Comparing Two Characters from a Child's Perspective

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SWBAT complete a Venn diagram comparing the characters Toot and Puddles, and use their Venn diagrams to write a comparison narrative in their journal.

Big Idea

Help build your students confidence and independence by teaching through characters they know and love.


Lesson Overview:

After spending two days of guiding my students comparing and contrasting characters through modeling, I felt it time to let them try working with a partner to gain practice toward being independent. To finish this lesson series on comparing and contrasting, I wanted my students to gain the experience they would need to develop their independent skills.  In this lesson, besides working in pairs, my students read from a series that features two well know characters to further explore RL.1.9: compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories. 


  • Toot and Puddle: Top of the World, by Holly Hobbie
  • Venn Diagram (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 2: Here We Go, Minerva Louise at School, by Janet Morgan Stoeke
  • Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 3: Let’s Look Around, Hilda Hen’s Scary Night, by Mary Wormell


5 minutes

I began this lesson with my students on the rug where I held up copies Minerva Louise at School and Hilda Hen’s Scary Night and reminded my students that during the last two lessons they compared and contrasted both chickens.  I then gave my little ones a moment to think of the things we practiced looking at to compare both characters.  After a brief moment I had my students share with their rug partners what things we looked at when comparing the characters.

When my students were finished sharing I used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select a partner pair to share with the class some of the things they talked about to answer the question.  These two students responded they had looked at the chickens, where they lived, and what they did.  This was answer was pretty much what I was looking for, I repeated: we looked at the physical appearance, the setting, and the events to not only compare how the chickens looked, but how they acted.  My students showed me they agreed by showing me their thumb up (Demonstration: Thumb Up, Thumb Down).

At this point I told my students today they would have the opportunity to compare and contrast two characters on their own.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

I then introduced class favorites, Toot and Puddles in Toot and Puddles: Top of the World.  My students immediately recognized these two characters and were excited about hearing another adventure of this animated pair.  I explained that I would read the story first, and then they would have the opportunity to partner read the story and work together to compare the two pigs.

Before I began reading I reminded my students to not just look at the characters, but to think about the setting and events as well.  I then read the story through, pausing only to show the pictures (Reading to the Class). 

When I was finished reading I gave my students a moment to think about the story.  After a moment I had them stand up and stretch.  I then had them walk to their desks imitating a pig (Demonstration: Movement).

Collaborative Activity

20 minutes

Once my students were settled at their desks I displayed the Venn Diagram on the Promethean board and passed out their copies.  I continued by reminding my students to write Toot on the left side and Puddles on the right side.  The word both went in the middle.  When all my students completed this task, I had my students in the Beginning Reading group go to the big work table to work with me. 

I had the remaining students stand up and look at a partner they wanted to read and work with.  Once my students were partnered up, I instructed them to sit at the partner’s desk they were standing closest to.  When my students were settled one more time, I passed out copies of Toot and Puddles: Top of the World.  (To have enough copies of the same title so my students could share, I borrowed books from my colleagues, the school library, and the city library).  I instructed my students to read the book first, with each partner taking turns reading every other page, and to look for and list how the two pigs were the same and different on their Venn diagrams.

After making sure my students were reading and working, I joined my Beginning Readers and we read the book together. When this group finished reading, I instructed them to think about how Toot and Puddles were the same and what was different about them.  As they shared their ideas with each other and me, I reminded them to write their answers on their Venn diagrams.

As the rest of the class began to finish up, I had my students’ display their Venn diagrams on the top of their desks so I could walk around and quickly see what they had written.  The video Student Comparison is  a sample of what my students shared with me as I checked their work.  I noticed that nearly all of my students wrote under the both section that Toot and Puddles were pigs and they were friends.  When I finished this quick check, I used the magic cup to select three partner pairs to share their Student Venn Diagram with the class using the doc-u-cam.  As each of these three students shared their Venn diagrams, I had my students show me a thumb up if they had the same information on their Venn diagrams.

When the three select student pairs were finished sharing I told my students they would use their Venn diagrams to write a narrative comparison/comparison in their journals.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

With that I had my students re-group into their leveled reading groups and go to their beginning rotation activities.  Every 15 to 20 minutes they rotate to a different activity.  One of these activities being journal writing, because journal writing helps students understand and apply new skills they are learning. 

The prompt I put on the Promethean board: Explain how Toot and Puddles are the same and different.

I verbally reminded my students to start with a hook and end with a closing, writing elements we are currently practicing during our writing block. 

I checked each journal as my students rotated to my differentiated reading group.  The featured Do You Know About Toot and Puddles video is a good sample of making a comparison, using a hook, and having closure 

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

To earn a sticker each partner pair told me how they felt about working together.