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Lesson Plan

Research Building Blocks: "Cite Those Sources!"

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Research Building Blocks: "Cite Those Sources!"

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Instruction & Activities

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • discuss plagiarism.

  • practice paraphrasing.

  • credit sources used in research.

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Instruction & Activities

  1. It is very important for students to understand the need for, and purpose of, giving credit to the sources they use in the research process. The students need to learn about the concept of plagiarism. Plagiarism is using others' ideas or words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. While discussing the concept of plagiarism, use this avoiding plagiarism Web page to learn the when and where of citing sources as well as times when citing sources is not necessary.

  2. To remind students of the basic rules to avoid plagiarism, write the following on chart paper and post it close to the research area or media center in the classroom.

  3. Give credit whenever you use

    • another person's idea, opinion, or theory.

    • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings-any pieces of information-that are not common knowledge.

    • quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words.

    • paraphrases of another person's spoken or written words.

  4. After the discussion, use the example paragraph from How to Recognize Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases to show the appropriate/inappropriate way to paraphrase information.

  5. To ensure students are aware of proper citation procedures, reinforce that awareness by

    • providing them with a group of resources to create a bibliography for frequent practice in an activity or learning-center situation. Creating a Bibliography for Your Report discusses the various components of a bibliography.

    • modeling the step-by-step development of a bibliography for your class in a variety of settings and subject areas.

    • posting the standard bibliography format in a prominent place in your classroom.

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As this is only one step in teaching the research process, students need not be graded on the activity. Continued practice in paraphrasing and quoting material is most important, with teacher and peer feedback benefitting the student researcher. Final bibliographies turned in with the research report could then be graded based on accurate information and style.

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