Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

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SWBAT use their completed Venn Diagram to add details into a teacher scaffolded essay form.

Big Idea

Small steps lead to success. Gradual Release of a Complex Task


15 minutes

"Students, today you will use your Venn Diagram from yesterday's lesson to write a compare and contrast essay about Fu Finds the Way and The Three Questions.  First, I need the materials person from each table group come up and pass out these handouts."

Give each student a set of handouts for their table mates.  Once students are ready, say, "Now lets fill the top part out together.  I will model what you tell me to write at the top and you fill it in with me.  If you want to sit on the rug to work, come on up."  I make this option available to students who need to be closer to the screen to copy.

"Let's get started.  The part at the top will help you with the rest of the handout.  What is the title of one of the books?"  Call on a student, and write the title for them to copy. "Who are the main characters in this book?  Talk at your table."  Call on a student to share.  Write the character names on the line. " What is the setting?"  Call on someone, write the setting.  What are the big ideas or lessons in the book?  Talk at your table."  Call on someone.  Decide what to write and model the big idea(s) by writing it on the line.  

Continue in the same way for the second book demonstrating how to fill in the top section.

Once the top section of the handout is complete, say, "Now I want you to listen to me a I read the template so you will understand how to use it when you write your compare and contrast essay.  As you remember, when we are comparing and contrasting two things it is important to use transition words.  Let me show you a list of comparing words and contrasting words." 

Show list.

Say to the students, "As I read this template be listening for words that signal how something is alike and words that cue you that they are different." Read the template, (I will say blank...when students will insert their ideas into the essay.)

Now, that you heard me read the template, let's read it together as a choral read.  Read the template together.

"I bet you are seeing where this lesson is heading!"  Now take out your Venn Diagram from yesterday and you are going to use your ideas  from your Venn Diagram to write an essay comparing and contrasting these two stories. 

Are there any questions?  If not, please get started.



Independent Write

30 minutes

Let the students work independently.  Notice who is getting straight to work.  Say, "All pencils should be moving.  Everyone is writing- the room should sound very quiet.  Try to answer your own questions.  You will have a chance to revise your writing later.  But for now, I want to see how you work independently."

I am coaching and scaffolding the writing activity so that all students will be able to complete the task without teacher help.  It is important that students have lots of opportunities to grow in independence.


This activity has been scaffold so that all students will be successful.  I will meet with students after I read their essays to address any problems. 


10 minutes

After the independent writing portion of the lesson, have several students share their compare and contrast essay using the document camera.  (See student #1 work, page 1 and page 2)

Ask students to make comments on what the agree or disagree with explaining their thinking using evidence from the text.  Or to ask the student a question, for example to explain what they meant by both stories have symbolism.