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Click here if you’re tired of hearing the excuse,”But I didn’t know I was plagiarizing!”


Language Arts  


9, 10, 11, 12  


Title – Plagiarism Lesson
By – Christine Helwig
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 9-12

Tired of hearing the excuse, “But I didn’t know I was plagiarizing!” Hopefully this lesson will help.

This lesson takes approximately 30-45 minutes:

      1) Print out a copy of

Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It


      2) Read and discuss the article. Pay close attention to the examples of acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing found in the article. (It’d be good to have these on an overhead.) Ask: Do you have any questions about plagiarism?
      3) Have a class list of the students. At the top of the list write,

“My teacher has explained plagiarism to me. I have no questions regarding plagiarism. I understand that if I have any questions in the future I should talk to my teacher.”

      Pass the list around for students to sign next to their names.
      4) Make copies of the list of signatures to give to the administrators in your building. If any of your students plagiarize in any of their classes during the year, the excuse of not knowing about plagiarism is thrown out the window because of the signature. (Also helps when parents say their child didn’t know about plagiarism.)


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