5 Reasons to Teach about Digital Citizenship

After doing the same digital citizenship lesson in 7 classes, grades 3-5, I’m not surprised to find out that not one student knew the definition of digital citizen. In all 7 classes, however, students were successful at giving a definition for citizen and digital. That discussion made it much easier to put the definitions together to correctly define digital citizen. It made for a great start to our lessons, and it allowed us to eventually start blogging in the classroom.

No matter what grade level you teach, digital citizenship is an important topic that needs to be covered in every K-12 class. Ideally, it’s a topic that you want to cover at the beginning of the school year, before having students interact with technology, but even though it is more than 6 months into the school year, it’s never too late to start.

Here are 5 reasons you should teach about digital citizenship:

  1. Digital citizenship is SO Common Core! –  CCSS focuses on college and career readiness. Digital citizenship is a a 21st-century life skill that will definitely help students through their college years, career, and beyond.
  2. Free Lessons – Common Sense Media has a webpage dedicated to K-12 Digital Literacy and Classroom Curriculum.
  3. Protect Your Students’ Digital Footprint – Digital Citizenship gets students to really THINK before they post something online. Students don’t always remember that whatever they post online can follow them forever. Start teaching this to students early!
  4. Prevent Cyberbullying – Promote positive interactions between students and teach students how to deal with cyberbullying. You can give students the knowledge and power to be online upstanders.
  5. It’s Fun! – Digital Citizenship leads to fun, engaging classroom activities using social media in the classroom. Sites I love using are: Kidblog, Storybird, Padlet, and Today’s Meet. Eventually, I would love to start using Twitter, Instagram, and Google Hangouts with students.

It is now our job as educators to raise model digital citizens. Have fun with your 21st-century digital citizens! Once you do, the learning possibilities in your classroom are endless!


Technology & Assessment Reflection

Since I recently graduated from Full Sail University, the Intro to Electricity course in Schoology was started back in October and now that I’m in a new online course getting my Online & Blended Teacher Certification, I’ve added to this course by creating examples of student work and a final summative assessment.

Here’s the reflection video that I made back in October after the first time creating this blended course:

For this assessment assignment I could have completely reinvented the wheel and created a new blended course full of different formative and summative assessments, but I truly believe that teaching is all about taking things that you already have and modifying them and perfecting them as you learn, grow, and discover your most efficient teaching style.

Life of a Cloud Comic

Watching that 1st reflection video, I think that it’s funny that I said that I didn’t think I would change a thing in my LMS. Now that I look back at it, almost 7 months later, I see a lot that I could and have changed. I like my new addition of a student sample in ComicLife. I also like the idea of having the students post their work along with a reflection about creating the comic. It will be interesting to watch students give feedback to one another after they post their comics on a class discussion board.

The other addition that I created for my Intro to Electricity course was the final summative assessment. When having my students take this final test, I would consider having all of the students take this test in class at the same time. I might think about giving students a time limit and would have to monitor that the class isn’t simply using our class webpage to find the answers to all of the vocabulary words.

Originally I thought that a final test would be the quickest and easiest way to get a final assessment, but now I think that it might be more meaningful if the students are given a project as their summative assessment. I could maybe have students work in groups to do a small news segment about an electricity topic of their choice. Students could come up with an electricity problem that’s occurring at home or at school and report about it along with possible solutions.

Reflection & revision is what teaching is all about! The use of technology opens the door to endless possibilities for meaningful student assessment.

Designing a Comprehensive Assessment Plan

I’ve been playing around with the LMS Schoology to help designing a blended course that could help me teach my 4th grade students about electricity and magnetism.

Lesson Overviews on Prezi

Here you can find:

  • vocabulary with definitions
  • videos
  • 4th Grade CA State Physical Science Standards

Chapter 8: Electricity Lessons

Chapter 9: Magnetism Lessons

Formative Assessment

Intro to Electricity Home Screen

In Schoology I have created my blended course and uploaded examples of  various assignments and discussions that I would have my students complete throughout the 8 week course. This is a screenshot of the main page for the course Intro to Electricity. On the righthand side are a list of the upcoming assignments and their due dates.

