# Synectics (William J. Gordon)

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## Synectics (William J. Gordon)

• “The joining together of different and apparently irrelevant elements,” or put more simply, “Making the familiar strange.”
• Teach a topic to students.
• Ask students to describe the topic, focusing on descriptive words and critical attributes.
• Teacher identifies an unrelated category to compare to the descriptions in #2. (Think of a sport that reminds you of these words. Explain why you chose that sport.) Students can choose the category, too.
• Students write or express the analogy between the two: The endocrine system is like playing zones in basketball. Each player or gland is responsible for his area of the game.

## 4-Square Synectics

• Brainstorm four objects from a particular category (examples: kitchen appliances, household items, the circus, forests, shopping malls).
• In small groups, brainstorm what part of today’s learning is similar in some way to the objects listed.
• Create four analogies, one for each object.
• Example: How is the human digestive system like each household item: sink, old carpet, microwave, broom
• Example: How is the Pythagorean Theorem like each musical instrument: piano, drum set, electric guitar, trumpet?

## Will ____ become the new ____?

• Samples: Micro-fiber is the new suede.
• Red is the new black.
• Applied to k-12 curriculum:
• What is meant by the statement: “Decimals are the new fractions?”
• Are PDA’s the new paper and pencil?
• Is a Constitutional republic the new representative democracy?
• Is M-Theory the new String Theory?
• Is this character the Atticus Finch of the story?

## Petals Around the Rose

• The name of the game is, “Petals Around the Rose.” The name is very important. For each roll of the game, there is one answer, and I will tell you that answer.

• 6
• 10
• 0

## Petals Around the Rose

• Clues to give students if they struggle:
• All the math you need to solve this problem you learn in kindergarten or before.
• The sequence of the dice patterns has no bearing on the answer.

## Successful Thinkers…

• Concede ignorance when they are ignorant.
• Find out what’s going on.
• Respect intellectuals and don’t deride them.
• Speak out after doing their homework.
• Examine superstitions.
• Play thinking games and amuse themselves by trying to answer puzzle questions.

## Successful Thinkers…

• Aren’t afraid to change their minds.
• Are aware that their opinions, assumptions, and beliefs are often affected by peer-group pressure.
• Are realistically skeptical – even of leaders.
• Recognize that they have personal prejudices.
• Do not to fall in love with their first answers.
• [from Steve Allen’s book, Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking: with 101 Ways to Reason Better and Improve your Mind (Prometheus Books)]

• Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract…

• Aoccdrnig to rseerach at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in what order the ltteers in a word are, the olny iprmoetnt tihnh is that the frist and lsat ltteer is in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can still raed it outhit a porbelm. This is bcuseae we do not raed ervey letetr by itslef, but the word as a wlohe. -- Sousa, p. 62

## Reading Comprehension: 16 All-Time Best Practices

• Create personal background where there is none.
• Set or facilitate reading purpose.
• Prime students’ minds.
• Teach students how to monitor their own comprehension.
• Use frequent and varied summarization techniques.
• Use think-alouds.
• Teach students “fix up” strategies to use when confused.
• Make reading a transformative experience.

## Reading Comprehension: 16 All-Time Best Practices

• Facilitate substantive and personal interaction with text.
• Teach vocabulary for its own sake.
• Ask students to write a lot, particularly as they come to know content
• Teach text structures to students.
• Teach students metaphors and to think metaphorically.
• Teach students how to visualize text.
• Teach reading in context of content studies.
• Teach students how to adjust reading for different purposes and texts.