August 10, 2018
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By Caitlin Hardeman

Lesson plan

Nonfiction Comprehension: Compare and Contrast

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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Adjectives: Comparative and SuperlativePre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Adjectives: Comparative and SuperlativePre-lesson.

Students will be able to compare and contrast information from two nonfiction texts on the same topic.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(3 minutes)
  • Hold up a pencil and a pen. Ask students to think about what is the same and what is different about each of the items.
  • Instruct students to turn and talk to a partner about what is the same about the two items. Then, share out as a class.
  • Have them turn and talk to a different partner about what is different about the two items. Share out as a class.
  • Tell students that they just used an important reading skill, comparing and contrasting, to look at two different things. Explain that this is a powerful strategy for readers because it helps our brains make connections between ideas and information.
  • Read aloud the learning objective and have students repeat it.
(15 minutes)
  • Display a copy of the Graphic Organizer Template: Venn Diagram worksheet and explain the purpose of it. Share that the centre circle is for when we Compare, which is when we say how something is similar, or the same, as something else. Tell them that the outer circles are for when we Contrast, which is when we say how something is different from another thing.
  • Show the students two nonfiction picture books, such as Hark! A Shark! All About SharksBy Bonnie Worth and Sharks: Fun Facts Photo BookBy Susie Alex. Tell learners that you will read the two books aloud and show how to compare and contrast them.
  • Point out that both books are on the same topic, so you know they will cover much of the same information. However, the writing styles may be different and the specific information may be different.
  • Read aloud the two texts, and think aloud as you model filling out some of the Graphic Organizer Template: Venn Diagram worksheet.
(20 minutes)
  • Divide the class into small groups, and give each student a Graphic Organizer Template: Venn Diagram worksheet.
  • Instruct the small groups to add more information to the graphic organizer based on the two texts that were read aloud.
  • Give each group a set of nonfiction texts or picture books on the same topic, and tell students that they will read the texts together, looking for similarities and differences. Tell them that they will record the information on a larger Venn diagram.
  • Distribute a piece of chart paper with a Venn diagram on it and a marker to each group. Call on a nonvolunteer to explain the purpose of the graphic organizer, and call on another student to explain what type of information goes in each section. Tell groups that they will present their graphic organizers to the rest of the class to teach their peers about their topic.
  • Direct students to read their two nonfiction texts on the same topic and fill out the graphic organizer. Circulate while students work to offer support as needed.
  • Have students present their graphic organizers to their peers.
(15 minutes)
  • Call on a nonvolunteer to explain the sections of the Venn diagram to the class. Remind students that each section should have specific information from the text.
  • Distribute a copy of the Compare and Contrast Whales worksheet to each student and instruct them to read the two passages, looking for similarities and differences. Then, have them complete the Venn diagram at the end of the worksheet with three pieces of information in each section.

Support:

  • Put students with supportive peers as they complete group work.
  • Give students two nonfiction texts in an audio format.

Enrichment:

  • Challenge advanced students to compare and contrast more complex texts. Have them create a digital presentation of the similarities and differences using a program, such as Keynote or Prezi.
(5 minutes)
  • Give each student an index card for an Exit Ticket and write the following questions on the board:
    • What information from the lesson will be important to know three years from now? Why?
  • Instruct students to respond to the questions on their index cards.
(2 minutes)
  • Put students into partnerships and have them share their answer on the Exit Ticket.
  • Reiterate that comparing and contrasting is a powerful tool for readers because it helps our brain make connections between pieces of information. It helps us understand and remember information better, which makes us better readers.

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