Lori Leonard 2017-08-25 05:37:09
In a professional development class called “Universal Design for Learning" (UDL), I was introduced to many new strategies to make learning accessible to all my students regardless of ability. One of the strategies is called “synectics,” which derives from the Greek “syn” and “ektos,” and refers to the fusion of diverse ideas. In practice, students are shown a series of images and are asked to create analogies, metaphors or similes relating the images to an academic concept. For example, a student in a science class could compare the cardiovascular system to a superhighway, drawing as many connections as possible between the two. If blood cells are like delivery trucks bringing oxygen to the body’s organs, then a blood clot is like a traffic jam preventing the blood cells from making their vital deliveries. After our year book's final deadline in late April, my staff and I take a little time to reflect on the year. This past spring, I tried a synectics activity with my staff. I showed them a series of images and asked them to make an analogy between the images and yearbook. I was purposefully vague so my staff could think of yearbook as a class, the process, our final product, or however they wanted to look at it. Here are a few responses from my students, plus analogies from students at other schools. ARTWORK: “We start with a blank canvas and then with different ideas, materials, and dedication it turns into something beautiful.” Alexa Nguyendinh BUILDING A HOUSE: “There needs to be a team to build it and it takes a lot of work but the finished product is worth it.” Caitlin Simms A MICROSCOPE: “Taking a closer look at the school and student body.” Bella Bowman QUILT: “We’re very diverse and we try to include everyone in the school to make the yearbook complete just like you need all the pieces for a quilt to make it complete.” Shanzeh Khan “YEARBOOK IS LIKE A MAP. With every turn you make, you end up seeing something different.” Colin Roberts, West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Virginia “YEARBOOK IS LIKE BUNGEE JUMPING. You have to take certain risks, like writing a story differently, breaking rules, or asking unknown questions. In the end, it could end terribly or it could open your eyes to many experiences.” Douglas Page, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida “YEARBOOK IS LIKE HARRY STYLES’S NEW ALBUM. It’s beautiful and pretty and there are so many different genres and you had to wait forever for it.” Lily Fragola, Palm Harbor University High School, Palm Harbor, Florida “YEARBOOK IS LIKE A BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND. You have to think about them before you make any plans.” Sophia Sanders, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida Make copies of the exercise and try it with your staff. There is an example below to help students understand. Lori Leonard, NBCT, is the yearbook adviser at Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, Maryland. She is vice president of the Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and regularly organizes and teaches at their fall Journalism Day. Her staffs are consistently honored as Gold Medalists by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and win First Place awards from the National Scholastic Press Association.
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