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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!  

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