Plagiarization Generation?

Never mind what I'm reading. It's unimportant, beside the point, really! If I want to fritter spare moments reading Absolutely Amazing Five-Minute Mysteries and Walrus magazine, "it ain't nobody's business but my own." Hmmph! School doesn't start until after Labour Day (Sept. 3).

Next week, although still 'officially' on vacation, I'll be in school Monday to Friday setting up my new classroom. I'll be teaching grade 8 for the first time: English, History, French and Geography with a healthy dose of Grade 6 French thrown in. I'm also working with Primary level students on Language and English as a Second Language a couple of days a week, but I'm most concerned with preparing the heavier Grade 8 curriculum:


Confederation (i.e. the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867)

The Development of Western Canada

Social Change 1885-1914


Patterns in Human Geography

Economic Systems


The challenge is in the details. I have to teach my students to use and make charts, graphs, reports, tables, maps, models, graphs and all sorts of high-tech stuff like computer slide shows according to the Ontario Ministry guidelines. We have to consider secondary and primary sources (archaeological dig anyone?) and locate information from field trips, stats, interviews, CD-ROMS, videos, websites and print materials.

The methods of research and presentation are important, don't misunderstand me, but this is not where I anticipate difficulty. I'm getting a very talented group. Most are much more computer-savvy than I'll ever be with similarly hooked-up parents and resources at home.

They might need help presenting information without plagiarizing. With so much information, formatted so beautifully at the click of their mouse, students have trouble making something that does not contain chunks of stolen intellectual property. This is the post-Napster generation who have grown up in an environment where "information just wants to be free." They watch pirated movies, listen to pirated music and play pirated electronic games. Why should school be any different? I've had teachers warn me the only solution is to make students write every assignment during class!

Fortunately, I have a couple of textbooks to help me, with charmingly descriptive titles:

Canada Revisited: Confederation, The Development of Western Canada, A Changing Society

Human Geography: Discovering Global Systems and Patterns

I skipped the hot links. If you need them, you already know how to order them. If you don't, they hardly make light reading material.

Wish me happy reading!