Synthesis Essay Lessons

Writing a Synthesis Essay

Writing a counter claim paragraph

Objectives: Students will be able to able to refute a counterclaim in the synthesis essay writing.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.A
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.B
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
Differentiation: Students select details from the sources  based on their individual reading experience and understanding of the texts. They are also given various options to respond to the prompt depending on their personal level of challenges or strengths. Students can raise their own questions to probe into the implied meaning of the issue.
Grouping Rationale: Students will be grouped based on personal choice with the teacher’s careful  consideration of individual learning needs, styles, talents and personality to maximize their productivity. In each group, all participants are contributors; but several of them will also be a timer , spelling/grammar checker or recorder, facilitator and presenter.
Do Now: Read the handout on annotations. Identify one step you usually take to annotate the source; identify one step you normally don’t take while reading. Jot each step down on the whiteboard.

Mini Lesson

Examine the sample synthesis essay, how does the student introduce a counter claim and counter argue again it?

Counterclaim paragraph ( Body Paragraph #3): 

  • State your counterclaim.
  • State the evidence and reasoning of your counterclaim.
  • Argue against the claim by  “acknowledging the validity of the counterclaim and then point outing the limitation in the argument”( Reasoning)
  • Provide new evidence to support your counter-argument that refutes the opposing claim.
  • Explain why the new evidence shows how the counterclaim is limited or inaccurate.
  • So What Statement: how does the analysis connect to your thesis (overall argument in the Intro)?

How to write an effective counter-argument paragraph?

  • -by acknowledging the argument’s position and the quality of its reasoning
  • Teacher model-
  • (counterclaim) ACLU argues that the NSA programs are flawed and weak, which causes the infringement of American citizens’ privacy. (reason and evidence)The claim is based on the belief that while targeting at foreigners abroad, the NSA also monitors and collect Americans’ communications with those foreign targets and possibly shares them with other U.S. Government agencies and foreign government.( Acknowledging some validity in the counter claim ) In the process of collecting communications that indicate foreign interactions, the NSA has unavoidably collected some data from American citizens whose communications are not with any foreigners but merely include the names of a targeted country or terrorists. ( your refutational claim) But to get intel from or about the terrorists, it is necessary the NSA collect any information that may suggest a link with the terrorists in order to track any trace of them to deter a possible terrorists’ attack. (Evidence 1 that supports your counter-argument) As President Obama also acknowledges that metadata is collected from many Americans who are linked to these targets of terrorists but contains no name or content (Text 4.3). It is when the target becomes a suspect of threat that the content of the communications will need to be revealed.  (Evidence 2) Even then, FBI will need to get a Federal court warrant to access the information and the court allows warrants under the 4th Amendment, which makes the act totally constitutional (commentary that points outthe limitation of the counter argument). (commentary that attacks the premise) The NSA programs may not be perfect in the sense that the collected data is not 100% foreign intelligence but they are effective in catching the terrorists to protect Americans’ lives. Between a slightly “flawed” policy and risks of losing thousands of innocent lives, which one should Americans accept? With the terrorists’ groups spreading globally and no country being a safe zone,  it is only necessary that the retained information be shared with foreign countries to avert any domestic or international disaster such as 9/11 where 6000 people died from the terrorists’ attack. In addition, the Act also gives the law enforcement the optimal tools( Text 5.2) to do their job to protect innocent lives, Americans or foreigners alike.

Independent Practice

Expected outcomes by the end of the period-

  • State a counter claim and its evidence or reasoning.
  • refute the counter claim by reinforcing tour claim supported by new evidence and commentary.

Homework: Complete the counter-claim paragraph and conclusion. The complete synthesis essay due on Monday March 13. This essay will be counted toward the 1st MP grade.

  • __________________________________________

Annotating sources and writing a thesis statement

Objectives: Students will be able to create a thesis statement (overall argument) that reflects their thorough understanding of the multiple sources.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.A
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.B
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
Differentiation: Students select details from the sources  based on their individual reading experience and understanding of the texts. They are also given various options to respond to the prompt depending on their personal level of challenges or strengths. Students can raise their own questions to probe into the implied meaning of the issue.
Grouping Rationale: Students will be grouped based on personal choice with the teacher’s careful  consideration of individual learning needs, styles, talents and personality to maximize their productivity. In each group, all participants are contributors; but several of them will also be a timer , spelling/grammar checker or recorder, facilitator and presenter.
Do Now:
Evaluate your thesis statement whether it reflects the synthesis process-
Synthesis—Examine the list below. Put an X next to each statement you accomplished.
__I have evaluated the issue by weighing the pros and cons.
__I have taken a position that is not mentioned in the background information of the prompt.
__I have clearly stated what I believe about the topic either for the issue, against the issue or qualifying the issue.
  • Example: Although the cost of college can be a burden, the value of the experience and the opportunities offered to college graduates far outweigh the expense.

Mini Lesson: : Reading, Annotating, and Deconstructing the Sources

It is important to read and annotate the sources for any significant information and not just for information that supports your point of view. Using sources in your writing as a way to examine other points of view creates stronger and more thoughtful writing.

  • Step #1: Read and mark all the sources. Spend about ten minutes marking the sources.
  • First-Read Source Checklist—Use the checklist below to guide your annotations.
  • Annotation #1—The source documentation, in the box at the top of the page, provides valuable information about the publication type, date of publication, and publication title. Examine the source information and create an annotation about it.
  • Annotation #2—Examine the italicized information directly below the source box. Create an annotation that says something meaningful about the italicized information
  • Annotation #3 and #4— Examine the text and/or the image contained within the body of the source. Create two annotations. One annotation should identify a positive aspect of the source’s information. The other annotation should identify a negative aspect of the source’s information.
  • Step #2—Chose one source that will be the most beneficial to you as you either revise your essay or begin to write your essay. Remember, you are not just looking for sources that agree with your point of view. Strong synthesis responses offer information that is important to both sides of the debate. Incorporate evidence from the sources that allows you to say something meaningful, not just to repeat somebody else’s point of view.
  • Step #3—After you have chosen the most important source, complete the source deconstruction exercise. The template for the exercise is included after all of the synthesis sources. Remember that all of the information you include on the synthesis deconstruction exercise can be used to either write this specific synthesis free response or to revise your original response to this synthesis question.

