Lively Lessons: Digital Citizenship

Working on your weekly lesson plans? This Lively Lesson will provide Discovery Education content and lesson plan ideas.

In our month-long celebration of the Constitution and citizenship, we’re extending the discussion to include digital citizenship with a webinar featuring Dr. Devorah Heitner, founder and CEO of Raising Digital Natives. Dr. Heitner’s Discovery Education online event, New Approaches to Digital Citizenship: 5 Ways to Engage Parents and Students, will be held Tuesday, September 29, at 7:00pm ET.

Dr. Heitner focuses on positive approaches to digital citizenship with practical examples of how teachers and parents can model responsible, thoughtful, and caring communication, both digital and face-to-face. Be sure to RSVP to join us for this webinar event, and keep reading for ideas about how you can use Discovery Education resources to cultivate mindful digital practices with your students.


Conversation Starter:

How do you know what a person is thinking or feeling in a face-to-face conversation? A video chat? A text chat?



Students on Cell Phones Getty,  . Image.
Discovery Education. Web. 25 September 2015. <>.

Discovery Education Resources

K-5: Discovery Education provides a variety of resources for helping students understand their roles in the World Wide Web. From video segments about becoming a Super Digital Citizen, where students learn about their own responsibility in online safety, to navigating their online neighborhoods, as well as safety tips for parents of elementary school children, we have age-appropriate resources that engage students and encourage them to make responsible online choices.

6-8 – Common Sense Media: Discovery Education provides a suite of videos, lesson plans, and materials for students that addresses topics from online identity and self-expression to protecting and respecting privacy, as well as respecting other’s creative work. In each of these lessons, students consider different scenarios, the ethical questions surrounding them, and the benefits and risks of an action before taking a stand. For more resources, keyword search “Common Sense Media” within Discovery Education.

9-12 – Lessons in Action: With a number of video segments that discuss the importance of ensuring a healthy digital footprint and the consequences that can arise from using social media, as well as case studies and videos in the Lessons in Action series that offer multiple discussion techniques, you’ll have both materials and strategies that you can use to promote meaningful conversations among your students.

Activity Idea

6-12 – Hello? Is Anybody Home?

As our middle and high school students use texting and social media posts to communicate with many of their friends, it’s important that they have opportunities to consider the importance of subtext in their messages.

In this activity, each student in the class will deliver the same lines, “Hello? Is anybody home?”–but in very different ways. Before class, brainstorm different scenarios or contexts for how this dialogue might be delivered: after acing a tough test, coming home past curfew, after seeing a scary movie, after getting a text from that special someone, wanting to surprise a sibling on her birthday, being locked outside the coldest day of the year, or even with snark in response to an obvious question. If you don’t have enough ideas for each student in the class, have the students act out the ones you do have and challenge the class to create even more scenarios once they get the gist of the activity. Then discuss how words can be open to interpretation when devoid of context, and show this video segment on paralanguage. Follow by extending the discussion to address the potential ambiguity of text messages and social media posts, and what strategies students currently use or could use to mitigate ambiguity and approximate paralanguage (possible responses include emojis, acronyms, hashtags, etc.).

Share your ideas! We know you’re using resources and tools from Discovery Education every day – in fun and creative ways. We’d love to highlight your ideas in an upcoming Lively Lesson.

It’s easy: just share your favorite content and a few ways you incorporate it into a lesson. To participate, complete this form and keep your eye on the blog – you may be featured in an upcoming post!


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