Common Core Connection and Introduction
The Common Core Standard for this lesson is RL.1.9 and it says that students should be able to compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in a story. In this lesson the students compare and contrast the two characters in the original Cinderella and Cinder Edna. The College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard states that the students need to analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches of the authors. So, the similar theme is "you should be kind and good things will happen to you." In order to develop this standard I like to use a variety of complex text and all, Cinderella text are challenging for primary students. Now my students do read from a broad range of high quality literature. Both I often select text that is a little over their lexile for the read aloud. Most of my read alouds are at their frustration level if they were reading independently. This helps me expose students to rich vocabulary and extend their thinking skills.
I begin this lesson in the lounge area. Students are seated in collaborative heterogeneous groups. The groups are assigned by me, promote peer collaboration, and each person is given a title. One student is the peanut butter and one is the jelly. This is fun, but it allows me to give specific directions to certain students.
To activate and engage my students I ask them to make predictions about the story based on the illustration and title. This is just and activating strategy that gets students thinking. Most like they will say she looks plain, simple, normal, or not like Cinderella. It actually lays the foundation for the students to notice the way the author wants to show a value in natural beauty, and give the story a modern setting.
Then, I explain that they are going to analyze why the authors' choose to keep some things different and some things the same. We chant: I can compare and contrast two characters in a story. This helps my students remember the goal of the lesson.
I read the first page and they compare the author's choices in Cinder Edna to the original. Check out the cover Cinder Edna. I try to get them to build upon what their peers say, "I hear this group say ______." They learn how to do this from modeling. I formulate my questions ahead of time by looking through the book. I put post it notes on the page so I remember what I want to ask. I try to keep my questions specific for the reading lesson objective.
Then I read page two. I ask, "How are the characters feelings alike and different?" "What makes the characters feel this way?" "Why did the author keeps the characteristics the same for the characters?" They tell their partner and then I call on somebody using popsickle sticks. We list them on the graphic organizer.
We record each correct response on the venn diagram. When I do that I ask a learner to say, "I agree that they are similar because they both were over worked, and I want to add that Cinderella was beautiful, but Edna was not. Why did the author's choose to do this? How does it shape the readers' interpretation?"
These are some specific questions for this text.
Why did the author make the stepsisters similar?
How does making Cinder Edna so natural change the story? (It made natural beauty seem important.)
How did Edna's transportation change the story?(It made her seem modern and more real.)
I know my students need more practice in determining similarities and differences (Partner Work). They are not ready to analyze the author's craft with a partner. I am going to continue to model this in the guided practice, and use the gradual release strategy. Eventually, students are going to analyze the author's craft with their partner, but I am waiting to see more confidence in the guided practice.
So at this point, the students go to their desk. Then I explain that they will write at least three things comparing themselves to their partner. This connects the new skill that they are learning to their prior knowledge. It is fun and personal so they become engaged. I show them my venn diagram. After about 5 minutes they share their work with their partner. This might help them generate ideas. I am clear in the beginning that we will not put anything down that is unkind. I give them some examples. I walk around to monitor what they are writing. I also might have to prompt them to get them thinking. What do you both like? What color is your hair? Who is your teacher?
While they are finishing their work at their seats I walk around and give them feedback. Some is written and other verbal. I say, " I like the way you idenified you and your friend are both kind." I might say, " Are you sure? Is that the same or different? Where do I put the things that were the same?" They need feeback so they are confirmed when they are on the right track and so I can redirect them if they are lost. They love stickers so I try to keep stickers on their tables so I can put them beside the parts I really like.
hen I ask them to read their partners work and give them feedback. They have to assess whether the comparisons are correct or incorrect. If they think their partner is wrong they have to explain why and I give them time to make changes. Then I ask them to walk to the lounge so we can share their work.
I like to close out my lessons by giving the students an opportunity to share their work. This also motivates them to finish their work and pay extra attention to detail. I pick about three students depending on the amount of time we have. They stand in front of the lounge area where we are all gathered and they read their work. Common Core emphasizes student discourse and this gives the learner an opportunity to practice their speaking and listening skills.
Now, I want to assess my students, tell them the plan for future lessons, and restate the lesson goal. So, I ask the students to talk about why an author might keep some things in a story the same. Maybe somebody will say to keep the topic or the theme the same. I am just trying to get a feel for what they remember from the guided practice about the author's choices for keeping things the same and different in a story.
I share that we will continue to deepen our lesson complexity related to the author's choices in similarities and differences in stories with a similar theme or topic. But for now, we chant: I can compare and contrast two characters in a story.