Guided Practice

Score 4

All high school students are asked “where do you want to go to college?” While many of us know exactly where we want to go, others still are not sure if college is even right for them. College can be expensive, especially if you don’t want a typical job that colleges advocate for. With this in mind, a lot of people want to go to college and see a great benefit of it. This is why it all depends on the student whether college is worth the cost.1

In high-school, many kids will go for classes such as shop class programs because they enjoy working with their hands.2 Unfortunately, according to Source A, these classes “were widely dismantled in the 1990s.” Schools wanted kids to do typical cubical work after being sent to college. What would happen, though, if all students decided to do regular work? What would happen if there was no one to become a plumber or electrician? Jobs such as these are on the rise according to source A. There is becoming a greater need for them.3 Innovation is also becoming a better job. Our society always is making new inventions to help everyone with their daily lives. In Source E, the fellowship is going to such lengths as paying people to not go to college so that they can focus on innovation. It is no measly sum either. Their innovation competition had twenty-four winners and each will receive $100,000. This just shows how people who do not want to go to college, or do not need to, do not have to go to college. It would not be a good use of money if they go to college for a degree when all they want to be is someone like a carpenter.(4)

#1— While the thesis statement is an argument, it is not a strong argument. Revised Thesis:

#2—The first body paragraph does not begin with an argument. Read the whole paragraph and then develop an appropriate argument.
Revised Claim:

#3—There is no commentary after this example that links this evidence to whether or not the college is worth the cost.
Revised Commentary:

#4—The second piece of evidence does not include any commentary—just restatement.
Revised Commentary:

Independent Practice

Revision—Revise your thesis. Add any tasks from the list above that were not included in your original thesis.

Revise your claim and commentary of each body paragraph.

Expected Outcome: An introduction with a clearly stated argument and body paragraphs with a specific claim and commentary on the example or evidence provided.

Homework: Continue revising your thesis statements and claims as well as commentaries. Type up the introduction ad two supporting paragraphs.

__________________________________

Objectives: Students will be able to develop a fact claim as well as a value claim that demonstrate the synthesis of  multiple facts and views  or arguments stated or implied in various sources.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.A
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.B
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
Differentiation: Students select details from the sources  based on their individual reading experience and understanding of the texts. They are also given various options to respond to the prompt depending on their personal level of challenges or strengths. Students can raise their own questions to probe into the implied meaning of the issue.
Grouping Rationale: Students will be grouped based on personal choice with the teacher’s careful  consideration of individual learning needs, styles, talents and personality to maximize their productivity. In each group, all participants are contributors; but several of them will also be a timer , spelling/grammar checker or recorder, facilitator and presenter.

Capturing Authorial Intent  and “Introducing Something Implied or Assumed

Do Now: Complete the sentences below by using the claims from the sources concerning the whether the college is worth the cost.

*In discussions of __________(topic), one controversial issue has been________ . On the one hand,______ argues_______ . On the other hand,_______contends__________. Others even maintain_______________ . My own view is _________________.

Acquisition:

  1. Quality of source 9 where it’s from)
  2. Strengths and precision of your evidence
  3. Is your claim based on the synthesis of at least two other claims?
  4. Rhetorical reading ( who is the author, who is your intended audience, what’s the purpose of this argument)
  5. Do your sources converse?

Independent Practice

  1. Developing a claim based on multiple facts ( from various sources)
  2. Developing a claim by synthesizing several claims from various sources

Use the checklist to ensure your claim paragraph is well-developed-

Homework: Complete the two body paragraphs that support your argument.

Sentence starters For counter  claim paragraph: 

  • *When it comes to the topic of_____________ , most of us will agree that__________ . Where the agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of________ . Whereas some are convinced that___________ , others maintain that______________ .
  • *In conclusion, then, as I suggested earlier, defenders of_______________ can’t have it both ways. Their assertion that _____________ is contradicted by their claim that________ .

Making Concessions While Still Standing Your Ground
*Although I grant that__________ , I still maintain that_______________ .
*Proponents of X are right to argue that_____________ . But they exaggerate when they claim that_____________ .
*While it is true that____________ , it does not necessarily follow that_____________ .
*On the one hand, I agree with X that__________ . But, on the other hand, I still insist that_______________ .

___________________________________________

Objectives: Students will be able to create a complex thesis statement that reflects the synthesis of claims, and counter claims based on facts or arguments from the sources.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.A
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.B
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
Differentiation: Students select details from the sources  based on their individual reading experience and understanding of the texts. They are also given various options to respond to the prompt depending on their personal level of challenges or strengths. Students can raise their own questions to probe into the implied meaning of the issue.
Grouping Rationale: Students will be grouped based on personal choice with the teacher’s careful  consideration of individual learning needs, styles, talents and personality to maximize their productivity. In each group, all participants are contributors; but several of them will also be a timer , spelling/grammar checker or recorder, facilitator and presenter.
Do Now: Create a claim based on two different pro-claims.
Acquisition:
Synthesis essay  rubrics
Guided Practice
Analyze a student sample essay to help understanding the meaning of the rubric.
Independent Practice
Rewrite a powerful introduction and claim statements for each body paragraph.
Homework: Read and annotate the sources for the 2nd synthesis essay.
________________________________

Day 9

Objectives: Students will be able to analyze the type of claims and the relationships among the claims in an exemplary essay.

