Lesson: Non-fiction Text Stuctures: Main Idea: Compare/Contrast (Lesson 3)

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Lesson Objective

Some texts have a compare/contrast organization. Some focus on telling how two things are different. Authors use this organization when their main idea is about how two things are different. You can outline this organization in a T-chart or Venn diagram.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 3:

Standard: Identify and use knowledge of the organizational structure of a text: main idea and supporting examples (web), chronological order (chain), compare and contrast (T-chart), cause and effect (chain), problem/solution (T-chart).

Use text structure to identify the main idea and supporting details in articles. 

 

Big Idea:  Writers help their readers understand the text by organizing their text in logical ways so readers read non-fiction texts differently, depending on their structure.

Writers write non-fiction to teach the reader about one main idea.  It is the job of a reader to figure out the main thing that the writer is trying to teach you.  You can use the organizational structure to figure out the main idea in nonfiction.   

 

Teaching Point: Some texts have a compare/contrast organization.  Some focus on telling how two things are different.  Authors use this organization when their main idea is about how two things are different.

You can outline this organization in a T-chart or Venn diagram.

Materials:

Reading binders, highlighters and pencils, copies of “Boys and Girls in the Primate World,” a mix of sequence and compare/contrast articles for students

Note: "Boys and Girls in the Primate Wold" is an article in a 2008 edition of ASK magazine: http://www.cobblestonepub.com/book/ASK0805.html


 

Reading Workshop Lesson:

  • [Review big ideas on chart from lessons 1-3]
  • Readers, we started this unit on text structures by talking about the sequence organization.  We know that authors use a sequence organization when their main idea is about things happening in order. 
  • Today, I am going to teach you that authors use a compare/contrast organization when their main idea is about how things are alike or how things are different or both.  This organizational structure is called compare and contrast because comparing is telling how things are alike and contrasting is telling how things are different.  We do not make a chain for this organization because the order of the events is not important.  Instead, what is important is how two things are alike and how they are different so we make a Venn diagram to outline this organization.  [Show students compare/contrast Venn diagram on non-fiction chart.]  A Venn diagram has a space to tell how things are the same (point) and a place to tell how things are different (point). 
  • You will also be writing an open response about this article when we finish reading. I am going to put up the question so that you can find the supporting evidence as you read the article. [Put up OR topic.]
  • [Pass out “Boys and Girls in the Primate World.”] Let’s start by looking at the pictures on these pages and read the captions.  [Look at pictures.]  So from that, I can already predict what this article will be about. 
  • But let me read the introduction and see if I can figure out the main idea and figure out where the author tells me what he is comparing and contrasting.  Read up until the next section starts.  Oh, so the author did tell me the main idea, in one sentence in this part.  Turn to your partner and talk about which sentence seems to tell the main idea of the article.  [See how many get it and then decide how much time you want to spend on the fact that the sentence “The differences between the sexes give them each advantages that make it easier for them to live longer, have more healthy babies, and make sure their species survive” is clearly the main idea because it talks about the difference between boys and girls and gives a big reason for this difference.  So why will the author use a compare/contrast organization?  What is being compared and contrasted here – what the labels on our circles will be.   Set up Venn diagram.]
  • Read the rest of the article, stopping at the end of the section to talk about what we should add to the outline. 
  • So readers, we learned a lot in this article about how female and male primates are different and why.  The author had to use the compare/contrast structure for this article because it is how he could support the main idea that the differences between the sexes of primates are helpful to their species.  He couldn’t have chosen a sequence organization because that wouldn’t have made sense because the main idea is about difference, not about things happening in order.
  • Before we start writing, who can tell me why the author chose a compare/contrast organization for this book instead of a sequence organization?
  • Now we are going to come back to our open response topic: “Why are there differences between boys and girls in the primate world?” Take out a piece of lined paper from the back of your reading binder. Write the date in the top right hand corner, then the title of the article at the top, then copy down this question. Every part of the question must be copied correctly. [Make sure that all students have copied question correctly.] Have students go through and highlight the evidence that supports WHY there are differences between the sexes. Share out. Then T&T to come up with a topic sentence, and notice that the topic sentence is very similar to the main idea you came up with earlier. (A topic sentence like “Boys and girls are different in many ways” wouldn’t even really answer the question!) Skip a line, indent, and write it down. Scholars, we are going to talk about including good evidence later this week, once we have really mastered writing good topic sentences. For now, I want you to use the evidence that we highlighted to finish your open response. When you’re done, raise your hand for me to check it. Once I see that your open response is complete, I’ll collect it so that we can use it during writing conventions practice tomorrow. Put the article back in the “Non-fiction” section of your binders. We are going to continue reading non-fiction articles this week, so your job is to decide whether your article has a sequence or compare/contrast structure and make an outline that shows me that you understand the main idea and the important details. [Give students time to write. Their details may not be great, but make sure that they are going back to their highlighted evidence and doing their best work.]
  • Share: Share what you think the organizational structure of your book is.

 

Your non-fiction chart should now look like this (see attached example)

  • Writers help their readers understand the text by organizing their text in logical ways so readers read non-fiction texts differently, depending on their structure.
  • Writers write non-fiction to teach the reader about one main idea.  It is the job of a reader to figure out the main thing that the writer is trying to teach you.  You can use the organizational structure to figure out the main idea in nonfiction.

 

Lesson Resources

Lesson 3 Non-Fiction Chart and Open Response.docx  
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