SYNECTICS LESSON PLAN (Case Study 12.1 Lesson Plan) Subject: Language Arts Specific Content: Writing Instruction – strong word choice Grade Level: 6th Grade Length of Lesson: About 35 minutes Instructional Objective(s): The learner will understand and use the structure of the Synectics model to describe the setting of a story. Other goals for the lesson: - To encourage and increase the active participation of all students in the lesson activities - To help students see that creativity is not something people either possess or don’t State Content Standard / Benchmark / Grade Level Expectation: Content Standard: “All students will explore and use the characteristics of different types of texts, aesthetic elements, and mechanics – including text structure, figurative and descriptive language, spelling, punctuation, and grammar – to construct and convey meaning.” Middle School Benchmark: “Identify and use aspects of the craft of the speaker, writer, and illustrator to formulate and express their ideas artistically. Examples include color and composition, flashback, multi-dimensional characters, pacing, appropriate use of details, strong verbs, language that inspires, and effective leads.” ELA, Meaning and Communication “Write fluently for multiple purposes to produce compositions, such as personal narratives, persuasive essays, lab reports, and poetry. ELA, Meaning and Communication “Plan and draft texts, and revise and edit their own writing, and help others revise and edit their texts in such areas as content, perspective, and effect. Long-Term Unit Objective: The learner will write with texture and feeling through the use of a thesaurus, the Synectics model, and an expanded vocabulary. Yesterday’s Lesson: Yesterday’s lesson was a brain-storming session to come up with descriptive adverbs and adjectives for the students to use in their writing. The students used synonym lists and thesauri. After brain-storming, the students applied the descriptive words to their narrative texts. Tomorrow’s Lesson: Tomorrow’s lesson will be a review of the Synectics model. Students will divide into groups of four. They will choose one group member’s writing to work with, and then they will use the Synectics model to think as a group about new, creative ideas for the writer. Then all members of the group will work on their individual pieces. The lesson following will help students work on applying the method results to their writing. Prerequisite Knowledge or Behaviors Needed: Skills: Students will be expected to have the knowledge and ability necessary to use a thesaurus successfully. Concepts: Students will be expected to have some familiarity with narrative texts. They will also have just completed a unit on expository texts, so they will be well versed in several writing styles. Students will have had some experience with metaphors, and will be expected to have a strong understanding of them after a brief review. Behaviors: Students will be expected to listen attentively to one another and work cooperatively to create new ideas. Students will also be expected to show respect to their classmates and teacher, especially as they share thoughts and ideas with one another. Why is the Content of Today’s Lesson Relevant for the Students? The content of the lesson is relevant for two reasons. First of all, it is important for students to learn strategies for improving their writing. Refined writing skills are essential in high school and college. They are often a strong factor in determining one’s academic success. Secondly, the content is relevant because the Synectics model teaches good strategies for problem solving. Students will be better prepared for the “real world” / “work world” because they have experienced this model. Materials: Where will the materials be kept until their use during the lesson? The only materials needed in this lesson are: - an overhead projector - blank transparencies - thesauri (if students would like to refer to them) - transparency markers - overlay of Rachel’s paragraph of writing All of the above materials will be kept on the overhead cart at the front of the room, with the exception of the thesauri. The thesauri will be kept on a bookshelf, where students can access them easily. When will the materials be passed out? There aren’t any materials that need to be passed out. How will the materials be passed out? There aren’t any materials that need to be passed out. Model of Teaching: Synectics Procedure: Listed below are the stages that make up the Synectics model as well as an indication of how Mrs. Stitch will incorporate the stage in her lesson. 1. Stretching exercises (optional) – Use metaphors to warm up the class for the lesson. How is freedom like a jaguar? A house is like what kind of animal? Can you tell me what it feels like to be the jaguar? What is the problem you see in this piece of writing? 2. Description of the present condition or problem – Rachel describes the problem related to her setting. She wants it to be more descriptive. What do you see as the problem in your writing? How can we use better description to have a stronger effect on the reader? 3. Make a direct analogy – Brainstorms ideas with class. Compare the office to something that is alive. Any ideas? Which analogy do you think would be most unusual here? 4. Personal analogy – Asks the students to become amoebas and describe what it feels like. How do you think it feels to be an amoeba? Why do you think that way? What words recorded here are opposites of each other? Which two of the words recorded strike you as the most different combination? 