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Resource Id:  7280  Grade

Lesson Plan: Paraphrasing, Summarizing, and Quoting

Lesson Plan
Writing Plan Type: Separated    Show Separated Definition

Dr. Judith Langer, director of the National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement, and a team of researchers conducted a five-year study that examined educational practices in middle and high schools aimed at increasing students' learning and performance in English language arts. As a result of their research they identified six features that distinguish schools in which students "beat the odds" to literacy achievement beyond that achieved by peers in comparable schools. The lesson that follows was written using Langer's research.

The entire study, Beating the Odds: Teaching Middle and High School Students to Read and Write Well, can be found at http://cela.albany.edu/reports/langer/langerbeating12014.pdf.


The lesson addresses unintentional plagiarism and guides students in how to paraphrase, summarize, and integrate quotations and citations into text.


This lesson is part of a suite of standards-based lessons.

Student Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

Students will

  • Recognize and evaluate examples of unacceptable borrowing of another author’s words, phrasing, or sentence structure.
  • Write acceptable examples of paraphrasing, summarizing, quoting, and attribution of another author’s work.
  • Correctly use ellipses when quoting another's work.
  • Integrate quotations and citations into text, observing manuscript requirements.

Approximate Time Needed: One to two 45-minute sessions


Initial Instruction

  • The teacher explains acceptable use of sources, intentional and unintentional plagiarism, public and private domain, paraphrase and summary.
  • The teacher leads students through examples which incorporate source material into text. Examples include use of signal phrases, paraphrase, summary, ellipses and brackets, as well as examples of quoting out of context and unacceptably borrowing sentence structure and wording.

Learning Activity

  • Working collaboratively, students read and compare two pieces of text, then make and support a judgment about intentional or unintentional plagiarism.
  • Students write examples and non-examples of acceptable use of source material, including attribution.

Assessment and Reflection

  • Students share and discuss the examples they have written on the worksheet, incorporating peer suggestions into revisions.
  • The teacher may collect the worksheet for individual assessment and credit. Students’ journal entry identifies new learnings.
Materials and Resources Required for Lesson:
Technology - Hardware:

Technology - Software:

Printed Materials: Plagiarism: Latin for Kidnapping!
Acceptable vs Unacceptable Use
Paraphrasing, Summarizing, and Quoting
You Be The Judge
Internet Resources: http://www.oslis.k12.or.us/secondary/

Preparation and Set Up:

Pre-assessment: Determine whether students have had prior instruction and practice creating Works Cited entries (an 8th grade Oregon Writing Standard). If a review is needed prior to this lesson, resources at the OSLIS website http://www.oslis.k12.or.us/secondary/  may be helpful. The following 8th grade lesson in REAL Teaching and Learning Resources may be helpful:

  • Introduction to OSLIS Citation Maker

Make a transparency of Plagiarism: Latin for Kidnapping! or prepare for computer projection in the classroom.


Duplicate one copy of the activity materials for each student.

Setting the Stage/Initial Instruction:

Setting the Stage

In schools that beat the odds, teachers make overt connections among grades, lessons, courses, academic goals, and life . Ask students to recall what they have learned about quoting, paraphrasing, citing sources and plagiarism in previous grades. Help students see that the in-text citation they will learn today is an extension of the list of Works Cited (or bibliography) they have already learned to use at the end of a research report. Point out that their future educational and career goals will involve incorporating other’s ideas into their own writing, and avoiding plagiarism will be vital to their reputations. As they progress in school and career, they will be held to an increasingly higher standard. Explain that paraphrasing, summarizing and incorporating quotations are skills to be learned and developed – and that they will have an opportunity to improve their skills today.

Initial Instruction

Explain acceptable use of sources.

  • Project Plagiarism: Latin for Kidnapping! Distinguish between intentional and unintentional plagiarism. Emphasize that this lesson is about avoiding unintentional plagiarism.
  • Distinguish between public domain and private domain information. (Sample answers for the examples are on the last page of the transparency masters.)
  • Distinguish between paraphrase and summary.

Examine some example sentences that use source material.

  • Distribute copies of the handout Paraphrasing, Summarizing, and Quoting.
  • Read aloud the passage in the box, noting the blocked quotation. Point out the signal phrase, the indentation, lack of quotation marks, placement and text of the in-text citation (the page number only, because in this case the author’s name is included in the signal phrase). Make sure all students understand each word of the passage (such as panned) because the following examples are based on this excerpt.
  • As entries 1-4 are read aloud and discussed, ask student to identify the source statements and articulate the differences.
  • When discussing the examples of unacceptable paraphrasing, note that in earlier grades teachers may have accepted – even rewarded – such writing, but that the standards are higher now.
  • Point out that quoting out of context is seldom unintentional and easily can be avoided.
"The Teacher Might Say.." for Initial Instruction/Setting the Stage:

Setting the Stage

In schools that beat the odds, teachers make overt connections among grades, lessons, courses, academic goals, and life. "Tell me a little about what you have already learned about citing sources. [e.g., entries on a list at the end of a report, a "bibliography," you do it when you quote material, shows where you found information, etc.]