Do Now:

  • What kind of claim ( fact, value or policy) is ” whether monolingual English speakers are at a disadvantage today”? Why?
  • Factors: What factors should be evaluated before selecting the best position?
  1. Recognize Complexity: Many students receive lower scores on synthesis essays because they overlook the complexity of the prompt and take a simple position. An essay that cites three sources supporting only one view will not score above a 4. Why? Because an important goal of research and synthesis is to recognize complexity and to show an awareness of multiple views. This does not mean that you cannot take a definite position on an issue. It does mean that you should establish ethos (your credibility as a writer) by conceding to other views. A careful consideration of information given in the prompt can move you beyond the trap of superficial, one-sided thinking.
  2. To SYNTHESIZE means to assemble parts into a new whole. The parts are the different sources,each representing a distinct view or views on a particular topic. The “whole” is your essay in which you explain your position, considering views from the sources that show both sides of the issue.  The synthesis essay is similar to the argument question, but it is more complex:
  3. The TYPE of thinking you are doing for the synthesis essay is often different from the argument essay. Whereas argument essays can often be be more philosophical, synthesis essays are usually about a particular topic or issue. You are often asked to evaluate factors and to consider the implications of decisions —a thinking step beyond the traditional “defend, challenge or qualify/ take a position” task in the argument essay.
  4. You are required to synthesize information from the sources into your argument, either summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting directly from at least three sources. Remember that the sources won’t make your point. They provide supporting information, perspectives, viewpoints so that you can make your point.
  5. Choose which views will become focal points in your synthesis essay, you should then select the best evidence from the source group that supports these views.
  6. Have a tentative position and thesis.

Writing a Thesis Statement
Now that you have considered the sources, refer back to the tentative position you wrote after analyzing the prompt. Do you now have specific reasons to support the position you took? Will you revise or add a qualification to this position? Or will you change to a completely different view? ALWAYS keep your PURPOSE in mind, thinking about what kind of claim(s) the prompt is asking you to make. Below are three possible formats you might use to write a thesis statement.

Position which makes a qualification:
• While________________________________(counterargument),__________________________(my position).  Position which takes a stand and offers supporting points:

• ____________________________ (clarification of my position) because/in order to/so that ________________________(supporting reasons).

Position which argues the importance of considering certain factors/implications before making a particular decision:
• Before deciding to _____________________________[person/institution](limit, maintain, expand) should consider ________________________.

Independent Practice

Revise the synthesis essay. Us the structure of synthesis essay on the last page to revise your essay.

Homework: Finish the revised essay.

Day 8

Students will be able to synthesize the sources and generate an original perspective on the issue discussed in the sources through making three type of claims- fact, value and policy.

Do Now: Gallery Walk

Visit as many poster presentations as you can and make some comments on the following-

  1. Does the student answer what the question asks?
  2. Does the response solely rely on facts? Are there any claims?
  3. Is there any claim that reflects of the synthesis of several facts?
  4. What is the most important thing you have learned from this presentation about the author?
  5. What’s not clear? What else would you like to know?
  • How does the author’s work bear clear marks of the time and place s/he lived in?
  • How would you describe the author’s persona/voice( beliefs, ethnicity, gender and class and social position, etc)?
  • How does the author’s persona impact the purpose of their work?
  • How would you describe the author’s style?

Mini Lesson

Steps to take to write a synthesis essay:

  1. Read the Prompt. You will read the synthesis prompt and think carefully about an issue. An issue is a conflict with different possible resolutions; a resolution is a position that considers various
    views and perspectives and attempts to reach a position that reconciles the differing views in some way. Make sure you carefully read the language of the prompt to see what your “task” or “purpose” is for this essay (i.e. identify factors, offer a recommendation, etc)
    2. Read & Evaluate the Sources. You will read what THEY SAY (writers of the six to eight documents/sources) on this issue, in order to determine what YOU SAY on the issue.
    3. Write the Essay. You will write an essay establishing YOUR POSITION and synthesizing information from at least 3 different sources to support your discussion. You should always include a discussion of the counterargument with a concession & rebuttal.
  2. What Does the Prompt Tell You?
    Be careful to read the entire prompt—they are often more complex than you think, and misreading the prompt is a common (and dire) mistake.
    Topic: what is the prompt about? (What issue?)
    Context: what (if any) useful background information does it give you?
    Task/Purpose: what does it ask you to DO in your essay?
    • Are you making a Claim of Fact (identify or examine factors, outcomes, implications), a Claim of Value (evaluate, argue for/against, develop a position on an issue), or a Claim of Policy (offer a recommendation, develop a position on whether or not something should be changed)?
    • NOTE: Claims of fact, value, and policy often build on each other—especially with claims of value & policy, you most likely will have to make both in your argument—but it’s important to recognize which type of claim the prompt is asking you to focus on.
  3. Recognize Complexity: Many students receive lower scores on synthesis essays because they overlook the complexity of the prompt and take a simple position. An essay that cites three sources supporting only one view will not score above a 4. Why? Because an important goal of research and synthesis is to recognize complexity and to show an awareness of multiple views.
    This does not mean that you cannot take a definite position on an issue. It does mean that the you should establish ethos (your credibility as a writer) by conceding to other views. A careful consideration of information given in the prompt can move you beyond the trap of superficial, one-sided thinking.
  4. Factors: What factors should be evaluated before selecting the best position? Remember that, in the synthesis, even if factors/evaluations are not directly mentioned, you are expected to consider them in your discussion of the issue.
  5. Consider your Tentative Position: Now that you have identified some of complexities in your analysis of the prompt, formulate a tentative position on the issue—your guess of what you might argue AFTER reading the prompt but BEFORE reading the sources.

Independent Practice:

Students analyze the prompt on page 3 and do the following-

  1. What’s the topic?
  2. What’s the context?
  3. What kind of claim ( fact, value or policy) is ” whether monolingual English speakers are at a disadvantage today”? Why?
  4. In order to take a position and persuade someone to follow you , what do you need to do?( gather facts about advantages or advantages about being monolingual; evaluate /argue against other claims;

Homework: Revise the intro and first body paragraph of the synthesis essay.

