Monthly Archives: February 2015

Plagiarism Resources and Persuasive Essays in Biology

O2 – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area. O2 means that as a teacher, my job is to deepen my students’ knowledge of the material we are learning.

I have chosen to focus on this aspect of ISTE 4: Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.

In our current era, our children are exposed to technology at a very young age. As a parent and educator, it is our responsibility to educate our youth about responsible internet use. Miller and Ribble (2013) state, “Many students are using technology without awareness of technology use etiquette and/or Digital Citizenship.” They go on to propose that school leaders should embed digital citizenship into all aspects of teaching and learning. A classmate of mine, Peter Redling, shared a resource from the New York City Library System. This resource gives lesson ideas and activities for digital citizenship for grades 1-12.

One aspect of ISTE 4 is respecting copyright and the appropriate documentation of sources. Since I teach middle and secondary students, this is an important topic for me. A resource that our school uses to prevent plagiarism is   Information about is below and another resource about plagiarism created by a colleague at my school.

In Biology in our unit on Genetics and Heredity, one of our learning targets was: The student will debate the benefits and dangers of manipulating DNA in living organisms. My colleague, who is teaching the other section of Biology, had the idea of writing a persuasive essay for this learning target. The students could choose to research the human genome project or DNA manipulation in living organisms. They needed to choose a side of the debate on whether their topic was advantageous to society or more dangerous to society. This assignment gave my students a challenge in the content area because they had to research the issues, take a side, and then give supporting arguments for their opinion. I learned that having students write an essay for a learning target is a worthwhile activity because it deepened their understanding of the issues surrounding the manipulation of DNA in living organisms.

I took the opportunity in this assignment, to use I also spoke with my students about appropriately citing their sources, and how turnitin can help them do this. We also spoke about plagiarism and what it means. All of the students submitted their paper to me on I enjoyed using, particularly the built-in grammar corrections as well as the check for plagiarism. In the future, I hope to use again for essay assignments.


Miller, Teresa Northern & Mike Ribble. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: connecting students to technology responsibly, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), 137-145.


Glogster Poster About Plagiarism

One of the biggest ethical issues facing middle and secondary teachers today, is cheating by their students.  I have focused on cheating when writing papers or essays, in particular plagiarism.  Plagiarism, as defined by Webster’s dictionary is:  the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.  I have created a poster in Glogster to help my students and parents know what plagiarism is.  Here is the link:

Encouraging Parent Involvement in Science Education

H4 – Honor family/community involvement in the learning process. To me, H4 means to invite families and the community, to be involved in student learning – in and out of the classroom.

ISTE Standard 3: How can you demonstrate knowledge, skills, and work processes, representative of an innovative education professional in a global and digital society?

One area very important to me as an educator, is communication with parents. To honor relationships with parents, we need to communicate regularly and with quality. What does it mean to communicate with quality and how can we communicate representative of being an education professional in a digital society?

My question for ISTE Standard 3: What online resources can encourage parental involvement in their child’s learning of science?  My question took me to the National Science Teachers Association where they had a specific webpage dedicated to how parents can encourage their children in science. These ideas go beyond parents just helping their students with homework, but how they can encourage a child’s curiosity for science outside of the school and classroom. I thought this would be a great resource for a “Back to School Night” when I first meet parents and also a resource for follow up when I see them at conferences. The weblink is below and I have an excerpt of what I would hand out to parents at a Back to School Night.

BSN for ISTE 3

This answers the what to communicate but how can I use technology to continue communication with parents? I had mentioned in my last post about using Edmodo for student assessment but I would like to also use it for communication with parents. Parents can access Edmodo and keep current of classroom assignments and material. Another resource a classmate of mine found for communication with parents is Remind. Remind is a free resource that allows teachers to communicate with parents through various digital devices using text messages and email.

In our readings for ISTE Standard 3, we looked at an article by Briggs (2011). This article states the difference between a digitally literate person and a digitally fluent person. A digitally literate person knows how to use technology tools and what to do with them. A digitally fluent person knows when and why to use the tools to reach a desired outcome. As a teacher, I want to use technology to have a good relationship with the parents of my students, not only to keep them updated on classroom activities, but to encourage them in their role as parents in the learning process.


Briggs, C. (2011, February 5). The difference between digital literacy and digital fluency [web post]. Retrieved February 15, 2015 from

Using Edmodo as a Tool for Assessment

H2 – Honor student access to content. H2, to me, means that I give my students multiple opportunities to review material from our class time.   Also, I can give them access to other types of content that reinforces what we are learning in the classroom. ISTE Standard 2 is designing and developing digital age learning experiences and assessments. ISTE 2 and H2 work well together because I was challenged in my technology class to design a digital assessment for my Life Science students on Edmodo.

Edmodo is the internet learning community system we use at my school. I use Edmodo regularly to post lecture presentations, links to videos, assignments, and reminders to my students. I use Edmodo to communicate to students when they are gone from class and need to catch up on the work that they missed. Also, Edmodo is very helpful when some students need more interaction with content material for various reasons. On an exit ticket I use where my students self assess their learning, one of the questions is, “List 3 resources where you can go for help if you don’t understand the learning target.” One of those resources listed is normally “Edmodo” for my students.

For my technology class, I needed to seek out a resource for ISTE Standard 2. I had wanted to use Emodo more than just for communication with my students. I wondered if Edmodo had tools to use for assessment purposes. I found a blog of a teacher who raved about Edmodo quizzes and shared further resources about creating Edmodo quizzes.

This week I created a multiple choice quiz for my Life Science class who were away this week for a ski week. The quiz was a review about what we have been learning about plants. Below is a screen shot of the results that I as a teacher receive which is very helpful as it gives me a pie chart graph of each question, so I know which questions are the weakest for my students.

iste2 evidence

I hope to use Edmodo in more ways to help my students have more access to content. One way is to use a document camera to take pictures of dissections or other activities that we do in class. I could post these pictures on Edmodo so students can review what we have done but also for those who may not have been in class. One of my classmates shared a resource about using a document camera for a visual arts class, but I hope to try this for my Science class sometime in the future. Here is the link for her resource for a document camera.


In our readings for our class, Grunwald Associates (2010) did a survey for PBS and one of the trends was that there was an increase in teachers joining online professional communities (p. 9). Edmodo has an online community for Science teachers and I have joined it.   Teachers post questions for the online community and all can see the questions and answers. I have used many resources that fellow teachers have posted.


PBS (2010). Deepening Connections: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology. Retrieved from