Opposites Don’t Always Attract

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SWBAT find and list the opposite words from their reading, and describe one set of opposites in their journal.

Big Idea

Your students will develop their observation skills to use pictures and text f to describe details about opposites.


I believe that after a while, with lots of practice, reading becomes so second nature that sometimes we forget that we are reading, not to mention all the mechanics that is associated with reading, we just read- like we just breath.  We do not automatically get to this point, as pointed out; it takes a lot of practice.

Common Core Connection:

One key concept in any type of reading is understanding how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of the text, as noted in CCRA.R.3.  For First Graders, who are at the beginning of their reading careers this understanding takes on many forms. Using RL.1.3: describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details, as the bases for this lesson, students gain practice looking at the text and pictures to describe the setting and events in the story through noting the opposites. 

Lesson Overview:

In today’s lesson my students will partner read and then work with their table partner to identify and describe the major events, which in this case are the opposites in the story.


  • Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme: Home Sweet Home, Moving Day, by Robert Kalan
  • If you do not use HM try: Annabel Again, by Janice Boland
  • Opposite Descriptive Words Power Point (teacher created)
  • Lined newsprint: one sheet per student


5 minutes

I started today’s lesson by asking my students what they remembered about yesterday’s slide presentation about shells. It was my hope that they would recall that animals actually live in the shells.  After a moment to think and partner share, I used the magic cup to select two students to share what they remembered.  They immediately established that they remembered the slide presentation as well as the fact that many animals that live in shells look like snails and crabs. 

I agreed with my students and told them today I wanted them to pay close attention the words and pictures in the story, because they would use them for their independent work.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

From there I introduced my students to Moving Day, by Robert Kalan, by giving them a moment to look at the title page and pictures in the story.  When they finished looking at the pictures I gave them a moment to share with their table partner what they thought the story would be about.  (Both of these activities help familiarize students to the story).  When they were finished sharing I used the magic cup to select a student to share with the class what she thought the story would be about.  After listening to her thoughts that the story was going to be about a crab in the ocean looking for a shell, I said, “Let’s find out”. 

However, before launching into the initial reading of this story, I showed my students the Opposite Descriptive Words Power Point to help them gain new information.  I did this to familiarize my students to how the new word looked in print and so my students would recall information from their own experiences about the new words.  It did not take long, especially considering this is a very short power point, for one of my students to call out, “Those are opposite words!”  I agreed and

pointed out that opposites could be used to compare and contrast shells, or any other item.  After the power point I instructed my students to partner read Moving Day with their seat partners. 

The students on the accompanying video (Partner Reading) demonstrate how when we partner read each student takes turns reading a page back and forth until the story is finished.  If a partner needs help, then the other helps. I circulate around the class making sure each pair is on the same page.  When we finished reading the story, I asked my students to think about what was so special about the shell the hermit crab found at the end, and to share with their table partner.  After a moment of think time I instructed my students to whisper their response in their hands and used the magic cup to select three students to share with the class.  As my students started to share, I realized I needed to model, “At the end of the story the hermit crab found a shell that was ___ because ____.  My students agreed that the hermit crab’s new shell was perfect because it was just like his old shell but bigger.  

After hearing my students responses I asked them to recall some of the problems the hermit crab had finding a new shell.  As hands shot up, I called on one student whose answer pretty much summed it up, “The shells were not right!” That’s right I agreed and pushed a little further by asking what was not right with the shells.  Several students called out about the shells being too small, big, plain, fancy, etc.  What types of words are those I interrupted the melee.  “Opposites” several children responded.

Collaborative Activity

15 minutes

I agreed and from there gave directions to the collaborative activity.  I wanted to give my students more practice using their readings to get information. Today I gave my students a sheet of lined newsprint and instructed them to fold it in half, so it looked like a book.  They were to work with their seat partner to look through today’s reading and find the descriptive words of the shells and write one word on the left side and the opposite word on the right.  They were then to draw a picture of their favorite shell and its opposite shell and write sentences to describe the shells.  The accompanying video (Opposite Lists) shows me checking a student’s work during differentiated reading group rotation time.  

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Once they finished this activity we moved to our differentiated leveled reading groups where my students rotate through 4 reading stations every 15 to 20 minutes.  One of the reading stations is journal writing where my students write about the day’s lesson or activity.  For today’s journal they continued to look through Moving Day and find at least two more opposites and write how the two shells were opposite.

The prompt I put on the board: On page ___ the shells are opposite because __________.

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

For a sticker my students had to find an object in the class and tell me what its opposite would be and why.