A Venn diagram is a great tool for brainstorming and creating a comparison between two or more objects, events, stories or people. You can start with a Venn Diagram as a first step to creating an outline for a compare and contrast lesson.
Prior to the lesson, I draw two large intersecting circles. I like to use two different colors to emphasize each circle. Above one circle write Gingerbread Boy; above the second circle write Gingerbread Girl.
Children come to the rug, but sit along the edge of the rug. Your objective for today is to compare and contrast the two stories from earlier this week: The Gingerbread Boy and The Gingerbread Girl. Comparing is like finding things that are the same and contrasting is when we look for things that are 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. See the two "Hula Hoops" on the floor? I have overlapped the two so there is a section in the middle. Do you remember why I have left a section in the middle? That's right. It is for the things that are the same between the two stories.
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 from each of the books.
I have some pictures here in my hands. Look at the pictures and help me make a decision about how we should sort them. On sentence strips, I have written down the sorting titles as Gingerbread Boy and Gingerbread Girl. I will set them each inside a circle. As we sort, we will find that some pictures fit in both categories, so I will write "both" on a sentence strip and place it inside the overlapping section. Let's begin sorting the pictures. How are these picture the same between the two stories? What were some things that were different? Yes, some of the things were only in one of the books.
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.
Take a look at the board. Do you see the large circles. The left side represents the Gingerbread Boy, while the right side represents the Gingerbread Girl. Start by giving me details about The Gingerbread Boy. I will list all of your ideas for this story in the left circle. When the left circle is full I will have you share your thoughts about The Gingerbread Girl, and write these ideas in the right-side circle. Listen as I read each list to the class. Do you noticed anything that was the same between these lists? Sometimes when you compare two stories there are 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 is erased.)
While I am moving the information around, I explain that the things written on the outside are contrasting or different. 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.
Now I am going to given you a large outline of a gingerbread boy or girl (depending on their preference). On the outline, the children will draw pictures of the things that were only about the character you have chosen. If I were talking about licorice whip hair, would I draw that on the gingerbread boy or girl? I would draw that on the girl because we did not see that for the boy.
I model this activity for my students before I ask them to complete the assignment. If I choose an outline of a gingerbread boy, then I might draw a picture of the boy being eaten by the fox; however, if I choose a gingerbread girl, I could draw her lassoing the foxes mouth shut.
After you have completed this part of the activity, then you can cut out the outline and decorate the gingerbread character on the other side.
To assess how well the individual children did on this assignment, I would walk around and ask the children to explain their choices for different, and then see if they could explain the opposing side. The more depth they can give to their response gives me a better understanding of their comprehension of the story.
I see that you haven chosen to draw a gingerbread ____. Why did you chose to be on this side? What makes this gingerbread character different than the other?