Prior to the lesson, I prepare to introduce a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast stories. This lesson follows up the previous lessons by reusing the books Eat Your Peas, Louise and Little Pea. On the board, I draw two large intersecting circles. I like to use two different colors to emphasize each circle. Above one circle write Eat Your Peas, Louise; above the second circle write Little Pea.
I gather the children to the rug, but ask them to sit along the edge of the rug, and tell them that their objective for today is to compare and contrast the two stories from earlier this week: Eat Your Peas, Louise and Little Pea.
Boys and girls please sit around the perimeter of the rug. We are going to do an activity that requires us to notice the similarities and the differences in some pictures. Comparing is like finding things that are the same and contrasting is when we look for things that are different. When we compare these pictures, it is a lot like when we sort items in our math tubs. We are looking for ways things are the same or different.
Since we have spent some time in math working on sorting, I tell the children that they will have an opportunity to help me sort some objects. I place two "Hula Hoops" on the floor. I overlap the two so there is a section in the middle. I want the children to make the connection of this activity to their math work, but do not want them to mistake it for math. The materials I choose to sort for this lesson are pictures of storybook characters that the children recognize.
We look at the pictures and make a decision about how we should sort them.
As we look at these pictures, we have to decide how we are going to label the groups. Does anyone have an idea what we should name this group? Animals, okay. What about this group? Should we call this group "People"? On a sentence strip, I write down the designated sort titles and set them each inside a circle.
When we sort, we find that some pictures fit in both categories. Does anyone notice anything special about these groups? Yes, all the people are in one hoop and all the animals are in the other. Does anyone see how both groups are the same? Hats? How would we sort these then? We could put all the characters with hats in the center section that I have labeled "both".
I write "both" on a sentence strip and place it inside the overlapping section. When all pictures have a place, I tell the children we can compare how some pictures were the same and some were different. It is the same thing with the stories we read; we can compare and contrast them as well.
Just like we did with the book characters, we are going to make a Venn Diagram on our whiteboard. Let's think about the story, Eat Your Peas, Louise. Let's list some details about this story. I will write them on the board.
The children start by giving details about Eat Your Peas, Louise. I list all of their ideas for this story in the left circle. After the left circle is full or the ideas run out, have the children share their thoughts about Little Pea, and write these ideas in the right-side circle.
Now let's think about the story, Little Pea. I will write down your detail ideas in the right side circle. Read each list to the children after they are completed. After reading these lists, as the children if they noticed anything that was the same.
Do you notice any things that are the same between the two books?
Explain to the children that when you compare two stories there are times when the stories will have things that are the same and we write these ideas in the section where the two circles cross. As the similarities are noted and written in the center, the original parts in the outer circles are erased. While I am moving the information around, I explain that the things written on the outside are contrasting or different.
The things written in the middle part are things that are the same between the two stories. The items written on the outside are contrasting. I like to introduce them to vocabulary like this even if it is still a bit over their heads. When the children are ready to handle this more sophisticated language, their memories will have a bit to grab onto.
The prominent piece that is similar is that both child's parents were trying to get them to eat their food. As with many of my lessons, the assessment piece has to do with writing. After the story, we talk about how Little Pea felt about the candies that his parents wanted him to eat.
What do we think our character was thinking about when he was wanting one thing to eat, but was being served something that he did not like? Have you ever been in a situation like this?
I tell the children that when we have experiences like these in our life, we can use these experiences as ideas for our story writing. When we are beginning writers, our best stories come from things we know. The children will have to write in their journals based on the prompt: When was there a time when you had to eat something you didn't like and how did you feel about this?
The children will begin by illustrating and then writing down their thoughts. (Children may get assistance by dictating their thoughts to an adult in the room after they have attempted to write it out on their own.) I am looking for how the children apply this to their own life experiences. We share our journal entries with our table buddies, as I work my way around the room to listen in on the conversations and comment on journal entries.