500 Words At A Time: As A Teacher, Part 18

STAR-WARS-NEW-VILLAINThere’s been an awakening.

Have you felt it?

Probably not, unless you were in class yesterday and today. Yesterday witnessed the rise of a second student. Other students took note of the awakening.

Surely today could not be on the same level, could it? It snowed overnight. This may not seem relevant to the story, but because of the snow and because I am watching one additional child I arrived late to class. We walked in on the latest Cutthroat Chopped Challenge in progress.

The challenge for the students to create a poster talking about the dangers of plagiarism. In other words, plagiarism is BAD! After the previous couple of Cutthroat Chopped Challenges I was prepared for more of the same; students who didn’t try or care to defend to the work that they did make with one or two standouts. Totally not what Cutthroat Chopped Challenges are about at all. Here is a fun way to show off and potentially avoid the final exam.

Yet the students, up to today, have not given a shit and not given enough of a shit to defend the shit that they did produce. Today…

Plagarism PostersAllow me to start with all six students took part in the challenge.

All six students did work that far exceeded our expectations of them. Keep in mind, that because of their lackluster work to this point the bar was set lower than it should have been.

All six students need to up their defending their work game, but at least a couple took pride (as they should) in their work.

This was the first time where the three judges had a hard time picking a winner. Hell we had a hard time giving an order of any kind. Each of the students demonstrated that they have the ability that we have a.) been telling them they have and b.) expecting them to demonstrate from day one.

Unlike previous challenges the difference between first and last was slim to the point of nitpicking. Good examples:

  1. The pink poster has excellent lowest common denominator explanations, but then adds extra sentences that mess up the definitions with extraneous information.
  2. The copy cat poster has three example sentences of plagiarism, but the student forgot to end the sentences with periods.
  3. The pirate themed poster is great use of the pirate theme and wording, but one too many clip art pirate things.
  4. The half sheet would have been better on a full sheet, but the student got sabotaged
  5. The poster with the kid sitting and red box needed some work on the photo and text to make them snap together even better.
  6. The tall white poster with the “No Copy Paste” needed some layout work.

All minor points. Amazing. In the end, we chose the poster with the kid sitting down as it conveyed the message that plagiarism can derail your education, which can derail your future…harsh message, but having seen the end results of students plagiarizing there is some truth to the message. Plus, as a writer I want people who plagiarize put in stocks for public shaming and as targets for throwing rotten fruits and vegetables.


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