"The process of synthesizing information may be the most complex of comprehension strategies" (P. 227). Well. I would agree with that! Synthesizing seems to be the most difficult for my kiddos to grasp.
What does synthesizing look like in math?
Well, for starters.....there's a whole lot of thinking that goes on during math!
Consider this all of this that needs to go on in those little brains--
- Conceptual understanding - they need to have a functional grasp of mathematical ideas
- Procedural fluency - when & how do you use all those procedures?
- Strategic competence - they've got to be able to form, represent, & solve math problems
- Productive disposition - they must be able to see that math makes sense & is useful (again--- it's not hereditary!)
- Adaptive reasoning - we want kiddos to be able to think about & make connections between concepts & relationships.
Here are what kiddos need to know about synthesizing--
Mathematicians (and we're all mathematicians!)
- are aware that mathematical ideas change with additional experiences.
- synthesize ideas when they think about new experiences they have.
- understand that synthesis is the sum of all the information gained from old & new math experiences.
- realize that their own knowledge of math will continue to grow & change as you come across new ideas.
- can explain how using synthesis can help you better understand.
That's a pretty big order!
If you're like me, you're already thinking about how you can help your kiddos develop this skill. Here are some of the ideas Sammons gives:
- Modeling & Think Alouds- During reading, we pause every now & then to think aloud to let kiddos hear our thinking. We need to do the same thing with Math! Kiddos need to hear/see how all the different facets of math work together when one is working on a problem.
- Create Concrete Experiences - I know I'm preaching to the choir-- we all know that kiddos need to anchor abstract on to concrete. I like the example of
- Nesting Dolls - as an object lesson for synthesis. Line the dolls up according to size & have kiddos come up with how that relates to our thinking (Your thinking changes & gets bigger with more experience). Amanda Nickerson, from One Extra Degree has a fabulous product on TpT that does just that!
- Bake a Cake! All the separate ingredients go in together to make a new whole food. I've got some ideas a-cookin' for this one! Make sure you come back to check it out!!