Hey you’re copying me!
Have you ever heard the righteous cry of indignation in your classroom when a student thinks their hard work is being copied by someone else? If so, that’s a good thing because you can use it when teaching kids why and how to cite their sources when writing a report.
If you ask your kids “How would you feel if someone copied your work and put their name on it?” I am pretty sure they 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 because 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. I bet many of you have seen some beautiful homework turned in where 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, but they are expected to start doing research and writing projects in first grade so I think it’s important to start teaching these concepts early.
I found 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 decided to create 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 format 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 lesson plan included in the packet is more detailed and offers more options for teaching. Once they know the how and why of citing sources and have the posters and bookmarks to remind them of the format, they are able to do it independently.
Who knows maybe the next time someone is caught copying in class instead of “Hey they are copying me” the student will say “Hey they are plagiarizing my work!”
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