This past week Ms. Liles’ 8th grade students worked feverishly in the library to start AND finish a research project that revolved around allusions/references in the book, The House on Mango Street. Students were tasked with selecting a topic (from a given list), depicting 3 symbols that would help to identify their topic, 2 depictions in art, and a story about the topic, which would all be presented in a poster format. Between research throughout the week, I was able to help the students develop an understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and how to cite sources accurately. Citing sources is still a work in progress, and throughout the next few months we hope to get the students more familiar and comfortable with the process.
I worried about confusing the students with the concept of plagiarism, but I found that while, yes, it confusing and can be difficult to comprehend, I also found that they were genuinely interested in the idea. I fielded many thought-provoking questions from the students, and many have come back after class to seek more information. Most of the students agreed to having plagiarized before because they just didn’t understand the concept.
Some topics students wanted more information on:
- Retweeting on Twitter
- Citing an image from the Internet
- Copying from a friend’s worksheet
- The idea of using another’s ideas and what is the difference between copying and plagiarism (is there a difference, are they the same?)
- Common knowledge and what/when to cite sources
- Academic consequences
- Paraphrasing is still considered plagiarism if you don’t cite the source. The idea that copying/pasting AND paraphrasing can be considered plagiarism is the most difficult to comprehend.
And, let’s not forgot about the Credible Hulk from The Classics Library. He always cites his sources.