It’s been awhile since my last update on my major project and I figured it was time to let everyone know what I’ve been up to! I have been spending lots of time researching, brainstorming, and compartmentalizing how to bring this unit plan to fruition. I didn’t actually think making a unit plan for digital citizenship would be this difficult! However, I have a plan set to get some physical evidence of my unit plan finished this week. I have started to outline my unit plan and I have matched my outcomes to Ribble’s Nine Elements as well. I have goals and vision for what I want my project to be; it’s just difficult to put into words (hence my lack of blog posts lately). My brain has been all over the place!!
Over the past few weeks, I have been making small tweaks to my ELA curriculum in my everyday classroom. We began a new semester in February, and it was perfect timing to begin making adjustments. I’m hoping these adjustments will influence my unit plan as it continues to mold. One thing I have realized since beginning my project and outlining it, is that I do not want it to be a stand-alone unit plan. I don’t want to discuss digital citizenship in-depth and then not discuss it again later in the semester. This has created a challenge in how I approach this formation of the plan. I have decided to create a few general resources to use at various points throughout the semester, so I can encourage my students to keep thinking about these important topics. These resources are beginning to look like fact-checkers, and critical thinking questions to challenge my students’ opinions on what they are reading. I had a “research organizer” I used last year and now looking at it, I know it needs A LOT improvement, so I have been updating it! (Stay tuned!!)
However, the real focus of my unit plan will be setting expectations, discussing online etiquette, and setting up the mindset for our semester which I have decided will be finding valuable sources, fact-checking, as well as recognizing bias in a variety of formats. Students are attacked with messages, advertisements, and news all day, every day, and I want my students to take a step back from this overwhelming world of data and communication. As an ELA classroom, we will need to look at more than just news articles and videos but also plays, short stories, poems, and novels. It is my idea to hopefully incorporate these templates I will create to help my students understand not only how to find valuable sources of research and news, but also understand what the real purpose is of any piece of literature or video or speech. I want them to become critical thinkers and also more responsible citizens in the online world. I would be lying if I said our conversations surrounding the Portrait of a Graduate has not left an impact on me. My students aren’t going to remember Hamlet or the poems we read in two years, but it is my hope I can teach them something about digital responsibility, advocacy, and bias as they move forward in their lives.
A big part of our semester focuses on The Search for Self which I think connects directly to my students figuring out who they are and how they can be better people. I also discussed in my first update that I will connect this unit to the other unit of focus which is The Social Experience. It is my hope that I can touch on every one of Ribble’s Elements within these two units. I have linked each one of Ribble’s Elements to an overarching unit question. It’s something we spend a lot of time focusing on, and always link our content back to during the unit.
So, my unit plan is definitely still under-construction, but I feel like I’ve made real progress in what I am trying to accomplish. My next steps will be to finish the resources and link them on my blog for some feedback then create some vlogs for some of the online resources I’ve found to help other teachers with digital literacy!