Learning Activities

This section of the Design Lab houses more than 200 activities strategically selected to support young people in learning key skills. Most of the activities can be used in classrooms across multiple content areas (including math!). The Learning Strategy Buttons and Search Filters will provide you with many different ways to explore the collection, allowing you to quickly identify activities for specific instructional plans.

Synthesizing

Learning to synthesize is the work of digesting a text, figuring out what we really think about its meaning, and exploring the author's intent. Synthesis is a complex process, that is aided by all of the other strategies. As a result, it is typically the last strategy introduced to students These activities have been collected to provide some helpful guidance.

Lesson Plan Stages

Common Core Instructional Shifts

Content Areas

Learning Strands

Skills

Showing 12 of 68 results:

Audience Analysis

  • Investigation
In order to communicate effectively, writers and speakers need to understand their audience’s interests, assumptions, and background knowledge. Skilled communicators must be able both to identify their...

Draw To Remember Summaries

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
In this activity students will draw and write a short description of something they just read. These drawings and summaries can serve as guides for students to go back and review events from previous readings...

Drawing Conclusions Thinking Guide

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
In this activity, students learn to use a graphic organizer to structure the process of drawing logical conclusions based on large quantities of information. It helps to guide students to make meaning out of...

Exemplar Jigsaw

  • Investigation
  • Launching Into New Content
This activity immerses students within a particular format, genre, or style of work, and guides them towards recognizing its characteristics, features, and purpose. Using a jigsaw format, students analyze...

Letters to the Editor

  • Synthesis
This activity engages students in analyzing their audience, and adjusting their rhetoric according to audience characteristics. Students write letters about the same topic to the editors of two different...

13 Views

  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
In this activity students will write a poem that synthesizes information that they have read. Each stanza of the poem represents a different view of a character or an event. The purpose of this activity is to...

ABC Brainstorming

  • Launching Into New Content
  • Synthesis
This activity helps students to generate connections, ideas, and reactions related to key ideas of a text or a unit of study. Students brainstorm a word or idea that begins with each letter of the alphabet and...

Attribute Sorts

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
This activity helps students to organize and remember important and distinguishing information about key people, places, or other ideas from their reading. Students sort a set of prepared attributes under the...

Author Interview

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
Author Interview is an activity used to deepen readers’ understanding of character, plot, the author’s message, or theme. By questioning the author’s choices in narrative development, students consider the...

Business Card

  • Synthesis
In this activity, inspired by Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion (1998), students will create a business card to represent a character from a reading. The purpose of this activity is for students to...

Closed and Open Word Sorts

  • Building Background
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
Word Sort is a simple small group activity. Students list key words from a reading or a unit of study, or alternatively, the teacher may provide a list of terms prior to the sort. Students identify the meaning...

Concept Definition Sort

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
In this activity students will match concepts to their definitions. The purpose of this activity is to help front-load the concepts to be learned. It can help students clarify words before reading to enhance...

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