Teachable Moments

I have never really thought about how I will incorporate digital citizenship into my “future” classroom. Currently, I am in the Early Elementary program and I would love to teach in a lower grade like Kindergarten or Grade 1.  When I was thinking of the ages of these students, I was thinking that I shouldn’t necessarily have to worry about them posting online, bullying online, or having misuse of the web. However, there is definitely some areas from “Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship” that I can incorporate into my classroom.

The first one that stood out to me for all age students is #6 on the list, Digital Health and Welfare. I think we can all agree that we love having access to our friends, family, social media, random information, knowledgeable information, games, live sporting events, etc. It has definitely become a way of life and if you are not online, people question it! But, we also need to take care of ourselves and our mental and emotional well-being. We can have discussions with our students and their parents about what they are doing online. We can talk about what are appropriate uses of screen time, if students are using it as an educational tool or if they are spending hours on Tik Tok or Minecraft. Here is an article that you could share with the parents of your students to help them have a better understanding of screen time and when to use it and when to set limits. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/screen-time/art-20047952

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In the Saskatchewan Curriculum for Grade 1 Health, there is an outcome:


Examine healthy behaviours and opportunities and begin to determine how these behaviours and opportunities may affect personal well-being.

This outcome would be great to tie into digital health and welfare. You could teach a lesson on how screen time takes away from physical activity and why it is important to maintain a physical lifestyle. The indicator that could correspond with this is:

(h)Discuss a variety of healthy behaviours over which one has control (e.g., brushing teeth, being active, engaging in quiet time, seeking shade).  

The Digital Rights and Responsibility element from Ribble’s digital citizenship can be another topic of discussion in your classroom. This area is important for students to learn at a young age that internet access is a privilege and that they have to make sure that they are using it appropriately. They have the rights and responsibility to protect themselves online, but also protect others if they see something they shouldn’t see or if they come across something that could be harmful to someone in the real world or online. In the Saskatchewan Curriculum Grade 1 Social Studies their is an outcome:


Analyze the causes of disharmony and ways of returning to harmony.

It is important to teach students that not everything they see online will make them feel good or they will be in agreement with it. But we can teach them strategies to overcome these disharmonies. Indicator:

(a)Identify decision-making approaches which may result in positive outcomes and decision-making approaches which may result in less positive results.

This could be a good time to bring awareness to younger students about the positive aspects of their digital citizenship and the negative affects of digital citizenship. This discussion could be around who students can talk too safely if they are experience any online problems like cyber bullying. We can give students resources to help cope with negative feelings and build relationships in our classroom so the students feel safe.

It is just a good idea to teach students the good and the bad about what can happen online. The sooner we are educating them the sooner they are learning how to become more digitally aware and responsible for their actions online. We as adults have to remember that there is teachable moments even if the moment is in a negative context. We need to remember that they are young, they are learning, and instead of reacting in a harmful way – if there is a teachable moment to be had take that option!

Teach how to be better instead of punishing and not correcting the behavior.

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4 thoughts on “Teachable Moments

  1. Hey Shana!
    I agree that previously, I had not considered teaching early elementary students about digital citizenship. It seemed too young! I believe though that in today’s society, with technology becoming so prominent, we can’t start young enough! Waiting to educate students about digital citizenship can be extremely harmful because we are neglecting them of the skills they need to responsibly navigate the internet. I found this post by Common Sense Media which includes 10 digital citizenship videos for K-5 classrooms: https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/10-fun-digital-citizenship-videos-for-k-5-classrooms.

    1. Hey Laura, Thanks for sharing that with me! It is nice to see it is related to Early Elementary students. I agree with you, we need to start young because children are learning about technology a lot earlier these days.

  2. Hi Shana,
    I think we should definitely teach younger years about digital citizenship, kids are getting electronics devices younger and younger. I think that tying digital citizenship to health outcomes fits really well, especially since digital citizenship and health explore personal health and its relations to the community. For example, you point out how cyberbullying affects students’ mental health.

    1. Hey Richelle,
      Yes I don’t think it is a subject that we can take lightly especially with the harm it can cause to peoples and our youths mental health! Hopefully by talking about it with students it opens doors for them to do it safely and so they have better awareness of not only the negative, but also the positives that can come from digital citizenship.

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