Series: Common Sense Media


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • SL:  Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • 6:  6th Grade
  • 1c: 
    Engage effectively in a range of collaborative
    discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacherled)
    with diverse partners on grade 6 topics,
    texts, and issues, building on others'\x80\x99 ideas and
    expressing their own clearly.

    a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or
    studied required material; explicitly draw on
    that preparation by referring to evidence on
    the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on
    ideas under discussion.

    b. Follow rules for collegial discussions, set
    specific goals and deadlines, and define
    individual roles as needed.

    c. Pose and respond to specific questions with
    elaboration and detail by making comments
    that contribute to the topic, text, or issue
    under discussion.

    d. Review the key ideas expressed and
    demonstrate understanding of multiple
    perspectives through reflection and

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Understanding "Fair Use" in a Digital World
Lesson Objective: Determine the 'fair use' of material using two videos
Grades 6-8 / ELA / Copyright

Thought starters

  1. How does the opening discussion about fair use prepare students for examining the videos?
  2. How are students encouraged to defend their choices and provide evidence for their conclusions?
  3. Why is the fair use of material an important distinction for students to understand?
Wow! This was a great lesson--well planned and executed! As my district moves to 1:1 computing next fall with our 7-9th graders, I have been looking for lessons and information on fair use and other tech issues. I've come across Common Sense Media in looking for digital citizenship ideas, and I was so glad to find this video here. Thank you for letting us into your classroom to bring the lesson on fair use to life. I love that vocabulary is brought up in the beginning and again at the end and how you support the students' moves by complimenting them. I also love how this lesson ties in something that is so high-interest to middle schoolers. I definitely will try this lesson in my class next fall and would love to tie Philosophical Chairs into the discussion.
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Great lesson!
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Excellent Lesson. This is just what I was looking for...thanks!
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That was a very well planned class. im so inspired by the teacher and the students. Would love to follow them.
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good job - both, teacher and kids.
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    Novella Bailey OC/VO
    Actively everything that you already know about copyright. My name is Novella Bailey.


    Novella Bailey OC/VO
    Actively everything that you already know about copyright. My name is Novella Bailey.
    Novella Bailey Language Arts/Westlake Collaborative, New York City
    And I'm a middle school teacher at Westside Collaborative Middle School in New York City. We're going to be lawyers. This lesson's about fair use. If you have your own created work, right? There are some instances where people can take pieces of it and it's allowed even if it's copyrighted. Our students really, really need to work on using evidence to support their thinking. And that's one of the big standards for reading and just across the board with the common core standards. So the first thing that we do is we prepare the students with giving them some exposure to the key vocabulary related to this topic. What I want you to do is look at the center of the diamond. These things, like schoolwork and education or news reporting, criticizing or commenting. Think about where or some examples of where someone could use fair use. Then we go deep into understanding fair use and understanding when it can be used and under what lenses.
    Novella Bailey OC
    Raise your hand if you have something that you noticed as you read about fair use that helps you understand what it means or when it can be applied. Great. Naomi.
    Naomi VO/OC
    That you can only use it if it's a small amount for schoolwork and education and news reporting.
    Christina OC
    Like you redo it. You kind of remake it. You make it happen again even though it was made already.

    Novella Bailey VO/OC
    Once the kids have these basic understandings of fair use and when it can be applied and how it can be applied, then they really get to be the decision makers. I'm going to be asking the students to evaluate two different pieces of work that have copyrighted material in it. And they're being asked to take notes on what they noticed and then use those notes as evidence once they decide if something is fair use or not. They're going to be broken up into groups of about five or six because I think discussion allows students to really think about what key pieces are relevant on, or what details are relevant when they're making a key decision.
    Novella Bailey OC/VO
    The first one we're going to look at is called "Scary Mary" and this piece is a video remix of a fake movie trailer. But he used information and, and footage from an old movie. So we're going to look at it and look at the entire thing really closely. All right. So let's get it going. So we can't show you these clips because there are issues with it being fair use even though this is an educational video. But you can use it as an exercise in your classroom. All right. So what I would like you to do is discuss with your group what you noticed that was happening, make a decision and then write down your evidence. Go. Discuss in your groups.
    Dasbry OC
    Some parts of the clip like from another movie that was like older.
    Novella Bailey OC
    Is that count as making it new or is it still too much content?
    Female Child In Pink Top OC
    It's still too much content.
    Dasbry OC
    Kind of. Kind of.

