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Digital Influence

Main Core Tie

Elementary Library Media (K-5)
Strand 14

Additional Core Ties

Health Education - 4th Grade

Group Size

Small Groups

Life Skills



Alexis Christensen


This lesson is designed to teach students about their digital influence. That influence can be used in a positive or negative way. Things that are posted online have the potential to build people up or to tear them down. Part of being a good digital citizen is to make sure that we think before we post.


  • Book: "Webster's Email" by Hannah Whaley
  • Scenarios: Have strips of paper with various digital communication scenarios on them. Have both good and bad examples listed.
    • Ex. I get an email from a friend making fun of someone else. What do I do?

Background for Teachers

ISTE Standard 2b: Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices. 

Student Prior Knowledge

As a class we have briefly discussed the different aspects of digital citizenship but have not gone in depth as to what each of those really mean. This will be one of the main introductions to one of the aspects of digital citizenship. 

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate the influence their digital presence has. That influence can have positive or negative effects. 

Instructional Procedures

Anticipatory Set

Start the lesson by reading the book, "Webster's Email" by Hannah Whaley. This book is about a spider who sends a silly picture of his sister to some friends through an email. He does this as a joke and not with mean intentions but quickly realizes the impact he can make digitally. He send the picture to his friends, then those friends send that picture to other friends, who send it to more people and pretty soon lots of people have seen the silly picture of his sister. While the picture was meant as a joke and not to hurt feelings, it leads to just that. Spider's sister is embarassed and Spider learns how quickly things can spread once they are online and that once something is shared it is almost impossible to stop it from spreading. 

As a class discuss how our words have a lasting impact. The same is true of the words, posts, and videos that we share online. The things we say digitally have a huge influence on they way people view in our everyday life. We need to make sure we stop and think before we post online. If we post something and then regret what we said it can be very hard, and at times impossible, to take back. When we post online it leave a digital footprint. Even if we delete something it can be found, and it is often shared and then it is out of our hands. At times we unintentionally post something that leads to hurt feelings, but there are some people who post mean comments intentionally. That is called cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is not okay and we need to know what to do when we come across it. 

Next, I want to talk about all the ways we communicate digitally. What are some of those ways?Brainstorm as a class and make a list on the board. (Texting, Emailing, Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), Gaming Systems, Skype)

Digital communication is a huge part of our everyday life. I want to make sure that we feel confident in knowing the appropriate way to communicate digitally and what to do online if we see something that isn't very kind. 

I Do:

Draw a scenario out of the bowl and think out loud what I would do in that scenario. 

  • I get an email from a friend making fun of someone else. What do I do?

Talk to the students about what you would do in that situation. Would you forward it? Delete it? Tell a trusted adult?

We Do:

As a class go through various scenarios and talk about what students would do in each of those situations.

  • You are playing an online game and the person you are playing with says unkind words.
  • You find a post of something that you love online. It made you feel happy. Is it okay to share it?
  • Someone really made you mad today. You want to send a text to a friend to vent about why that person made you upset. Should you do it?

You Do:

  • Split class into groups of 3 or 4
  •  Have them come up with their own scenario. It needs to be different than the ones discussed as a group.
  • Have them write a short script of the scenario.
  • After they have written the script they need to come up with a skit. They will be presenting the skit to the class.

Wrap Up:

After each group has presented have the students write a take away. Ask, "What did you learn today that you will apply into your digital communication?" Have a few students who are willing share their answers with the class. 

Assessment Plan

Students will come up with a digital communication scenario as a group. They will write out the scenario, come up with a skit, and preform it for the class. They will then write a take-away from today's lesson. 


Created: 04/23/2019
Updated: 01/21/2020