Netiquette | Ophea Teaching Tools


    Grade 4
    Lesson 1 of 4
    30 minutes
    Curriculum expectations: 1.3, C1.3, C1.2
    Other curriculum expectations: Language - Media Literacy: 1.1, 1.2
    Topics: Healthy Living
    Learning Goals
    By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

    • identify both the appropriate and inappropriate uses of communicating through the use of technology and the risks associated with inappropriate use
    • communicate effectively to define netiquette and its importance in the world of technology
    • recognize the similarities and differences between bullying online and offline
    • identify ways to respond to cyberbullying
    • apply critical and creative thinking skills to reflect on the intended audience and messaging in the Connect[ED] video.
    Classroom, Computer lab
    Minds On

    Share and clarify the lesson Learning Goals with the class.

    Using whole group direct instruction, inform the class that a variety of statements will be read aloud to them that relate to the Internet and cyber safety and they will have to decide if they believe the statements to be true or false.

    Instruct students to stand up behind their desks with their chairs pushed in.

    Read out the list of statements from Teacher Resource 2: How Well Do You Know Your Cyber Safety?

    • If the students believe the statement to be true then they remain standing. If the students believe the statement is false, the students crouch down.

    • After each question use Teacher Resource 2: How Well Do You Know Your Cyber Safety? To elaborate on the answer and the reason why it is true or false.

    A&E - Minds On

    Teacher observation and feedback of students’ responses noting their prior knowledge of Internet safety using Teacher Resource 3: Anecdotal Recording Chart – Netiquette, Bullying and Media


    As a class, use Teacher Resource 4: Netiquette Word Web to support students in brainstorming what they know about netiquette and the risks associated with Internet use. Record key words from student responses on chart paper. Using the information from the web, create a class definition of netiquette. (Netiquette is a set of rules for everybody on how to behave properly online.) At the end of the lesson the students will review and refine this definition.

    Review with students what a newscast is and why the media uses newscasts as a way of communicating information. (A newscast is a broadcast of various news events and other information via television, radio or other media. Newscast’s are visual and provide appeal and ease of disseminating information to a large audience.) Also review with students what bias is: an attitude that influences someone to favour an idea or action over an alternative. Biases exist in messages (messages that promote specific values) and in audiences (viewers that might agree or disagree with the values in the messages).

    Remind students that communication will also be assessed as they work in their groups during the lesson. If necessary review the Success Criteria for Communication from Teacher Resource 3: Anecdotal Recording Chart – Netiquette, Bullying and Media.

    Media Jigsaw

    Using the Jigsaw Strategy (see Notes to Teacher) divide the students in the class into five home groups e.g., five groups of five students. Assign a number to each student in the home group from one to five. Direct all the students with the same number (for example, all the fours) to leave their home group and join together to form an expert group. Using Student Resource 1: Newscast Focus Questions, assign each group one of the focus question sections.

    Ask each expert group to read their focus questions and be prepared to take notes on their questions as they watch the video. Remind students that each focus group will have questions that relate to strategies for safer use of technology as well as questions related to the newscast from a media awareness perspective.

    Using direct instruction, introduce the Connect[ED] video episode: Being Safer and Smarter Online to the class and inform the students that they will be watching the video and that they will be expected to wear two hats while watching – a personal safety/netiquette/bullying hat and a media awareness hat in order to effectively answer the questions for their expert group. Remind students that they will also be expected to focus on the messages in the video around netiquette in order to be able to reflect on their working definition of netiquette.

    Play Part 1 of the Connect[ED] Grade 4: Being Safer and Smarter Online video. For a synopsis of Part 1 of the video see Teacher Resource 1: Being Safer and Smarter Online Synopsis.

    After viewing the video, students work in their expert groups to answer the assigned focus questions. When the expert groups have completed their work, have the students return to their home groups and share what they have learned. In this way, everyone in the home group receives all of the information which is contributed by the expert group member. Use Teacher Resource 5: Newscast Focus Suggested Answers, to support students in answering their group questions.

    A&E - Action

    Teacher observation and feedback of students’ application of communication skills, and ability to identify risks associated with communications technology, including bullying, and describe precautions and strategies for using these technologies safely, as well as their ability to identify strategies, interpret information, and understand purpose and audience within a media text using Teacher Resource 3: Anecdotal Recording Chart – Netiquette, Bullying and Media


    Refer back to the definition of netiquette created by the class at the beginning of the lesson. Working together, review and refine the class definition of "netiquette" using the information students have learned in this lesson. Post this re-worked definition.