Static Electricity Comic Assignment

Assignments for formative assessment include:

  • Discussion comments & responses in Schoology
  • Creative assignments using programs like ComicLife
  • Interactive science simulations like this Building Circuits Module

Here is what it looks like if you open up the first assignment. Students are given directions, a link to the Static Electricity Prezi, and a link to the grading rubric.

Life of a Cloud Comic

The following is an example of work that could be turned in for this assignment:


Feedback can be given in 3 different ways:

  1. Students will be asked to create a blog post in Kidblog displaying their static electricity comment along with a reflection about creating the comic. Each student will be required to post feedback to at least 3 other students in the class. Students enjoy receiving peer feedback because it allows them to share their hard work with the class and it is fun to see what others come up with and the journey that they take to accomplish the task. Having them comment on a post of their work and a reflection allows them to find similarities and differences about their approach to the topic.
  2. Teacher can give feedback by posting comments about the assignment in SchoologySchoology Grade Example and/or in Kidblog.
  3. Teacher also posts grades and can give additional comments when grading assignments in Schoology.

Once students are given feedback, they are also given the option to redo and resubmit an assignment if the grade is not acceptable. Students will have 1 week to fix any assignment that they wish to resubmit. I like using the grade-book in Schoology because it is a nice organized way for the teacher to give grades and quick feedback to the students. Schoology gives updates to students when new grades are posted.

Summative Assessment

Summative Assessment part 1

After the students learn all of the lessons in a chapter, they will be asked to take a final chapter quiz. I’ve created a sample quiz in the app starQuiz. The questions that I created are 11 vocabulary matching items, 4 multiple choice questions, and 2 short answer questions.

Once a quiz is created, students are sent the link for the quiz and they will receive instant feedback on all of the questions except for the 2 short answer questions. It it is the teacher’s responsibility to grade the 2 short answers in a timely matter so that the students receive  quick feedback about the complete test results.

Here is an example of what it looks like when the test is corrected:

Sample Student Test 1

Sample Student Test 2

The Power of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)

What is a PLN?

It’s my understanding that a PLN is an informal learning network that involves connecting with others who share similar interests. The way in which this happens is through social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, and RSS feeds.

Here’s a video that I found called Networked Student by Wendy Drexler. It explains how students can benefit from this type of networked learning:

LinkedInMy PLN Experience

As a teacher on a quest to continue learning about the growing, changing, and evolving topic of educational technology, I’ve made it a priority to stay connected to people and companies in this field on LinkedIn. I love how it allows me to showcase and link to projects that I’ve done. It also allows me to connect my blog page to my profile. Whenever I post on this PacadaVision WordPress page, I have it automatically set up to become a part of my activity in LinkedIn. Anyone in my network can link to my blog and, in turn, I can link to blogs of any of my connections. LinkedIn frequently sends emails of updates, so it’s easy to view changes and updates of people in my network. It’s amazing how I’ve learned all about new Web 2.0 tools and ed tech companies just by looking into information connected to my LinkedIn Network.

Introducing Social Media to the Classroom using KidBlog

Educator Studio KidBlog LessonPopularity of social media tells me that it is my responsibility as a teacher to get my students prepared to be a responsible participant by showing them a correct way to use it. KidBlog is my Website of choice in introducing social media to my students.

Last year was when I discovered this teacher moderated blog site. If you want ideas on how to get started using KidBlog, check out my EducatorStudio lesson plan.

I’m hoping to start KidBlog with this year’s class within the next couple of weeks. Last year I had students blogging about voice activated cars, saving the environment, dreams, the future, and many more interesting and though provoking topics. I’m curious to see what kind of topics this year’s class will come up with. If I can get my students excited and interested about popular topics, I can get my students to improve their writing while also giving them useful 21st century learning skills that will help them grow their own PLN in a positive way.

