Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Getting beyond plagiarism to summarizing

We've all seen papers that look and sound so wonderful until we realize that there is NO WAY that student wrote that paper.  As a new middle school teacher who loves to get her students to write I am faced with this problem all the time. 
After talking with my students I realized that they are NOT committing plagiarism in an intentional manner.  After a quick discussion with them I saw that they simply don't know how to look at information and summarize what they've read.  
With that knowledge, I've decided to systematically teach them how to best summarize information to put into a paper so that they won't be accused of plagiarism.  

I would love it if you follow along as I take this journey.  I will blog each night about how my lessons are going and which direction my plan will go next.  

It is my hope that I can help someone to help their students write their thoughts rather than copying and pasting from the internet.

Day #1

This is how I started. 

 I supplied my 8th grade students with a passage.  They got into groups and read the passage.  

After reading the passage they were told to highlight 6 important facts in the passage.  

After they did that I had each group share what they highlighted.  We had a quick discussion of why they chose what they did.  
Then I told them to go back and take out 3 of the 6 so that all that was left is what they felt were the 3 main points of the passage.
When they completed this we discussed that they could use those 3 points in a thesis statement if assigned a paper.

I will be doing this lesson with my 5th-7th grade tomorrow as well as extending the lesson from today with my 8th graders.  

I'll be back tomorrow with more information on how this is going.  
I'd LOVE any ideas that you have on this skill.

Day #2
Today went so well!!  
All my classes really began understanding how to read a passage and look for what is important.  
When they first began they were choosing details rather than looking for 6 important details.  I also heard them saying things like "that's interesting."  When I heard that I knew I'd need to deal with that.  
Through discussion with the groups as they worked they came to the conclusion that interesting facts may not always be important.
I plan to continue this practice for the rest of the week and then show them another method and then move on to our next step.  
I hope you come back tomorrow to see how it's going.  
Day #3
Day 3 was more of the same practice.  They are getting so much better at this.  
Day #4
Today my 8th graders took this a step further and one of my special education kids said, "This is so much easier."  This thrilled me!!

I had my students go back to a passage that we had already found the 3 major points to.  I showed them this anchor chart and we discussed what part of the passage would go in each section.

We took the three points and put them on the board in a chart like the one above, they found details in the passage, and then in groups wrote 1 paragraph each.  I took the paragraph from each group and read them in order and one of my kids said, "Cool!  We wrote a paper in 10 minutes and we didn't cheat!"  

I love it!!  They will continue to practice this tomorrow, and my 5-7th grade is going to work a couple more days on finding the 3 major points of a passage.

I hope you come back to find out how we're doing.


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