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Lesson Plan

Campaigning for Fair Use: Public Service Announcements on Copyright Awareness

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Campaigning for Fair Use: Public Service Announcements on Copyright Awareness

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Ten 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Who owns what you compose? Who controls what happens with the words, images, music, sounds, videos that you create? What rights do you have to use other people's compositions? This unit plan focuses on helping students find answers to these questions. Students explore a range of resources on fair use and copyright then design their own audio public service announcements (PSAs), to be broadcast over the school's public address system. Students begin by completing a survey about fair use. Students discuss their responses to the survey and then research facts about fair use and copyright. Next, students become familiar with PSAs before writing and producing their own announcements, which are shared with other students. Work can also be published as podcasts on the Internet.

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Persuasion Map: Use this online tool to map out and print your persuasive argument. Included are spaces to map out your thesis, three reasons, and supporting details.

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In her description of a student-centered program to address issues of copyright in her school, Barbara Giorgio explains, "The key factor in the success of Marple Newtown's Committee for Academic Integrity is ownership of the process by students. They are committed, not preachy or self-righteous, simply committed to helping others make the right decisions. It has worked in Marple Newtown, and it can work wherever there are such dedicated students" (17). This lesson plan provides a similar opportunity for students to take the lead in educating one another about the issues of copyright and intellectual property rights while simultaneously asking them to practice fair use of the resources that they use in their finished work.

Further Reading

Giorgio, Barbara. "Plagiarism: A Student-Led, Proactive Approach." English Leadership Quarterly 28.1 (August 2005): 16-17.

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