During this unit, we have been focusing on comprehension strategies as we read the novel, "The Whipping Boy" by Sid Fleischman. In this lesson, we are focusing on the strategy of synthesizing.
To start the lesson, we are making Kool Aid! I will begin by asking the students the ingredients necessary to make Kool Aid. I will pull each ingredient out of a box as they name them. (Kool Aid, sugar, and water.) Once we have all the ingredients, I will say, "Ok, I have all the ingredients, so here is my Kool Aid, correct?" I will try to steer the students to respond that we need to mix all the ingredients together. "Why is it important to mix all the ingredients together?" Each of the ingredients separately are good for different things. Mixed together, they make something new.
This is just how it works when we synthesize what we read. We take what we are reading about and mix it with what we have read about in the past, what we know, what we have experienced, and we make understanding, new ideas, and thoughts.
Fleischman, S. (2003). The Whipping Boy. New York, NY : Greenwillow Books
After we have enjoyed our Kool Aid, we will apply what we have learned about synthesis by reading the Time for Kids article "Good Enough to Eat" by Suzanne Zimbler. (If you have not read this article, I highly resommend you do. It is a short, HIGH interest article.)
I will ask the kids to read through the article, thinking about their comprehension. I will challenge them to try to really understand what the article is saying, apply comprehension strategies we have learned to help with comprehension. After reading, I will have the students fill in the synthesize sheet. I have included this sheet in the resources. The questions on the synthesize activity page are designed to spark thinking. To provoke new thoughts and ideas and hopefully lead students to that synthesis.
After completing the synthesize page, the students will discuss with their tables the ideas that this article sparked and the things they now understand.
My students will now get a chance to apply what they know about synthesizing information from the text as they read chapter eleven in "The Whipping Boy" by Sid Fleischman. As they read "The Whipping Boy," they will again fill in the synthesize sheet to spark understand and new ideas.
After reading and synthesizing the new information, the students will share their thoughts and ideas with the students at their tables.