Today my students will be engaged in comparing and contrasting two versions of Cinderella. I am choosing the story of Cinderella because it is a favorite fairytale among children. In fact, just about every culture has its own version! The Common Core wants students to compare and contrast similar stories and asks students to make connections among texts. Making these connections helps students gain a deep level of understanding of the texts they read. This task will help students build mastery towards understanding how different texts address similar ideas.
To help students with their thinking and organization, I will be using a Venn diagram. I will model how they will use the Venn diagram to compare and contrast. I will share my thinking aloud. In my short lecture, I am offering an entry point into the lesson and more importantly emphasizing how they are free to choose the key details of the narratives they want to compare and contrast. So I will be looking for them to go beyond the physical traits in their comparing and contrasting. They will use the information of their Venn diagram to write sentences later that describe the similarities and differences. To compare and contrast my students will be using the story maps of the Cinderella stories they read on Day 1 and Day 2 in this lesson series.
After they work independently, they will sit with a partner to pair-share their work. Then, they will write in their response journal. I will work with a group of students who need my support.
I start with students on the rug and share the objective. I have them repeat the objective with the sentence: I can compare and contrast different versions of Cinderella stories. I use this student friendly sentence throughout the lesson to help students remember what it is that they are learning. The sentence is be written on sentence strips, one for the easel and one for the large white board.
Next, I dismiss the students back to their seats where I demonstrate briefly how they will be using the Venn diagram. I draw the Venn diagram and share my thinking aloud about how to use the information from their story maps from Monday and Tuesday. I remind them where the comparison and contrasting words/phrases will be written.
Next, I check for understanding by asking students to do a quick pair-share and share with each other what they will be doing. Then, I have two students share aloud.
I set the time on our clock for our independent work time and inform the students my expectation of them finishing within this time.
I then call those students who are working with me to the large carpet area.
Students sit at their desks or on the blue rug to work on their comparisons. For those students who finish earlier than the rest, they can illustrate on their Venn diagram. I am looking for students to be on task: comparing and contrasting their stories by writing words and/or complete sentences. I am looking for students to be referring back to their story maps to complete the Venn diagrams. The CCSS are very clear about having students practice independently reading strategies and skills to ensure that they are mastering what we teach them, so this activity is really essential.
I work with a group of four students because they need support with being on task, comprehending what they are reading/doing, and transitioning from one task to another.
As I work with the students on the rug, I still monitor those students working independently and I take the time to walk around the tables and give students feedback. It gives me an opportunity to gauge who might need more support.
I bring the class back to rug and review the chart I have on comparing and contrasting before having them pair-share. In the pair-share, they should ask each other, "How are our stories alike?How are they different?"
I remind students to seat knee-to-knee and face each other eye-to-eye. As they share with each other, I walk around the carpet area and eavesdrop on their conversations. This allows me to hear if they are using the academic language of alike, similar, different, and version. For my students to use the academic language in writing, it is necessary for them to have the experience of using the words orally. I am also looking for them to use complete sentences in their asking and answering the questions.
I bring the students back to their tables and explain that now they are going to be writing two sentences that tell how the stories are alike and two sentences that tell how the stories are different.
My students benefit from using sentence frames, therefore I am providing them with a template to get them started with their writing. I have students at English Language Development Level 3. There are 5 levels students need to master to be considered proficient in English. So Level 3 is considered an intermediate level. But, what is important to know is that there is a variety of skills and knowledge my students have within this level. Therefore, some students need more support than others with the functions and forms of English. And given that I am asking them to do this in a whole group, I am making sure they will have success. I still require them to do the hard work on their own: thinking and writing sentences that demonstrate their comparing and contrasting. The information on their Venn diagrams will be used to write their sentences. Those who finish early can illustrate.
While I provide the sentence frames as a scaffold at this point of the year, the expectation is that the students with practice will internalize them and will no longer need me to provide this type of scaffold. And, if and when I provide additional sentence frames, it will because the sentence frames will be unknown and more complex.
For this writing part, I pull some students to come sit with me on the rug. The students in this group are comprised of some of the same students from the earlier reading group and some new ones have been added because it was clear that they needed support. The students I am pulling need additional direction with getting started and they also need help with their writing conventions.
I gather the students back on the rug and close the lesson by asking them to pair-share what they learned about comparing and contrasting. After a quick pair-share, I ask for a couple of volunteers to share out to the whole group. I review with students a checklist that I created about whether we met our objective or not and praise their hard work.