Shannon Miller
Material Type:
Interactive, Lesson, Lesson Plan
Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary
  • Lesson Plan
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Kindness Matters Online

    Kindness Matters Online


    This lesson explores digital citizenship and the power of words.  It helps students learn the difference between kind and hurtful comments used in person and online.  It does this through fun interactive games and also has digital elements like videos, online books, and padlet.


    In this lesson students will investigate the power of words.  They will develope an understanding of how words can effect others and that words they use online are just as powerful as words they use in person.  


    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Learning Intentions:

    • ISTE Student Standard: 2b Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.
    • Student will understand what it means to be a good digital citizenship. 
    • Students will develop an understanding of how their words effect others and will understand the difference between positive and negetive comments they make.  

    Success Criteria:

    • Students will be able to describe what it means to be a good digitial citizen.
    • Students will be able to identify positive and negative comments both face to face and online.
    • Students will write positive comments to their peers both on and offline.


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction


    Student Background Knowledge

    • Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an awareness of computers, virtual classrooms, social media, gaming.  While they may not have social media accounts, this lesson teaches them about using kind language online and it is important that they are aware such platforms exist.  
    • The video:
    • Students need to know what the term Digital Citizenship means. 
    • Students need to understand how to use padlet.  

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    • To help diverse learners, teachers may give students more time to complete the activities and/or put the students in pairs to write their positive comments.

    Step 3 - Instruction and Materials



    Video Links, Sticky Notes & Pencils for students, Kind and Hurtful Comments document, Chromebooks, Padlet account

    Ancitiapatory Set: (10 min)

    Display or Write the quote "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" on the board.  Then place the students in pairs.  Tell them to think about the quote, what they think it means, and if they agree with it.  After giving them time to think, have them discuss their answers with their partners. 

    Next, ask the class if anyone would like to share what they discussed.  Guide the discussion so students understand that this quote is a childhood saying that has been around for a long time.  It is used to teach us a lesson about words.  Tell them that you don't agree with this quote.  While words may not cause physical pain like sticks or stones do, the pain of words may take much longer to heal.  Words can linger for a long time in our thoughts and minds causing us to be hurt with emotional pain.

    Lesson: (60 Min)

    Tell the students that they are all citizens of the class, citizens of the community, citizens of the world, and citizens online.  Ask them if any of them remember what Digital Citizenship is?  

    Call on a few students to share what they think a digital citizen is.  Then, show the class the digital citizen video as a reminder Digital Citizenship Video

    Next, tell the students that part of being a good digital citizen means that they need to be able to communicate online in a positive and effective way.  This means being able to use kind, constructive words when interacting on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Google Docs, Email, and many many others.

    Next, tell the students that today they will be learning the difference between kind and hurtful words so they can be better digital citizens.  They will practice identifying positive comments and writing positive comments to each other.  

    Show the video: "Ouch Moments...When Words are Used in Hurtful Ways" By Michael Genhart

    After reading the book, have a short discussion. Ask the student the following questions: 

    • Can you give an example of some words or phrase you heard that were hurtful?
    • What happened when the hurtful words were said?
    • What is something they could have said instead of the hurtful words?

    Next tell the students that just like words hurt in real life, words can hurt online.  Tell them they will be playing the game Left Side/Right Side to help them learn to identify hurtful words.  The right side of the class will be for hurtful words, and the left side of the class will be for kind words.  Tell them you will read statements you found online out loud.  Students will then choose a side of the classroom to stand on.  

    Read aloud and display the attached quotes. When all the students have chosen a side, choose someone to explain why to the class.  Repeat this for as many quotes as you'd like.

    Have the students sit down and display the video: Words Have Power

    After the video, put the students into small groups of 4 or 5.  Tell them they will practice writing positive comments for each of their classmates.  Once in a group, students will stand in front of the board and use a dry erase marker to write a positive comment about the person.  Once all of the students in the group have written a word, have them turn around and see what their classmates have written about them.  Tell the students to rotate until everyone in the group has had a chance to be in front of the board.



      Step 4 - Assessments

      Assessment: (10 Min)

      Last,  tell the students to get their class chromebook and log into their google classroom or padlet accounts.  (If you use google classroom make sure to send them a link to your padlet.) Tell them to think about what they learned today, and to write a positive comment on the Digital Citizenship board you created and sent to them.  Once they have written a comment, have them read and respond to at least two other student's comments on the board.