My kids no longer want me to help them with homework. They think I help too much (their teachers might think that, too). I don’t feel that way, though. Most of our family’s homework time is spent relearning, discussing, and sometimes fixing homework. I want them to learn and to want to learn for themselves – isn’t that a skill I can help them with? I wonder about kids who don’t have teachers for parents – are they getting the most out of their home learning?
As frustrated as my kids get (with homework), I am reminded of my own days in middle school. I was lucky to have a great teacher as my mom. Although, at the time, I hated when she forced me to relearn, discuss, and fix my homework – the nerve of her! Here I am, becoming my mom – and I couldn’t be happier. She was doing the right thing – she was my real teacher, my best teacher.
There are many stories I can share about how I learned more from her than my actual teachers, but I will start with this one – I used it every year of my own teaching, because I treated my students as I would my own children – they deserved that.
How to summarize without plagiarizing – Nancy Lange style
Step 1- Read the text from which you’re getting your information.
Step 2- Read it again.
Step 3- Close the book (or exit out of and step away from device) and have a snack, get some exercise.
Step 4- From memory, write what you remember from your reading (dates don’t matter, only main idea, cause and effect, stuff worth knowing).
Step 5- Review, reflect, and revise your notes – partners are helpful.
Step 6- Throw it away! In class, we would have a paper shooting contest, or a paper airplane contest.
Step 7- The next day… rewrite your summary, revise, and feel confident that your words are yours (don’t forget to cite- seriously).
That’s it, it’s that easy- however, “how not to plagiarize” must be taught in school, by teachers, every year (probably every time they are summarizing others’ work). Pretend that the students did not learn that skill last year, last semester, last unit. Summarizing is a skill that needs practice and encouragement since there is so much informational text available at our fingertips.
Let’s help students learn this important skill- instead of trying to catch them plagiarizing. The ones you caught are the ones who weren’t taught – whose responsibility is that?
Here’s to you, Mom!!