Plagiarism / Fair use / Copyright
A curriculum for critical thinking and web research
This plan is part of a
Skill level: Beginner critical thinking and web
School level: Middle school (11–13 years old) research curriculum
High school (14–18 years old) developed by the International
Society for Technology in Education
(ISTE) and Microsoft.
Prerequisite skills needed www.microsoft.com/ education/criticalthinking
Students need to have basic computer use skills, such as the
ability to launch Internet Explorer®, type into search boxes,
and validate the reliability of an Internet source. See the “Validity” lesson plans for ideas.
Students also need to know how to navigate through webpages to locate important
information and cite Internet resources. See the “Citing web sources” lesson plans for ideas.
Synopsis of lesson
Students learn how to paraphrase information. Teachers develop acceptable guidelines for
research documentation to avoid plagiarism, including proper note-taking, appropriate
paraphrasing, and how and when to cite sources. (Refer to the “Citing web sources” lesson
plans for further information.) This lesson provides an opportunity for students to
differentiate between paraphrasing and plagiarism.
Rationale for lesson
Students who are researching may need additional help to avoid plagiarism while using web
resources. Many content area teachers feel that students’ information is not always
personalized when they are researching using web sources and may even be copied directly
from the source. This lesson helps students learn to paraphrase information.
Essential concepts / questions
Essential question for teachers:
♦ How can I support students in documenting and paraphrasing copyrighted material?
Essential question for students:
♦ How can I effectively and properly use information from web sources?
National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)
♦ 4A: Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and
technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate
documentation of sources.
♦ 5A: Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and
♦ Teachers should develop guidelines for research documentation.
♦ Teachers should develop samples of acceptable paraphrased documents, appropriate
ways to take notes, and ways to cite sources used for research, modeling these skills
♦ Use the Bing™ search engine to look up appropriate websites and to find samples
of proper ways to paraphrase, how to effectively take notes, and ways to cite
sources on the Internet. “Plagiarism – Teacher demo – Beginner” is a quick reference
for teachers that contains descriptions and sources for plagiarism, fair use, and
♦ Students must first have a strong grasp of the mechanics of search and the ability
to evaluate the reliability of the information they find (see other sections of this
curriculum for lesson ideas).
Teachers must consider students’ availability for labs and should take into account the time
spent on research and documentation. Also, if students are to locate and document
information electronically, teachers should consider where those files will be stored.
Teachers can develop storage folders on the school’s network or folders on Windows Live™
SkyDrive™. Teachers should determine how much time will be allotted for research,
documentation, and preparation of the final product.
To prepare the students for proper research techniques, teachers create a guideline for
proper research documentation. Teachers provide the students with a sample paraphrased
document to compare with a sample plagiarized document. Teachers should note the
differences between the two. Also, teachers should discourage plagiarism by modeling the
correct way to take notes on a given topic. See “Plagiarism – Teacher demo – Beginner.”
Student activities / guidance
Give students the guidelines for proper documentation. Discuss the definition of plagiarism
and the consequences of the action. Show students samples of proper and improper ways to
paraphrase. Discuss the differences between the samples and how students can paraphrase
♦ “Plagiarism – Student worksheet 1: Plagiarism or not?”
♦ Students answer the essential question:
◊ How can I properly and effectively use information from web sources?
Related resources and tutorials
♦ Bing Users Guide: How to use Bing
♦ “Read Write Think” sample lesson
♦ Microsoft Office OneNote®
♦ Education World
♦ Citation Machine
♦ The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)