Similarities and Differences in Two Text About Deserts

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SWBAT locate similarities and differences between the author's perspective in two text about the desert.

Big Idea

Teach student about geography as they determine similarities and differences between author's perspective.


5 minutes

Common Core Connection 

The Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard 9 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.  This lesson is designed to have students compare how the authors of two different texts about the same topic approach their topics and what different information they provide.

Lesson Overview

This lesson begins with the students in the lounge area.  First graders need to move or transition (Transitions) 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 (Peanut Butter Jelly Partners) at their desk and center tables.  Common Core promotes peer collaboration and students learning from each other.  This also creates a positive classroom environment.


I project an image of the desert on the Promethean board.  The students discuss with their partner facts that they know about the desert.  This is an activating strategy that gets the students thinking and assesses their prior knowledge.  I explain that we will compare two text on the desert and then they will work with their partners to analyze text. 

I state the lesson objective:  I can analyze text and make connections between text.  They repeat, tell a friend, and say it with me. The repetition increases memory and telling a friend makes the lesson personal.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

I read the first text to the class.  After I read two pages I ask them to discuss the information they learned.  I ask one volunteer to share and I write it on the board.  I am trying to model making notes as we read.  This is a nice strategy to develop comprehension.  I read the next few pages, students discuss, one learner shares, and I model writing on the board.

I selected leveled text from the reading series that our school system purchased.  The lexile is a little above my students independent reading level.  I typically use a higher lexile level when I am doing a read aloud.  I think it is important to model and explore text that are a little above level when I can be with the students to help them read and understand vocabulary.

My big strategy for helping the students determine what is similar and different:

Look for words or ideas that are the similar or different?

My questions:

  • What words or ideas are the same?
  • What words or ideas are different?
  • Have you looked at the pictures to see what might be similar or different? (Not everyone in my class can read, so analyzing pictures they can contribute.)
  • Do the author's present the information differently?
  • What do you think each author wants you to think?

Partner Work

20 minutes

Students get into groups of two or three and move to the center tables.  I have already selected two passages about the desert and placed them on the tables.  One passage is from Read Works and the other came from Read Naturally. Read Works is a free online resource and Read Naturally is an intervention program that I borrowed from our Special Education Department.  I like these resources because they are leveled and I can easily pick passages that I know my students can read.  

Students read (Student Sharing Work) and then fill in the graphic organizer (Graphic Organizer) determining similarities and differences between the text.  I walk around asking questions and making sure the students are getting started.  I often ask my students questions that require them to provide evidence for their choices.  This helps me know if they understand the concept.

Student Reflection

5 minutes

One way I motivate the students to do their best is by telling them that they can present their work at the end of the lesson.  I line the students up in two lines facing each other.  Line one read their work while line two listens and then they reverse. I go over the rules of speaking and listening prior to the start to make sure they do what I want.  I find it is more engaging to allow  my students to participate at the same time.


5 minutes

I ask each student to tell their partner one thing they learned today "about similarities and differences in text." Hopefully, somebody remembers the strategy: to look for similar or different words or information. I listen and then ask two or three students to share.   This is another opportunity for students to work on speaking and listening.

I think it is important to restate the objective at the end of the lesson to refocus the class on the skill.  I say I can make connections between two text, students echo, tell a friend, and then say it with me.