What is Digital Citizenship? How to Teach Students in Grades 3-9 Internet Safety and More

What is Digital Citizenship? How to Teach Students in Grades 3-9 Internet Safety and More

What is digital citizenship

The internet has quickly become one of the most important aspects of our society for both children and adults. Whether we’re on a zoom call, playing games on our phones, researching a school project, or just surfing the web, we’re using technology for a large part of our days.

Children growing up in the 21st century use the internet just as much as everyone else and need to learn how to use it safely. Using the resources we’ve gathered, you can teach your students the key elements of internet safety, privacy, and ethics.

What Is Digital Citizenship?

Broadly, digital citizenship is about using the internet and other technology safely and appropriately. The idea is that as computers and technology advance, it will become easier to abuse their power or make mistakes with serious consequences, so we need to teach children how to use technology well when they’re young. Teaching digital citizenship helps the next generation understand how to healthily engage with the digital world.

Some key elements of digital citizenship are online safety, understanding and reducing cyberbullying, acknowledging and abiding by copyright laws, and protecting privacy. Learning digital literacy and how to manage your digital footprint are also part of most digital citizenship courses.

The 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship

When teaching digital citizenship, there are 9 key elements that are considered the pillars of digital ethics. Learning these foundational elements helps students safely move through the internet in this age of ever-growing technology.

  • Digital Etiquette is exactly what it sounds like: the social rules of conduct when engaging with the digital universe. Teaching digital etiquette helps students learn when and how to use technology appropriately, how to be respectful to other people, and how to reply to emails appropriately.
  • Digital Access is the ability to connect with others via technology. Not every student will have the same access to a computer or a personal device, which is why teaching digital access techniques is so important.
  • Digital Commerce is the act of buying or selling goods or services online. Learning about digital commerce can teach students how to become better, more conscious consumers or even introduce them to digital sales as a career path.
  • Digital Communication refers to the way we interact and collaborate with one another using technology. Social media, texting, and cell phone apps are just a few ways that children and adults regularly interact. Knowing how to communicate safely and successfully in school can help students become better digital citizens throughout their lives.
  • Digital Law establishes the rules and regulations of the internet. Just as there are laws in the physical world, the digital world has laws that govern it as well. In school, digital law lessons could include learning how to avoid plagiarism and cyberbullying and the repercussions of negative digital behaviors.
  • Digital Literacy helps students understand everything from how to use a mouse and trackpad to how to fact-check a website or social media post. Digital literacy is a foundational element of digital citizenship because it assures that you can move through the internet with ease and avoid misinformation.
  • Digital Health and Wellness teaches students how to take care of their physical body and mental health while engaging with the internet. Lessons often highlight the effects of too much screen time.
  • Digital Security and Privacy involves learning how to keep yourself safe from malicious internet users, protect your personal information, avoid scams, and steer clear of computer viruses or “bugs”.
  • Digital Rights and Responsibilities is a discussion of the internet users’ freedoms and responsibilities. We all have certain rights and responsibilities when engaging with technology, such as the right to digital privacy or the responsibility to avoid plagiarism. Knowing the extent of their rights and how to respect others online helps students build a healthy relationship with the digital world.

Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship in Grades 3-5

Teaching digital citizenship to students in grades 3-5 can be both an exciting and difficult task. Helping students understand the importance of digital ethics early on can be vital to their overall wellbeing as they grow into adults and move through the digital world. Here are a few resources you can use:

  • Yeti Academy’s Super Citizenship course is a complete ISTE-aligned digital citizenship program for upper elementary students. In this curriculum, digital citizenship concepts are brought to life with a series of exciting superhero videos and lessons to reinforce learning, plus an illustrated scenario-based quiz.
  • A useful acronym to cite to your elementary students is “THINK”, which stands for is it Truthful, is it Helpful, is it Inspiring, is it Necessary, and is it Kind. By posting this in hallways and classrooms, teachers can help students internalize healthy ways to process information online, use the web successfully, and generally stay wise on the internet.
  • Playing games is a great way to introduce the 9 elements of digital citizenship. In both remote and in-person learning, there are tons of activities that can help embed these core elements into the school curriculum. Websites such as Common Sense Media offer plenty of free activities, games, lessons, posters, and engagement information for young students.
  • There are a number of free lessons you can find on the web to teach some aspects of digital citizenship. Google offers free “Be Internet Awesome” lessons with resources for in-person and at-home learning. The FBI has a Safe Online Surfing module for elementary and middle school students, which can be implemented into any classroom easily and effectively.
  • You can help elementary students to safely surf the web using kid-friendly search engines, such as Kidtopia and GoGooligans. With these search engines, students can freely search whatever they like on a safe and secure platform and avoid potentially harmful or age-inappropriate search engines results.

Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship in Grades 6-9

Teaching digital citizenship to children in grades 6-9 is just as important as teaching digital citizenship to elementary students, but the approach is slightly different. In middle school, students are engaging heavily with the digital world, making digital ethics all the more important.

  • There are many free lessons you can implement into your classroom and curriculum. Microsoft offers a Digital Literacy Curriculum which helps older students learn internet fluency.  Everfi offers Ignition, a Digital Literacy & Responsibility curriculum for students in grades 6-9. Both of these resources are available to anyone who can access the internet and can be important resources for middle school students.
  • Yeti Academy offers a complete ISTE-aligned digital citizenship course for middle school students called Sports PR Agency. The curriculum explores topics such as public relations, digital influence, internet safety, internet privacy, cyberethics, social media communication and identity, cyberbullying, online drama, media literacy and evaluating sources, health and balance surrounding digital use, and computer threats. Sports PR Agency contains very relatable student video content and real world scenarios that older students can really buy into. It also incorporates the “Four C’s”, which are communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, all of which help students become better online citizens.
  • Like with elementary students, games can also be an extremely useful tool to teach middle school students lessons that may otherwise seem less than exciting. Minecraft, a beloved internet game that’s been around for a decade, can be used to teach a number of lessons surrounding digital citizenship while driving creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving.
  • Some middle school teachers like to use learning management systems (LMSs), which set up specific spaces for students to engage with the internet. For example, using an LMS to help students to start their own blog can provide opportunities for them to practice writing and learn how to legally use images from the internet to tell their stories. Blogs are a great way to teach most elements of digital citizenship as they provide students with opportunities to engage with one another, the web, online information, and so much more.
  • It’s also a good idea to introduce middle school students to tools they can use for school projects. For example, Everypixel is a free tool that allows students to search through millions of photos that fall under the Creative Commons 0 license, which means that anyone can use them completely legally. Kiddle, a free citing source, helps students reference their sources when writing. These online tools can help students use the internet more effectively.

Digital Citizenship For All

The internet is practically unavoidable in today’s society. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for students to use it inappropriately or end up in trouble if they don’t learn digital citizenship early on.

By teaching students about digital citizenship from a young age, we can ensure that the next generation will thrive in the world we live in. Teachers can help their students become not just good digital citizens, but better citizens in their physical realities as well.

Interested in teaching digital citizenship to your students or children? Yeti Academy’s digital citizenship courses and teaching resources can help you achieve your goals. Yeti Academy is an all-inclusive STEM education program that aims to give educators the tools to teach a wide variety of STEM concepts and to equip the next generation to succeed in the 21st century. Sign up today and try Yeti Academy for free!


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What Are Digital Citizenship Skills?

What Are Digital Citizenship Skills?

What Are Digital Citizenship Skills

With students spending so much time online during the pandemic, there’s been more talk about digital citizenship than ever. You may be wondering what this popular term means and what falls under its umbrella. 

Below, we’ll provide a broad definition of digital citizenship and discuss some of the most important skills students need to act responsibly online.

Digital Citizenship Defined

Digital citizenship is a person’s relationship with technology. It includes a wide range of responsibilities and skills, including the ability to protect personal information, avoid infringing on others’ intellectual property rights, keep a healthy balance between online and offline activities, and maintain a positive online presence.

Anyone who uses the internet needs to understand digital citizenship so they can stay safe and function as a member of society. The world as a whole is becoming more and more dependent on the internet for daily activities like taking classes and staying in touch with loved ones, so students need to learn digital citizenship skills as soon as possible.

5 Important Digital Citizenship Skills

There are many skills involved in being a competent digital citizen, but most fall under one of the following categories:

Personal Information Protection Skills

Given that most kids have access to at least a few online accounts (and if they don’t, they will someday), elementary and middle school students alike need to know what personal information is and how to keep it private. They should know to protect details like their address, email, and phone number from a very early age. That means not only learning not to share certain types of information on social media but also becoming aware of the dangers of facial recognition software and understanding how private details like license plates can show up in photographs.

