180 Days: Day 156–Intellectual Property, Bibliographies, and Slaves to Money

One of the hardest concepts for high school students to grasp is “intellectual property.” So today’s lesson was built around how to properly cite the sources that they are currently spending their time reading and from which they are developing their research questions–and eventually from which they are answering the research questions.

Our English department uses the Modern Language Association’s style guide–more commonly called MLA style. So I started the lesson by going over basic vocabulary (all the synonyms for bibliography, etc.) and showing online resources that I have on our classroom page and online resources found on our school library’s page. These easily found resources include Citation Machine and BibMe among others. I modeled for the students how to fill out the online forms that then generate the bibliographical entries that they then only need to copy and paste into their worked cited/consulted pages (aka bibliographies). Citing sources is so much easier today than when I was their age, that’s for sure. We also looked at sample Works Cited pages from Purdue OWL. In today’s world, students can see bibliographical entry samples, create entries, and see how to properly format their pages all with a few simple clicks of a computer mouse.

Since the students were now equipped with the basics of how to create their bibliographic entries, I gave each table group a different book to practice creating a Works Cited entry using MLA format. The basic, simple goal of the day: Cite your sources–accurately and completely. I gave each group a different type of book as well. So when we debriefed at the end of the exercise, we could talk about how a book isn’t just a book and that online sources and magazines include slightly different pieces of information. One group had a diary, another the Bible, and yet another a literature textbook. One group had a book of poetry, another had a series of novellas in one compilation. I found books that I thought would challenge them.

After they created their entries as exit tickets, our final thoughts for the day circled back around to the necessity for this process–to give proper credit to the original owners of the ideas. I shared with them how even giving credit can sometimes not be enough if it isn’t done with precision. So I use the story of The Verve’s loss of their rights to their biggest hit, “Bittersweet Symphony” over the size of the sample used in the song from a Rolling Stones song. Intellectual property isn’t something to mess around with–do due diligence is the message of the day because sometimes even due diligence isn’t enough.

“Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve

“Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony this life
Trying to make ends meet, you’re a slave to the money then you die.”


Jules’s Jukebox: Richard Ashcroft

This evening I splurged on a weeknight out for myself come April by purchasing a ticket to go see Richard Ashcroft in concert. I rarely venture from the Beach Cities to go to LA/Hollywood proper on a weeknight because traffic + late nights make for a cranky morning at work the following day. But when I heard that Ashcroft, former lead singer of The Verve, would be playing The Wiltern, I threw caution to the wind. I’m going to have an epic Monday night to carry me through that early April week.

So here’s a pair of Ashcroft’s solo songs for tonight’s jukebox picks:

“Hold On” by Richard Ashcroft, the second single from his 2016 album These People.

This single speaks to my current political mood as I resist in today’s post-US inauguration landscape. These lyrics, originally written about the Arab Spring uprisings, particularly stood out to me:

“…Until you get some pepper spray
And water cannons on the way
Fighting on your own
Can turn your heart to stone

And truth is on the march again
Wipe those tears away
Apocalyptic mind…”


“Words Just Get in the Way” by Richard Ashcroft, the third single from his 2006 album Keys to the World.

This ballad holds a touch of symphonic melancholy that gives way to hope as Ashcroft velvety voice offers to support during stormy times. Magnificently penned lyrics are the highlight of this song.  It connects thematically to the first song for me in that it is easy to lose hope in a world so full of chaos and despair. It is easy to feel that we may have outlived our usefulness in this mess of a world, but this song speaks of friendship, lending a helping hand, of finding that human connection that gives hope when words just can’t explain or make meaning for us.

The lines that stand out mid-song pointing out just how devoid of hope the person he sings to has become. His refrain of “if you want it/ you know I’ve got it” closely follows to show his commitment to being that silent rock of support:

“When you’re feeling like you’ve lost
When all your hope is gone
And the bridge above the river
Is only the beginning of your fall…”

I highly recommend giving Ashcroft a listen if you’ve not listened to anything other than The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.”