Google Search Education Lesson Plans

It’s pretty upsetting that so many teachers don’t realize that Google is more than just Gmail. Honestly, I was a latecomer to Google tools for education and I am mostly self-taught but I am learning more each day. I recently found out that Google has a series of Lesson Plans and Live Training videos for teaching students to use the Internet effectively for research. Each lesson plan comes at three levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

So many companies come out with curricular tools that don’t feel like they have been thought out or test run by a teacher but these lesson plans are actually quite helpful! They cover:

  • Picking the right search terms
  • Understanding search results
  • Narrowing a search to get the best results
  • Searching for evidence for research tasks
  • Evaluating credibility of sources

Screenshot of Lesson Plan Topics and Levels

Depending on your position and in-class setup, you may be able to use these as whole-class lesson plans. For teachers who want to teach all of the lessons as a unit, be sure to check out the Lesson Plan Map. The classroom is a great space for these discussions but I must admit, If I were a parent I would definitely be making use of these resources at home. While these lesson plans are designed to teach students about using the Internet for research, parents can use them to teach their children, tweens and teens about safety and maintaining an appropriate digital identity.

If this helped, make sure to check out: How to Teach Students About Digital Identity

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Digital Disruption

At SxSWedu, I went to a session by Jac de Haan ( and Ted Kalmus (Head of School, Billings Middle School) called TheirSpace: Educating Digitally Ethical Teens. The session opened my eyes to the issue of digital citizenship and put words to what I had been thinking for a long time…kids need to be taught how to navigate the Internet responsibly and how to develop a dital identity that is age-appropriate.

What is Digital Disruption All About?

Recently, someone pointed me in the direction of a great resource that is being developed to target this issue. The project is called Digital Disruption and it is presented by Bold Creative, a digital agency based in London. This team working on this project takes our youth seriously, and as an educator I really appreciate that. The voice of our youth is underrepresented in many of the conversations we are having in education today, but for Digital Disruption, the voices of our youth are at the core of the conversation. Teachers are also very much a part of the development of digital disruption and they are always looking for more teacher feedback. (If you are using Digital Disruption curriculum in your classroom, offer feedback by emailing

Young people are at the core of the Digital Disruption project

What Does Digital Disruption Offer?

  • Free lesson plans and materials that can help us teach pre-teens and teens how to critically evaluate the information they find on the Internet
  • Short, animated videos that can help us teach about propaganda. The videos include the following propaganda techniques: Bandwagon, Scapegoating, Lesser of Two Evils, Down With the Kids, Assertion, Transfer, Omission.
  • Click and Share, an activity where students can watch two opposing videos and go through the process of discussing whether they would share each video, whether one video changed their mind about the topic, and what impact that might have on others.
  • The Propaganda Machine is an interesting way to watch and dissect online videos.
  • Source Check is an engaging way to teach the purpose behind fact-checking in research. Students watch a video and do research to learn more about it before developing their opinion of the material.
  • BookFace is a fictitious Facebook account created through workshops with young people. It provides a platform for teachers to explore online identity and start group discussions about social media in a classroom environment.” (Taken directly from the Digital Disruption website.)

The Propaganda Machine

The Future of Digital Disruption:

Digital Disruption has done something truly unique with this project – they have asked young people to help us understand how to leverage their interests so that we can better teach them the lessons that are important for our youth today. Digital Disruption is in its early stage and has great plans for the future including (but not limited to):

  • Creating a “Teacher Support” section
  • Creating a tool that helps young people understand how Wikipedia works
  • Creating a tool that helps young people understand Search Engine Optimization
  • Working with teachers to make existing tools more accessible to use in the classroom
  • Developing a wider collection of age-specific materials

I’m looking forward to following this project. I wish I was still in the classroom, this would definitely make the top of my list for advisory! If you are a teacher in the U.S. who is interested in getting involved, contact me as I’d love to hear about how this project is making waves in the classroom.

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Common Sense Media: So parents and teachers can get with the program

Today I want to feature an organization that is making groundbreaking progress with families and educators around the world. Rather than reword an already well thought out mission statement, I will quote straight from their site:

“Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.”

I can’t say enough wonderful things about this site. The team at Common Sense is dedicated to offering advice to families and teachers regarding what types of media and technology is deemed appropriate for each age-level. My favorite aspects of the site are:

I want to discuss this curriculum for a moment. “Digital Literacy and Citizenship” is a FREE curriculum that encourages families and teachers to embrace technology and media with their children, while promoting safety through the use of appropriate resources. It is a strong curriculum for many reasons. Firstly, it is clear and simple to understand – and there is even an article explaining where to start if you are not familiar with understanding the scope and sequence format of a curricular program. The curriculum is broken down by grade level and the organization has even compiled alignment charts so that families and educators can better understand how this curriculum correlates with the standards. A great way to fully understand what Common Sense Media is all about is by looking at these ten points included in their mission statement.

Here are some screen shots of their advice and reviews section.

Reviews of websites

Reviews of music

Reviews of apps

Reviews of books

Thanks Common Sense Media, for all you do to better the lives of our children!

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PenPal News

Calling all Middle School and High School Teachers:

Here is some inspiration for you, a new project called PenPal News. PenPal News is merging technology with the age-old idea of pen pals. This project pairs classes and encourages students to read, think and share ideas about news that is taking place where they live or where their pen pal lives. In my estimation, the best part of this project is that it brings a safe social media platform into the classroom for the purpose of supporting learning. This is an innovative educational program that addresses the desire of our youth to participate in social media and to embrace technology in the classroom. Our kids want it, and we should be listening. My rule of thumb is: if it’s safe and it gets them reading…I want it!

Why PenPal News?

  • Because it is a highly engaging way for MS and HS students to read
  • To engage your students in critical thinking about important topics
  • To offer students a supplemental curriculum that has real-life applications
  • To teach and foster the importance of international relations
  • To offer students perspective on other parts of the world
  • To use as a medium for teaching skills that can improve writing

Opportunity is Calling: Currently, PenPal News is entering its second round of the pilot program, which is a FREE, 6 week program beginning in February. PenPal News is looking for the second set of teachers to participate in this program, which I believe will be revolutionary to the way we look at reading, writing and social studies in our classrooms! To learn more about PenPal News or to sign your class up for the February session, visit If you are an international teacher or if you know any, please pass this on to them! Click on the poster below to see what PenPal News is all about.

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