I love Glogster. I’ve done a number of workshops recently with teachers and students to introduce this wonderful online poster application.
This week, however, as I was viewing glogs created by a group of 6th graders, I noticed that most the snippets of information in their text boxes did not sound like 6th grade parlance. So I’m rethinking not just my Glogster workshop, but all of my workshops, on how to best best structure the conversation in a way that reflects my shared belief that “any approach to addressing plagiarism should be anchored by best practices and teaching moments” (Because Digital Writing Matters, DeVoss, Eidman-Aadahl, Hicks, 2010).
Fortunately, as I was pondering starting points for teaching about plagiarism, I took a side trip into the Northern Nevada Writing Project’s Writing Fix website. Their Writing about Reading article was a great starting point. The article references Marzano’s A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works and includes a sampling of lessons and approaches shared by NNWP Teacher Consultants. My favorite is Dena Harrison’s Don’t Plagiarize! Not Ever! Dena shares two of the A+ reports she wrote while in elementary school (back when we used to copy our reports right out of the encyclopedia – hey, no one taught us how not to plagiarize) and offers students the following challenge: “If you are up for the challenge, I dare you to click on, then print out this page from my report. Bring it to class and show me how you’d change some of the sentences to give them your (or my) personality.“
Well, at some point in my parents’ downsizing years, I guess that box with my state report, country report, etc., got pitched. So I’m thinking I’ll pull samples from whatever tool I’m actually teaching. With Glogster, for instance, thanks to their new Categories link, it’s easy to find grade level and subject area samples. Given the brevity of the typical Glogster text box, challenging students to do some rewording could be a very quick, but effective exercise.
As for plagiarism at the secondary level, teachers often share that it’s a constant battle to discourage (or sometimes even to detect) plagiarism. Once again, I’d like to reference Because Digital Writing Matters: “The line between appropriate copying and plagiarism is a human line and cannot be patrolled by machine.” The book includes 7 activities for “situating” plagiarism as a digital world:
If you have resources for helping student writers hone their digital writing and digital citizenship skills, please share.