now presenting… my major project!

Here we are, at the finish line of a three-month long journey in this course. I am so pleased to be presenting my Major Project to you all!

I have created a PDF document that explores concepts of Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy in a Pre-Kindergarten context. This resource explicitly connects to the Pre-K curriculum (4 holistic domains of learning and Essential Learning Experiences, or ELEs) in each lesson, as well as providing extension activities and suggestions of ways to incorporate this learning into play. You can view or download the entire PDF document below.

Read on to learn about my journey of creating this curriculum resource document this semester.

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warming up to the idea of using devices in pre-k

I have really begun to see growth in my comfort level with allowing my Pre-K students to use devices lately. This class and my Major Project have both played a huge role in this change.

Before I began this class, my two class iPads sat at the corner of my desk essentially unused – I would plug them in every once in a while when they went dead from the sheer despair of not being picked up for weeks (or months) at a time. My motto was “I have so many amazing materials and toys in my classroom and I want students to use them, not play with a device.” Thinking about children choosing to play on an iPad during free play time made me cringe, and I knew some of my students already got lots of screen time and exposure to iPads and devices at home. My solution: I simply didn’t offer iPads as an option.

This was my philosophy before – NO iPADS! “iPad” by Tsubaki Kaworu is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0. Remixed by me.
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making headway on my major project

Since the February break, I have started to feel more confident that I am making progress on my Major Project. After my initial feelings of doubt and frustration (“Does Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy even have a place in Pre-K? Why aren’t there more resources out there for this age group?”), I have come up with a scope and sequence of what I would expect my Pre-K learners (3 and 4 year olds) to know about these concepts and am moving forward with creating lessons!

I tweeted out my first draft of the scope and sequence for my curriculum resources and got so many amazing comments and lots of great feedback! Other Twitter users helped me consider areas I might want to add to my scope and sequence (such as a conversation on screen time), asked clarifying questions that got me to reflect, or affirmed what I had created and encouraged me on my journey!

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what IS the internet, anyway?

As I delve more into my Major Learning Project, I find myself envisioning how I would go about teaching the concepts of Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy to Pre-K students (3 and 4 year olds). I keep coming back to the question of “Where should this actually start?”

In Pre-K (and early elementary in general), we can’t assume that students know concepts that adults might believe to be commonplace, second nature, or simple (such as closing the door when you go to the bathroom, sitting at the table when you eat, or how to use a paintbrush). We explicitly teach so many of these “basic” skills and concepts to our students. With this idea in mind, I found myself wondering: “Do my students even know what the internet is?”

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baby steps

Allow me to be completely honest in saying that I am still very much in the beginning stages of my Major Project for EC&I 832. I have yet to really “jump in with both feet” and immerse myself in creating a curriculum resource for exploring Digital Citizenship and Media Literacies in the early childhood years. And you know what? I am giving myself permission to say ‘that’s okay’ for right now. January was a month where it was all about ‘survive’ and now I feel that February is going to be my time to ‘thrive.’ I am looking forward to delving more into this project this month, but for now, here are the plans I currently have and some of the preliminary work I have done thus far.

This Photo by Unknown author is licensed under CC BY.
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major project idea: early years curriculum resource

In my six years of teaching in the early years, I have not come across many resources that focus on digital citizenship and media literacies for this age group. This is not to say that they don’t exist, but I certainly wasn’t actively seeking them out. In addition, the resources that I have seen have been geared to older elementary, middle years, and high school students. With all of this in mind, I have decided to complete Option 1 for the Major Project assignment and create a curriculum resource that addresses these topics from an early years standpoint.

“Computer Kids” by edenpictures is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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