The 10-week lesson plan below covers digital literacy topics and skills using step-by-step activities.
Before you start, review the Introduction topic with your student. Then, do one lesson each week as part of your regular tutoring session. Some lessons will take up the entire sessions, and some will only take up part of the session.
Review each lesson the day before your session. Many lessons have handouts that should be printed for your student. Ask your site staff contact person to print the handouts. During the session, use the Virtual Classroom upload feature to display the handouts.
Contact digitallearning[at]schoolonwheels.org with questions.
Summary: Before you start the lessons, introduce the program to your student and discuss what you will accomplish together (20 minutes).
Explain to your student that over the next 10 sessions, you’ll be working together to strengthen your technology skills.
Ask your student what they use technology for (e.g. school, talking to friends, playing games). Discuss how they use different technology – such as computers, tablets, or phones.
Ask your student what technology skills they already have and how they think technology skills can be helpful in their life. Ask what skills they’d like to develop.
Review a few of the topics that you’ll be working on over the next 10 weeks. Highlight any skills you’ll be building that your student identified.
1. Word processing and presentations
Summary: Use word processing and presentation software to accomplish tasks (1 hour).
Elementary and Middle School: Tell a story
1. Make a copy of this document (in Google Docs, click “File,” then “Make a Copy”) and have your student fill it in with ideas for their adventure story. Use either Google Docs or Microsoft Word to edit. Then have your student write a short summary of what the story will be about in the summary box.
2. Create a new document in either Google Docs or Microsoft Word and title it “Story Outline.” Use headings, bullet points, and/or numbered lists to create an outline of the story. There should be three parts to the story (Beginning, Middle, and End – not necessarily titled as such)
3. Create a new Powerpoint or Google Slides presentation with three slides for the three parts of the story. Insert images and captions to tell the story. Use the website photosforclass.com to find copyright-free images.
High School: Create a resume
1. Have your student create a document in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and title it “Resume Brainstorm.” Have student list ideas for what they could include on your resume. Make sure to come up with ideas for Work Experience, Education, Skills, and Awards.
2. Use a template in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and fill it in with what you came up with in your brainstorm.
3. Have your student create a new Powerpoint or Google Slides) presentation to accompany the resume and showcase the student’s accomplishments. Insert images and captions, as well as transitions and fun effects. Use the website photosforclass.com to find copyright-free images. The presentation should have at least three slides.
Summary: Use Microsoft Word and Excel (OR Google Docs and Google Sheets) to plan an imaginary event (30 minutes).
Elementary, Middle, and High School:
1. Have your student create a document in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and title it “Event Brainstorm.” Direct your student to write down ideas for an event or party. Make sure they come up with these details: Audience, Date, Time, Location, Cost.
2. Have your student create a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets. Direct them to add columns for Tasks and Date. Then, have them list tasks that need to be done for the imaginary event in the Tasks column, with the date they need to be done in the Date column. Make sure they add at least 5 tasks with dates. Show your student how to sort the tasks by date.
3. Have your student finish by drawing a picture of their event (optional for older students).
3. Understanding the internet
Summary: Break down what the internet is (1 hour).
Elementary, middle, and high school:
1. Have your student fill out the Internet Thinking Chart with what they know for sure, think is true, and want to know about the Internet. Discuss what they write down.
2. Ask your student to brainstorm important words they need to know to find websites online. Write down the words in a Word Document, Google Doc, or on a piece of paper.
3. Have your student draft a definition of the Internet on a Word Document, Google Doc, or piece of paper.
4. Have your student use the My Online Dictionary handout to fill in definitions of the important words they brainstormed earlier.
5. Ask your student to create a list of ways they use the internet most on a Word Document, Google Doc, or piece of paper. .
6. Watch either or both of these videos with your student: The Internet Explained, How The Internet Works. Discuss what you’ve learned.
4. Digital Health
Summary: Evaluate how you spend time online (40 minutes).
Elementary and Middle School:
1. Have your student fill out this pie chart with how they spend their time. Explain that “Active” time is moving and getting exercise, “Learning” time is learning or creating new things, and “Screen” time is watching screens like TVs or computers. Ask them about activities that might fit into multiple categories (e.g. watching an educational TV show)
2. Have your student fill out the My Perfect Day handout with how they’d spend a perfect day. Then, ask them to imagine they’d their perfect day will be granted, but it has to happen for a week straight – the same day seven days in a row. Ask them how they’d change their perfect day.
3. Ask your student to fill out the My Media Plan worksheet.
1. Guide your student to complete the My Media Choices handout. Explain that media choices that can have both positive and negative effects. (Ignore the “Partner Discussion” directions).
2. Guide your student to complete the My Media Balance Strategy handout. Ask them to come up with guidelines for their media use that will be most beneficial to them.
5. Internet Search
Summary: Learn the basics of internet searching and search engines (40 minutes).
1. Use the chat box to send your student this link: kids.nationalgreographic.com/animals. Have your student find a picture and one fact about three different animals. Have them write down what they find on a piece of paper, Word Document, or Google Doc. Reflect with your student on which animals were harder to find and why.
2. Have your student use the same website to find two examples of reptiles that live in mountains.
3. Use screen share to show your student the kid-friendly search engine kiddle.co and demonstrate how keywords and search engines work. Show your student the difference in results when you type in “bear” vs. “sun bear.” Then, have your student try searching.
