This was a great unit already, and adding some authentic and meaningful technology and media literacy components only enhanced student learning and engagement.
Introducing the idea of plagiarism:
When I introduced the idea of plagiarism to my students, I used emotion to engage them in the concept. I put my name and photo on one of my student’s published story books and began to read it to the class, claiming it was my own.
When I began reading Lisa’s book, the students looked confused at first and then began quietly protesting. Lisa looked visibly upset and one student patted her arm reassuringly and said ‘Ms. Quinn’s just pretending.” I stopped after a couple pages and asked if there were any comments.
One student raised his hand and said, “That’s not your book, it’s Lisa’s.” I showed them where I had put my name over Lisa’s and showed them the back of the book where I had pasted my picture and bio over top of hers as well. I said “My name and picture are on this book, what makes you say I didn’t write it?”
The students talked about how they had seen Lisa working hard on it and it was her ideas and her illustrations.
Lisa agreed that it was her book and that I had just stuck my name on the front and changed the author page. I asked Lisa how she felt about that and she said at first she felt a bit sad, and then she felt angry.
I asked the other students if they would feel the same way if someone did that to their stories. They all agreed.
This began a good discussion about taking someone else’s work and not giving them credit for their ideas.
I went on to introduce the word ‘Plagiarism’ and talked about the idea of stealing, and how ‘taking someone else’s work or ideas and saying it’s your own’ can be a type of stealing.
Needless to say, this was a powerful way to introduce a new idea and my hope is that students won’t forget what plagiarism is any time soon.
A detailed lesson plan can be found here.
Introducing our class Google Docs account:
After nearly a whole year of trying to manage digital student work on individual USB sticks, it was a huge relief to both teacher and students to using a class Google Docs account to manage their work.
It made a huge difference, especially in terms of saving work and having different students or the teacher view work in progress.
I will never manage student documents via USB again. Period. (And this year, I will introduce this idea way before the last unit, to save many a frustrated student.)
Introducing using Creative Commons images:
This was not as successful as introducing plagiarism. I would like to do a better job of introducing the idea of Creative Commons this year. I will use CommonSenseMedia as my guide.
Any ideas fellow COETAILers?