You know, as a teacher, I have always been amazed when parents made their children do way more than required for a project. In fact, I remember vividly that last year on parent conference day, I had three parents tell me that his/her/their child was having a difficult time with his/her project. The project was to find five pictures (which we did in class) and five interesting facts about a certain Native American tribe. Each student was to put all of that on a poster, and then write the same facts word for word on index cards for the presentation (so students wouldn't stand in front of the poster to read from the poster during their presentations). I had given the students an extensive list of resources to use to find their facts.
I asked each parent who voiced that their child was struggling if they were having trouble with the links I provided. All of them said that that wasn't the problem, and that they very much appreciated the links. I was dumbfounded. I could not for the life of me figure out why the students would be having such a hard time with this assignment.
On presentation day, I knew very quickly. Even though I had gone over every detail of what was and was not required for the project, ten out of twenty-four students had written full-on, typed pages of reports. REPORTS! After the first student got up there with that kind of report, I looked out over my classroom. I saw students shrinking in their seats. The students who had done what they were supposed to do were second-guessing themselves. I asked all of the students to get out their instruction/rubric sheet. I asked everyone to read aloud the part about exactly what was supposed to be on the notecards.
Oh the faces of my students! The ones who had written reports looked at me like they had fought a bloody battle that could have been totally avoided, and the ones who had followed directions had relief all over their face and body language. My exact words? "It pays to read the directions, huh?"
Allow me to eat my own words. Today, I have been working on my technology portfolio for my master's degree. I made the page for objective 8 today. I posted my Digital Citizenship Project that I had made in ED 505, and then I proceded to make the Computer Classroom Management Plan it requested in the directions. I finished all of the Computer Classroom Management Plan, and then I re-read the instructions to make sure I had included everything I was supposed to include. ...And...I found a very important word - OR. Or is a powerful word. The directions say to include a Digital Citizenship Project with a blog post about digital citizenship or a Computer Classroom Management Plan.
Well, I unintentionallly did both. Now that I have, I decided to include a blog post about digital citizenship. This is that blog post, and the following is what I have to say about digital citizenship:
Digitial citizenship is complicated because there are so many rules, regulations, percentages, etc. There is a wonderful TrackStar ( Safe and Responsible Surfing Kids Trackstar) made by an awesome teacher (me, who is also very humble) which explains digital citizenship and netiquette in an interesting scavenger hunt, game, and interactive type fashion on a 4th grade level. It is difficult to do everything exactly right when it comes to digital citizenship, but if students are familiarized with the basics through this particular TrackStar, they can at least have enough information to always strive to do the right thing.
That's all I ever ask of my students - for them to strive to do what is right even when it is hard and even if no one else does it with them. People who do the right thing and who strive to do the right thing are few and far between, I'm afraid, and for that reason, those people always stand out. Who could want more? ...except maybe that they all read directions more carefully than their teacher...