Prior to the lesson, print out the readings, and cover them up with construction paper. I generally tape them up around the room to get students up and moving. Students will then rotate in groups and read the text together. They will then write down a summary to the best of their knowledge without looking at the original source. This process will be repeated a few times, and students will learn how to reword texts on their own to avoid any type of plagiarism. The readings don’t relate to content, nor are they difficult to read. This aspect means the texts are accessible to all.
Rationale for the lesson
As technology has become more pervasive and available, I have noticed that plagiarism has increased; intentionally but also unintentionally. The good news, is that most of the plagiarism seems to be due the availability of seemingly infinite information rather than malicious intent. Either way, this lesson is necessary since students either plagiarize phrases directly, or worse yet, engage in structural plagiarism. This type of plagiarism is especially negative since students take a chunk of text and paste it in their reading and just change some words. It is harder to detect, but is detrimental to their comprehension of the material discussed, and as they get older, that type of plagiarism can cause them many problems with their careers.
Prerequisite knowledge and skills
There are no prerequisite skills or knowledge for this lesson. Even if students know a bit about the subject at hand, when they are writing their summaries as practice, they’ll need to focus on what is in the article in order to carry out the technique properly. In essence, you can use this lesson with a social studies, language arts or any other class where research and writing is conducted.