Similarities and Differences in Text on Sharks

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SWBAT determine the similarities and differences between the author's perspective in information presented in two text on the same topic.

Big Idea

Engage students in lesson about sharks that they will be so excited about you might not get them to stop reading!


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

The Common Core Standard for this lesson RI.1.9 states that students should identify the basic similarities and differences regarding the authors' perspective between two text on the same topic.  To address this standard, I ask students to determine the similar and different information in texts on the same topic, sharks. I feel like one prerequisite skill to determining the similarities and difference in the author's perspective is determining similarities and differences in the content.  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.  I try to teach this by allowing my students to read highly complex text across a wide range of subject areas to develop content and cultural knowledge. Students are enhancing their knowledge of sharks as they learn about similarities and differences in two text.

Lesson Overview

This lesson begins with the students in the lounge area (Transitions).  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 (Peanut Butter Jelly Partners).  The peanut butter and jelly partners are two partners assigned to work together. I call one peanut and the other jelly.  It just helps me organize my communication.  Common Core allows for peer collaboration and students learning from each other.  This also creates a positive classroom environment.


I seat students on the lounge and ask them to discuss with their peanut butter and jelly partner what they know about sharks. I am assessing their content knowledge and getting them excited about the subject. Exciting first graders is pretty easy, especially when I mention sharks. They love reading about sharks. 

I also place the shark image on the Promethean board to activate the students thinking. Then I expand on what I heard one group say.  I say there are similarities in the two books we are going to read today about sharks and fish.  For example, sharks and fish live in the ocean.

I explain that the author's perspective about information may be similar or different.  I say repeat after me I can locate the similarities and differences about the authors' perspective between two text. They repeat, tell a friend, and say it with me. Repetition builds memory and telling a friend makes it personal.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

I seat the students at their desks.  I put the graphic organizer up on the Promethean.  I add the questions: What information is presented?  What information do the illustrations give us?  What is the author really wanting us to know? What do you think the author is saying that seems important? These are written in the column on the left.  

Then I read the other book and ask the same questions. After each question the students participate in partner talk (Talk to Partner Strategy).

Then volunteers provide the details for the graphic organizer.  We do thumbs up or down to agree or disagree.  I do not allow them to write because it would take too long.  I want the students to focus on comprehension.  

I know my students love to read about sharks, so I wrote a project for an exemplar science set of books.  I actually presented about how to create a project on Donors' Choose at a conference and have put it in the resources. There are six of each book in this package and they are leveled for first grade. I also use sample text from Read Works Passages about sharks.

Partner Work

20 minutes

I allow the students to move to the center tables.  This allows students more space to work and I can have all the materials set up.  In addition, first graders need to move every twenty minutes.  

The students have three minutes to select two text from a pile.  I use different sample of text about sharks.  Several books, passages, and article from the internet are in the selection pile.  After three minutes, the group has to decide on two text.

Then they use the rest of the time to fill in the graphic organizer (Similarities Chart). It is the same chart I use in the guided practice, because first graders need modeling on how to use the graphic organizer. I walk around and ask questions.  The questions on the left column are the same as the ones I used in the guided practice.  This limits the difficulty of the activity.  I want to start in small steps to keep from overwhelming students.  

Student Reflection

20 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.

After each person presents their work the other students are asked to given them academic feedback. This means, "What did they do well and why? Do you agree or disagree and why?" If there is nobody that wants to comment I offer my feedback to model evaluation.


5 minutes

Students write one thing they learned today about how to determine the author's perspective  on a sticky note and place it on the exit ticket poster. Hopefully, somebody might say, "I read the title, first sentence in each paragraph, look at the illustrations, and really think about what the author is saying."  I remind the class that this is a skill they will continue to develop for years using complex text.  I say, "I can find similarities and differences in the author's perspective in two text."  The learners echo, tell a friend, and say it with me.