Day 7

Objectives: Students will be able to evaluate their synthesis essay by using the “synthesis essay heuristic”.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.A
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.B
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
Differentiation: Students select details from the sources  based on their individual reading experience and understanding of the texts. They are also given various options to respond to the prompt depending on their personal level of challenges or strengths. Students can raise their own questions to probe into the implied meaning of the issue.
Grouping Rationale: Students will be grouped based on personal choice with the teacher’s careful  consideration of individual learning needs, styles, talents and personality to maximize their productivity. In each group, all participants are contributors; but several of them will also be a timer , spelling/grammar checker or recorder, facilitator and presenter.
Do Now: Share in pairs your reflection. As a class, we create a goal to improve. A volunteer will take notes and write them on a poster paper.

 

Write a reflection on the synthesis essay unit-

  • What new knowledge have you gained about writing a thesis essay?
  • What specific skills do you believe are required for this task?
  • How comfortable or uncomfortable are you with the task? Why?
  • What are you still struggling with?
  • What are your next steps in order to improve your writing?
Mini Lesson with Guided Practice
To SYNTHESIZE means to assemble parts into a new whole. The parts are the different sources,each representing a distinct view or views on a particular topic. The “whole” is your essay in which you explain your position, considering views from the sources that show both sides of the issue. ! The synthesis essay is similar to the argument question, but it is more complex: !
• The TYPE of thinking you are doing for the synthesis essay is often different from the argument essay. Whereas argument essays can often be be more philosophical, synthesis essays are usually about a particular topic or issue. You are often asked to evaluate factors and to consider the implications of decisions —a thinking step beyond the traditional “defend, challenge or qualify/ take a position” task in the argument essay. !
• You are required to synthesize information from the sources into your argument, either summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting directly from at least three sources. Remember that the sources won’t make your point. They provide supporting information, perspectives, viewpoints so that you can make your point.

 

Your synthesis will emerge as you complete the following steps: 
1. Read the Prompt. You will read the synthesis prompt and think carefully about an issue. An issue is a conflict with different possible resolutions; a resolution is a position that considers various views and perspectives and attempts to reach a position that reconciles the differing views in some way. Make sure you carefully read the language of the prompt to see what your “task” or “purpose” is for this essay (i.e. identify factors, offer a recommendation, etc) !
2. Read & Evaluate the Sources. You will read what THEY SAY (writers of the six to eight documents/sources) on this issue, in order to determine what YOU SAY on the issue. !
3. Write the Essay. You will write an essay establishing YOUR POSITION and synthesizing information from at least 3 different sources to support your discussion. You should always include a discussion of the counterargument with a concession & rebuttal.

1. READ THE PROMPT
I. What Does the Prompt Tell You? 
Be careful to read the entire prompt—they are often more complex than you think, and misreading the prompt is a common (and dire) mistake.

Topic: what is the prompt about? (What issue?) !
Context: what (if any) useful background information does it give you? !

Task/Purpose: what does it ask you to DO in your essay?
• Are you making a Claim of Fact (identify or examine factors, outcomes, implications), a Claim of Value (evaluate, argue for/against, develop a position on an issue), or a Claim of Policy (offer a recommendation, develop a position on whether or not something should be changed)?
• NOTE: Claims of fact, value, and policy often build on each other—especially with
claims of value & policy, you most likely will have to make both in your argument—but it’s important to recognize which type of claim the prompt is asking you to focus on. !

II. What is Your Position on the Issue? 
Recognize Complexity: Many students receive lower scores on synthesis essays because they overlook the complexity of the prompt and take a simple position. An essay that cites three sources supporting only one view will not score above a 4. Why? Because an important goal of research and synthesis is to recognize complexity and to show an awareness of multiple views. This does not mean that you cannot take a definite position on an issue. It does mean that the
you should establish ethos (your credibility as a writer) by conceding to other views. A careful consideration of information given in the prompt can move you beyond the trap of superficial, one-sided thinking. !
Factors: What factors should be evaluated before selecting the best position? Remember that, in the synthesis, even if factors/evaluations are not directly mentioned, you are expected to consider them in your discussion of the issue. !
Consider your Tentative Position: Now that you have identified some of complexities in your analysis of the prompt, formulate a tentative position on the issue—your guess of what you might argue AFTER reading the prompt but BEFORE reading the sources.

Homework:

  • Revise the introduction ( thesis statement) of the synthesis essay.
  • Develop a claim of facts , a claim of values( with recognition of a counter claim), and a claim of policy( with recognition of a counter claim).

 

_________________

Day 6

Objectives: Students will be to express their perspectives on monoligualism by hypothesizing the sources provided.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.A
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.B
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
Differentiation: Students select details from the scene  based on their individual reading experience and understanding of the text. They are also given various options to respond to the poem depending on their personal level of challenges or strengths. Students can raise their own questions to probe into the implied meaning of the poem.
Grouping Rationale: Students will be grouped based on personal choice with consideration of individual learning needs, styles, talents and personality to maximize their productivity. In each group, all participants are contributors; but several of them will also be a timer , spelling/grammar checker or recorder, facilitator and presenter.
Do now: How to generate a thesis statement through synthesis?
Mini Lesson with Guided Practice
  • Use the outline you have created to guide your own synthesis essay.
  • Use the ” How to Write a Synthesis Essay” handout as a resource.

Independent Practice

Writing the synthesis essay.

Homework: Read and annotate  ” How to Write a Synthesis Essay” handout and write a reflection on the synthesis essay unit-

  • What new knowledge have you gained about writing a thesis essay?
  • What specific skills do you believe are required for this task?
  • How comfortable or uncomfortable are you with the task? Why?
  • What are you still struggling with? W
  • What are your next steps in order to improve your writing?

 

__________________

Day 5

Objectives: Students will be able to create an outline based on an exemplary sythesis essay.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.A
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.B
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
Differentiation: Students select details from the scene  based on their individual reading experience and understanding of the text. They are also given various options to respond to the poem depending on their personal level of challenges or strengths. Students can raise their own questions to probe into the implied meaning of the poem.
Grouping Rationale: Students will be grouped based on personal choice with consideration of individual learning needs, styles, talents and personality to maximize their productivity. In each group, all participants are contributors; but several of them will also be a timer , spelling/grammar checker or recorder, facilitator and presenter.
Do Now: Why is it essential and effective to create an outline before writing an essay? Pair share.
Mini Lesson 
Power Point Presentation on Writing a Synthesis Essay
Guided Practice:
Creating an Outline based on the exemplary essay
Independent Practice: If you have already complete the outline, you can start working on your own synthesis essay on the same topic.
Homework: Create an outline for your own synthesis essay using identical structure as the exemplary essay. I’ll only need to see an introduction and claim and counter claim with evidence. No analysis is needed at this point. We’ll work on the analysis tomorrow in class.

