Monday, September 28, 2015

Originality is Best

I recently had an opportunity to play around with Turnitin. If you are unsure of what Turnitin is, it is an incredible tool to assist teachers in flagging plagiarized work. The student uploads their paper within this program. Turnitin then processes and gives the student a percentage of what is plagiarized.  Most teachers will have a percentage for the student to keep their plagiarized number under. For example, my class had to keep ours under twenty-five percent for the specific assignment.

This assignment was two-fold. The first being to plagiarize a report to see what it means to plagiarize. After my submission I received a 98%! That is NOT a good number.

For the second part, my assignment had to be under twenty-five percent. I received a 2%. So much better than that prior 98%, wouldn't you say?

When I went through high school in the 90s there was no Turnitin software loaded on my school's computer system. Everything was turned in by hand, by a typewriter. I cannot imagine how hard it was for professors to flag plagiarism. Now teachers use Turnitin and this helps catch students who cheat as well as it helps students get a feel for what true plagiarism really is.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Reflecting Back to My Concept Map

Books for Second Graders
I recently had an opportunity to create a concept map for a grade and subject of my choosing. Me, being a lover of all things English and Literature Arts, chose 2nd grade Language Arts. My map created an easy-to-follow diagram of books for second grade students, both boys and girls. 

I had five different categories: Mysteries, Animal Characters, Boy Main Characters, Girl Main Characters, and Fantasy. I didn't want to label any category 'books for girls' or 'books for boys'. I never want one of my students to feel as if because they like books with an opposite sex main character that that is a bad thing. 

With each main topic I chose two different books that fit into the specific genre that I came up with. I had a lot of fun browsing books that sounded like great reads, and that had interesting main characters. Many of these books were older books being published before my year of birth (1979), and others were newer releases. I included the book titles and authors for my students to write down and have an easy access to finding these books at the library.

Off of my fantasy main topic I had a book called Journey. This book is truly incredible. I bought it for my own children and they adore it. The great thing about Journey is that there are no words! Each student has their own journey that they create in their mind as they read. I branched off of Journey to add two more thought bubbles. In these thought bubbles I created what the book is about and why I love this book so much so that I recommend it to my students.

I loved making a concept map and can see it being used in a variety of different ways for my classroom. It isn't as easy as it looks to create. You need to have colors that will capture your students' eyes, but you don't want the colors so obnoxious that it makes it difficult to read or distracting.