Above all, students should learn how to create and manage secure passwords. Kids should also know that certain types of accounts need extra layers of security, such as online banking and other accounts with sensitive information.

Permission and Property Skills

Students should understand copyright, citations, and how to get permission to use someone else’s work. Understanding how to give proper credit to someone else and generate a license for their own work are vital to protecting both students’ own and other people’s property rights.

Permission skills and an understanding of why they are important come up especially often in school, when students are often tempted to shorten their workload by using someone else’s work. We often see students accidentally (or intentionally!) disrespecting others’ property rights by using images grabbed from Google without permission or plagiarizing someone else’s writing.

Protection Against Cybercriminals

Students need to know how to protect themselves from viruses, malware, phishing, ransomware, and identity theft. From an early age, they should learn what these crimes are and how they work so they can avoid becoming victims. Once identity theft happens, it can be exceedingly difficult to keep it from happening again, so students should be educated on how to avoid it in the first place as soon as possible.

Personal Branding and Professionalism Skills

Everyone has a voice, persona, and “digital tattoo” they add to whenever they interact with the internet. That includes kids. It’s important for students to recognize this fact so they can understand how to avoid making mistakes they may regret later and make informed decisions about how they want to be perceived online.

Children and teenagers also need to learn online etiquette skills. Students should understand the difference between online and offline grammar, how to recognize cultural disconnects, what respectful communication looks like, how to keep a professional image when applying for jobs in the future, and how to work out problems if they happen.

At Yeti Academy, we’ve found that many kids understand the concepts of personal brand and online professionalism when we connect those concepts to celebrities and role models. Kids of all ages know that even small mess ups online can have a major impact on a celebrity’s public persona and ability to continue doing the work they are known for. When students practice digital citizenship with a well-known role model in mind, they often “get it” on a level they otherwise wouldn’t.

Give Your Students a Solid Education in Digital Citizenship

Yeti Academy’s Sports PR Agency module is an ISTE-aligned digital citizenship course for middle school students. Each activity explores topics like public relations, digital influence, internet safety, internet privacy, cyber ethics, social media communication and identity, cyberbullying, online drama, media literacy and evaluating sources, health and balance surrounding digital use, and computer threats. 

As an agent for their “athletes”, students create original artifacts and practice real-world skills. We encourage students to express their creativity through artifact design and develop expertise in technical writing, presentation, public speaking, and analyzing data using spreadsheets, charts, and graphs. Projects include both individual and collaborative problem-based activities, as well as a final project in which students develop a website featuring elements from the applications practiced within the module.

The Yeti Academy Sports PR Agency module incorporates the “Four C’s” defined in the National Education Association’s guide to Preparing 21st Century Students for a Global Society. The “Four C’s” include communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Students analyze and examine, plan and problem solve, reflect and revise, and progress in their organization and time management proficiency.

We connect digital citizenship concepts to kids’ role models, allowing them to develop an understanding of how different actions online could appear to others and impact their futures. Contact us today to learn more about Yeti!


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Athletes And The Public: What Middle School Students Think About Digital Citizenship

Athletes And The Public: What Middle School Students Think About Digital Citizenship

Athletes and the Public: What Middle School Students Think About Digital Citizenship

Children today need to know how to keep themselves safe online from an early age. Fortunately, Yeti Academy has the tools schools need to effectively teach students the skills they need to navigate the digital world.  

Dry, generic teaching materials often fail to immerse students in memorable situations they relate to. With a topic as important as this, we believe schools would benefit from a new kind of curriculum. At Yeti Academy, we chose to base our digital citizenship curriculum on a theme many students are deeply familiar with and interested in: a professional athlete’s online presence. 

We asked nine middle school students what athletes should know about digital citizenship and how they can avoid mistakes they will later regret. Here are their answers!

Video Transcription

How Can Public Relations Agencies Benefit Athletes?

Kid 1: A PR agency could help handle their social media.

Kid 2: And make sure that the public has a positive attitude towards athletes. 

Kid 3: A PR agency manages how the public views you.

How Do Athletes Demonstrate Strong Digital Citizenship Habits?

Kid 4: I think athletes demonstrate strong digital habits by being respectful.

Kid 5: Not posting hate.

