Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cyber Safety and Bullying

As part of our bullying unit in fourth grade I conducted a lesson on cyber safety.  For this lesson I used the book Mr. Peabody's Apples, by the one and only Madonna!

The students really enjoy this story.  In the book the character Tommy Tittlebottom witnesses Mr. Peabody taking apples from a local vendor without paying.  Tommy tells his friends Mr. Peabody is a thief.  They of course tell their parents ,who then tell their neighbors, until the whole town thinks Mr. Peabody is a thief.  Mr. Peabody is ostracized because of the rumor.  Tommy discovers that Mr. Peabody pays for the apples every Saturday when he purchases his milk.  Tommy of course feels awful that he judged Mr. Peabody and started such an awful rumor.  To teach Tommy a lesson, Mr. Peabody asks him to bring a pillow filled with feathers.  They cut open the pillow and the wind carries the feathers all through the land.  Mr. Peabody then tells Tommy that each feather represents someone in Happville.  He asks Tommy to pick up all the feathers.  This of course is an impossible task.

After reading the story I asked the fourth graders:

How did people communicate in the story?  Word of mouth
How do people often communicate today?  The internet
What in the this story represents all the different ways to communicate over the internet?  The feathers

This then resulted in a great discussion about how once you post something on the internet it is impossible to get it back.  Fourth graders love talking about this stuff.  I informed them that even if they post something and delete it from their computer, the post is still out there for others to find.  This is especially true if someone has gotten a hold of the post and forwarded on to a friend.  To reinforce the discussion I played this youtube video:

In this lesson I only brushed on the topic of internet safety.  We have a group called Techincool coming in May to have a more in depth discussion about internet safety with fourth and fifth graders.  The internet has become such a large part of kids' lives.  This makes teaching internet safety skills a critical part to their education.  As I mentioned before they love talking about this stuff!  This of course makes my job much more fun. :-)