within my classroom because the lessons are laid out nicely and are all ready to be used. Once I understood the project and the expectations I enjoyed the open-ended nature  of it, and also having the ability to create my own lesson. 

Jack Salaski 20% Project Collaborating for Community Course

EPS Media Specialists have chosen to highlight digital citizenship as the focus of their PLC.  This means that not only do students need to learn a concept, that understanding needs to be measurable and tangible.  My 20% digital citizenship project relates to the two ISTE student standards chosen as the primary focus during these meetings, and looks at one way these standards could be measured: through creation.  The two ISTE standards chosen as the primary focal points of the Media Specialist’s PLC group are:
  • research and information fluency, and
  • digital citizenship

To think about how this can be measured, I think it is important to first break the learning down into two groups: elementary, and secondary.  At the elementary level, students are more apt to engage with concepts like “rings of responsibility,” “cyberbullying,” and, “Oops!  I broadcast it on the Internet!”  because these ideas frame the concept of digital citizenship under a more basic umbrella of safety and responsibility.  From this standpoint, it makes sense to have students draw conclusions from researching sites like Common Sense Media’s Digital Passport in order to highlight what they have learned.  Then, they should make something to showcase what they have learned. Possibilities for creation include, but are most certainly not limited to:
  • having each student create a page for an eBook to be published online.
  • asking students to create an Animodo explaining what they’ve learned about digital citizenship, or
  • an ABCya animation for older students.
  • create a song that showcases the lessons learned about digital citizenship.

txCLm2dDth_1418936568563.jpgIn a blog post from 2012, Dan Haesler makes an interesting point: what if we taught driving like we teach social media?  By focusing on what not to do, students are frequently missing out on what they should be doing on the information superhighway.  
What about the secondary students who have heard the term cyberbullying repeated each and every year?  If online tales of woe can catch attention like a social media car accident and spread like wildfire, why can’t positive stories mirror this behavior?  How about students develop a positive digital footprint through creation, not abstention?  In Edina, students are already asked to work on both a Passion Project and an Apathy Project in which they delve deeply into a subject of their own interest; they work to enlighten others through research and presentations.  What if this type of project spread outside of the classroom?  Outside of the immediate Edina community? Outside of the country and into cyberspace?

Online tools allow for this type of transformation to happen earlier than ever before. For example,  Google these kids and see what pops up:
  • Fionn Hamill
  • Martha Payne

What about students like Josie who had over 6,500 hits on their blog as an elementary school student?  Or Jaden who writes about his favorite athletes and receives positive feedback from around the web?  If it is possible for nine year old Martha Payne to lead a campaign that raised £131,666.79 as of February 2014, is it possible for our students to raise awareness for their own passions while creating positive digital footprints for their future based on creation instead of abstention?

As Tom Rademacher puts it in his TEDx talk: “we can use technology in our rooms to access humanity instead of escape it.”  If Media Specialists are to verify students understand digital citizenship concepts and demonstrate practices pertaining to information literacy and research, then asking students to reinforce the concepts they learned in elementary grades through creation-based research projects creates not only a tangible artifact that confirms student understanding, but a lasting note on our student’s digital footprint is left behind as well.

As for the open-ended nature of the assignment: assignments that are more definite in nature are easier in many ways, but, this type of assignment is more helpful. The infinite information at our fingertips cannot be used as a shortcut here and directly relates to the type of work discussed above in this very blog post.