________________________________________

Day 4

Objectives: Students will be able to create an outline for a synthesis essay based on at least three sources on monolingualism.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.A
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.B
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

 

Steps to Write a Synthesis Essay

Mini Lesson with Guided Practice

  1. When reading each source, underline 1 or 2 statements that represent the author’s message or use your own words to describe the author’s main argument. Underline the evidence that supports it. What are the three sources will you use for the essay? What are the main argument of each source? How does the author support his/her argument ( supporting evidence or reasoning)?
  2. Draft a T-chart with Argument on the left and Counter-Argument on the right.
  3. For example-Topic: Is College Worth its Cost?
Pro Arguments Counter Arguments
Source B:a. Liberal Arts Education teaches students life skills that enable to live a successful life.

b. shapes economy and culture

Source A: Manual trades are more attractive, technologies are changing rapidly
Source D: Education pays off financially Source C: College grads’ salary does not grow proportionally with inflation
Source E:a. Very small percentage people can make it without education

b. 86% college investments is good personally

Source E: : tuition soars
Source F: Education helps with character growth Source F: long-term financial burden

3. Decide how to construct a thesis based on ideas from three sources. How to construct a complex thesis by combining the similar ideas and pointing out an opposing claim in a complex sentence?

4. Determine how to organize the essay by reviewing your pro-arguments in a logical order ( ascending) to create a rising trajectory.

5. Find a counter claim for each ( pro)argument you make.

6. Refute or qualify the counter argument ( claim).

Independent Practice

 

______________________________

Day 3

Objectives: Students will be able to

  • understand what a strong argument looks like through analyzing an exemplary essay
  • develop a perspective on the issue of monolingualism by synthesizing arguments from at least three sources.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.A
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1.B
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
 Do Now:  In the reading group, share your synthesis heuristics. What arguments/ counterarguments have you noticed expressed in each source? What’s the reasoning and evidence behind each argument?
Mini Lesson with Guided Practice
Analyze the exemplary synthesis essay:
  1. What’s in the introduction?
  2. What’s the thesis statement?
  3. How does the thesis statement demonstrate a debatable nature?
  4. How does the thesis statement demonstrate the synthesis  of several sources?
  5. How can the thesis be broken down to two or three parts that the writer can elaborate in the body paragraphs?
  6. How does the writer bring forward a counter claim?

In the body paragraphs-

  1. How does the writer introduce his/her claim?
  2. What is the relationship between the fist claim and 2nd claim?
  3. What transitional words or phrases do you notice that are used effectively?
  4. How does the writer cite evidence?
  5. How does the writer demonstrate the evidence supports his claim?
  6. How does the writer refute a counter claim?

In the conclusion-

How does the writer restate his argument?

Independent Practice:

In each reading group, create an outline based on the exemplary essay.

Exist Slip: Hand in your synthesis heuristics.

Homework: Complete the outline by group or individually. Write a brief refection what new skills or strategies you have learned from this activity.

____________________________

Day 2:

Objectives: Students will  analyze the argument of each source and formulate their own position and perspective on the issue by synthesizing the arguments of at least three sources.

Do Now: Each group presents its passage analysis by identifying the following-

  •  What claim is the source making about the issue?
  • What data or evidence does the source offer in support of that claim?
  • What are the assumptions or beliefs (explicit or unspoken) that warrant using this evidence or data to support the claim?

Resource: Synthesis 

Mini Lesson

How to synthesize various arguments to formulate your own perspective on the issue as the thesis of your essay?

  • Synthesis occurs when they offer two or more different sources as evidence or support for their own particular argumentative point or counterargument.
  • 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.
  • synthesis can be charted as a formula: “A writes, ‘X’; B agrees (disagrees, elaborates upon, etc.) and writes, ‘Y.’”
  • .A synthesized essay should leave a 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.
  • Synthesis, then, is not just something that can be pointed to and labeled; rather, it should be an overall sense that a piece of writing gives.