What about plagiarism? [e.g., copying someone’s paper, not using quotation marks to set off  word-for-word quotations, etc.]

Why is plagiarism considered bad? [e.g., cheating, stealing another’s work, dishonest, claiming you wrote something you didn’t, etc.]

What happens when people get caught plagiarizing? [e.g., no credit, failing grade, even expulsion in some college programs, termination from jobs, disgrace for authors, lawsuits for musicians, etc.]

This is intentional plagiarism, and it is pretty easy to avoid: You don’t copy, download, buy, borrow other people’s papers or work; it’s really just a simple matter of integrity.

But what about unintentional plagiarism? Even famous authors are sometimes guilty of this – to great harm to their reputations. Avoiding unintentional plagiarism isn’t a matter of integrity so much as a matter of skill and care. Today you are going to improve your skill by 1) recognizing examples of unacceptable borrowing, 2) practicing writing examples of acceptable borrowing, and 3) learning how to use in-text citations to give credit. As you progress through high school and later into other academic and business situations, you will be held to an increasingly higher standard, so we want to make sure you have the skills to acceptably paraphrase, summarize, and incorporate direct quotations. Let’s get started…."

Learning Activity:

In schools that beat the odds, teachers provide opportunities for students to engage in thoughtful dialogue . Help students learn to exchange ideas and engage in active learning in group situations.

Arrange students in small work groups to advance comprehension, actively grapple with the content, and make and support judgments related to an instance of potential online plagiarism.

Arrange students in pairs or groups of three to read and discuss the text in You Be The Judge.

  • Direct students to read through the first excerpt (Florin), underlining any words or phrases that are confusing to them. Emphasize that one reason students unintentionally plagiarize material is that they do not completely understand it, and so cannot think of their own way to restate it. Students may work together to clarify as needed. 
  • Check for Understanding: Circulate among groups, monitoring for understanding and clarifying as needed.
  • Using the same procedure to identify and clarify comprehension difficulties, students read the second excerpt (Chenowith).
  • Ask students to identify words, phrases, or sentence structure (or whole sentences, in this case) which represent unacceptable borrowing by Chenowith.
  • Invite pairs to share their findings with others in small groups. (Two or three pairs could simply be combined or partners could be split and each sent to different groups.)
  • Working collaboratively, groups should make a judgment about this excerpt: Does this look like intentional or unintentional plagiarism? They should be prepared to support their position with specific examples.
  • Invite groups to report out to share their judgments and support in a brief class discussion.

Distribute the Acceptable vs Unacceptable Use worksheet. Direct students to work individually, writing their own example sentences for each type. They may draw their content from the chapter by Florin in You Be The Judge (except for the first paragraph, which has probably been exhausted). Or, the teacher may supply a different text, such as one related to a current or future topic of study.

Assessment and Reflection:

Students may be reconvened into groups to review and discuss their written examples (noting any problems and writing improved examples on the back of the handout) before turning in their papers.

Check for understanding: Circulate among the groups, clarifying and re-teaching as necessary.

The teacher may collect papers for individual assessment and credit.


In schools that beat the odds, teachers engage students in creative and critical uses of their knowledge and skills . Provide opportunities for students to go beyond the initial lesson to develop deeper understanding of issues, further pursue topics that interest them, and put new learning to creative uses.


Students may look for other examples of possible plagiarism in other online articles by finding particularly apt, unique phrasing that is likely to be borrowed by others, then using Google or other search functions to find other sites where the same phrase appears. Collaborating with others, they should evaluate whether or not the borrowing falls within the bounds of acceptable use.


Students may research and report on the recent controversy surrounding adequate or appropriate citation in the works of two noted historians: Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Source articles can be found on the OSLIS EBSCOhost Student Research Center Database.


Students may be reminded to incorporate and demonstrate these skills during subsequent research assignments.

Accommodations for Differentiated Instruction:
Resource Student: Students may be paired with their study-buddy to complete the tasks.
Non-Native English Speaker: Study-buddies may help with the reading and writing tasks. If more advanced speakers are familiar with citation conventions in their own language, they may share and compare them.
Gifted Student: Students may undertake activities listed in the extensions individually or in a small group and report back to classmates.

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