Document

Report
Presented by:
Roger Cramer
Tim Johnson
Sonja Bertolucci
Mike Troiano
Semester Project
Synectics Action Research
The main focus of this project is to determine if teaching
using a Synectics activity will help students to better
understand their topic of study, and enable them to use
descriptive prose in their writing to clearly express
information and ideas about the topic.
Synectics activities are supported by the use of
Advance Organizers, Concept Mapping, Constructivist
Learning, and technology.
Our project, presents an example of a class activity, and
provides resource and research references.
… is a teaching approach
using metaphors and
analogies as tools to help
students gain new insights
and perspectives for use in the
writing process
“the basic tools of learning are analogies that serve as
connectors between the new and the familiar”… “good teaching
traditionally makes ingenious use of analogies and metaphors to
help student visualize content” (Wm. J.J. Gordon)
Synectics, from the Greek word synectikos, means
“bringing forth together” or “bringing different things into
unified connection”
How long has
Synectics
been around?
Take a guess?
40 Years
Wm. J.J. Gordon, 1961
Synectics…
… “provides an approach to creative thinking that
depends on looking at what appears on the
surface as unrelated phenomenon and draws
relevant connections…It helps users break
existing mind sets and internalize abstract
concepts” (Gordon, 1961)
… “it can be used with all ages and works well
with those who withdraw from traditional
methods” (Couch 1993)
Synectics is well-supported by research, and is
easily integrated with technology.
The Teacher’s Challenge
How can we get
students to think
creatively?
Synectics opens the door
to creative
thinking
through metaphors
and analogies.
Unlocking
Creative Thinking
Creative problem solving, breaking set,
and thinking outside the box...these are
all necessary skills in today’s academic
environment and global business
economy.
Synectics was developed by Wm. J.J. Gordon for use in
business and industry.
Problem Statement
Students do not use adequate
descriptive prose in their writing.
Action Research Problem
Will prior use of a Synectics activity,
facilitate higher order and creative
thinking, thus enabling students to
use descriptive prose in their
writing?
Action Research G o a l
To integrate Synectics with technology to teach
students a process that will help them develop:
concept clarity
and
descriptive writing skills
resulting in a measurable use of descriptive prose
Assess Students’ Technology Skills
Students in the research project are skilled in:
•using a word processor
•using a spreadsheet
•using PowerPoint
•using the Internet
A few students are skills in the basics of :
•Photoshop
•Inspiration
Identify Student Knowledge
Students participating in this Synectics lesson are in an
English class.
Prior to the lesson, students have read the play Julius
Caesar, watched a video of the play, and engaged in a
discussion about the play.
Students understand the terms metaphor, analogy, simile,
figure of speech, and theme.
Students have previously written an essay on the topic of
Julius Caesar, as a baseline for comparison for the postsynectics writing assignment.
Advance Organizer
As an Advance Organizer, the teacher describes
and defines Synectics, and then uses a simple
example to model the steps in the Synectics
lesson.
1.
During this model activity, students take turns using the
computer to enter group responses into a word processing
table as another student writes the group responses into the
category template on the board. (A spreadsheet template may
also be used for this activity.)
2.
The Synectics activity process is then applied to the topic (the
play Julius Caesar) the students have been studying.
3.
After the Synectics activity, students write a poem about the
topic.
4.
Finally, students are assigned to write an essay on one of the
themes of the play Julius Caesar.
Model Synectics Activity
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
When I say____Teacher____ what do you think about?
_____Teacher______is like what plant or animal?
Describe (word from #2) and become that animal or plant. How do
you feel? What do you think? i.e. I am….
Looking at the words in column #2 and column # 3, find two words
that are opposites (fight each other).
What else can be (analogy from #4)?
Teacher picks one of the examples and students describe
that example in more detail.
Tell me something about (word from #5).
Now, look at everything on the board and see if there is anything
else we can say about (#1). Create a analogy that connects the
original topic to one of the new words, i. e. Teachers are like…
Using the words on this chart or any additional descriptive words,
write a poem about #1.