Synthesis is not-

  1. (NOT) Two or more sources in a paragraph—period . There is a popular idea that synthesis just means that a paragraph contains two or more sources. Having more than one source in a paragraph is an excellent first step toward synthesis; however, I would content that true synthesis isn’t happening unless a relationship between the sources is apparent.
  2. it is possible to have synthesis on a more sophisticated level, and to demonstrate a relationship between sources without using a connective word or phrase from a standard list; synthesis can be achieved subtly if a writer displays a careful progression of ideas, with one source building upon what another says. However, at the rudimentary level, it is hard to pull off synthesis without a connective word
  3. Here’s an example: Chocolate comes to us from South America, where it was once consumed as a bitter, hot beverage, according to Joe Schmoe, author of “Ahh! Chocolate” (12). The beverage quickly gained favor in Europe. Ima Goodbar points out that Queen Isabella had an elaborate hot chocolate set that she used on important state occasions (276). A student should be applauded for getting information, including background information, from a variety of sources; however, simply placing source material side-by-side does not make for synthesis. I would agree with those who would claim that the example above falls into a gray area—the link between the ideas is clear, although a synthesis word or phrase is not used. Still, a paper that included only this sort of stacked information would not be judged successful in terms of synthesis.
  4. (NOT)  One source related only to itself . Sometimes students will offer a quote early in a paragraph, and later in the paragraph, the same source will be shown in relationship to itself (hopefully by agreement, as a source disagreeing with itself would be off-putting, to say the least). A more sophisticated way of attempting synthesis within a single source occurs when voices quoted within that source are related to one another. Here’s another made-up example, for the purposes of illustration: In Karen Craigo’s article “Milton Hershey Should be Canonized,” Lisa Simpson states, “I love chocolate” (14). Wayland Smithers agrees with this sentiment, stating, “Chocolate is the greatest discovery humankind can claim” (qtd. in Craigo 17). Note that both quotes come from the same source. This shows some sophisticated thinking, with appropriate connections being made, and it is a type of synthesis—a relationship between ideas is being demonstrated. Still, it’s not what I’m looking for in my class; note how my definition requires two or more different sources to be used.
  5. (NOT) Random synthesis words thrown in for good measure . Often I will read a draft and come across the sort of signal words I’m looking for—agrees, disagrees, etc.—but the words are not being used to link sources; rather, they are used merely to introduce a source, and seemingly the agreement or disagreement indicated is with the author’s own ideas. Here’s a sample: One reason chocolate should be on every elementary school lunch menu is that it makes students feel so good. Rita Dove, president of the Dove Chocolate Corporation, agrees, stating, “Chocolate is the perfect end to a satisfying luncheon” . It may be helpful to encourage students to use words very deliberately. A word like “agrees” should probably be reserved for those occasions when a real relationship is being explored. Students may be tempted to pile synthesis words into an essay, even when synthesis is not present. Let them know that you aren’t giving bonus points for clever use of “concurs” or “elaborates upon.”
  6. (NOT) False relationships between sources . When students are trying hard to attain synthesis (the compositional equivalent of nirvana), sometimes they struggle in figuring out exactly what the relationship is between Source A and Source B. The result of their confusion can be strange indeed; often, it is what I would call false synthesis—a made-up relationship between sources. It might look something like this: Perhaps the biggest reason taxpayers should be given a standard chocolate deduction is the importance that this commodity has to our entire economic system. Nicole Kidman, author of “If I Ate Anything, It Would Be Chocolate,” writes, “So much in our society is dependent upon our ability to attain chocolate, whether this is through cocoa powder, mocha lattes, or a Cadbury Cream Egg” (42). But in his article “Chocolate Tastes As Good As Halle Berry’s Tonsils,” Adrien Brody disagrees. He states, “Chocolate is important to American life, but I like vanilla, too” (67). There is a relationship to be drawn between the two quotes offered here, but a student who chose to state that the articles “disagree” would be missing the mark.
  7. (NOT) 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. I believe it is effective to get them into the habit of locating their own voice within a synthesized passage—perhaps by physically highlighting the parts of a paragraph that contain their own words. Are they interpreting quotes and furthering their own ideas, or are they just piling quotes one on top of the other? The highlighting method may allow students to ascertain on their own if they are being overshadowed by source material.
  8. (NOT)• Too much of one source . Students would be well advised to make sure that one of their sources isn’t driving the essay. If every paragraph contains material from a particular source on a student’s Works Cited page, or if whole paragraphs aren’t synthesized, but rather offer this single, particular source alone, it could be that a writer is using copied structure—relying too heavily upon a source’s argumentative structure, rather than coming up with his or her own. Students should be on the alert for this problem.

How to improve a thesis?

Here are some questions students can ask as they peer review each other’s work: 1. Is the relationship between sources made clear? 2. Are synthesis words or phrases used to link two or more different sources? 3. Does the synthesis word or phrase accurately summarize the relationship between/among sources? 4. Does synthesized source material overwhelm your voice? 5. Is one source synthesized or otherwise used more than the other sources on the Works Cited page?

Capturing Authorial Intent  and “Introducing Something Implied or Assumed

  •  *In discussions of X, one controversial issue has been________ . On the one hand,______ argues_______ . On the other hand, _______contends__________
    . Others even maintain_______________ . My own view is _________________.
  • *When it comes to the topic of_____________ , most of us will agree that__________ .
    Where the agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of________ . Whereas some are convinced that___________ , others maintain that______________ .
  • *In conclusion, then, as I suggested earlier, defenders of_______________ can’t have it both ways. Their assertion that _____________ is contradicted by their claim that________ .

Making Concessions While Still Standing Your Ground
*Although I grant that__________ , I still maintain that_______________ .
*Proponents of X are right to argue that_____________ . But they exaggerate when they claim that_____________ .
*While it is true that____________ , it does not necessarily follow that_____________ .
*On the one hand, I agree with X that__________ . But, on the other hand, I still insist that_______________ .

Resources:

Independent Practice

As a group, write a synthesis essay.

Exit Slip: Hand in an outline for your group synthesis essay with a thesis statement.

Homework: Compose a precis paragraph using the handout  provided.

_________________________

Day  1

Objectives: Students will understand the essential elements such as argument, counter argument, collapsing argument, etc. in a synthesis essay through analyzing an exemplary essay provided by the College Board.

Materials:copies of AP Lang 2016 exam part I synthesis essay sources and sample essays

Do Now: Write down a few ideas or strategies that you know about writing a successful synthesis essay. Pair share.

Mini Lesson with Guided Practice

Share tips in the article “Preparing for the Synthesis Question: Six Moves Toward Success”

 In most college courses that require substantial writing, students are called upon to write researched arguments in which they take a stand on a topic or an issue and then enter into conversation with what has already been written on it.The synthesis question provides students with a number of relatively brief sources on a topic or an issue — texts of no longer than one page, plus at least one source that is a graphic, a visual, a picture, or a cartoon. The prompt calls upon students to write a composition that develops a position on the issue and that synthesizes and incorporates perspectives from at least three of the provided sources. Students may, of course, draw upon whatever they know about the issue as well, but they must make use of at least three of the provided sources to earn an upper-half score.

What moves should a writer make to accomplish this task? Essentially, there are six: read, analyze, generalize, converse, finesse, and argue.

Read Closely, Then Analyze

First, the writer must read the sources carefully. There will be an extra 15 minutes of time allotted to the free-response section to do so. The student will be permitted to read and write on the cover sheet to the synthesis question, which will contain some introductory material, the prompt itself, and a list of the sources. The students will also be permitted to read and annotate the sources themselves. The student will not be permitted to open his or her test booklet and actually begin writing the composition until after the 15 minutes has elapsed.

