Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Synthesizing with a GREAT book!

Hey Everyone!  I am so excited to share a fun project you can do with your students to practice their "synthesizing!"

What is synthesizing?
We talk about it as being the 
BIG IDEA or the
 Author's Message

I've done these two things to show synthesizing.  We first talk about this picture:

the kids tell me the "details" of the picture
And then we talk about the BIG IDEA of the picture- this is the "Frame" that might be put around the picture.
We end up with- the beach or even family time on the beach.

I've also used nesting dolls to represent synthesizing too...

Each idea builds on another until you have the Big Idea!

We were just in the midst of practicing this tough skill when I was contacted by the author of this book:

by Vincent A. Mastro
(click on picture to check out the book)

It was the "ah ha" moment I needed... YES Fables were perfect to help the kids see the Big Idea or the Author's Message!!

So my brain started on overdrive.. how can I incorporate this great book with this skill and still have a cute outcome??
Cue cute project (thanks TpT!)
Spring Fever Butterflies 

So here is what we did...

I started by sharing a story called The Fox and the Stork in the first grade Basal
and we filled out an organizer together.

Once they knew the expectation of finding the "Big Idea" and the details of the story, I sent them off to work with a partner to read one of the the 3 fables from the 1st Book of Childhood Adventures.

They had a copy of the story and their highlighters ready!

It was so cute to see them intently reading the story and highlighting the important information.  This book is so well written and really captivated the interest of my students! :)
(plus the illustrations are amazing!)

Then they used the information they highlighted to fill out the organizer.

This was really "key" because I could quickly see who got it and who didn't.  Then I could do a short reteach using the text (I could also see who truly understood the story!)

Click for organizer

Once they completed the organizer and had it checked, they moved on to creating their butterfly!!

They grabbed the materials they needed

And started writing their notes from the organizer onto the parts of the butterfly.

And then cut, glued, and added more to the butterfly...they turned out SO cute!!

And they look adorable hanging in the room!

I'd love for you to check out the great book used in this lesson (and the just released companion book which I will be purchasing!!)
I am also VERY excited to be able to give a copy of either book (your choice) away!  Please leave a comment below with your email and let me know how you might use the book. 
(Vincent will be thrilled to hear your ideas!)
I will pick a book winner on Saturday (5/18)

Don't forget about the other giveaway that will end Thursday night!

Thanks so much for reading!


  1. This would be great to use with my third grade students who have to study Aesop's fables. It looks like a great book!

    Reading Toward the Stars

    1. It is a GREAT book!! Very well written and great vocabulary throughout. I think it would make a great read for your third graders!

  2. I would love to use this book with my third graders! I use Aesop's fables in Language arts! We are writing our own fables as a wrap up! I would love to share this book to get their minds thinking!!

    Cammie Burlison
    Book 1

  3. Your butterflies are so cute!

    We have a week's worth of fables in our reader, so I am always on the lookout for more stories to read to the class. It is also fun to compare writing styles for the same story.

    tokyoshoes at hotmail dot com

  4. This is a great activity to reinforce ideas that we have been working on during reading workshop and interactive read aloud.

    I have not used Aesop's fables (it is on the suggested list) for 2nd graders yet, but this book would be perfect to use for the 1st adventure into fables.


  5. I love your butterfly activity! I would love to use either of these books when we are learning about character education and values. The books would definitely help to reinforce the "Big Idea" or moral of the story with my firsties.

  6. We work with fables in third grade as part of the common core. I love working with Aesop's fables because they truly reinforce all the character traits that we talk about in our school wide behavior program. I am doing the butterfly activity fun! Thank you!

    1. Yay!! That makes me so happy that you plan to do this tomorrow! :) Fables are so to use and fit so nicely with common core!

  7. I was so happy to see your post today! I'm working on long term planning for next year and we're trying to assign a comprehension theme as a focus each week. I was already thinking- what am I going to do on synthesizing week?

    So, this book would be a great start- and I love how you used the graphic organizer. We're a project based school, so this sort of activity would be right up our alley!

    The Meek Moose

    1. Thats SO great Heather!! It makes me so happy when someone finds something useful in my post! This book is wonderful and would really enhance your lessons for next year!

  8. I am totally in LOVE with your synthesizing idea!!! We focus a lot on comprehension strategies and that one is always tricky. Thanks so much!
    Two Friends In First

    1. Yay!!! that is a GREAT comment Kheila!! Thanks so much for commenting and becoming a follower! I am so glad that this was helpful to you! :)

  9. A great book to use with my third graders.