English
10
Our model lesson
using Synectics
to stimulate the
synapses.
Let’s apply the Synectics process to
analyze the concepts presented in
Shakespeare’s play
Julius Caesar
PRESENT SITUATION
Thinking about the play…
I.
When I say Julius Caesar, what words
come to your mind?
DIRECT ANALOGY
II.
The play Julius Caesar is like what plant
or animal?
What can you
think of ?
PERSONAL ANALOGY
III.
Describe a word
(from II. Direct Analogy) and become a (same
word as above).
How do you feel?
What do you think?
What can you think of ?
Slimy
Beautiful
Stealthy
Flexible
Smooth
Scaly
Aggressive
Evil
Powerful
Afraid
CONFLICT
IV.
Looking at Direct Analogy (II) and the
Personal Analogy (III), find two words that
seem to fight each other. (Conflict)
Direct Analogy
Snake
Personal Analogy
Slimy
Beautiful
Stealthy
Flexible
Smooth
Scaly
Aggressive
Evil
Powerful
Afraid
What can you think of ?
DIRECT ANALOGY – Part 1
V.
What else can be an afraid snake?
What can you think of ?
DIRECT ANALOGY – Part 2
VI.
Tell me something more about an afraid
snake (from #V, Direct Analogy). Apply
more attributes to conflicting words. Start
your statement with…
I am…….. Dry
Adaptive Stately
Juicy
Hardy
Old
Alive
Lonely
Small
Large
Forbidding
What can you think of ?
RETURN TO THE
ORIGINAL ANALOGY
VII.
Now look at everything on the board and
see if there is anything else we can say
about the play Julius Caesar (# I).
The play Julius Caesar is like…
What can you think of ?
First PORTFOLIO PRODUCT
VIII.
Using information from this chart or any
additional information you know, write a
poem about:
Students print a copy
of the finished list
from the Synectics
activity as a reference
for writing their
poem.
Further integrating technology…
Application Activity
Students will write and format their poem
and add graphics using a word processing
program.
Class Discussion
Students evaluate and reflect on the Synectics activity
and how it contributed to their understanding of the
major themes in Julius Caesar.
“A good metaphor
is enriching and
says more than a
logical explanation.”
(deMink 1995)
Students use Internet
resources to locate
further information
about Julius Caesar.
Synectics
Graphic Organizers
such as
Concept Mapping
and
Technology
supporting the
Writing Process
Pre-writing Activity
Students explore, in depth, the
attributes of the themes
in Julius Caesar.
Students work in small, cooperative
groups using Inspiration or Word to
create a Julius Caesar “themes”
graphic organizer.
Example outcomes of:
Student-centered
constructivist activity
(Hilda Taba)
Chaos results when
the prescribed social
Social Order order is broken.
Power of
Language
Stable Rule
Is dictatorship
preferable to social
chaos?
Morality
Themes
in
Julius Caesar
Language is a
powerful weapon in
the hands of a
skilled orator.
Power
Violence and
Democracy
Absolute power
bloodshed can never
corrupts absolutely?
have morally good
What is the price of democracy?
results.
Integrating
Synectics Ideas
Concept Mapping
and Technology
with
Paragraph
Development
Student paragraph
development
guide using
Inspiration.
Haynes, Charles & Mcmurdo,
Kathleen "Using Inspiration
Software to Teach Paragraph
Development“
Iste publications
http://www.iste.org
Integrating
Synectics Ideas
Concept Mapping
and Technology
with
Essay
Development
Student essay
development
guide using
Inspiration.
Haynes, Charles & Mcmurdo, Kathleen "Using
Inspiration Software to Teach Paragraph
Development" Iste publications. http://www.iste.org
Second PORTFOLIO PRODUCT
POSSIBLE STUDENT PROJECTS:
Students develop a photo essay using …
•PowerPoint
•word processing
•web authoring software
•Internet resources
Students draft, edit, revise and publish
their Julius Caesar theme essay.
