I found this great new graphic organizer in the Core Six book called the Top Hat. I have always been a little annoyed with the Venn Diagram because it's hard to fit information in the center. My school used the double bubble map created by Thinking Maps as well, but it always looked jumbled to me. I like the Top Hat because it is simple. And big. And not jumbled. Basically, students will list descriptors of the first item on the left and descriptors of the second item on the right. Underneath, they'll note the similarities or differences, whichever you choose. It's simple, and the kids can draw their own.
In this case, I am going to have students look for similarities and difference in viewing the video of Shackleton's adventure as opposed to reading the text, "Trapped By The Ice". They will use their tree maps from the previous day to help them write down characteristics of the text and video. I like to focus on the characteristics before we think about comparing and contrasting. This makes their observations richer and keeps them from going straight to comparison mode. I'll have students begin this task alone, but I will eventually have them partner with their shoulder buddies to confer and share information.
As a class, we will create a Top Hat chart on the Smart Board that examines the similarities and differences between viewing the video and reading the text. I love the Top Hat organizer because it requires students to think of all of the characteristics of both items before comparing or contrasting. I usually don't even tell the students what they are going to do in the bottom of the top hat until they have finished listing all characteristics. That way they are truly thinking about the two items instead of jumping straight to compare/contrast mode.
I will ask the students to determine if the two experiences were more similar or more different and why.
Then, I will ask the students which experience they prefer and why. This justification helps students think on a higher level and really analyze the two experiences. Comparing and contrasting text with a multimedia presentation is a skill that has surfaced in the CCS. Although the video and the text tell the same story, they are influenced by the authors and therefore create different experiences. This is what I want my students to catch when examining the two pieces. In the videos, different perspectives are used as the director creates a college effect through the narrated pictures. The text is told through one author's view point and creates a more cohesive story. By carefully examining what they experienced, students will be able to understand how and why the two pieces are similar and different.
Next, I will have students imagine that they were a member of Shackleton's crew. Their task is to write a journal entry based on information that they learned from reading the text or watching the video. I will allow students to use information from either source for this assignment. They should make sure to include factual information but also infer what various crew members might have been thinking, feeling, or doing during this arduous journey. I am using this assignment to help the students process their information and also check for comprehension. If a student deeply understands the concept, it will be apparent in his or her writing.