We begin this lesson by reviewing the pretests which were much better than I thought they would be. At this point, I have reviewed the tests and noted that the students did a solid job at the actual comparing and contrasting in the middle, we just need to focus on putting it all together in a paragraph. So, I put each student's test under the ELMO and we decide as a class if they have a topic sentence and a concluding sentence.
I then tell the students that we are going to complete our left and right side activities which will help us to write effective compare/ contrast paragraphs. I show students the pictures that will soon become their flaps for today's lesson and pass them out.
I tell the students to open their notebooks to the next two blank pages (interactive student notebooks are always done on two adjoining pages) and I pass out the spaghetti and taco paper. (The directions for making the foldable can be found in the resource section).
We complete the foldable and, using a marker, I have students write the words "compare=" and "contrast=" under the pictures. By this time, all the students want to talk about is spaghetti and pizza but I get them focused enough to tell me what it means to compare- tell the same and contrast- tell what's different.
I then have students label the pictures and have them work in their table groups to write facts about pizza on the pizza flap and about spaghetti on the spaghetti flap. I give them about 10 minutes and listen to their conversations.
After about 10 minutes, I gather the students back together and explain to them that we're going to do a mix pair share to find a partner with whom we will write a compare contrast paragraph about spaghetti and pizza. The paragraph has to have a topic sentence and a concluding sentence and of course the similarities and differences grouped together in the middle. Both students have to write and it's OK to write the same exact paragraph as long as they both work on it.
After all the students have finished their paragraph, I have volunteers show their work under the ELMO for other students to view. After all the volunteers show their work, I instruct students to draw a line under their paragraph. I then pull up the Smartboard (or chart paper) to record examples of topic sentences and concluding sentences. I tell the students to transfer the class examples to their notebook under the line. This will give them instant access to ideas for topic and concluding sentences.
I give the students 10 minutes to tweak their paragraphs if necessary before I collect their notebooks. I am collecting the notebooks today, not for a grade, but to assess their progress so far.