Author Topic: Lesson plan for writing a synthesis essay  (Read 2255 times)

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Offline Krystie

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Lesson plan for writing a synthesis essay
« on: March 07, 2017, 01:29:06 PM »
Here's a lesson plan (with materials) I developed for a graduate-level ESL writing course. The course was focused primarily on those students majoring in business, but synthesis essays can be written in just about any field/program. It also covers the paragraph structure of the essay's components (intro, body, conclusion). You could adapt this lesson for undergrads, as well, I imagine. (This lesson assumes students already have informal summaries of the sources they're using; feel free to adapt this to your class' specifications if your students haven't already/aren't doing so.) This plan is for an 80-minute class.

 Objectives: Students will be able to...
  • Write a synthesis essay (introduction, body, and conclusion)
  • Use TEA (Topic sentence - evidence - analysis) structure to facilitate clarity and coherence in body paragraphs

 Teacher Instructions and Tasks:
[5-10 minutes] Warm-up

 Ask students to find a partner. In pairs, have them discuss what they know about essay writing. What strategies do they know? How would they describe writing a paragraph to someone who’s unfamiliar with essay writing? What are the components of an essay? Bring the class back together after 3-5 minutes of discussion and invite each pair to share something they discussed. Type each response into a Google doc so that everyone can keep track of what’s been said. Once all pairs have shared, ask students to see if there are any commonalities between the responses, then ask students to comment on them. Try to get them to realize that there’s a certain structure to writing a synthesis essay (intro, body, conclusion) as well as a structure used to write essay paragraphs; explain one paragraph structure that they’ll be using in this class is called TEA (Topic sentence-evidence-analysis) structure.
 [10 minutes] Source Synthesis & TEA Structure Lecture
 Explain how to structure the Source Synthesis Essay and TEA structure using the SOURCE SYNTHESIS AND TEA STRUCTURE PPT. (You can comment on how this is similar to PIE structure, if you’d like.)
 [25 minutes] TEA Structure Practice
 Distribute the TEA STRUCTURE WORKSHEET. Have them complete Task 1 and Task 2 individually, then have them break into groups of 3 to do Task 3. Have them type up their responses to Task 3 into a Google doc (you can create this before class or while they’re working on the first 2 tasks), then have each group present what they’ve created.
 [35-40 minutes] Synthesis Essay Workshop
 This is a chance for students to practice writing portions of their synthesis essay. Using the informal summaries they’ve written for the sources required for the essay, they have the option to work on creating a thesis statement, body paragraphs using TEA structure, and/or an introduction or conclusion in a Word doc. Circulate the room, answering any questions students have as they write. Make sure they have access to the SOURCE SYNTHESIS AND TEA STRUCTURE PPT on the course website so that they can refer to it, if necessary, while they write. Have students email themselves, save to a flash drive, or upload to an online storage system they use (such as Dropbox) so they retain what they’ve worked on and can use it when they write their Synthesis Essay.
 Have students create an outline for their Synthesis Essay based on what they created during the workshop time.
 Additional tips or modifications:
 You can choose other topics for the TEA STRUCTURE WORKSHEET if you’d like. If you run low on time, you can instruct students to only work on one paragraph using TEA structure in the workshop. You can also use the SOURCE SYNTHESIS AND TEA STRUCTURE PPT to fill in any information gaps from the warm-up, rather than conduct a lecture, if you’d prefer to leave more time for the workshop.

Supplementary Materials:
 Source Synthesis and TEA Structure PPT
 TEA Structure Worksheet (Key)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 01:33:02 PM by Krystie »

Offline butler-auld

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Re: Lesson plan for writing a synthesis essay
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2020, 11:11:45 AM »
Thank you, Krystie! This lesson plan is a wonderful start to teaching graduate-level students. I am actually teaching synthesis in my ESL graduate course this week. I wanted students to have a combination of outlining skills and annotating strategies to use when creating source synthesis in their paragraphs. I found a really helpful scholarly article that listed the ways qualitative researchers identify common themes in their data. I modified the techniques listed in this article to come up with a PowerPoint that details the strategies for students. I created several worksheets to go along with the PowerPoint. However, I am just including the PowerPoint in this post to give you ideas for how to teach synthesis reading strategies along with PIE/TEA writing structure.

**Of course, please modify this PowerPoint with writing samples that you are using in your course for your students. I have been using the same "running and hiking" article throughout this unit so that they are familiar with the literal content.

Hannah Butler-Auld