Storybird in the Classroom

Why use Storybird?

I started using Storybird in my 4th grade classroom in December and in our 4 months of use, it’s starting to become our new favorite Web 2.0 tool. I know that there are a numerous amount of Websites that encourage writers to submit their creative stories, so why in the world would I choose this one? Here are 5 reasons I love this site:

  1. Artwork is visually stunning and there is a good amount to choose from.
  2. The inspirational artwork makes it easy for my students to come up with interesting stories.
  3. After creating and publishing a story, the final product is very professional looking.
  4. Storybird allows you to embed stories. This has been a great motivation to my students because I have started creating class contests where the winners have their stories featured on our class Webpage
  5. Features for teachers make creating assignments, grading, giving feedback, and rewarding students very easy.

Grading Screenshot

Class Assignments:

Here are some sample assignments in Storybird that I’ve created to help meet the 4th grade California ELA content standards:

Create a holiday or winter story and have one of your characters experience some type of magic. Make sure your story has a well thought out beginning, middle, and ending. 

  • Writing Strategies 1.1 – Select a focus, and organizational structure, and a point of view based upon purpose, audience, length, and format requirements. 

Choose a story that you have already created in Storybird. Edit it and make changes by fixing any mistakes and improving at least 4 of your pages. Make sure that you include 1 simile and 1 metaphor somewhere in your story. 

  • Writing Strategies 1.10 – Edit and revise selected drafts to improve coherence and progression by adding, deleting, consolidating, and rearranging text.

Storybird & Bloom’s Taxonomy

Here’s my Google Presentation about how I’ve used my Storybird experience in the classroom to make a connection to the 2 highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: creating & evaluating.

I’ve also found that analyzing plays an important role in the creation of new stories.  When a student chooses artwork from an artist, he/she is limited to creating a story only with the artwork submitted by that particular artist. In that situation, the student must analyze the pictures given and work within that set to create a story that is interesting and makes sense. Here’s an example of what the canvas looks like when you have chosen artwork:

If a student does not want to write a story using one artist’s artwork, they also have the option to use art that is tagged with the same word. For example, the very 1st Storybird assignment in my class was for my students to create a holiday/winter story. Searching for the tag winter will pull up all of the winter pictures. A student may then create a story with all of pictures that share that same tag. Some students like to search for artwork based on the tag, so it is a good 2nd option for choosing illustrations for a story.

Here are some problems I’ve run into in the past 4 months:

  • Students can choose art by tag or artist, but we haven’t found a way to combine artwork from 2 artists to create a story. 
  • Sometimes the site runs slow and I’ve had problems with computers freezing up as my students were in the process of saving their work. (I will say that the speed has been getting better.)
  • When creating a class the comments and discussions are automatically set to “on/open.” I learned this the hard way by finding my class chatting with each one another when they discovered how to create a discussion. It ended up being a teachable moment when I changed the settings to moderate and had a discussion about appropriate feedback and discussions online.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am very happy with Storybird in my classroom! Publishing stories for students to have access to at home gives them a huge sense of pride in their creations. It is so great to see such a huge excitement about creative writing as our school prepares for our Young Author’s Fair that is coming up in May. I just decided that I would let the top 3 author’s of the month read their stories as I screencast them and upload their stories to YouTube. I will leave you with an example by my student Julia.

Methodologies of the Online Instructor Reflection

Online, Blended, and Face-to-Face Learning

I’m currently a 4th grade teacher who primarily teaches using face-to-face learning, however with technology resources becoming available at my school, blended learning is becoming more of a possibility in my classroom. The following Venn Diagram shows the similarities and differences between online, blended, and face-to-face learning as it has been used in my educational experience as a teacher and a student learning in an online setting.