5. Compressed conflict – The students pair-up words that seem to be in conflict in some way. Who can think of a nonliving thing that fits both of the above word descriptions? 6. Direct analogy based on the compressed conflict – creating an analogy with a nonliving thing. Which ones would make the most fascinating direct analogy – a comparison of two unlike things? 7. Reexamination of the original task – makes a final analogy of the two chosen words by creating a new way of looking at the setting. How might this Synectics model experience change your next draft of writing? Closure: The teacher will close the lesson by reiterating what the students have learned. Then she will encourage them to TRY it with other writing pieces they are currently working on. She will ask the students to go through the drafts in their notebooks and circle some settings that might be improved using Synectics. How are student learning styles addressed during the lesson? Visual: The teacher records all of the students’ ideas on the overhead for referral. The teacher also provides an overlay of Rachel’s paragraph so that visual learners can read along as the teacher/Rachel reads aloud. Auditory: The teacher repeats all of the students’ ideas as she records them for those who learn by listening. She also talks the students through the steps of the Synectics model as they follow it. Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic learning is not a focus of this lesson. Tactile: Tactile learning is not a focus of this lesson. Other approaches: N/A Assessment Criteria: What tangible evidence will demonstrate your students’ learning today? The teacher will check to see that students have circled settings in their draft books that could be improved using Synectics. Student learning will also be evident when the teacher compares the first draft of their narrative piece to the second draft. The second draft will be written after the students have experienced the Synectics model. Lastly, seeing students apply the Synectics model to other content areas as a form of brain-storming will surely demonstrate student learning. What will be considered quality work? Quality work will include: - settings circled in the draft book that could be improved using Synectics. - notes jotted down during the individual student’s use of the Synectic model. - a second draft of the narrative piece that contains more description and detail than the first. Do you need a rubric to structure your assessment? No rubric will be needed. The teacher will be assessing student learning by reading the second draft of their narrative pieces. Because the second draft is not their final draft, a rubric is not necessary. Will students also self-assess using this rubric? No, no rubric will be used. Are there any gender and/or cultural concerns for the instruction and assessment? What are they? How will they be addressed? Gender and cultural concerns should not be much of a concern in this lesson. Students of all backgrounds and ethnicities will be able to participate and contribute to both the discussion and the writing. If a student is from another country or background, the teacher can carefully steer other students’ ideas away from something that may be unfamiliar to him/her (i.e. “The United States” or “The Great Lakes.”) Students from other cultures will still be assessed in the same way. Instructional Modifications – Describe a student with special needs in the class. How might you modify your instruction and/or assessment for the student? Arielle is a student in this class with special needs. She is blind. She cannot see anything - even variations in light or movement. The teacher is concerned with the potential for Arielle to be confused and/or frustrated during the lesson. She wonders if Arielle may not grasp what is happening in the lesson because she cannot read the overhead of recorded ideas. To modify this lesson for Arielle, the teacher will have her sit at the front of the room, where she will be able to hear the teacher clearly throughout the lesson. The teacher will also repeat each idea aloud so that if Arielle can’t hear the student, she will be able to hear the teacher. Students sitting near Arielle can easily remind her of what is recorded on the overhead as needed. Lastly, Arielle will write her narrative text by dictating it to a computer that converts voice into print. She will be assessed in the same way as the other students. Technology – What technology might enhance this lesson or this unit at some point? A Smartboard would enhance this lesson well. With a Smartboard, the teacher would be able to generate student ideas on a computer as she records. This would allow the teacher to manipulate the ideas as needed. To fulfill the NETS technology standards numbers 1 and 2 under “Technology Productivity Tools, Grades 6-8,” students could use Microsoft Word and www.dictionary.com to reference thesauri. Other standards Synectics can meet: NET Standard 3: Technology and Productivity Tools NET Standard 6: Technology Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Tools Performance Indicator 5: Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning through the curriculum. How will you provide practice for this objective? The teacher will not only teach what the Synectics model is, she will do it with the students. Experiencing the model is a form of practice. Also, in the days to come the students will be forming writing groups and working through the Synectics model again with a difference piece of writing. They will then work on applying what they have learned through the Synectics model into their narrative writing.