Similarities and Differences in Two Text about American Leaders

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SWBAT identify similarities and differences regarding the author's perspective on two text about the same topic.

Big Idea

Develop higher order thinking skills using the strategies and rich text in this lesson.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection 

The Common Core Standard for this lesson is RI.1.9 and it states that students should identify the basic similarities and differences between two text on the same topic.  The Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard says students should 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, basically the students need to analyze the author's perspective. For example, one author may deliver the information very formally, and the other more casual. Text selection makes this lesson teach itself or a bit of a struggle. But, going in knowing we are now trying to get the students to analyze the author's craft is the big focus of the lesson.

Lesson Overview

This lesson begins with the students in the lounge area.  First graders need to move or transition about every twenty minutes.  We are at their desks for guided practice and at center tables for partner work.  The student reflection and guided practice are back at the lounge.

Students work in heterogeneous ability groups at their desk and center tables.  Common Core promotes peer collaboration and students learning from each other.  This also creates a positive classroom environment.


Students are told to talk to their partner about their two favorite books or stories.  Then they are told to discuss how those books are alike.  Last they discuss how they are different.  This activates their thinking regarding comparing two text.  I share my favorite two books and how they are alike and different. Students love to learn about their teacher.

Then I tell the class we are going to learn how to find similarities and difference in two text on the same topic. They repeat, tell a friend, and then say it with me.  Repetition builds memory and telling a friend makes it personal.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

I read a story about Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson.  I got these text from Read Works because it is free and the text are lexiled.  The students use a green highlighter to identify points that both authors make that are similar. (Both are African American Leaders and are Heros. The author's have similar points. The author's are very serious in the delivery of the text.)

Some of my questions:

What are the author's trying to say?

What is their point?

What do they want us to know?

They are also encouraged to make a list on a sticky note.  Finding evidence in the text supports comprehension.  They share their thoughts with their peanut butter jelly partner (shoulder partner).  The peanut butter jelly partner is a heterogeneous collaborative partner assigned by me.

Several volunteers share their ideas. I write the response of two volunteers on the board on a graphic organizer (Graphic Organizer). First graders need to see a great deal of writing modeled.  I do not ask them to write at this point because it might take too long. I want to focus on comprehension and higher order thinking.

Students list difference on their sticky notes, which I keep in a tub in the center of their desks. They share with their partner.  Collaboration creates an environment where everyone can be successful and learn from each other. Several students volunteer to share their ideas, and we agree that there were not any significant differences in the author's perspective. I am keeping this simple. This is our first lesson on author's perspective regarding informational text.

Partner Work

20 minutes

Students are given two pieces of text that I found on Read Works. They read and complete the same graphic organizer that we did as a class (Student Work).  I walk around and ask them questions to keep the students on the right track.  I also assign a group reader.  Not everyone reads at this point in first grade and taking the responsibility off some students helps them focus on comprehension.

I remember hoping that the teacher would not call on me to read, because I got so nervous I could never remember what I read.  I do not want to make my students feel this way so I try to relieve the pressure when we are working on comprehension.  

Student Reflection

5 minutes

We move to the lounge and I allow the students to practice their speaking and listening skills.  I go over these rules for myself and for my students.  It keeps me from having to correct any behavior.  I ask volunteers to present because I know this lesson was challenging.  I want students that feel confident to model their work.  This creates a positive environment in the classroom.


5 minutes

Students write one thing they learned today "about finding similarities and differences in two text" on a sticky note and place it on the exit ticket poster. Hopefully, they will write to look for similar words or text. But, if they have no idea I allow them to put a happy face on their post it. this allows me to differentiate, and everyone can participate. I read their responses as they post them and I make my own comments.

I remind the class that this is a skill they will continue to develop for years using complex text.  I say I can compare two text.  The learners echo, tell a friend, and say it with me.