We’ve discovered there are 9 ‘big ideas’ that make up Digital Citizenship and we have explored two of them so far – Online safety and privacy/security. We’ve learned the difference between private information and personal information, and how to secure accounts with appropriately complex passwords. These were relatively simple concepts for the kids, and an easy entry point to the bigger (and more complex) ideas that we’ll explore later.
I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but we stumbled into cyberbullying. The discussion was difficult, more for me than for them. They have the beautiful innocence, but infinite capacity and curiosity, and they asked a lot of questions. Some I was able to answer honestly in the moment, a few I needed to request a ‘circle back’ so I had time to think.
The idea of ‘circling back’ has become useful in our classroom. It’s really about holding space for thinking/processing that needs to be done. Its honouring that everyone involved in our classroom has their own internal learning timelines, and sometimes one of us needs a ‘pause button’ in order to honour the ‘collective good.’ Sometimes we need to pause so that everyone has the opportunity to do some difficult, uncomfortable, unanticipated thinking, reflecting, or planning. It’s a small tool we use to help us stay connected in meaningful ways.
It became clear very quickly that the kids have a misconceptions about what IS and what is NOT bullying. I searched out some supporting resources and we started to unpack the difference between rude, mean, and bullying. To get a more comprehensive baseline about what they know (and what we need to learn) we played four corners. Its a forced choice game where each answer is in a different corner of the room and they have to stand in the location and reflects their answer. I read out scenarios, and they answered, and I quickly realized that we needed to clearly define each of the words before we continued the game.
I found the resources at exploring school counselling really useful and really fun for the kids. The ideas and lessons are mostly game-based and I think that helped keep such a heavy topic manageable for us all. The kids went on to play “Upstander” which helps them practice how to be an upstander instead of a bystander when they witness bullying.
I pondering the idea of the kids using the new tech to create Cyberbullying PSAs… more to follow.