Exploring Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing


  • Three lessons that allow students to learn about copyright, plagiarism, and paraphrasing.
  • Learning how to use information respectfully.
  • Discussing the rules of copyright.
  • Included is a Power point that provides opportunities for students to identify plagiarism and  discuss paraphrasing strategies.

Grade:  Cycle 3

Time: Three, 50 minute lessons

Student Objectives:  – Students will:

  • define plagiarism, fair use, and paraphrasing
  • recognize and provide examples of plagiarism, fair use, and paraphrasing.
  • use appropriate paraphrasing strategies to replace advanced-level words with age/grade/level appropriate vocabulary.


  • Student textbook from a content area such as social studies or science
  • Internet connection and projection capabilities
  • Identifying Plagiarism PowerPoint Presentation
  • Paraphrasing Practice PowerPoint Presentation


  • Choose a section or chapter in the student textbook to use during each part of the lesson and as part of the student assessment. Textbook sections that have not/may not be covered in class work best.
  • Make copies of the Research Skills KWL handout and Checklist for Fair Use for teachers use only.
  • Make arrangements to project the Paraphrasing Practice PowerPoint Presentation and the Identifying Plagiarism PowerPoint Presentation, or create separate transparencies for each sentence on the Paraphrasing Practice and Identifying Plagiarism sheets.
  • If students need additional practice, choose passages from available texts (e.g., an elementary level encyclopedia; student writing; unfamiliar school or college textbooks). Work together to create your own paraphrased and plagiarized versions of the passages to extend student options for identifying plagiarism.
  • The classroom teacher and library media specialist should test the ReadWriteThink Notetaker on the computers to familiarize themselves with the tool and to ensure the Flash plug-in is installed. Schools can download the plug-in from the Technical Support page



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