Skip to main content

Paraphrasing and Jimi Hendrix

A Student's Reaction to Learning about Patent Medicine


This week students tackled a fairly difficult text about patent medicine in the 1800s.  I decided to break down the packet of information into six parts and divide students into six groups. Each group became an expert on their assigned section.  Their job was to teach their information to the class.  Thanks to Google, I was able to assign each group two slides on ONE presentation.  

I realized that students really needed some practice with paraphrasing.  It's a very important skill and one students don't always understand.  We began by discussing plagiarism and how many times, students plagiarize without really realizing it.  I had them take a few notes outlining some tips and techniques for paraphrasing, as well as showed them a short video.  Some students believed that if they just substituted synonyms for several words that it wasn't plagiarism.  Wrong!

I gave them this sentence first:

The elephant is the only animal that cannot jump with all of its legs off the ground.

We discussed which word would have to be kept from the sentence (elephant).  Then we talked about words that  could be changed, as well as the idea of changing the order of the sentence.  Here is a good example of what a student wrote below:


Our second sentence was a bit more challenging and provided an opportunity for a little cultural literacy! Here it is:

Jimi Hendrix’s jacket, along with a mesmerizing hoard of trinkets from rock’s glory days, were stuffed haphazardly into every corner of the shop until last fall, when rent increases] forced the store to close

Most students had never heard of Jimi Hendrix. Sigh.... As they wrote their paraphrases, I felt obliged to play a little of his music for them.  Here's some more student work below:









I am having such a wonderful time with my students!  


Popular posts from this blog

Ditch those Reading Logs: Try Flipgrid Instead

If you've read my posts or follow me on Twitter, you know how I feel about pointless projects and homework!  This year I made it official and ditched homework.  It's the best decision I've ever made as a teacher.  My students are loving it, I am loving it, and I think most of their parents are loving it! I have completely transformed the way I run my classroom and feel like my students are more engaged and excited than ever. 

Student Example (Click to watch)

Like homework, I never felt quite right about assigning reading logs.  Whenever my own kids had to read a book on their own for school, they were initially excited. First, they were told they had to read twenty minutes each night. Then the dreaded reading logs began.  They had to write  down what pages they read, as well as a summary.  Urgh! I can only imagine lying on the beach with my own book and having to complete a reading log.  No thanks!  And I am not going to lie. I just might have signed one of my son's read…

Have a Dance Party Before Class Starts

This year I decided to play music as students are entering my classroom and before the final bell rings.  I had no idea what a difference it would make!  Why didn't I do this before?  It creates a positive, upbeat mood and seems to energize my students and ME! 



At first I thought they'd complain when I blasted disco tunes by artists like Chic, The Bee Gees, and Vickie Sue Robinson ("Turn the Beat Around").   I thought they'd groan when I played Bon Jovi, Journey, and Whitesnake. I thought they'd roll their eyes when I played clean versions of songs by Tupac and Snoop Dogg.  I really thought they'd lose it when I played Gypsy Kings.  NOPE!  They loved it!  I had NO idea that my kids would react they way they did.  Here are the results:






If I don't have time to put the music on, several kids will ask, "Where's our dance party?" I really like Pandora because I can create my own stations.  If you're looking for a way to create a positive vi…

Creating a Cell Phone Sanctuary

Over the past few years, I have noticed a change in my students.  Not only are they tethered to their phones, but they are more anxious than ever.  In the past two school years, I have had at least three students experience school anxiety so severe that they could not come to school.   Those are just MY students.  This year I have had one student leave our school after her mother spent three weeks trying to drag her to class each morning as her daughter screamed, cried, and sometimes refused to get out of the car.  According to an article titled "Teen Anxiety and Depression: the Kids are not Alright" published in 2016, "In 2015, about 3 million teens ages 12 to 17 had had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2 million report experiencing depression that impairs their daily function. About 30% of girls and 20% of boys–totaling 6.3 million teens–have had an anxiety disorder, according t…