Concept Mapping
Research Review Excerpts
“Concept maps provide teachers with an avenue
for developing insight into student understanding.”
(Edmundson 2000)
“…effects of cognitive mapping on science content
comprehension of low-achieving seventh grade
students from an urban parochial school.
Improvement of reading performance of students;
efficacy of the concept maps; use of cognitive maps
for spatial configurations” (Guastello 2000)
“Advanced organizers are the primary means of strengthening
cognitive structure… the most effective organizers are those
that use concepts, terms, and propositions that are already
familiar to the learners…” (Joyce & Weil p.253)
California Language Arts Standards addressed in
this Synectics lesson and subsequent assignment:
1.0 Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development
1.2. Distinguish between the denotative and connotative meanings of
words and interpret the connotative power of words.
2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
2.6 Demonstrate use of sophisticated learning tools by following
technical directions (e.g., those found with graphic calculators and
specialized software programs and in access guides to World Wide Web
sites on the Internet).
3.0 Literary Response and Analysis
3.12 Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the
themes and issues of its historical period.
California Language Arts Standards continued…
1.0 Writing Strategies
1.1 Establish a controlling impression or coherent thesis that conveys a
clear and distinctive perspective on the subject and maintain a
consistent tone and focus throughout the piece of writing.
1.2 Use precise language, action verbs, sensory details, appropriate
modifiers, and the active rather than the passive voice.
1.6 Integrate quotations and citations into a written text while
maintaining the flow of ideas.
1.8 Design and publish documents by using advanced publishing
software and graphic programs.
2.0 Writing Applications
2.2 Write responses to literature: a. Demonstrate a comprehensive
grasp of the significant ideas of literary works.
2.3 Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and
research reports:
d. Include visual aids by employing appropriate technology to organize
and record information on charts, maps, and graphs.
California Language Arts Standards continued…
1.0 Written and Oral English Language Conventions
Students write and speak with a command of standard English
conventions. (ALL 1.1 – 1.5)
1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
1.1 Formulate judgments about the ideas under discussion and support
those judgments with convincing evidence.
1.7 Use props, visual aids, graphs, and electronic media to enhance the
appeal and accuracy of presentations.
2.0 Speaking Applications
2.4 Deliver oral responses to literature:
a. Advance a judgment demonstrating a comprehensive grasp of the
significant ideas of works or passages (i.e., make and support
warranted assertions about the text).
b. Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and
detailed references to the text or to other works.
http://www.cde.ca.gov/standards/reading/grade910.htm
Action Research Measurement:
Post-Synectics Activity Writing Assignment
Quantitative:
•Metaphor Count
•Adjective Count
Qualitative:
•Students’ demonstrate use of advanced concepts in
their writing, relative to their own understanding
•Students’ use of technology as a learning tool
and presentation and/or publishing tool
•Questionnaire related to students perception of activity
•Observation of student engagement in all activities
•Student demonstration of creative thinking through class
discussion
•Students’ self-evaluation/reflection on products
Sample Survey Questions: (Likert)
Post-Synectics Activity Writing Assignment
1. What do you do before a writing assignment?
2. Have you used technology for writing before? Explain.
3. Have you ever participated in a Synectics activity before?
Explain.
4. Did you feel more prepared to write your essay after
having participated in the Synectics activity? Explain.
5. Explain how the concept mapping activity assisted you in your
writing.
6. Would you use any of these strategies when presented with a
writing assignment in the future? Explain.
Synectics + Concept Mapping + Technology
add up to
Meaningful learning
that facilitates students’ understanding, creative
thinking and the ability to use descriptive prose
Synectics allows one to think creatively…
and then stimulates active processing of information
Concept mapping allows one to analyze, evaluate…
and make meaningful connection among and between concepts
Technology allows one to synthesize and apply knowledge and skills
The ability to think creatively, to analyze, synthesize,
apply and evaluate information are the skills needed both
for today and even more so for the future.