Kid 1: Striving to maintain a positive identity.

Kid 6: Athletes want to set a good example for their friends and followers.

Kid 7: Someone who is just caring, and puts their worth ethic out there, and you can see that it’s just not like… They’re more into their sport than they are the publicity, and they just really care about what they do.

Kid 8: Athletes should have a positive image online because they influence many people. 

What Should Athletes Know About Digital Citizenship?

Kid 6: You should be knowledgeable about things like scams, phishing, and malware. 

Kid 1: Double-check and look over your posts or anything you’re going to put on the internet before you do it. Make sure it’s reliable facts if it has facts in it.

Kid 4: One wrong post could jeopardize your entire future.

Kid 9: If you put something online, it’s always going to be there.

Kid 5: It’s important that athletes maintain a good, positive online identity so they don’t ruin themselves and their careers.

Kid 1: To just be a good role model, I guess, to your followers and people that look up to you.


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Plan For Remote And In-Person Middle School STEM Classes With Yeti

Plan For Remote And In-Person Middle School STEM Classes With Yeti

Plan for Remote and In-Person Middle School STEM Classes with Yeti

Teachers and school district administrators throughout the U.S. and world are facing an uncertain 2020-21 school year. Between rapidly changing COVID-19 infection rates and debates on how to balance reopening schools with public health concerns, it’s hard to know which learning formats will be available, let which ones will be most effective or require the least additional teacher training.

One learning format that you can count on is Yeti Academy. From the designers of Typing Agent, our web-based STEM modules for 3rd-9th grade classes are designed to engage students with a variety of learning styles and function fully in any classroom environment, whether in-person or remote. Best of all, Yeti is designed with educators in mind and includes all the teaching resources you could ever need.

We believe Yeti is a good fit for every school!

Middle School STEM Social Distancing Requirements

During social distancing, class projects, teacher supervision, and social interactions cannot happen the same way they did in pre-pandemic classrooms. However, there are still some teaching options that can work well regardless of social distancing, including web-based learning programs.

Yeti Academy’s online STEM modules can help your school adapt to changing social distancing requirements. Our curriculum is designed to integrate seamlessly with traditional classrooms, remote learning environments, and any hybrid combination your school may adapt. Whatever happens this year, your school will be prepared.

Yeti also offers opportunities for student collaboration on virtual teams, allows for teacher-student communication, fosters positive student interaction, and provides tools for teachers to gauge how students are feeling about performance. With Yeti, your school can continue to provide opportunities for healthy communication and nurture students’ emotional well being.

Save Time On Finding STEM Teacher Resources

The Yeti team has a deep understanding of STEM teachers’ needs. We know how much time it takes to plan lessons, create slideshows, and come up with class activities, so we include all the teaching resources you will need in one place. Our goal is to reduce teachers’ workload as much as possible.

Each learning module is prepared by a highly accredited curriculum designer with years of STEM teaching experience. Teachers are supplied with slideshows, activities, lesson plans, tests, discussion guides, and other resources that can be printed or used in their electronic format. We’ve worked hard to make these resources easy to navigate, but if you need help, the Yeti Success Team is here to provide live tech support Monday-Friday 7:30 am to 4:00 pm PST.

We’ve also included plenty of reporting options for educators to use. Teachers can see student progress, see how much time they spend on lessons, and show reports to parents.

Our extensive and easy-to-navigate teacher resources are what set Yeti apart.

Add Variety To Your Middle School STEM Curriculum

Yeti has modules covering a range of STEM topics. From coding games to our highly relevant and fun digital citizenship curriculum, we have something to offer every 3rd-9th grade STEM class.

Introducing students to life science? Use our themed introductory biology module, Sports Medicine, which meets NGSS standards. Looking to give students a head start on coding? Students will love Yeti Code, our first-to-market multiplayer and single-player coding game which is appropriate for coders of all backgrounds. We also have modules covering digital citizenship, typing, G-Suite tools, and more. 

A STEM Curriculum Made For 2021 And Beyond

Yeti Academy is the right program for schools hoping to offer 3rd-9th grade students the best possible STEM education regardless of pandemic status.

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How to Create a Successful STEM Curriculum for Elementary Students

How to Create a Successful STEM Curriculum for Elementary Students

stem curriculum for elementary students

STEM is an essential part of today’s society and will only become more important in the future. Unfortunately, creating fun, successful, and educational STEM curriculums for elementary students can sometimes prove difficult for teachers who are looking to make learning both exciting and effective.

