The Three Little Pigs The Poem vs. The Original

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SWBAT compare and contrast the author's approach to different versions of the same story.

Big Idea

Surprise your class with another version of a familiar story. Then dig deep for the an analysis of the author's choices.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection and Introduction

To continue deepening students' understanding of comparing author's choices in different versions of similar texts, the class will spend time today analyzing the similarities and differences in the original story of the Three Little Pigs and the poem from Mary Ann Hoberman's You Read to Me, and I'll Read to You.

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.  To address this portion of the standard the students engage in a class discussion about why the author chose to keep certain things similar and different.  This is very difficult for many first graders, so adding the analysis of the author's choices to later lessons in the unit seems to be a good choice because it builds on the foundation laid in the first few lessons.

Lesson Overview

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. (For more on how I structure my groups, see: Peanut Butter Jelly Partner).

We also transition often to keep the class engaged. Check out my video about transitions for more: Transitions.

Opening Activity

We have been studying comparing characters, events, and the setting in two versions of a story.  I remind them of the Cinderella stories and The Little Red Hen. We discuss how some things were the same and different in the stories.  I allow any volunteers to share what they remember about those stories.  This activates their prior knowledge and connects todays lesson to the past lessons. 

I have to remind them that similar, alike, and same are used for two things alike. I show them a picture of two dogs.  Then I remind them what different means and show them a picture of a dog and a cat.  The pictures are very helpful in developing their vocabulary and understanding.  I them remind them where we put those part on a venn diagram. 

Then we engage in a discussion about why authors choose to change things or keep them similar. By changing things an author can change the mood or theme in a story. There are other reasons the class my think of so I allow the class to begin a discussion. Then we share out.

I love dressing up for the class. So, I wear this wolf mask and that is all I have to do to get them excited.  They scream and laugh. After that, I then tell them I am going to read them two versions of the story, The Three Little Pigs.

Then I share the lesson goal to engage the class in chanting our goal: I can analyze the author's perspective considering similarities and differences in two stories.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

We are at their desks, and I let them watch the Netflix version of the Three Little Pigs.   Then I read them the poem version that I found in a book.  I explain that we will be comparing these stories.  After the first page of the poem I stop and allow them to discuss what is different and alike. This makes all the learners involved in the discussion process. Then I ask a volunteer to share.  All of the students have to agree or disagree by using thumbs up or down.  The speaker must also justify their comments.  This shows everyone how to find the answer, and it shows me that they can use text to prove themselves. 

We stop and discuss after each page of the poem. Then we add to the venn diagram that is on the board.  When we finish the poem I reread the entire diagram.  The entire class must be in agreement that what we have is correct. If  a child disagrees then they have to prove themselves and we can discuss or make adjustments to our diagram.  This keeps the class working together and always analyzing our work.  I try to not say correct or wrong. I let them tell me and prove their answers.

Here are my questions for the authors' choices analysis:

  • Why did the author keep the events the same?
  • Why did the author choose to keep the characters the same?
  • Why did the author change the ending?
  • Did the central message change?

Partner Work

15 minutes

I then let them go to their desk with their partner.  They are given several books in a bag. Some of the books include: The Tortoise and The Hare, The Three Little Javelinas, and Cinderella, Cinderella Skeleton, Cinder Edna, and Little Red Ridinghood. Then I allow them to select two books to use to compare the characters in each. They list the character traits of each.  Then they list the ones that are the same in the middle.  Before they do this I place an example on the board using two characters I know they are familiar with. So, the students write their answers on the venn diagram. At the bottom they write why the author changed something or why they kept something the same. (Usually it is to change the mood, theme, or keep them the same.) They can choose which to respond to. 

They have to have a model for anything new or different. First graders need a great deal of modeling and then support.  So, I walk around and monitor as they work.  If they are having trouble making a choice on books I help them decide. I am also looking for anyone who is having trouble getting started.  I am careful to explain that each group will have one product to present to the class.  So, one person has to write or they can take turns. 


Class Reflection

10 minutes

We move back to the lounge area for them to reflect upon what they have done.  I recap the lesson.  I explain that we have been comparing the characters adventures in two versions of the Three Little Pigs.  Then they created their character comparsion using a book of their choice.  It is important to allow them to have choices because they find it motivating and more interesting.  I will help them stay engaged if they are doing something they like. 

I like to close my lessons by allowing the students to present their work to the class: Presentation.  This promotes engagement, and, by making it a routine, it improves the quality of their work because they know it's coming.  They also take great pride in what they share with the class.  In addition, this gives them a chance to work on their speaking and listening skills.  I am very careful to go over the rules before each presentation. I say, "Criss cross applesauce, pockets on the floor, hands in your laps, talking no more. Keep your eyes on the speaker and think about what they are saying." These things are very new to them and I find being proactive is beneficial to me and them.  They are very little people and school is new and exciting.  I want them to develop habits of making good choices and it keeps things positive if I explain rules in the beginning rather than correcting them. 

After each child reads their work I ask if anyone would like to add to that.  If they are silent, I might say, "I really like the way you compared the characters behavior."  I am modeling for them.  I want them to be able to do this.  I tell them that I hope they will be able to give their peers feedback just like me.  Then I allow one or two other volunteers to share depending on time.



10 minutes

As the lesson winds down, I have to remember to assess the class. So, I say, "Turn and tell your partner why author's make changes or keep things the same in stories." I am looking for somebody to say, "Oh, it is because they want to change or keep the mood or theme." Well, I often find myself sharing my expectations, but I also restate my students great ideas too.

Last, I tell them that we will continue to compare characters and analyze the author's perspective  in different stories.  Sometimes I ask them if there are any stories they think would be good for us to use to compare characters.  This gives me ideas for my next lesson.