It's #SoMe - Great #BacktoSchool Activity for Digital Citizenship

It's #SoMe - Great #BacktoSchool Activity for Digital Citizenship

Like it or not, today's students are not just citizens. They are "digital" citizens. This means that educators need to spend time with students on ensuring they know how to be responsible online.

In NYC schools we have social media guidelines created by students and teachers to guide this work. You can see them at We also support educators and parents with professional development. The professional development includes a fun back-to-school activity called, "It's #SoMe." (Note: #SoMe is the hashtag for social media.)

Here's how the activity works.
1) Explain to students that just like their reputation inside and outside of school, they have a reputation online as well. Along with that comes a responsibility to be thoughtful in our actions. Ask students to think about what they want their online reputation to be and come up with a sentence (perhaps 140 characters) indicating who they are online.

  • Provide students with an example of this. Here's mine: An innovative educator passionate about student and educator voice who loves sharing ideas about real and relevant learning. -I’m Lisa Nielsen and that’s So Me!

2) After they've created their sentence have them Log on or register at Animoto.
Note: Consider how you will handle accounts prior to the exercise i.e. if your school does not block social media, have them log on with Facebook, if your students don't have email, consider having one Animoto account and log in with one class username and password.

3) Tell students they will create a free 30 second or less video with images to accompany their sentence. Note: If you do not have media consent forms for students, make sure they don't use pictures of themselves.

  • The teacher should create a sample video in advance. Not only will this help them get to know their teacher better, it gives students an idea of what the teacher is looking for.

4) Create a Padlet for students to share their videos. Tell them to type their name and then use the "link" symbol to upload the link to their video. You can see what this looks like here

5) Movie screening!

Visit padlet and share the student's videos.

This activity provides a great way for teachers to get to know students, students to get to know each other, and is a terrific way to begin building relationships. If school staff meets before the school year, this is a great activity for staff to get to know one another and the Padlet can be shared with parents, students and other members of the school community to get to know the school staff better.

As the year progresses, if there are issues with digital citizenship, the "It's #SoMe" videos provide a great reminder and discussion starter for students to think about if what they are doing online is really the "ME they want to be."

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several books and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Tech & Learning.  

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.