When my class comes in, we discuss what we learned yesterday about clarifying. We reviewed our anchor chart and talked about how clarification helps us understand what we read. Next we move into today's lesson. I tell my students that for the rest of the week we are going to be comparing and contrasting different elements of different stories written by the same author. I ask students to tell me what it means to compare and contrast? I list some of their ideas on the board. We are revisiting comparing and contrasting. We touched on it briefly at the beginning of the year. I tell students that we are going to go deeper into comparing and contrasting. I begin the lesson by introducing the two stories we're going to look at, "Miss Nelson is Missing" and "Miss Nelson is Back" both by Harry Allard. We talk about what we know about each book. I assumed that most students had already read Miss Nelson is Missing, but not everyone had read Miss Nelson is Back. I read both stories to students and we discussed the similarities and differences.
After reading the story, I used www.readwritethink.org to complete an online Venn Diagram with students on our Smartboard. As we discussed the stories we talked in general about the stories and how the two were different and how they were the same. We brainstormed different things about each story that jumped out at us from reading. As we discussed, I had already chosen some sections in the book to go back and clarify in an effort to show students how the strategy helps you focus attention on specific skills like comparing and contrasting. I used certain sections in each book to go back and clarify by thinking aloud for students to guide them into seeing how the strategy worked in a variety of situations. This case being comparing and contrasting.
Giving groups of students a copy of each story, I ask students to go through the stories and find two things that are different and two things that are the same in the stories. As students are working, I encourage them to use the clarification strategy by doing the things we listed on our anchor chart (See resources) such as going back to re-read a section, thinking about what you've read, and making connections to information you already know or have read. As students are working I circulate to each group to encourage discussion and to scaffold instruction with students who need more guidance with using the strategy and making comparisons. I give students about five minutes to come up with their ideas and then we share out each groups' ideas. As students give their ideas, I record them on the online Venn Diagram found on www.readwritethink.org web tool. We have a brief discussion about what we've posted and how the two stories are alike and how they are different.
To bring the lesson to a close, I bring the students back to using clarification to help them compare and contrast. I went back to the sections where I clarified and asked students if they could tell me how clarifying helped me compare the two stories. Next, I ask students to share with the class, any sections that they clarified in order to help them understand what they read and to compare the two stories. Students shared their experiences. Finally, I end by asking students to explain how clarifying can help you compare and contrast the elements in two different stories.