Thursday, December 15, 2011


Since we use the blog as a jumping off point to get to the webquest, here it is: CLICK ON THIS.

To my class: Please work hard.  You need to be finished with the power point presentation by the end of the day.

We're still looking at Hammurabi and comparing his legal system to our own.  Overall, this has gone very well.  The biggest problem has been with cutting and pasting.  I don't think 7th graders fully understand what "in your own words" means.  A list of clever loopholes:
  • Cut and paste, and ignore the rule
  • Cut and paste full paragraphs, but put "Information taken from:____________" at the bottom of the slide
  • Instead of cutting and pasting, type the individual words from the source, changing nothing
  • Cut and paste, and change 3 to 5 words in the paragraph, therefore making it "your own."
Well, plagiarism is a lot like stealing...  When a two year old does it, it's cute... cookies smeared all over his face, claiming he didn't take any...  at three and four he should know better - maybe he gets a time out.  Stealing gum from a convenience store prompts mom to drag his butt back in there, apologize, pay for it, and offer to landscape the place for the next two weeks... the 19 year old who holds up the same convenience store gets carted away with his name in the paper.

These kids aren't going to get kicked out of school for plagiarism.  Most of the time, they just don't know what they're doing.  But they need to learn.  If they've copied and pasted huge swaths of text for this assignment, they're going to fail it.  They won't receive a zero, but they'll most likely fail.

Well, sorry to turn the blog into a soap box, but that's how my day went... going around from desk to desk looking at students work, and pointing out how I knew they copied and pasted:
  • hyperlinks still in text
  • contained words they couldn't pronounce, let alone define
  • contained exact wording of phrases
We are getting better.  Most students realized what I was looking for about half-way through the period.  Read the passage, and then without looking at it, write down what was important.  If you had to explain it to someone who was in third grade, what would you say to them?

(It seems like the soap box is still underneath me... sorry... sorry.  For real this time: I'm done.)

If you want your kid/step-kid/grand kid/ foster kid/ whoever to get extra credit for this, access her school work folder from home and see how far she is on the power point.  Have her explain the slides to you.  To get the extra credit, write me a note that contains at least 10 words on the 3rd slide of their presentation.  Then, ask her if she put everything in her own words - and how she went about doing this.  If you can't access their presentation for some reason or another, write me a note that lets me know that you tried, that you really did seriously try to look at it - but alas to no avail.  (Please at least discuss it for me...)  Then, adult-ish person sign the slip.  By signing it you're saying you really did read this thing, and discuss it with said student.  Please don't sell your soul for 5 extra credit points.  *emoticon smiley*

In case you're wondering where Mesopotamia is/was... I made a map this afternoon.  Here it is:

Not bad, huh?


  1. I read the blog and very much appreciated the points that were expressed. Alas, I have no kids/step-kids/grand kids/ foster kids/or such with whom to discuss the assignment as put forth here. I will say that the assignment that the teacher completed goes a long way in reaching out to parents to be involved in the education of their student(s).

    Thank you for caring and for sharing.

    A teacher's parent

  2. Thanks, Simple mom. I appreciate that.