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I've often found colleagues identify a problem with their students copying text when researching and having little success in summarizing into their own words the text being read. These dilemmas always pique my interest as they are easily resolved with teaching solutions rather than what may at first seem like a learner's problem.
Research is like writing, the more connected a student is to the topic at hand the more relevant information they will find and higher quality presentation they will create. This makes for better learning experience students will receive from the process. Scaffolding young students research will support their success and set productive patterns and honest approaches in their future. They time we can spend teaching young students how to research productively (and enjoy it too) will save much future time and energy regarding issues of plagiarism.
So what is the 'teaching solution' to text-copying problems?
Get your students connected to their research.
How do I get my students connected to their research?
I'm glad you asked. The UOI Research Support worksheet will help guide your students (and maybe yourself) through the process of formulating a question, reading and selecting information (FINDING OUT) and the making of and sorting notes (SORTING OUT).
Before you begin, as is true with anything new, I would provide a short period of time for students to openly explore the topic (chosen or nominated), its boundaries and possibilities. This will make the process richer, quicker.
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Jen Pittaway, Leigh Ann and I have been collaborating again on our HOW WE EXPRESS OURSELVES Unit of Inquiry for this school year. Last year we learned a bunch and came up with a creative process to support students composing Music. Click HERE to read more.
This year we aimed to create a more Transdisciplinary Unit with a Creative Process for Arts including Drama, Music, Dance and Visual Art. We felt that students needed the freedom and opportunities to create, yet, they also needed some support or structure to help them along the way. We wanted something simple but effective for Primary age children.
Waves of reflection throughout the process, in an Arts Journal through drawing, writing, pasting etc, provide the opportunity for students to capture ideas and develop them. Students learn about how they are being creative eventually informing themselves of their own creative process. Reflecting on feedback from others during the three phases, formally or informally, will help students improve their ideas, expression and understanding of their own creativity.
Inspiration and Exploration
The child remains at the center and any inspiration (internal or external) he or she must feel strongly connected to. Exploration is free and open without structure and goes hand-in-hand with finding inspiration and being inspired. Towards the end of this phase, students capture their inspiration in their Arts Journal and catapult themselves to consider the Audience. Once they have done this the come back to continue into the next phase.
Student's consider what they want their Audience to feel. They describe what connections they intend to make with their audience and what connections they want the audience to make with them. Students need to understand the ideas they will convey to their audience. They need to think of the messages they want their audience to leave with.
Which of the Arts or combination will best express their ideas, feelings, experiences, messages or make connections? Which elements of Arts will help them achieve this?
Students make their expression permanent by writing their script, making their art, filming their dance, notating their music and so on.
Students perform and share. They reflect on the influence they have made on others through expressing themselves creatively.