Second, the writer must analyze the argument each source is making: What claim is the source making about the issue? What data or evidence does the source offer in support of that claim? What are the assumptions or beliefs (explicit or unspoken) that warrant using this evidence or data to support the claim? Note that students will need to learn how to perform such analyses of nontextual sources: graphs, charts, pictures, cartoons, and so on.

After Analysis: Finding and Establishing a Position
Third, the writer needs to generalize about his or her own potential stands on the issue. The writer should ask, “What are two or three (or more) possible positions on this issue that I could take? Which of those positions do I really want to take? Why?” It’s vital at this point, I think, for the writer to keep an open mind. A stronger, more mature, more persuasive essay will result if the writer resists the temptation to oversimplify the issue, to hone in immediately on an obvious thesis. All of the synthesis essay prompts will be based on issues that invite careful, critical thinking. The best student responses, I predict, will be those in which the thesis and development suggest clearly that the writer has given some thought to the nuances, the complexities of the assigned topic.

Fourth — and this is the most challenging move — the writer needs to imagine presenting eachof his or her best positions on the issue to each of the authors of the provided sources. Role-playing the author or creator of each source, the student needs to create an imaginary conversation between himself or herself and the author/creator of the source. Would the author/creator agree with the writer’s position? Why? Disagree? Why? Want to qualify it in some way? Why and how?

Fifth, on the basis of this imagined conversation, the student needs to finesse, to refine, the point that he or she would like to make about the issue so that it can serve as a central proposition, a thesis — as complicated and robust as the topic demands — for his or her composition. This proposition or thesis should probably appear relatively quickly in the composition, after a sentence or two that contextualizes the topic or issue for the reader.

Sixth, the student needs to argue his or her position. The writer must develop the case for the position by incorporating within his or her own thinking the conversations he or she has had with the authors/creators of the primary sources. The student should feel free to say things like, “Source A takes a position similar to mine,” or “Source C would oppose my position, but here’s why I still maintain its validity,” or “Source E offers a slightly different perspective, one that I would alter a bit.”

Student Independent Practice

Each group will read an assigned article and put together a presentation of their understating of the assigned article –

  •  What claim is the source making about the issue?
  • What data or evidence does the source offer in support of that claim?
  • What are the assumptions or beliefs (explicit or unspoken) that warrant using this evidence or data to support the claim?

Resources:

Exit Slip: Hand in the group analysis of the assigned source.

Homework: Pick a visual from this New Yorker Cartoon section and analyze it using the SPATER ( see handout)method.

______________________________________

 Part II
Objectives: Students will be able to extend their use of visual sources beyond an affirmation of what other sources already say or beyond what we already
believe.
Do Now: What’s a rhetorical triangle ( Aristotelian triangle)?

A. What does the visual (or nonverbal) text provide that the traditional text cannot?

  1. determining the point of view of a visual text; visual media broaden the perspective and can provide multiple viewpoints, consistent with much of our postmodern fiction. For example, a Faulkner novel, for example, has many characters’ views, but the multiplicity of these perspectives allows readers to synthesize these views into the author’s overall position.
  2. Tied directly to point of view are the choices that the sender (creator, photographer, statistician, film editor, advertiser, etc.) makes in the presentation of text, not unlike what authors will determine in their own choices
  3. Verbal Text: Stylistic Devices
    Diction or Syntax ; Juxtaposition; Structure ; Motifs ;Emphasis Exaggeration, repetition;Incongruity or Irony ; Tone
  4. Nonverbal Text: Stylistic Devices: Numbers, captions, headings; Placement, Organization (of images, data), Recurring elements, Exaggeration, repetition, Contrast, tone

How to determine the rhetorical context of a visual piece?

a. What are the messages?
b. What choices in composition has the creator made? What has been omitted?
c. What is the creator’s intention?
d. In what way(s) does the visual medium present the message that a written text message could not?
e. In what ways(s) does the visual medium present a message that would enhance the written text message?

For example, take a look at Alfred Stieglitz’s famous photograph, The Steerage.

  1. What are the messages? Stieglitz communicates the paradoxical nature of immigration. The crowds on board exhibit the masses’ exodus to the New World; the living conditions are rife with squalor. We can note the multiple tones present within this one photograph: the optimism exuded by the sheer energy of the movement towards a new world; the pessimism presented by the subjects on board who gaze downward; Stieglitz’s own cynicism toward what arriving
    in the New World really proffers.
  2. Choices in Composition: The photographer’s use of contrast establishes a type of heaven and hell, celebrated by geometric, harsh lines of a ladder or platform. Yet within each side of “Elysium” are elements that suggest otherwise; those in heaven gaze downward, while the white linen below presents optimism and commitment to a better life. Omitted: What are the people on the upper deck thinking? Are they more optimistic than those on the lower deck, who are gazing upwards? Is there already a hint of classism on board?
  3. Creator’s intention: To presume to know the intention of a piece of art is an act of hubris, especially if we are not familiar with the subject or artist. In light of the rhetorical context, however, “intent” asks us to determine the relationship between sender, receiver, and subject; thus, intent becomes a matter of inference. Perhaps the photographer’s intent was only to capture a day in the life of a ship; but when we synthesize this data with other knowledge, we may use this data to note Stieglitz’s ability to demystify some of the glamour of the New World, and to reveal the irony of the sacrifices those immigrants made to pursue a better life.
  4. Enhancements to Verbal Text: Anzia Yaziersken’s Th e Breadgivers, or even the final paragraphs of Th e Great Gatsby (published in the same year), both present the misgivings and sacrifices of émigrés, yet they do so in the context of the pursuit of something greater than what they knew in the old country. The fictional texts present a greater bias, given our dispositions about characters up until this point; the photograph, by contrast, is Everyman.
  5. What the Visual Provides that Regular Text Cannot: Th e major addition here is multiple points of view. THE visual synthesizes these various viewpoints—whether biased or neutral— at the same time. With The Steerage, especially after reading an account of immigration to this country, we have lost neutrality in exchange for knowing a character’s life. Stieglitz’s photograph juxtaposes multiple perspectives, including the photographer’s.

