I am an informed, engaged, and healthy digital citizen when I:

  • participate in forums, play games, and learn from others

  • think critically about the content that I find online and whether it is true

  • find balance between my online life and my offline life


Students need to think of themselves as members of several different communities.  They have their local community, school community, and possibly a church community.  They are citizens of their local community, the state of Maine, the United States of America, and of the world.  The notion of community exists online as well.  They may exist on online discussion boards, video game forums, fan fiction sites, and many other places.  The Internet, for all of its vastness, has tremendous ability to network people and create communities around various interests and persuasions.

The Internet also lowers the bar for who can publish content for the masses to see.  While this serves to increase participation in public discourse, it also severely reduces the amount of vetting that content receives.  It is not hard to find lies and misinformation on the Internet.  The trouble is that students are especially ill-equipped to filter out good information from bad.  As a result, understanding how to conduct effective online searches and filter the true from the untrue is a new and equally important form of literacy in our age.


  • Common Core State Standards - ELA

    • RI.5.7:  “Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently” (p. 14).

    • RI.5.9:  “Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably” (p. 14).

    • W.5.1 (and sub-standards):  “Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.”

    • W.5.2 (and sub-standards):  “Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly” (p. 20).

    • W.5.3 (and sub-standards):  “Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences” (p. 20).

    • W.5.5:  “With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grade 5 on page 29.)” (p. 21).

    • W.5.6:  “With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting” (p. 21).

    • W.5.7:  “Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic” (p. 21).

    • W.5.8:  “Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources” (p. 21).

  • Maine Learning Results - Social Studies

    • A. Applications of Social Studies Processes, Knowledge, and Skills

      • A2 Making Decisions Using Social Studies Knowledge and Skills, Grades 3-5

        • “Students make individual and collaborative decisions on matters related to social studies using relevant information and research and discussion skills” (p. 5).

          • “Contribute equitably to collaborative discussions, examine alternative ideas, and work cooperatively to share ideas, and individually and collaboratively develop a decision or plan” (pp. 5-6).

      • B3 Individual, Cultural, International, and Global Connections in Civics and Government, Grades 3-5

        • “Students understand civic aspects of unity and diversity in the daily life of various cultures in the United States and the world, including Maine Native Americans” (p. 9).

          • b. “Describe civic beliefs and activities in the daily life of diverse cultures, including Maine Native Americans and various cultures in the United States and the world” (p. 10).

  • Maine Learning Results - Guiding Principles

    • A. Clear and effective communicator

      • “Uses a variety of modes of expression (spoken, written and visual and performing including the use of technology to create and share the expressions).”

    • B. Self-directed and lifelong learner

      • “Uses interpersonal skills to learn and work with individuals from diverse backgrounds.”

    • D. Responsible and Involved Citizen

      • “Demonstrates awareness of personal and community health and wellness.”

    • E. Integrative and informed thinker

      • “Evaluates and synthesizes information from multiple sources.”

  • American Association of School Librarians - Standards for the 21st Century Learner

    • 1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge

      • 1.1 Skills

        • 1.1.5:  “Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context” (p. 4).

        • 1.1.7:  “Make sense of information gathered from diverse sources by identifying misconceptions, main and supporting ideas, conflicting information, and point of view or bias” (p. 4).

        • 1.1.8:  “Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry” (p. 4).

        • 1.1.9:  “Collaborate with others to broaden and deepen understanding” (p. 4).

      • 1.2 Dispositions in Action

        • 1.2.4:  “Maintain a critical stance by questioning the validity and accuracy of all information” (p. 4).

      • 1.3 Responsibilities

        • 1.3.4:  “Contribute to the exchange of ideas within the learning community” (p. 4).

    • 2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge

      • 2.1. Skills

        • 2.1.5:  “Collaborate with others to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions, and solve problems” (p. 5).

    • 3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society

      • 3.1 Skills

        • 3.1.2:  “Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners” (p. 6).

      • 3.2 Dispositions in Action

        • 3.2.2:  “Show social responsibility by participating actively with others in learning situations and by contributing questions and ideas during group discussions” (p. 6).

        • 3.2.3:  “Demonstrate teamwork by working productively with others” (p. 6).

  • ISTE Standards - Students

    • 1. Creativity and innovation - “Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology”

      • b. “Create original works as a means of personal or group expression”

    • 2. Communication and collaboration - “Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.”

      • a. “Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media”

      • b. “Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats”

      • c. “Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures”

Tools that students can use to demonstrate these traits:

  • Save the Northwest Tree Octopus - if students are using their skills, they’ll be able to figure out that this website is a hoax.

  • - if you have a thing for lying to your students (kidding!), then here are some more potential conversation/lesson starters.

Lessons from Common Sense Media