Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Plagiarism

We have the Solar System hanging in our classroom! In this picture you can see the Earth, moon, Saturn, Sun and the faint outlines of Jupiter and Mercury.  
Divine student interest has led us into an exploration of our magnificent Solar System!

While engaging in this nonfiction unit of study,  I thought it best to bring up the issue of plagiarism with my first grade students because I noticed that many of them were copying information directly from their books.

So today during writing workshop we practiced reading a passage about the Sun, closing the book, discussing what we just learned and then writing it in our own words rather than simply copying passages from a book.  After the mini-lesson, I sent them off to give it a go.

About 10 minutes later one happy girl hop-skipped over to me eager to share how she internalized this lesson stating, "I didn't copy from the book!  I changed it so it wasn't the same."

"Oh! That's great.  What did you write?"

"Well, the book said it takes the Earth one year to travel around the sun.  But I changed it and wrote it takes two years!"

Silence.

I sit there with my mouth hanging open wondering how I am going to handle this one.  I guess it's back to the drawing board.

11 comments:

christopher said...

Gotta give some points for creativity I guess.

Angella Lister said...

I laughed so hard! The innocence!

Gary said...

Christopher - Points for sure!

Angella - I laughed too, afterwards. At the moment I was thinking, "oops, I botched that one".

Joy Keaton said...

A much needed laugh! Hilarious!

Ms.M said...

Too funny. I don't know if I could have kept a straight face on that one.

I have the same problem when we work on animal research projects. I give a plagiarism talk too. Maybe that is why my students reports almost border more towards creative than they do informative. Ha!

Thanks for the laugh.

Ms. M
Ms.M's Blog

Arielle Lee Bair said...

Kids are so funny. :) She was listening to you, but she put her own spin on it!

Arielle Lee Bair said...

A completely random aside:

I LOVE looking at the children's books you put on your sidebar. It's just SO great to see the ones you enjoy and to then discover them myself and share them with others or buy them as gifts. I love that you share them on your blog! It's one of my favorite things about popping over here!

:) Arielle

Gary said...

Joy - I am just impressed I let you read it before I called you!

Ms. M. - We are operating along parallel lines. Not a bad journey.

Arielle - That is exactly what I thought. She certainly was paying attention to the lesson but obviously I wasn't really clear. The fantastic point to this is that because of her comment I was able to go back and revisit this concept. It seems that at the moment the kids understand the difference and are trying to incorporate that into their writing (with varied success). And thanks for the feedback on the children's book recommendations. It is very encouraging and motivating to read that it is helpful.

Barbara said...

It's such a sticky wicket. Maybe you can just let the second grade teacher tackle this one.

Pauline said...

ha! It gets no better in second grade. After a unit on what makes an insect an insect, a young fellow came to me and pointed out that a spider is not an insect because it has eight legs so he wrote that if you pull off two of them, voila! a spider CAN be an insect! It's one reason you have to love kids. Anything's possible ;)

Gary said...

Barbara - I think we have settled the confusion at this point and the conversations we have had about what is and is not a fact have been enlightening.

Pauline - Thanks for sharing your story! It is the perfect additon to this post. I can see the logic behind the thinking for sure.

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