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The Synthesis Essay How assigning and teaching the art of synthesis will help general ed students on the PARCC.

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Presentation on theme: "The Synthesis Essay How assigning and teaching the art of synthesis will help general ed students on the PARCC."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Synthesis Essay How assigning and teaching the art of synthesis will help general ed students on the PARCC

2 Students begin by reading an anchor text that introduces the topic. EBSR and TECR items ask students to gather key details about the passage to support their understanding. Students read two additional sources and answer a few questions about each text to learn more about the topic, so they are ready to write the final essay and to show their reading comprehension. Finally, students mirror the research process by synthesizing their understandings into a writing that uses textual evidence from the sources. Understanding the Research Simulation Task 2

3 Standard 1 Always at Play Standard 1 Focused on a student’s ability to find text-based evidence for generalizations, conclusions, or inferences drawn 3

4 What is Synthesis? Synthesis happens when two or more sources combine in a meaningful way to back up an author’s own point or counterargument. It is a basic collegiate writing skill. It is related to PARCC in that the literature task on the PARCC, “plays an important role in honing students’ ability to read complex text closely, a skill that research reveals as the most significant factor differentiating college-ready from non-college-ready readers”

5 A synthesized essay should leave the reader with a holistic sense that the writer has conveyed his or her own new ideas, and has drawn upon a chorus of voices for support (the sources given).

6 What Synthesis Isn’t It is not just putting two or more sources in a paragraph - synthesis isn’t happening unless a relationship between the sources is apparent. False relationships between sources - this is why close reading of texts in class is so important.

7 Close Reading Close reading, as it appears in the Common Core, requires readers to emphasize “what lies within the four corners of the text” and de-emphasize their own perspective, background, and biases in order to uncover the author's meaning in the text. Critical Reading Critical reading, in contrast, concerns itself with those very differences between what does and does not appear in the text. Critical reading includes close reading; critical reading is close reading of both what lies within and outside of the text.

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11 In October 2012 PARCC established 5 performance levels Level 5: Students performing at this level demonstrate a distinguished command of the knowledge, skills, and practices embodied by the Common Core State Standards assessed at their grade level. Level 4: Students performing at this level demonstrate a strong command… Level 3: Students performing at this level demonstrate a moderate command… Level 2: Students performing at this level demonstrate a partial command… Level 1: Students performing at this level demonstrate a minimal command… 11

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15 DBQ Components

16 DBQ Rubric

17 Have students generate a list of words or phrases that can be used to show the relationships between sources- words or phrases like “agrees,” “disagrees,” “concurs,” “expounds upon,” “goes even further,” “contradicts,” “confirms,” “clarifies,” etc. Limit the amount of times a student can directly quote from a source- for a five paragraph essay, three citations is a good rule of thumb. Requiring that students use at least three sources (usually the prompts give you six) will help to eliminate a student’s temptation to rely only on one.

18 Peer Review/Teacher Assessment 1. Is the relationship between sources made clear? Where? Are synthesis words or phrases used to link two or more different sources? Where? Are there at least 3 (or 4 or 5…) instances of synthesis? Does the synthesis word or phrase accurately summarize the relationship among/between sources? Does synthesized source material overwhelm the author’s voice? Is one source synthesized or otherwise used more than the other sources?

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20 What are Performance Level Descriptors? Performance Level Descriptors or PLDs describe what students at each performance level know and can do relative to grade-level or course content standards assessed. 20

21 Students begin by reading an anchor text that introduces the topic. EBSR and TECR items ask students to gather key details about the passage to support their understanding. Students read two additional sources and answer a few questions about each text to learn more about the topic, so they are ready to write the final essay and to show their reading comprehension. Finally, students mirror the research process by synthesizing their understandings into a writing that uses textual evidence from the sources. Understanding the Research Simulation Task 21

22 The Synthesis Essay How assigning and teaching the art of synthesis will help general ed students on the PARCC

23 What is Synthesis? Synthesis happens when two or more sources combine in a meaningful way to back up an author’s own point or counterargument. It is a basic collegiate writing skill. It is related to PARCC in that the literature task on the PARCC, “plays an important role in honing students’ ability to read complex text closely, a skill that research reveals as the most significant factor differentiating college-ready from non-college-ready readers”.

