Family Resources on
Passport to the World Wide Web
Project and Purpose
Students analyze what it means to be a good citizen of their communities and online
What does it mean to be a good citizen in our community, school and nation – and what does it mean to be a good citizen within our digital, online communities?
If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students learned about making responsible and civic-minded choices in their internet use. Students discussed the concepts of citizenship in general and then discussed how to apply citizenship to internet usage. In small groups they completed a “Good Citizen Worksheet” which had groups create various examples of good internet citizenship. Please note that this is a multi-class lesson, students may not complete all activities in the same day or even the same week.
Getting Ready for the Conversation
As it becomes easier to use the internet in negative or dangerous ways it is more important than ever for children to learn to use the internet in responsible, civicminded and ethical ways. This print lesson introduces students to the concept of digital citizenship and helps students practice the skills of digital citizenship.
Conversation Starters and Practice at Home Activities
The first item is for follow-up after participating in class activities.
Tell about the “Good Citizen Worksheet” your group completed in class. Why is digital citizenship important?
How do you decide if a website or social media post is being truthful or encouraging safe choices? Who are the people who can help you make decisions about what you see online?
Why is it just as important to be honest and responsible online just as it is in person?
Are there any internet rules or procedures our family needs to change or adjust for home internet use? Why or why not?
School to Home Resources on Passport to the World Wide Web
- Good Citizen Worksheet (teacher support/alternate worksheet)
- Good Citizen Worksheet (blank)
- We the People Worksheet for Digital World Preamble
- Craft materials for creating a Flag and Passport for the Digital World
- In a remote environment, meeting software will need to have “breakout room” or similar function enabled allowing for small group discussions and handouts will need to be shared with student groups by email or chat function
This lesson extends over several class periods.
1. Begin a discussion of the concept of citizenship and reviewing basic definitions. Explain that citizenship is what we do to fulfill our role as a citizen. Use the following questions to continue the discussion:
- Why is it important to people to become citizens of the United States?
- What do people have to do to become citizens?
- Why is that process in place?
- What rules do we need to observe as citizens of the United States? As citizens of our school? As citizens of our classroom?
- Why are those rules important?
2. Having establishing the concept of becoming a citizen, continue the discussion by asking students what it means to be a good citizen. Explore the following statements and ask students to share thoughts and experiences that demonstrate the ways they have been or could be good citizens:
- A good citizen has compassion for other people and helps them when possible.
- A good citizen volunteers his or her time.
- A responsible citizen takes care of the environment and the people around him/her.
- A good citizen is respectful of others’ beliefs and feelings.
- A good citizen obeys the law and stays out of trouble.
- A good citizen takes the initiative to be responsible about learning about the history of his/her country, learning about the present and past leaders, and studying how s/he can better the society, land, and people.
Direct Instruction (I do):
1. Explain that in the next few sessions, students will explore what it means to be a citizen of their country and compare and contrast it to being a citizen of the digital world.
2. Talk about how today’s young people have not really known life without online access. Share a personal story of how you or your parents communicated with far-away friends and relatives during childhood or how you found information before the advent of online access. This might include letters, postcards, long-distance telephone calls, going to the library to do research in books and encyclopedias, etc.
Guided Exploration (We do):
1. Continue the discussion with the following prompts:
- How has the Internet expanded our world?
- How do you use the Internet to find information or answers to help you with your schoolwork?
- Do any of you correspond online with friends or relatives who live far away? Explain.
- Do any of you correspond online with friends or relatives even those they live close by? Why?
2. In today’s world, we physically live as citizens of our communities (neighborhoods, our school) but also as citizens of the World Wide Web – the Internet. Explore with students the ways in which the Internet expands our world with the following questions:
- What are the things we can find online? (Examples include information, research, news, opinions, photos, games, and friends).
- What do we expect of others and of resources when we go online? (Possible answers: We need them to be truthful. We look for positive experiences: we don’t want our feelings to be hurt.)
3. Much like the list we created of what it means to be a good U.S. citizen, let’s explore what it means to be a good digital citizen. Using the Good Citizen Worksheet, brainstorm a list of traits and activities that describe good citizens to complete the left hand column. (A teacher support OR alternate worksheet is provided with suggested traits.)
Independent Practice (You do):
1. In small groups or as individuals, have students complete the additional columns with examples of what good citizens could do to demonstrate that trait. Example:
|A Good Citizen…
|In The Real World We…
|In the Online World We…
|• Tell the truth
• Never cheat
|• Only post what we know to be true
• Verify and give credit to sources
2. Have students compare and contrast their responses.
3. Divide students into three groups.
- The first group will create a flag for this digital world in which we participate with “dual citizenship.”
- The second group will create a passport for individuals of our digital world.
- The third group will create a Constitutional preamble for our digital world beginning with the words We The People of the Digital Community…
Have groups share the completed charts, the flag design, the passport, and Constitutional preamble. Ask students to consider ways of sharing this information with other classes, and discuss the importance of thinking of oneself as a digital citizen of the world.
As an extended activity, photograph the flag, digitally place it on a document with information created by the passport group, and have each student complete his or her passport for the digital community. Display the Constitution preamble in the classroom next to a poster or graphic of the U.S. Constitution.