From Informative To Argument: Responding To News Articles On Plagiarism

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SWBAT analyze an informative text article to write an argument piece.

Big Idea

Where does plagiarism begin and where does it end? Writing a response to a New York Times article.

Reading Time

10 minutes

Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time.  This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.

Independent Reading: New Yorks Times Article

20 minutes

Since students are currently working on their research projects, I try and bring and real-world connections to the lessons we learn during this entire unit. By making these real-world connections, students can learn the importance of certain lessons and skills and will hopefully buy into them. It's a great, and easy way to answer why will we need to know this. Since we previously learned the basics of plagiarism, I bring in real world articles so students can see the what plagiarism is outside of my classroom. Today's lesson focuses on students reading an article about plagiarism.

I begin the lesson by referring students to my web-site. The portion of the web-site I show them gives them the directions for today's lesson so they can work at their own speed. This allows students to make their own goals in how they would like to proceed. Here is a screen shot that shows the directions: Plagiarism Article Directions. This video explains the use of my teacher web-site: Teacher Web-site Explanation

They will first read an article titled "Lines On Plagiarism Blur For Students In The Digital Age." Here is a screenshot of that article: Plagiarism Article Screenshot. This is a great article to use as it is a more complex text than what they are used to reading and therefore pushes their reading skills. Many New York Times articles have proven to be a great resource for me. Even though this article came out a few years ago, I choose this article because the main ideas are ones that my students can relate to think about, particularly how technology is affecting the ways in which students plagiarize.

Students are to read the article independently during this section of the lesson. I do not offer them a print out, but instead have them read it on either their computers on the iPads. This is a bit of a practice for the PARCC testing they will do in which they have to read texts on a computer.

As students are reading, I instruct them to jot down notes. The most practical place would be for them to jot down notes as as separate Word document. This will help them work on those computer based testing skills. Others I do encourage to write down notes in their notebook so they can refer back to as we are writing in the next section of the lesson.

The next part of the lesson has students writing an argument piece based on their reading of the article.

Independent Writing Practice: Writing An Argument Piece

13 minutes

The rest of the lesson is devoted to students writing an argument piece. Argument writing is a major shift in the Common Core so I try and have students write argument when applicable. The article fosters argument as it is a topic that students are forced to think about how this affects their own work since they are writing research papers themselves. Since we have already learned the basics of argument, students can now apply it.

Students have a few options they can choose from to write this argument piece:

  • In your experience, are students affected by their emphasis on using technology?
  • Do students/teenagers have a disconnect between what are original ideas and what is not? What is the cause of this?
  • What are the best ways to counteract not only intentional plagiarism by copy and pasting, but also the unintentional plagiarizing of another's idea, work, etc.?

Since there are three different questions, I can also differentiate instruction. For the lower level students I can nudge them in the direction of the first question and for higher level students I can have them work on the last question, which is a little more challenging.

I believe that students write their best when giving them the option of what they can choose from. When students have choice they are more engaged and greater engagement leads to better writing. While I give them the choice of what they can write about, they still need to use support from the article, whether it's quotes or statistics, to back up their argument. This idea of support is a major shift in the Common Core so I try and give my students as much practice in this as possible.

Here are two examples of student work from today's lesson: Student Work Plagiarism Article 1 and Student Work Plagiarism Article 2.