24 Def. cont. A synthesized essay should leave the reader with a holistic sense that the writer has conveyed his or her own new ideas, and has drawn upon a chorus of voices for support (the sources given). This aspect relates to PARCC in that, “[in the Research Simulation task], students will analyze an informational topic presented through several articles or multimedia stimuli, the first text being an anchor text that introduces the topic”. Furthermore, students completing the Research Simulation task will, “engage with the texts by answering a series of questions and synthesizing information from multiple sources in order to write two analytic essays [emphasis mine].”

25 Step 1: Generate a List Have students generate a list of words or phrases that can be used to show the relationships between sources- words or phrases like “agrees,” “disagrees,” “concurs,” “expounds upon,” “goes even further,” “contradicts,” “confirms,” “clarifies,” etc.

26 Step 2: What Synthesis Isn’t It is not just putting two or more sources in a paragraph- synthesis isn’t happening unless a relationship between the sources is apparent. The connective word list is important, because it is almost impossible to pull of synthesis without using the words from the list.

27 Step 2 cont. False relationships between sources- this is why close reading of texts in class is so important. Allow students to struggle with the relationships between Source A and Source B, and be there to guide students to make appropriate connections.

28 Step 2 cont. Too much of a good thing. Be sure to alert students to the fact that lots and lots of synthesis may not be as effective in an essay as some well-placed, select instances. Limit the amount of times a student can directly quote from a source- for a five paragraph essay, three citations is a good rule of thumb. Encourage students to locate and highlight their own voice within a synthesized passage.

29 Step 2 cont. Too much of one source. Students would be well advised to make sure that one of their sources isn’t driving the essay. Requiring that students use at least three sources (usually the prompts give you six) will help to eliminate a student’s temptation to rely only on one.

30 Peer Review/Teacher Assessment 1. Is the relationship between sources made clear? Where? Are synthesis words or phrases used to link two or more different sources? Where? Are there at least 3 (or 4 or 5…) instances of synthesis? Does the synthesis word or phrase accurately summarize the relationship among/between sources? Does synthesized source material overwhelm the author’s voice? Is one source synthesized or otherwise used more than the other sources?

31 Sample Scratch Outline for a Synthesis Essay Thesis/Prompt: The two memoirs, All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg and The Color of Water by James McBride share the common theme that with familial support and love, one can overcome all obstacles Supporting Point #1: In All Over but the Shoutin’, Rick Bragg’s mother teaches him to perservere in difficult circumstances. Supporting Point #2 (with transition): Like Bragg, in The Color of Water, James McBride’s strong mother instills in him the importance of education as a path out of poverty.

32 Write! For each supporting points, write a complete sentence; use these as topic sentences for all of your body paragraphs Add key quotations and facts from the sources that validate each of your key points Keep summaries of stories brief

33 Revision/Checklist Be sure that your thesis covers all the supporting points Check that each body paragraph begins with a clear topic sentence to support your thesis Add quotations, facts, or opinions of your sources where you need evidence Be sure that you have introduced the writer of all quotations by putting the name of the writer in your text, right before, or in a citation, right after.

34 Standards that Synthesis and PARCC cover Standard W : Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence (emphasis mine) Standard W : Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated questions) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation Standard W : Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. Standard RH : Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole. Standard RH : Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence Standard RH : Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

35 Three factors that determined the levels Three factors that determined the levels. (text complexity; range of accuracy; quality of evidence) Grade 11 LevelLevel of Text Complexity 1 Range of Accuracy 2 Quality of Evidence 3 5 Very Complex Moderately Complex Readily Accessible Accurate Explicit and inferential 4 Very Complex Moderately Complex Readily Accessible Mostly accurate Accurate Explicit and inferential 3 Very Complex Moderately Complex Readily Accessible Generally accurate Mostly accurate Accurate Explicit and inferential 2 Very Complex Moderately Complex Readily Accessible Inaccurate Minimally accurate Mostly accurate Explicit Explicit and inferential 35

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37 Looking at the PLDs: Reading 37 This row provides the sub-claim being viewed This row provides the level being described This row provides information about the patterns displayed by students in reading at this level

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39 Looking at the PLDs: Written Expression 39 This row provides the sub-claim being viewed This row provides the level being described This row provides information about the patterns displayed by students in writing at this level

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41 Standard 1 Always at Play Standard 1 Focused on a student’s ability to find text-based evidence for generalizations, conclusions, or inferences drawn 41


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