Using Clarification to Compare and Contrast Plot

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SWBAT compare and contrast the plot of two stories by the same author.

Big Idea

Students will recognize how clarifying can help them analyze a story's plot.


In yesterday's lesson we used the clarification strategy to compare and contrast characters in two popular children's stories. Using "Miss Nelson is Missing" and "Miss Nelson is Back" both by Harry Allard. Using both stories we compared and contrasted how the characters' actions drove the events of the story. Today we will look at the same stories but students will be comparing and contrasting the plot of each story.


10 minutes

As students walk in the room there is a prompt on the smart board that reads "You have read the stories "Miss Nelson is Missing" and "Miss Nelson is Back" by Harry Allard. In your Reader's Notebook, briefly tell your thoughts about both stories." I give students about 3-5 minutes to write their thoughts about the story in hopes that they will naturally do some comparisons of the stories. As students finish, I ask a few students to share their thoughts. We discuss students responses and then we move into talking about what we will do today. 


10 minutes

As we move into the modeling section of the lesson, I continue to model the clarification strategy by modeling questions that we should use to drive our focus for the day.  In thinking about the two stories, I ask students to contrast the two stories.  I ask students to think about events in the stories that are unique to each story. I create a simple T-Chart that has two sections at the top for each story. The section is headed with the question" How are they different?" As students raise their hands to share, I record just a few in the chart. Next I draw a box under the T-chart that is labeled with the question, "How are they similar?". After discussing how they are different, we move into adding in information that is similar.  I record one response in the box. Next, I asked students to think about how the questions helped them find what they needed. As we move into the guided practice of the lesson, I tell students to remember to use these questions to clarify parts of the story that may not be clear as well as for a focus for their reading during today's lesson. 

Guided Practice

20 minutes

During this section of the lesson, I have students take a copy of the T-Chart I have created as a word document and list all of the similarities and differences in the two stories. I quickly discuss with students to focus on the events, the problems and the solutions. I explain to students that they will be looking at the plot of each story and comparing and contrasting the plots. As students work, they are filling in their T-Chart as a group. Within each group, their are 4 to 5 students. Each student has a job so that each student has buy in and feels they are contributing to the task. One student is the "Time Keeper". I place an online stop watch on the smart board and that person keeps the group aware of the time they have to complete the task. Another student is designated as the "Scribe". They are responsible for recording the groups responses on the T-Chart. Next, I have one to two students who serve as the "Researchers"and are responsible for looking through the stories to find evidence for the groups responses. Lastly, we have the "Facilitator". This student asks the questions that drive the focus of the task. This person also makes sure that the group stays on task and guides the instruction.

As students go through the activity, they are focusing on the events, the problems and the solution. As students are working, I circulate the room and work with small groups of children to reinforce students using the clarification strategy and focusing on the plot of each story. I make sure to ask questions that drive students thinking. " What happened in Miss Nelson is Missing when she didn't come to school? "What happened in Miss Nelson is Back when she didn't come to school?" " How are these events different in each story?" "How are they different?" "How are the problems similar? How are they different?" "How is the way the problems are solved different? How are they similar?" I also place the questions on cards for the Facilitator of each group to use to drive the task. 

Wrap Up

10 minutes

After students have had sometime to complete their T-Chart, we come back together as a class and share students charts.  We also talk about how the questions kept us focused on what we were looking for and on looking at key details in the story. We also talked about using clarification and I asked any of the groups if they had to go back and clarify anything they were not sure about.We will continue this lesson tomorrow with students using their information from reading and their T-Chart to write about the differences and similarities in both stories.