Online Safety: Fourth Grade Edition

Since starting in the school library last January I have wanted to teach my elementary students about online safety. It didn’t fit in last spring, so I put it on the list for this fall with my fourth graders. This week we finally got to this subject as part of a mini unit I am doing called Internet: Safety, Sources, Searching.

I started with a discussion of students’ prior knowledge with the question: What can we use the internet for? The first answers students volunteered sounded very school-driven. They jumped right on with research. I used a blank flipchart in ActivInspire to record student answers. As simple as this was, it was pretty engaging for the students. They were reading as I typed the question and their responses. The picture below shows their ideas.

What can the internet be used for?

The classroom teacher and I were able to interject a few things naturally into the discussion, such as checking with an adult before doing some of the internet activities they listed (such as facebook and buying things). We then shifted into a brainstorming session on what people could find out about them online. I was surprised at the number of things they brainstormed and how insightful they were. I can’t think of cases for all their ideas, but most seem possible in one form or another. I found it interesting that they were coming up with medical records and grades (Parents can check grades from home)

What Can Be Found on the Internet

At this point, I turned to Infinite Learning Lab’s Professor Garfield Lessons. We did the lesson on Online Safety as a whole group. In this segment, Garfield cautions Nermal to keep his YAPPY safe. YAPPY stands for ‘Your Full Name, Addresses, Phone Number, Passwords, Your Plans.’ Midway through the video-segment is a sorting activity where different types of information must be sorted into YAPPY information and SURF SMART information (things that are okay to be shared). I had more students volunteering with answers than any other time this school year. It was an engaging lesson and discussion.

Next week we will be using All About Explorers. I’m curious to see how and when my students catch on to what that site is all about.

I am debating between the Professor Garfield Fact and Opinion lesson and the Arthur equivalent to use when third grade starts their Magic Tree House Research Projects. That won’t be for some time yet as we are first going to learn how to search the web.

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One thought on “Online Safety: Fourth Grade Edition

  1. This is a great idea. I am going to try this with my 4th graders. Thanks for sharing.

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