Venn Diagram on Prezi

Transitioning to Blended & Online Learning

Becoming a blended or online teacher requires a whole new teaching mindset. I’m so used to teaching in a large group setting with 32+ students in my classroom at all times. I’m used to teaching through text books at a certain pace, making sure that I get through all of the necessary information before testing time comes around in early May. I use individual and group projects and allow for students to work at their own level within a certain subject, but my whole group instruction always comes at one pace, which is mostly too easy for my high students and too complicated for my really low students.

Having students work on curriculum online allows for self-paced learning. The advanced students can move quickly through the necessary curriculum and beyond, and the lower students can work at a slower pace with more individual help and support in mastering the curriculum before moving on too quickly. This means that the classroom teacher no longer becomes the main source of curriculum delivery, but rather the facilitator of learning and a main support system for individual student success. The success of many online and blended learning programs tells me that this is the future of education. I’m totally on board and excited for this change! This is the reason that I made that tough decision to go back for my master’s in Educational Media Design and Technology and enroll in a Online and Blended Learning Teacher Certification program. I’m trying to learn everything that I can to make myself a successful teacher ready to transition into the future of education.

Through Full Sail University’s Online Program, I’ve participated in online collaborative teaching platforms like Wimba and GoToMeeting. As a high school and undergraduate college student, I was always the quiet student with so many ideas in my head, but little confidence to participate in a large group setting. Online collaborative platforms with small group meetings gave me the confidence and comfort to become an active participant in every classroom meeting. Having to work with 12 different instructors, it’s been interesting to see how different personalities work in the online setting. I’ve experienced everything from comedic teachers cracking jokes to engage the group, to teachers using videos and Web 2.0 tools to engage the group in thought provoking discussions. I imagine that working with students online requires a lot of patience and trial and error in finding the style that works best for each individual teacher. I’m the kind of person that is up for the challenge of new discoveries, so if I should ever need to make the transition to virtual teaching, I will take all of my online experiences and experiment with what works best for me.

Education is going through some major changes with the quick advancement in technology and I’m doing the best that I can to be prepared for that change. It’s going to be a wild ride, and not always an easy one, but if it means more student engagement and personalized learning, I’m completely on board!

Back to School with Glogster (Virtual Posters)

Back to School

After 1 year of an intense master’s program, I thought that I would take a nice long break from online classes, giving myself the chance to catch up with my normal life. Well… that lasted for a whole 3 months and now I’m back online, going for my Online and Blended Teacher Certification. It’s back to the same routines that I came to know so well:

  • Read
  • Complete assignment
  • Post discussion
  • Reply to 2+ discussions
  • Reflect

My Personal Learning Goal

Having ignited this new found passion for discovering new technology, I’m starting to get more and more interested in creating programs for professional development of teachers using technology. I’ve enjoyed training teachers about using LiveBinders and I would love to find a way to continue my career in that same path. I enjoy creating fun and innovative media assets. ScreenFlow, iMovie, and GarageBand have been my favorite tools to design and create teaching tutorials with. I look forward to learning more about tools and strategies that will help me understand how to efficiently reach learners in a blended teaching setting. Learning about new Web 2.0 tools sparks new ideas in me and I love trying out new things in my classroom. This week, my new Web 2.0 tool is Glogster.

Introductions via Glogster


Our first assignment was to create a glog so that other students could get to know all about us. This assignment was a completely paperless and virtual way to create one of those About Me posters that so many teachers assign their students in the first week of school.

With all of the many video projects that I’ve gotten myself into, I had a hard time choosing the most important ones to go on my page. I may have gone a little crazy with the videos, stickers, Web links, and moving objects, but I came up with a page that reflects exactly where I am in my teaching career right now.

As I have been looking at other students’ glogs, it is very interesting to see different styles and ideas from each student in the class. This got me to thinking about creating student accounts for each of my 4th grade students and having them create a glog to be shared during Open House in May. The graphics and animations are so fun and eye-catching that I think my students will have a blast with it!