    After refining the definition of netiquette, have the class think back to the video and what “rules” of netiquette were not followed. Students share with an elbow partner as many “rules” that they can think of that were broken.

    • Calling people names
    • Not being polite
    • Not respecting each other
    • Using capital letters when typing to signify “yelling” at someone

    Discuss with the students why netiquette is important and how they could incorporate netiquette into their daily lives. Also review with students what they would do if they had a friend who was being bullied or was bullying someone else online.

    Teacher prompt: “How can you incorporate netiquette into your daily lives?” Student response: “When I go onto social media I can remember to use lower case letters when I am typing so that it doesn’t seem like I am mad and yelling at someone”, “I can make sure that I don’t make fun of someone when I am chatting online with my friends after school”, “I can use appropriate and respectful language when gaming online”.

    Teacher prompt: “What would you do if you had a friend who was being bullied by someone using technology or was bullying someone else using technology?” Student response: “If my friend was being bullied I would let them know I supported them, then I would suggest that they save any of the written messages and speak to an adult about what steps to take to stop the bullying. If my friend was bullying someone else I would suggest that they stop and think about what it would be like to be on the receiving end of the bullying. Also I would inform them of the possible consequences at school and at home for bullying someone. Finally I would remind them that bullying online is just like bullying offline and that the consequences would be similar.”

    Teacher prompt: “Do you think there is a difference between bullying online and bullying offline?” Student response: “No, they are both bullying and are wrong. As the video states, online bullying is really like bullying in front of a crowd and when something is wrong offline it is also wrong online.”

    A&E - Consolidation

    Teacher observation with anecdotal writing during class discussion of students’ ability to describe precautions and strategies for using technologies safely and how to respond to bullying using Teacher Resource 3: Anecdotal Recording Chart – Netiquette, Bullying and Media

    Ideas for Extension

    Visit the Kids Help Phone website and/or view an advertisement from Kids Help Phone. Discuss with the students the who, where and how of the media message. How was it similar to the Being Safer and Smarter Online video clip viewed in class during this lesson? How was it different? Is the website/advertisement an effective media form to attract Grade 4 students? Can you think of other ways of communicating this message?

    Notes to Teacher

    Jigsaw Strategy: A collaborative learning activity that gives students the opportunity to learn about a topic and then share their learning with others. It is an effective way to process large chunks of text in a short time.


    Netiquette - a derivative of the words ‘Internet’ and ‘etiquette’, refers to a commonly understood set of rules regarding appropriate online behaviour. Whether sending an email or posting a message to an online forum or discussion thread, it is common courtesy to follow these unofficial rules:

    • Act online as you would in real life.
    • Opt for lower case letters when typing emails; using ALL CAPITALS implies that the sender is shouting at the receiver.
    • Be aware of the tone of your writing online. To ensure the right tone is received in a message, many writers use emoticons, such as a happy face [:-)], to convey gentle intention.
    • Do not share spam or commercial email messages. If you must share such messages, ensure the subject line of your email reflects this so the reader has an option to delete it without reading the message.
    • Be conscious of people’s time, text limitations and bandwidth. Send small pictures and short emails whenever possible. Send messages at appropriate times, for example not too late in the evening.
    • Use the Reply All function sparingly, and avoid sending messages to address book groups/lists if it does not pertain to everyone in the list.
    • Do not share friends’ email addresses with people they don’t know. Use the “bcc” (blind carbon copy) option if you plan on sending an email to a large group of people.
    • Do not share pictures of others without their permission, or tag them in photos over social media.

    Cyberbullying - involves the use of technology (such as social networking websites, text messaging, instant messaging, cell phones, webcams, YouTube, chat rooms and email) to hurt or intimidate others, their reputation or their relationships. Research suggests that cyberbullying is the most significant danger young people face online.

    Cyberbullying differs from traditional bullying in that it does not happen in face-to-face interactions. This means that the person who bullies may have fewer inhibitions and feel less empathy as a result of not seeing the reaction of the other person. Technology may enable the person who is bullying to remain anonymous, which further limits the sense of responsibility and fear of consequences or sanctions that may come from this negative behaviour. In cyberbullying, the person who is bullying does not necessarily have to be the older, stronger, bigger, more popular student (although often these dynamics are still in place), but rather any student could adopt the power of a ‘bully’ persona. Finally, cyberbullying occurs in a ‘public domain’, which means that negative text or images can be seen, shared extensively, and repeatedly and can be difficult for the victim to dispose of completely or permanently. Cyberbullying can take place both at school and at home, and at all hours of the day or night, so for a victimized child there is often no escape.

    Additional Resources

    For additional resources and websites please see Teacher Resource section.