How to integrate the analysis into the overall argument?

  • use visual texts as part of developing arguments: expand the argument, rather
    than merely affirming it.
  • Synthesis, by contrast, asks students to consider related issues in an effort to fully understand an issue.

Capturing Authorial Intent  and “Introducing Something Implied or Assumed

  •  *In discussions of X, one controversial issue has been________ . On the one hand,______ argues_______ . On the other hand, _______contends__________
    . Others even maintain_______________ . My own view is _________________.
  • *When it comes to the topic of_____________ , most of us will agree that__________ .
    Where the agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of________ . Whereas some are convinced that___________ , others maintain that______________ .
  • *In conclusion, then, as I suggested earlier, defenders of_______________ can’t have it both ways. Their assertion that _____________ is contradicted by their claim that________ .

How can visual rhetoric be successfully synthesized with verbal text? The prompt asks for students to agree, disagree, or qualify the assertion that television has had a positive impact on presidential elections.

Given the creative dissonance between a qualitative (often verbal) account of an issue, versus a quantitative (often statistical) account, we can consider these questions in determining the multiple perspectives that a chart provides:
1. What are the boundaries, indices, or variables selected? What has been excluded in this process?
2. Do the trends, assertions, or claims presented by the chart remain consistent? Does the chart account for variations in the data?
3. In addition to the more logical evidence of numbers, what other information, especially written text, may be considered to obtain a fuller picture of what the evidence means?

A Sample Response that Expands

To say that television has had a positive impact on presidential elections begs the question of what we mean by a “positive impact.” If we mean that more people are watching candidates and gaining an understanding of who they are voting for, then we fail to take into account that the voting public has become a more informed one. Indeed, given the image-based approach that televised debates present, at stake is not just a question of image versus issue, but also one of
access. Indeed, television provides the access, which for many people may be enough; further, television has never purported itself to be an agent of education, for it is by nature a more passive method of engagement. Yes, TV has done what it has set out to do, but the failure of television to impact elections positively has less to do with who watches or even how many are watching, but rather what happens to the electorate in between the act of viewing and the act of voting.

The lack of attention span in the American electorate promotes image over issues. Ted Koppel clearly understands this in his declaration of television as a “joke” in monitoring public debate, given the reduced amount of time viewers even have to watch candidates (Source F). Such sentiment is also supported by Sources B and D, respectively, where those who do watch television, note Roderick and Hart, combine the “serious and sophomoric” and convolute a
President’s underwear with the impression that they understand the candidate; similarly, such fatigue with candidates themselves who cater to this superficiality is manifested by the reduced number of viewers who watch the elections on television, noted in Source D.

Decreased viewership, however, fails to acknowledge the related issue of access to presidential candidates. Louis Menand articulates the power of the Kennedy–Nixon debates as commensurate with the highest peak in television debate ratings (Sources C, D). But frankly, the novelty had worn off by the 1980s, with the advent of cable television and now the Internet. Candidates are scrutinized more closely than ever; to decry Clinton’s wardrobe as a reflection of his presidential potential is as absurd as believing that Kennedy’s virtue was intact; Source D also fails to reflect how many Americans actually voted in Presidential elections.

Sample 2: Memoir As Truth Prompt, Authored by John Brassil

Unlike the television prompt, this piece features a cartoon, which invokes key terms associated with traditional studies of satire. Most of these terms fall under the general heading of distortion: exaggeration, caricature, hyperbole, mockery, and overstatement. In writing and in graphics, we explore the following questions:
1. What is being distorted and why?
2. What is the implicit thesis of the graphic?
3. What are the targets (emphasis on plural) of this distortion?
4. What effect does the juxtaposition or placement of imagery and/or text have on the overall purpose?

An initial reading of the cartoon affirms Frey’s notion that memoir is as much about story as it is about truth, and the text itself, coupled with the coffee-cupped characters seriousness, suggests that the more horrific the story, the better the sales. Yet, the buffoonish demeanor and appearance of the characters suggests that the cartoon is, indeed, satirizing not just the authors of memoir, nor just the public who consumes such memoir, but also the casual process of inventing truth.

A Sample Response That Affirms

Without question, it is appropriate, even necessary, for a memoirist to be able to distort the truth. America is as much about story as it is about facts; further, fi ction can and should be about the truth. Sometimes, the truth itself is too hard to swallow, and the memoirist can provide an important message through a well-told story.

Numerous sources support this assertion as well. Th e “Foxtrot” magazine presents characters who fully support this method (Source D). James Frey concurs with this notion as he writes: “I believe, and I understand others strongly disagree, that memoir allows the writer to work from memory instead of from a strict journalistic or historical standard” (Source B). And William Zinsser himself also believes fully in the necessity of having memoir be raised to an “art” form
(Source C).

Making Concessions While Still Standing Your Ground
*Although I grant that__________ , I still maintain that_______________ .
*Proponents of X are right to argue that_____________ . But they exaggerate when they claim that_____________ .
*While it is true that____________ , it does not necessarily follow that_____________ .
*On the one hand, I agree with X that__________ . But, on the other hand, I still insist that_______________ .

Student Independent Practice

Women and Sports  ( Use http://www.gettyimages.com/?corbis to search for the images of Gertrude Ederle, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Michelle Wie)

questions you may use to synthesize the pictures-

a. What do these photographs have in common?
b. What choices have the artists made in terms of how to present a superior female athlete?
c. Of the three, which seems to be the most/least eff ective in its presentation?
d. Rank the pictures in order of importance.

Conclusion: at the heart of successful synthesis is an interdisciplinary approach toward learning—not in the curricular sense, as in the coupling of content—but in the pedagogic sense, where we can look at the types of literacy that students employ from one discipline to another.

Reflection: What did you learn that was most important in helping you understand the visuals?

Homework: Write a synthesis essay using year 2010 prompt.