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Weaving consists of organizing ideas, creating models, and formulating plans. It focuses on the application, analysis, and synthesis of information.

According to Webster's dictionary, weaving involves forming a product by interlacing strands. Elements are elaborately combined to produce a coherent whole.

Processing Information

For many students, weaving ideas together is the most difficult stage. In many cases, students are running out of time as they put together their project. Rather than weaving a fine fabric, they create a quilt of unrelated pieces of information. Students need strategies for analyzing and synthesizing the information they have collected.

To encourage students to process information rather than simply copying, require transformations. For example, rather than taking notes on cards, ask students to create a chart or diagram of information. This visual must contain only words and phrases. Then this chart is used for the final report or project. This way you don't have to worry that students copied the sentences and paragraphs from the original source because they are working from their diagram.

Transformation scaffolds assist learners in transforming information into new forms. "They involve imposing structure on information, while reception scaffolds help learners perceive structure already in the information." (SANDI online workshop). Go to Transformation Scaffolds for ideas.

Concept Mapping

Concept maps are a popular ways to organize information during an inquiry. Go to Teacher Tap: Graphical Organizers for ideas.

New questions emerge as the ideas are woven together: Can the problem be resolved? How? Who would need to be involved? Is it realistic? What can I do? Weaving ideas together is an important information skill. Although information processing may begin at the low-end of Bloom's Taxonomy with locating background information and identifying elements, the goal is higher-order thinking including analysis and synthesis.

As students develop their projects, they should go through the following steps:


How is the information from different resources alike and different? Why? Compare and contrast sources and types of information. Identify new pieces of information that can be added to overall understanding. Use a three-column comparison chart to help organize and analyze information on topics where there are two or more perspectives. Try the Compare/Contrast Chart PDF file. For example, you might compare and contrast two views on public smoking. Or, you could compare fur and anti-fur industry perspectives.


What information is useful? Eliminate extra information and keep the most powerful ideas. Use one of the tools below:

try itTry NoteStar note-taking tool.


What's the best way to arrange the information? Identify key ideas. Cluster information together into categories. Determine a logical order of presentation.


It's time to look at the information from a variety of perspectives. Analysis involves breaking down information and ideas to see how they are organized and related to each other. What ideas can be combined? What should be kept separate. Try the What-If Chart PDF file to examine the possibilities related to an issue. For example, what would happen if UFOs landed? What would happen if we eliminated the current welfare system? What would happen if we tried an alternative form of punishment for particular crimes?

Consider activities that will help students formulate opinions based on facts. For example, involve students in discussions, debates, and collaborative projects. Ask them to sell their idea or develop arguments.


Formulate new ideas.

Reviewing the Results

As students look at their diagrams, notes, or other representations of the information they have collected, encourage them to consider the following questions:

Citing Sources

As students select resources to be used in their project, it's important to properly cite each source. Students need to understand the importance of the copyright law and the implications of plagiarism. Go to Teacher Tap: Copyright to learn about copyright and permissions to use information. Go to Teacher Tap: Citing Sources to learn about options for citing sources and creating bibliographies.

try itTry the Citation Wizard from the 21st Century Information Fluency project.


Over the past decade, educators have become increasingly concerned about plagiarism issues. Easy access to millions of digital web pages has made copying information easy. Many teachers are integrating lessons related to this topic into their curriculum across content areas. Go to Teacher Tap: Plagiarism from ideas on detecting and discouraging plagiarism.

try itExamine the lesson PBS Newshour Lesson: Writing History: From Students to Scholars (High School).

try itExplore Avoiding Plagiarism from the Purdue's OWL and Avoiding Plagiarism from Northwestern University's The Writing Place. It shares some ideas for helping students avoid plagiarism. Take a self-test in plagiarism. Create a handout outlining key ideas that will help students avoid plagiarism.

try itWeaving Checklist
Develop an activity that helps your students processing information.
Processing Information - create transformation scaffolds
Reviewing the Results - create a set of questions for students review
Citing Sources - create a guide for citing sources

video clipGo to Looking at Learning.
Choose Workshop 3 - Conceptual Thinking (Windows Media Player - 6 Programs)

In this workshop, the focus is on concept maps as tools for helping students learn. Joseph Novak, Professor of Biological Science, explains how students learn by assimilating new concepts into their already existing frameworks and takes a teacher step-by-step through the design and process of concept mapping. You will see concept maps being used in a variety of ways in mathematics and science lessons and will even have an opportunity to make some concept maps of your own. (You will need to register for this FREE website from Anneberg/CPB.)

video clipView Notetaking (1:24).

Carol Kuhlthau discusses the different roles of notetaking in the information process. – Excerpt from interview with Daniel Callison.

Use of this video clip complies with the TEACH act and US copyright law. You should be a registered student to view the video.

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