Thursday, September 12, 2013

AP Lit 3G: Legos & Literature & Synthesis Thinking

Today's AP Lit 3G class started with a quick trip to our new Make Space design & innovation lab in the incubator room here at Mt. Blue Campus.  (It's still getting refined  down there and when it is all ready to go?  Look out, cook out.)
Legos & Literary Analysis
There we built Lego constructs, reflected on the construction process, and then developed analogies between that process and the literary construction and analysis processes.

And it was super fun.  See more here.
Assessment & Synthesis
After lunch, we returned to the room to discuss our strengths and weaknesses as literary analysis essayists and construct rubric drafts for our first synthesis essay.

This lead to our first foray into synthesis thinking. 

Our examples of synthesis thesis statements are on the board (which is away from me at the moment so I will update this soon).

At the heart of our synthesis work lays this process:

Analyze the literature we read
Reflect upon your life experience and content knowledge across your spectrum of contexts
Identify threads, patterns, meaning, symbols across the literature, experience & knowledge
Focus upon a single, powerful idea/understanding that emerges from the above work
Defend your understanding with evidence from the above work

Synthesis thinking is what writers and thinkers like Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, and Steven Johnson do every day.  Chuck Klosterman and Sarah Vowell, Cintra Wilson and Barbara Ehrenreich do it too.

We are in age where the amount of information exceeds our ability to consume it.  We have to cull and curate, extract and explicate, and then find the underlayment, the powerful notions holding it all together.  Then we might be able to start making sense of this world in which live and figuring out ways to make it better.

Finally, a heads up.  As we haven't had our primary means of communication, the laptop, at our disposal until now, I have been soft on due dates and submitting work.  Starting Monday, timeliness rubrics (see Guidelines & Expectations in their colorful glory) will be strictly enforced on all assigned homework.

Finish: Ender's Game for Monday
Complete: Student Designed Essay Rubric - send along ASAP
Draft: 1st Working Draft of Synthesis Essay Due for Workshop Next Wednesday, 9/18

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