    Novella Bailey OC
    You guys discuss, discuss. You guys, what did you guys agree? Yes or no?
    Male Child in Dark Shirt OC
    Novella Bailey OC/VO
    All right. Get yourselves ready. We're going to share. Dasbry.
    Dasbry OC
    Well we picked yes because they did make it into a parody. But we got stuck a little bit because at first we thought they used too much of the movie. And just like twitched it up a little bit.
    Novella Bailey OC
    Go ahead, Jackson.
    Jackson OC
    And if it, it would actually be illegal to put on the internet if it was, if it wasn't you know copyrighted.
    Male Child in Plaid Shirt OC
    At the end of the video it said it was edited. And it says "Mary Poppins" in quotes at the top.
    Novella Bailey OC
    Wonderful. I really, what I'm really noticing that I want you to continue for the next one is the use of evidence to support your thinking. This is what is called a mash-up, I believe.
    Male Voice #1 VO
    Novella Bailey VO
    And you, and have many people have heard of DJ Earworm already? Oh my goodness, so he has fans here already? Great. Let's take a look. All rightee. This is what we need to do. You have to either decide, maybe you are, you know, Beyonce's lawyer or maybe you're DJ Earworm's lawyer. Is it fair use? Isn't it fair use?
    Christina OC
    One thing that we did learn is that if it's, you can't use long, long clips from a video.
    Dasbry VO
    Think about it. If he would have got himself by doing that, then all the DJ's would get in trouble.
    Male Child In White Tee Shirt OC
    He didn't show that it was edited or anything. But the only good part, like the 70 percent when like Cici said is that it only contains short clips from the music video.
    Novella Bailey OC
    So what did you guys come up with and what's your evidence to support your opinion?
    Female Child With Long Hair OC
    He didn't really use it in his own words. He copied it from other music videos. But he only, but the good thing was he only used parts of the song.
    Christina OC
    I do agree with Alex that it was fair use because even like he didn't really have anything original there, it was still used as fair use. He wasn't trying to make money off of it.
    Christina Sixth Grade
    I actually had no idea that I was against the law. Different rappers, I used to like not take their lyrics. I used to take the beat that they use and then try to improvise and put in my own lyrics in it.
    Dasbry OC
    I really did not know it was illegal because there's so many things on You Tube when they're making parodies. So I thought it was like, "Oh, they're just making fun of it."
    Dasbry Sixth Grade
    But now with the lesson I learned that there's actually restrictions of how much you can use or if you can use it at all without getting sued or anything.
    Novella Bailey VO/OC
    I like the way you were using your new vocabulary terms. And I saw people saying like small clips, edited, permissions, remix, mash up. All those things are words that relate to this kind of stuff. They were just so into it, and it really opened for me as a teacher how connected my students are to digital media and how powerful it can be to get them inspired, to get them thinking, to get them to begin to collect evidence. It's just a great tool. And I feel like I tapped into an element of their lives that you don't necessarily tap into in the classroom every day.
    Classroom Takeaways: 1 Have Students Use "I Agree" Or "I Disagree" Statements 2 Require Students To Defend Their Choices 3 Point Out Skills Students Are Learning 4 Review Vocabulary At The End Of The Lesson

School Details

Ms 250 West Side Collaborative Middle School
735 West End Avenue
New York NY 10025
Population: 190

Data Provided By:



Novella Bailey


Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Planning

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12 / ELA / Tch DIY


Professional Learning


English Language Learners


English Language Arts