Compare and Contrast Tall Tales

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SWBAT compare and contrast two tall tales using a Venn Diagram and the state

Big Idea

What better way to compare and contrast information from different literary sources than through tall tales. Many tall tales can be found in story and poem form.

Night Before Homework

10 minutes

The night before the lesson, I send home the Johnny Appleseed story for homework. For homework I encouraged them to read the story at least twice and practice their CLOSE reading annotations. When they check in their homework in the morning, I am looking for annotations.

Warm Up with Reading:

10 minutes


As the warm up, I have them read along with me about Johnny Appleseed. Like a CLOSE reading, I am going to ask them text embedded questions. "What were the states that Johnny Appleseed visited on his journey?" "What is an orchard and find evidence for you answer?" "What are some characteristics of his character?"


Poetry Reading

15 minutes

Poetry is much more difficult for students to find the meaning. The shift in common core has students developing an understanding of poetry. They need practice with many different types of poems. I chose to compare a story and poem so that student begin to see how they can read both and use strategies to understand both. They can then start become better prepared to handle different types of text.

The poem of Paul Bunyan is a fun one to start with because of the imagery. The format for reading the poem is in CLOSE reading format. Here is a CLOSE article that I found helpful to learning how and what to do.

When I do read the first time back to them, I make sure to tell them that I am reading in Gear 2, pleasure reading but careful. Then when I begin to read he second time, I explain that I am going to go a gear down to one. This way I can read very carefully and make sure I understand what I am reading.

Through this next reading I am also annotating and writing what I think each stanza is about. The notation on the sides are great way to show students what they can do to help them understand what the poem is about. We also talk about any words that might be unknown. Here in Flagstaff, Arizona, students are very familiar with lumberjacks but not with Minnesota or the Great Lakes. We spend some time going over what they are.

Venn Diagram

15 minutes

Students will now complete a Venn Diagram. I do this with them under the document camera. I start by modeling how to label the two circles. One is for Paul and the other for Johnny.

I begin with comparing, I point to the portion of the circles where they overlap and explain this is where we compare. Comparing is also looking for similarities. We fill in the center piece first. I try to get four to five notes down.

I ask them what they think the outside is for. We then talk about contrast, it is when we look for differences between things. So now we look for how the two characters are different. We place the characteristic or fact from our story under the correct person. I try to again to get four to five facts per character.

Next I ask them to draw their own Venn Diagram on the back. We label one circle poem and the other story.  I then ask them to compare a story to a poem. We then look for contrasts. You can use this piece as an assessment for using the Venn Diagram or it can be student practice.