Sunday, February 25, 2007

An Ethical Online Presence

What is an ethical online presence?

This week Fifth and Sixth graders pondered this question. After viewing a Keynote presentation about how to comment on a blog and what an online presence is, our discussion turned to understanding the concept of ethics.

Here's a quick video of the Keynote:

Students then went to the Cold Spring School Library Skills Blog and followed the directions on the current post. They answered the question with their comments. Read their comments on the Skills blog.....they are very interesting! Just click on the little comments link on the bottom right hand side of the post. To date there are 47 comments!

This is part of a larger lesson we will do involving researching, posting that information on a blog entry, and then commenting on one another's posts.

To me it is very important to start training our students to understand their online presence as soon as possible. The online world is changing every minute and we need to give our students a clear grounding in how they will behave in this new world. In many education related blogs I read there is great concern over the way high school students are using Web 2.0 technologies. Hopefully, if we can instill ethical behavior at an early age, those concepts will be embedded in our children when they reach the age where they will be making daily decisions about how to behave online. I welcome any comments or suggestions you might have.

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--What would happen if all the signs we read suddenly asked us to do silly things? Would be follow them anyway? This is the interesting ideas behind Tedd Arnold's delightful book, The Signmaker's Assistant. Norman, the assistant, starts out playing harmless jokes with his signs but suddenly chaos breaks out and he has to fix all the trouble he has caused. This was a fun way Kindergarteners to talk about the importance of reading and thinking about what you have read.

First Grade--We continued this week with our California Young Reader Medal Nominee, Three Pebbles and a Song, written by Eileen Spinelli and exquisitely illustrated by S. D. Schindler. As winter approaches a mouse family scurries to gather things for the long days ahead, but one little mouse just seems to dance and collect pebbles. Only when they all are bored with their confinement on the cold snowy days does the family realize the value of his collections.

Second Grade--In honor of Black History Month, second graders heard the story of two girls, one black, one white who lived in a small town. In that town was a fence that separated their two houses. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson is the story of one summer when the fence and what it stood for began to change. Beautiful watercolor illustrations by E. B. Lewis add so much to the story that gently moves to the point where the two little girls bridge the gap by making a simple gesture of sitting on the fence side by side . With a little help, second graders understood the metaphor of the fence we had a discussion of how much better things are today without the prejudices that existed before the Civil Rights movement.

Third Grade-The true story of Ruby Bridges is one that children can relate to and Robert Cole's book, The Story of Ruby Bridges, is a wonderful introduction for younger children to the courage of this six year old girl and how her actions set about a series of events that changed our society. Before we read the story, the students viewed a Keynote presentation with pictures taken for her own remarkable book entitled Through My Eyes. Most impressive to students was the fact that Ruby went to school all by herself and was the only student in her first grade class for an entire year. Also interesting to them is the fact that Ruby is still alive today and is, in fact, leading efforts to repair the school she went to during that troubling time. It was heavily damaged in Hurricane Katrina. For an interesting look at this part of her story, see this link to a recent segment on the NBC Nightly News entitled "What Happened to Ruby Bridges?"

Fourth Grade--The road to civil rights was not an easy one even after laws were passed to guarantee those rights. Fourth graders learned this in Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles. Two boys--one black, one white--are thrilled when they learn that they can finally swim together in the city pool, but their excitement is dashed when the pool is filled with asphalt as a reaction to the new law. The ending of the story gives a picture of a smaller step ahead as they go into a store together to buy an ice cream. It seems hard for our students to understand that there was a time when things like this were common, and this book gives is a great historical lesson as it touches on the emotional impact of civil rights and integration. Not surprisingly, Freedom Summer was awarded both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award.

Fifth and Sixth Grade--see opening post.

Also, please check out our wonderfully re-designed web page! Just click on the link and you'll be there! The web page has all the information about our library programs and this blog will continue to give up-to-date postings of what's happening in our programs.

I'm off to Palm Springs at the end of next week for the Computer Using Educators annual conference.....can't wait to see all those wonderful new things!!

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