Springy Digital Citizenship

Today’s Contributor: Holly Kofod, Music Teacher and CIC at Wooten Elementary. Holly has been teaching music K-5 for 34 years and is in the Leadership Pathway for Transformative Technology.

Digital Citizenship and Safety has been on my mind a great deal lately as I have fallen victim to some credit card fraud. Quite a shock, as I consider myself fairly tech savvy! It has made me wonder more about my students and their knowledge of digital citizenship. I believe digital citizenship topics need to be addressed and discussed consistently in today’s classrooms. Yes, it is one more thing that all of us have to work into our “already not enough time to cover it all curriculum,” but it is an important one as our world becomes more and more digitally connected. So I set a goal for myself to find a way to work it seamlessly into my classes and began looking for resources. Viola! I found GOLD – Picture books that have a digital citizenship theme! Don’t get me wrong, the district provides many wonderful resources for teaching digital citizenship.  I highly recommend looking into the Common Sense Media resources, but let’s face it: sometimes a good read aloud is simply magic! It’s always amazing how the discussions seem to take on lives of their own afterward. So I have come to the conclusion that picture books that have a digital citizenship theme are a great way to easily weave in reminders throughout the year! Thus began my quest for a classroom library. Better yet, I persuaded my librarian to use her budget to buy the books for our school library. Here are some titles, with a  brief summary, that anyone can easily weave into their lessons. Which one is YOUR favorite?

If You Give a Mouse an iPhone is just like all of the other If You Give a Mouse a Cookie/Muffin/Brownie stories that are great to use when studying sequences in stories. This book was published in 2014, but I just recently discovered it. Once again, WHERE HAVE I BEEN? This book sends a great message to everyone about how you can easily miss out on everything when you are constantly on your devices. Great conversations happened in my classroom about the importance of putting technology away at the appropriate times after we read this book together!


Goodnight iPad is a parody of the popular book Goodnight Moon. It is a story that reminds us all about the importance of powering down each day. It led to an interesting energy saving discussion after this read! My students were full of “power saving” ideas!


What Does It Mean to be Safe? is a story that touches on everything from physical safety to cyber safety and presents ways children can protect themselves. This is a great read for teaching internet safety, as well as protecting personal information and passwords. My students shared some very funny stories about forgetting passwords and expressed elation over having QR code logins! Score brownie points for IT!


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But I Read it on the Internet is one every librarian needs to have in his/her library! It is about 4th graders learning how to evaluate Internet resources for accuracy, ease of use, and informativeness. Now we really understand the word “cite”!


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The Berenstain Bears’ Computer Trouble is a great lesson about using technology in moderation and the importance of spending time with family and playing outdoors. This one started a whole conversation about older siblings not participating with them and their families because they were online. Real eye opener for me into the home lives of some of my students.


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Hello Ruby is a cute little story and activity book that introduces young children to the concept of coding and computer programming. Boy, were there LOTS of questions after reading this story!


The Technology Tail by Julia Cook is an adorable story about being aware of your digital footprint.


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Cell Phoney is a great book for upper elementary/middle school students who have cell phones. The book presents 6 rules for cell phones, which emphasizes digital safety to prevent being hurt by others. You could also easily apply this story to the use of any kind of tablet/iPod Touch/etc.. My 5th graders shared out their cell phone “rules,” which led to a great discussion on similarities and differences and perhaps some newly-adopted rules!


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AND MY FAVORITE: Once Upon a Time … Online. All my favorite fairy tale characters have received a laptop and learn an important lesson about online safety (most specifically online spending). Red Riding Hood buys more red cloaks while Cinderella buys everything she needs for the ball. The Big Bad Wolf even gets involved and uses the laptop for online gaming. Eventually a very large bill arrives and all of the characters discover some issues with going online without permission. My favorite part was when Red Riding Hood was so busy watching the screen that she walked into a bramble bush she should have seen! 😂 You can watch a video read aloud on you tube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3kKhFlkX4k

Do you know of any other technology themed books that I should add to my collection? Hope I’ve given you some “springy” ideas for teaching digital citizenship!


7 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. I like the concept of using books. It seems more appropriate to not use technology to teach about the issues that can arise while using technology.

  2. Thanks for the book resources. I am definitely going to share this with my campus. I think these resources will be great pre-teach before using computers.

  3. This was extremely eye-opening. I didn’t realize so many great childrens’ books have been updated to reflect today’s use of technology. I have always found childrens’ books to be a great way to teach math concepts in the math classroom (ex: The King’s Chessboard, the Greedy Triangle). This array of titles is a fun way for kids of all ages to learn about cyber safety and other relevant topics in our tech world. Even older students would enjoy these stories as a fun way to learn how to respect technology and understand the pros and cons of it. This makes me want to search for other titles. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I found this article quite interesting. I didn’t realize so many childrens’ books have been updated to reflect and teach the various technology lessons that all students should learn, especially at an early age and with so many students using technology on a daily basis. I always found childrens’ lit useful in teaching math topics, even to high school students, so this is a fun way to teach this. I look forward to sharing these with others and looking for other updated books for this. Thanks for sharing!

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