4. Use the Upload feature in the Virtual Classroom to display the fruit images handout. Prompt your student to come up with keywords to search in the search engine to find the names of the obscure fruits. If your student already knows the fruit, find other foods or animals to search.
Middle and High School:
1. Have your student screenshare with you and direct them to use Google (with Safe Search on if you’d like) to search for a broad term, such as “cats.” Have them make a list of all the unwanted or unrelated things they find (for example, you might come up with the musical instead of the animal). Point out if the search engine suggests additional terms.
2. Have your student try the search again with different keywords. Try again using different search engines. Write down the differences. Use the Introducing search skills handout as a guide.
3. Using the directions on the Treasure Map Assignment, direct your student to map out the steps they took to find out when the Oriental was stranded on Sable Island (answer: March 1, 1879) and what cargo it contained (answer: corn).
6. Privacy & Security
Summary: Understand how to keep private information secure, how to navigate privacy settings, and protect your data from websites (1 hour).
Elementary, Middle, and High School:
1. Discuss the importance of a strong password with your student, and explain what makes a password strong (e.g. use of numbers, capital letters, and special characters; and uncommon phrases)
2. Have your student create a few different strong passwords. Display the Strong Passwords Guidelines handout, or just discuss the main points of it with your student.
3. Have your student screen share with you and then log into a website they use often (or demonstrate on one of your own – e.g. a temporary email account). Walk them through how to change privacy settings – changing a password, getting alerts if someone logs into your account from an unknown device, enabling two-factor authentication, and any other available privacy settings.
4. Have your student play the Interland Tower of Treasure game, while screensharing with you.
5. Explain to your student that companies collect information about them based on their internet searches and social media habits in order to target ads to them.
6. Review the Data Mining worksheet with your student and have them complete Part 1. For Part 2, they can draw a picture of their product or use a tool like Canva to create an image.
7. Information Literacy
Summary: Identify and avoid fake news, and know how to find reliable sources (1 hour).
Elementary and Middle School
1. Have your student screenshare with you and visit allaboutexplorers.com (a website specifically designed with fake facts!) and pick an explorer to research. Have your student read the entry on the explorer, and then look up the same explorer on kids.britannica.com. Direct your student to find three differences in the facts on each site and
2. Review the Reliable Sources handout with your student and the ways to make sure a website is reliable. Explain that Kids Britannica is an example of a reliable website, and All About Explorers is an example of an unreliable website.
3. Have your student visit http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/oak-island-money-pit and http://www.oakislandtreasure.co.uk/index.php. Help your student identify the purpose of the site, author of the article, article, whether the author makes any broad statements that aren’t supported by evidence, the date it was published. Finally, have your student complete the rest of the questions on the Reliable Sources handout.
1. Review the Five Ws of Cyberspace handout with your student
2. Help your student complete the Deconstructing Webpages worksheet, using the Five Ws as a guide.
3. Watch this video with your student: Credibility in the Digital Age. Encourage your student to write notes on the video.
4. Ask your student to write a reflection (or a mind map) on how they will determine if information online is reliable or not. Tell your student to use Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or a piece of paper.
8. Digital Footprint
Summary: Everything you put online is permanent, and not everything is appropriate to share (30 minutes).
1. Watch the Follow the Digital Trail video with your student.
2. Have your student compare Mizzle the Mouse to Electra the Elephant on the Digital Trail handout. Then help them answer the questions on the handout.
1. Have your student write a reflection to the question (on a Word Doc, Google Doc, or piece of paper): “How would you describe your experiences with social media, either for yourself or for people you know? Good, bad, or in the middle? Why?”
2. Discuss your student’s response to the question with them
3. Watch the Oversharing and your Digital Footprint video with your student. Ask for their thoughts.
1. Review the My Online Resume handout with your student, then ask them to screenshare with you and have them and follow the instructions on the last page.
2. Explain to your student that they have power over their image, or “brand” online. Explain that now they will plan how they will curate a positive online “brand” using a worksheet.
3. Have your student fill out the My Online Resume Assignment Sheet.
Summary: Learn to code! (1 hour)
Elementary, Middle, and High School
Ask your student to screenshare with you. Direct them to Hour of Code. Pick an activity according to your student’s grade and have them complete it.
Remind your student to read the instructions and move slowly.
Explain to your student that “coding” means telling things on a computer to do things. By playing the game, your student is actually writing code.
10. Participation and Digital Citizenship
Summary: Use technology to participate in dialogue and have your voice heard on important issues (1 hour).
Middle and High:
1. Ask your student to identify a civic issue they care about. Have them screenshare with you and browse the videos and articles on KQED Above the Noise or Youth Voices for ideas. Have your student look through the comments on the videos/articles. Note that KQED requires the student to create an account to view comments.
2. Review the Listening & Bridging Moves list (part of a lesson from the Digital Civics Toolkit), which outlines guidelines for productive online dialogue with your student.
3. Ask your student to evaluate the comments on their chosen topic again, and identify examples of techniques in the toolkit.
4. Have your student write a comment on the article/video they selected, using the techniques in the toolkit.
5. Ask your student to look through the feed of a social network they regularly use, and identify conversations about current events or controversial topics. Ask them to reflect on the quality of the comments being made – how do they align with the Listening & Bridging Moves?
6. Have your student write a reflection on ways they can improve their online dialogues (using a Word Doc, Google Doc, or piece of paper).