Sunday, February 22, 2015

Synthesizing Text Into New Taste Sensations!

Synthesizing, according to Stephanie Harvey in Strategies that Work, involves higher order thinking as this process utilizes new information gleaned from text, background schema, visualization, and wonderings to form new thinking or understandings. When we ask our students to synthesize, we are asking them to bring together different ideas and facts throughout their reading to create new learning.

 Both retelling and summarizing are important reading strategies and that build on the act of synthesizing. Retelling is one aspect of synthesizing and involves spontaneously restating events from a book or movie in some semblance of sequence. Retelling is usually done orally. Summarizing is another piece of synthesizing. Summarizing asks students to gather facts, order details, paraphrase or put details into their own words and determine important information. A summary is a shortened version of the original text stating the main idea and important details in a similar structure or order as the original text but is much shorter.

 Think of synthesizing as creating a new recipe. Many ingredients are gathered together and combined in various amounts based on past culinary experiences to create a new taste sensation. In synthesizing, the ingredients are the retelling or summary, past understandings already in place before reading and the wonderings or questions formed while reading. The taste sensation or synthesis is created when the ingredients are blended and thinking changes into new understandings. Make thinking visible with ‘turn and talks’ about thinking before, during and after reading. Use a graphic organizer with Facts, Questions, and Response (FQR) similar to the example below:
Or a simple two column note taking process:
Graphic organizers were adapted from Harvey and Goudvis, Strategies that Work (2011)

 Help your students to synthesize text and create new recipes!
Thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.