Generate, Sort, Synthesize


Synthesizing Learning

Additional Purpose(s):

Making Connections, Generating and Sharing Ideas, Supporting Thinking


This multi-step process supports learners in exploring relationships between key ideas so they can organize them and identify big ideas.


  1. Given a focus or topic, individuals record one idea per sticky note or index card. Individuals should aim for 3-5 ideas that relate to the topic. 
  2. Individuals share their ideas with their table groups using the round-robin sharing process. 
  3. Group members look for relationships between their ideas and sort them into clusters. 
  4. Group members create labels for their clusters. 
  5. Group members create a synthesizing statement that incorporates the key ideas from the clusters they created. 
  6. Groups share their synthesis statements to the room. 


  • Sticky notes or index cards
  • Chart paper
  • Markers


Adapted from: Lipton, L., & Wellman, B. (2011). Groups at Work: Strategies and Structures for Professional Learning. Charlotte, VT: MiraVia, LLC.