"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Students as Teachers

Sharing what they know about Internet Safety.

October is Internet Safety Month.  I am lucky to work in a school system and library department that includes many talented educators who have developed great curriculum for this subject. (I recently created an Acceptable Use Policy video to add to this curriculum.) Something made me step back on Friday and follow what I know to be a great teaching practice, but what can be hard to follow when I only see the students for thirty minutes per week. When my fifth graders entered the library on Friday, I made them the teachers. I gave them a voice.

Instead of showing any Internet Safety video, I removed myself and anyone else from the driver's seat and put the students there.  I explained that they were first to brainstorm what they knew about staying safe online.  I then had a scenario for each group to discuss.  The library lesson would finish with each group of students sharing their understanding of Internet Safety and scenario discussions.  Thirty minutes is not a lot of time, actually it was not enough time. I asked the classroom teachers for an extra ten minutes.

I love my library space every day, but I love it most when it is an active and productive learning space. Friday was just such a day. Here's the thing, the students taught me something else, I realized the real power was in the brainstorming, they wanted to take those plain pieces of paper and make them into a message. It was giving them a voice, so away went the scenarios and more time was spent on these incredibly creative and important posters they had started to create all on their own.

The presentations were excellent! The students practiced skills as both presenter and engaged audience.


  1. Great stuff! I'm glad kids are learning about internet safety at such a young age. It's really important!

    When I tell my kids, they say, "I know, I know." I'm glad they learned it at school and I'm just repeating it!

  2. Love this idea!! What kind of scenario did you give the groups? Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Once again, Jen you are taking the lead here. We have put together lots of good resources and created lessons to help us, but really we need to be comfortable with our own groups of students and get creative with our approach. We are most successful when we trust ourselves and our students as learners.