(Morrison 1996)
Reflections
Reflections
Reflections
Students’ Reflections and Feedback:
Students were very enthusiastic about using Synectics and had a great
time writing their poem. Students also expressed how much they
benefited from the concept mapping activities. Students had fun and
were motivated to write their poems and essay because they felt they
had a rich information base from which to draw. The Julius Caesar
theme essay hasn’t been turned in yet.
Project Group Reflections: It was a window of opportunity for
us to experience Synectics as we worked to develop this project. We
worked collaboratively and pooled our varied skills. When used in
staff development it allowed for cognitive shifts in the participants,
through the use of metaphor.
iMET3 Feedback: What do you think?
This is your feedback page, iMET3:
•Is there any curriculum that this would not work with?
•When you do get the essays, and you see the use of
methphors… how will you take that data to do the
second intergration? Where would you go with it next?
•How do you approach modification of the product? Is it
qualitative for use in the classroom?
•Why do you need to collect data?At theend of the year,
SAT 9 Scores, consistently did well, but didn’t know what
specifically to attribute this to.
•Include a video of before and after.
When we say Synectics what do YOU think of ?
In what ways can you use a synectics activity
to guide your students to greater concept
clarity and descriptive writing?
•Short story writing
•Expository writing across the curriculum
•Student created books (Young Authors)
Where else can you envision Synectics may be
applied, and how could you determine the
usefulness of synectics in your classroom?
Research
Apple K-12 Effectiveness Reports.
http://www.apple.com/education/k12/leadership/effect5.html
Couch, Richard (1993) “Synectics and Imagery: Developing Thinking Through Images.”
In: Art, Science & Visual Literacy: Selected Readings from the Annual Conference of the
International Visual Literacy Association (24th, Pittsburgh, PA, Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 1992).
ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 363 330)
deMink, Frank. “Metaphors as keys to creative thinking. European Journal for High
Ability.” Vol 6(2), (1995).(pp. 176-180). US: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.
www.hhpub.com/catalogue/order.html
Edmondson, Katherine M.; “Assessing science understanding through concept maps.”
Affiliation: Cornell U, School of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY, US
Source: Mintzes, Joel J. (Ed), Wandersee, James H. (Ed), et al.(2000). Assessing science
understanding: A human constructivist view.Educational psychology press. (pp. 15-40).
San Diego, CA, US: Academic Press, Inc. xxii, 386 pp
Gordon, W. J. J. (1961) Synectics. New York: Harper & Row
Guastello, E. Francine “Concept Mapping Effects on Science Content Comprehension of
Low-Achieving Inner-City Seventh Graders.”Remedial & Special Education,
Nov/Dec2000, Vol. 21 Issue 6,p356, 9p, 1 chart, 1 diagram.
Research
Joyce, Bruce; Weil, Marsha. Models of Teaching, Sixth Edition. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
Merkley, Donna M.; Jeffries, Debra. Guidelines for Implementing a Graphic Organizer.
Reading Teacher Vol. 54, N4, p. 350-57 Dec 2000- Jan 2001
Prakarnkaeo, Pornthip. The Use of Synectics as an Aid to Thinking for Creative Writing
of Mathayo Suksa 3 Students.
http://www.chiangmai.ac.th/abstract1999/edu/abstract/edu990192.html
Thomas, Gregory P.; McRobbie, Campbell J. “Using a metaphor for learning to
improve students’ metacognition in the chemistry classroom” Journal of Research in
Science Teaching.” Vol. 38(2), Feb. 2001 US: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Wolfe, Edward W.; Bolton, Sandra; Feltovich, Brian; Bangert, Art W.
“A Study of word processing experience and its effects on student essay writing.”
Journal of Education Computing Research. US: Baywood Publishing Co. Inc
Synectics is like finding a treasure
chest of words and new ideas.
Concept maps are like a pair of
hands reaching out to guide you
along an unfamiliar path.
Technology is like a magic wand…

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