Issaquah School District is currently thinking about social media use across our schools, and what we can do as teachers to support student safety, well-being, and citizenship in their online robust social communities.
Common Sense Education, one of our district-supported platforms, offers toolkits for educators that include teacher information and accompanying lessons. One toolkit (there are six) is called “Girls, Boys, and Media,” and helps unpack gender stereotypes and how stereotypes are informed by the media that we consume. There are toolkits for elementary, middle, and high school on each topic.
What is in a Toolkit?
Each toolkit begins with an introductory video and background for the teacher – for example, different definitions of terms and a rationale for why gender identity is intimately related to literacy, technology, and other content areas. Toolkits also include 2-3 lessons that unpack gender stereotypes and help guide students to reflect on their social emotional well-being as they consume and engage with media. Lessons can be downloaded as pdfs and translated into Spanish and sometimes French.
For the 3-5 grade band under the “Girls, Boys, and Media” topic, one of the lessons teaches students that many of the images that they see online (especially in advertisements) are altered, and prompts students to consider the positive and negative impact of altering photos. For the middle school grades, one of the lessons deals with drama portrayed on reality TV, and how drama and gossip can become exaggerated and generalized. In high school, the lessons extend to help teens discuss the pressure of keeping up appearances on social media, and how gender can attribute to double-standards and our tendency to judge the images that others choose to post.
Each of these sample lessons help teachers broach conversations about social media, emotional well-being, and digital citizenship in an accessible way. As social media continues to be a potent force in the lives of our students, taking a proactive approach is key.
What Topics do the Toolkits Cover?
Other toolkit topics include:
- Social & Emotional Learning
- Beyond Fake News: News & Media Literacy
- Cyberbullying Prevention
- Digital Citizenship at Home
Check them out!