Fifth Graders and Their Intellectual Property

A few weeks ago I launched a list article unit of study in writing workshop.  Our goal was to give kids a highly structured format to follow as they dipped their toe into the magazine writing genre.  As part of this launch I decided to have students work on a collaborative topic, something they all knew a lot about, something close to their hearts.  Recess.

So, we took to the playground iPads in hand and started taking photographs.  Because there is a shared Dropbox account on their devices students uploaded the images that they wanted to share with the class for use.  As they chose whether to upload their images or not I discussed the idea of copyright with them.  We talked about how people deserve credit for their work, brainstormed places where we’ve seen the little copyright symbol, and discussed what can happen when you violate that copyright.  As a result, when students chose an image from the common Dropbox they were careful to respect each others rights as artists and little credit lines started popping up in their articles.

I must have planted a seed because pretty soon I found logos sketched on post-it’s and signs like the ones above being created during free time.  I’m always amused at the topics my students hang on to.  This is one that I will file away and revisit often, because it’s an important one.  They’ve started to grasp the idea that what we create is our own and what we borrow must be credited.  This is a key goal for me  as I hammer home the idea of citing sources used and paraphrasing or synthesizing information, not just copying it.  Even though my students were very concerned with not violating each others rights they’re still working on the idea that this applies to things we find on the internet.  A testimonial to how the anonymity of the internet is hard to overcome.

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One Response to Fifth Graders and Their Intellectual Property

  1. Pingback: Fifth Graders and Their Intellectual Property | Teaching, Sharing |

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