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Notes on Plagiarism (3-5)

Main Core Tie

Elementary Library Media (K-5)
Strand 8 Standard 1

Additional Core Ties

Elementary Library Media (K-5)
Strand 7 Standard 2

Time Frame

2 class periods of 15 minutes each

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Character


DaNae Leu


What plagiarism looks like and the rules to avoid it. A note taking strategy to prevent coping directly from the text.


Copy and print one or two articles with several distinct sections, from Utah On-line Library. (Animal articles in World Book work well, or you can chose a subject the class is currently covering.)

Divide the article into the sections matching the number of groups the class is divided into.

A pad of sticky notes for each table.

Writing utensils.

White board.

A projector connected to a computer.

Background for Teachers


  • Avoiding Plagiarism
    A comprehensive look at what plagiarism is and how to correctly cite sourced material.

Understand the rules regarding plagiarism and citing sources.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will understand that plagiarism is not only unethical but counter to the goal of education. Students will employ quick note-taking to extract information without plagiarizing.

Instructional Procedures


This can be accomplished in one or two weeks, save part two for the following week.

Part One:

Show short video from Teacher Tube on Plagiarism.

Lead a discussion of what plagiarism is and why it is a problem.

Include consequences both punitive and ethical. (I will often ask the question, "Why is your education valuable?" Many answers are appropriate, Eventually, I bring up the fact that more important than the facts they memorize and the grades they earn, eventually they need to use the skill of critical thinking, 'using their brains', to move about productively in the world. I reinforce the idea that plagiarism does the reverse of increase that ability.)

Demonstrate how easy it is to do using a computer.

Pull up a web article that might be used for research (I usually go to an animal article on World Book found in Utah's Online Library):

Demonstrate cutting and pasting, toggling between the on-line article and a Word doc. (as if they didn't know)

Demonstrate how to use a direct quotation, using quotation marks and citing the source.

Explain that the rule is, if more than five words are used verbatim, quotations need to be added. If you paraphrase content you did not know previously the source must be cited.

To ensure that content is not copied word for word is it best to work from notes rather than the source material.

Part 2:

Begin by checking what the students remember of the discussion on plagiarism.

Reiterate the rules and again explain that the best way to avoid plagiarism is to work from their own notes rather than the source material. Explain that they are going to write brief notes and together create a document on the topic using the notes.

Explain that notes need not be more than a few words to jog memory of what was read. Show a few examples. Use a similar article to the one cannibalized for the exercise.

Have the class divided into groups of three or four at tables.

Assign each table a paragraph to take notes on.

Assign each group to read their portion of the article together. Require that each member of group write a distinct and different note on the content.

Notes should just be a few words and not word for word from the text.

Divide the white board into sections matching the same number of groups.

Read aloud the article one section at a time. After each section ask the group to share their notes and stick them to the board in that section.

Once you've gone through the entire article go through the notes one section at a time and together construct one or two sentences encompassing the content in their notes.

Read the article aloud, checking against the source material that phrases were not copied word for word.

Briefly explain how to cite the source in the bibliography.


"What Constitutes Plagiarism?". Harvard Guide to Using Sources. 2017. Web.

Created: 06/05/2017
Updated: 02/05/2018