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Lessons on Plagiarism

Celebrating Grey Day Year Round

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October 1 of each year marks Grey Day when participating webmasters will remove stories, music, poetry, fancy programming, graphics, font variations, and color from their front pages hoping to curb:

  • bandwidth robbery,
  • unlicensed use of copyrighted works, and
  • online plagiarism.

This event may also provide an excellent opportunity to discuss plagiarism in reports and research papers in your classroom.

Although Internet plagiarism may not be an issue in your classroom, the Internet has made plagiarism of school assignments incredibly easy, and the task of preventing it, exhausting.

Do you Teach Students to Plagiarize?

Assigning a research topic and gaining student access to the library without providing instruction on paraphrasing, summarizing, quoting and citing invites plagiarism since many students have not received instruction in these areas.

Stern warnings are a poor substitute for instruction because so many have received A's for neatly copied reports throughout elementary and middle school.

Fortunately, teaching materials are available on the Internet.

A Few Web Activities

Add fun to lessons about plagiarism on Web pages, by having students read and then write their own Copyright Watch Doggerel.

Help students discover real life occurrences of Web site plundering at Ask Aunt Crabby, a clever parody of Dear Abby.

How to Reduce Plagiarism

Teach what plagiarism is and provide paraphrasing practice.

Teach the differences in quoting paraphrasing, and summarizing.

Elevate research topics to include high order thinking skills.

Teach students how to document sources in the style commonly used in your content area.

Show students professional publications in your content area and point out citations. Show students how to use appropriate style manuals and provide abbreviated versions.

Monitor students at each step of the writing process.

Consider using the I Search Unit as an alternative to a formal research paper. Be sure to check this out! Turn to the professionals. If plagiarism is truly a problem for your school or district, there are online resources that can help detect plagiarized work. An example is turnitin.com.

Plagiarism Resources

The Copyright Web Site
You will find everything you want to know about copyrights here.

Preventing Plagiarism
Wonderful collection of resources on the internet to help the instructor fight against plagiarism.

Plagiarism
A brief explanation of plagiarism spells out the various ways students can go wrong. This list includes submitting a paper that has been submitted previously for another course.

Ten Big Myths about Copyright Explained
Some of this information is likely to surprise your students.

Written by Diane Walker
Updated by Melissa Kelly

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