Hey you’re copying me!
Have you ever heard the righteous cry of indignation in your classroom when a student thinks their hard work has been copied by someone else? If so, that’s a good thing because you can use it when teaching kids the whys and hows to citing their sources.
If you ask your kids “How would you feel if someone copied your work and put their name on it?” Most students will not be happy at the thought of someone else taking credit for their work.
This opens up a perfect opportunity to lead a classroom discussion about copyright, plagiarism and citing sources. Plagiarism can run rampant in an elementary classroom if left unchecked. Kids don’t understand why they can’t copy word for word from a text or copy and paste from a digital source and then put their names on it. Neither do many of their parents. Many teachers have seen some beautiful homework turned in only to find out the student couldn’t even read “their own work.” Even teachers can be some of the worst offenders when it comes to copyright.
The Common Core Standards don’t require students to cite their sources until fourth grade. Students are still expected to do research and writing projects in first grade, therefore it’s important to start teaching these concepts early.
There really isn’t much out there for introducing 3rd graders to the concept of citing sources. I know that many digital resources provide a button to make a citation but I want them to know why they are clicking that button.
I created a PowerPoint to teach the kids why it’s important to cite sources and how to do it. Kids at this age are still learning about basic capitalization and punctuation rules. I didn’t want to overwhelm them with a long list of rules to follow so I created a simplified version of the MLA for them. I kept the process to 3 or 4 steps and used the same rules for different types of sources.
Along with the PowerPoint I have a lesson plan, posters, bookmarks and worksheets for citing sources from books, e-books, magazines, online magazines, encyclopedias, online encyclopedias, CD-Rom encyclopedias and websites.
17 Different Bookmark Choices
My Lesson goes like this…
Use the PowerPoint for the mini-lesson. Discuss the key vocabulary words: copyright, plagiarism, source and citation. Explain how to make a citation for each of the five different sources.
At this point you have given students a lot of information that will be difficult to remember. That is why I have included the step-by-step directions and examples on the worksheets, bookmarks and posters. Have the posters up in the room and bookmarks available for students to use. Then, have the students work with a partner to complete the worksheets for several different resources.
Call the kids back to the carpet to reflect on the activity. Students share examples they did and discuss what went well, any problems they had and any questions they have. I make sure to revisit the vocabulary by asking students to explain source, citation, copyright and plagiarism.
That is the basic lesson. The actual lesson contains more details. Once the students know the hows and whys of citing sources they can refer to the posters and bookmarks.
Maybe the next time a student catches someone copying them, they may say “Hey they are plagiarizing my work!”