At Yeti Academy, we want to help educators like you make STEM more accessible to all students. By using the right tools to create a strong STEM curriculum, you can help ensure your students are prepared for both higher education and the future workforce.

The Benefits of a Strong Elementary School STEM Curriculum

We will need many high-capacity individuals in the workforce to ensure the safety and security of our economy in the 21st century. Electricians, engineers, software developers, medical workers of all kinds, and cybersecurity specialists are just a handful of the roles we will need to fill for a secure future. By creating a solid STEM curriculum, you can give children the opportunity to develop skills that will prepare them for these essential careers.

Another advantage of STEM curriculums is that they are often project-based. They tend to emphasize applications that bridge the gap between school and real life. Elementary students learning STEM have the opportunity to work independently and in group settings on fun projects that exercise their minds and create a visible outcome, allowing them to be proud of their work.

In elementary school, students are in the neural development stage where they begin to explore their individual interests and ideas. Introducing students to STEM through a wide variety of projects and activities can help them discover new passions.

What Should Be in an Elementary School STEM Curriculum?

An effective STEM curriculum should always include these key elements:

  • Mathematics and science are the building blocks for every other part of STEM. Teaching students strong foundations in math and science will help them with their other STEM lessons, as well as the rest of their academic careers and adult lives.
  • Digital collaboration and experience are vital to success in the 21st century. All students should have a good understanding of commonly used tools such as Microsoft Office and Google Workplace.
  • Using real-world applications, such as storytelling with relatable protagonists or activities that connect education to personal experience, allows students to see how their school work translates into their everyday lives. Bridging this gap invites students to engage with their education on a deeper level.
  • A key element of an elementary STEM curriculum is Digital Citizenship, which stresses how to avoid plagiarism, protect your web identity, and properly conduct yourself in online settings.
  • Accessibility for all students should be the foundation of any STEM curriculum. Students of all backgrounds, cultures, and abilities should be able to engage and profit from lessons in STEM.
  • In-person and digital learning opportunities should ideally be integrated throughout the STEM curriculum. Whether students are learning at home or in a classroom, they should have all the resources they need to succeed.

Tips for Engaging Elementary Students in STEM

One of the biggest hurdles that educators must overcome when teaching students about STEM is ensuring that all students are engaging with and retaining information.

These tips and tricks listed below can help educators run successful and exciting classrooms:

Use Hands-On Activities

It’s no secret that elementary students have a hard time staying focused during long hours of learning, especially in remote learning situations. It is critical that teachers include an array of projects and activities to keep kids interested in their studies.

Teachers can try using hands-on activities to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Science activities, such as making magnetic slime, can teach children the laws of science while engaging with tactile inputs. By simply asking your students to build with straws and tape, you can help them learn some of the core elements of engineering under the guise of a fun and engaging activity.

Provide Diverse Role Models

Children have a much easier time imagining themselves as engineers, medical professionals, scientists, or in other roles related to STEM when they are told stories with protagonists they can relate to.

By reading STEM-related stories with main characters of different races, cultures, genders, socioeconomic and locational backgrounds, and abilities, students can start to picture themselves in the same roles, giving them more confidence throughout their education.

Use Stories to Show STEM in the Real World

People have been using stories to effectively teach lessons for millennia. Stories can be just as useful for elementary students studying STEM as for children in any other situation.

When educators use stories set in real-life situations as part of their curriculum, students can see more clearly how their studies relate to their personal lives. They may be able to connect their STEM lessons to the struggles and problems their communities face, such as public health and climate issues.

Consider Ed Tech Curriculum Supplements and Modules

Luckily for educators today, there are many options to help create a strong and successful STEM curriculum for elementary students even without a ton of prior knowledge in the field.

Yeti Academy, a tool with complete digital learning modules, can help teachers and other educators supplement their existing STEM curriculum. Our online program teaches a multitude of lessons to elementary and middle school students in subjects like coding, biology, and digital citizenship, all of which adhere to the ISTE standards.

Yeti’s web-based curriculum comes with everything a teacher needs to help their students succeed. Slideshow presentations, lesson plans, activities and projects, quizzes, and tests are just a few of the tools offered when learning with Yeti.

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