Talk aloud for writing

Text Structure –Compare Contrast writing

This lesson will be taught over several days!! Thanks Mrs. B for working with me again and sharing your kids 🙂

Introduce lesson“We are going to learn about a text structure authors sometimes use called compare contrast writing. Authors use this structure to show how two things can be alike, yet different. It is an important structure to learn because it will help you to be a better writer but it will also help you to better understand non-fiction or informational text written in this way as well. Some of the key words I want you to listen for are: (posted during lesson)

  • alike
  • similar but different
  • all
  • most
  • both
  • yet
  • while
  • many

I was reading All About Frogs by Jim Arnosky

and Frogs and Toads by Bobbie Kalman.

I really liked the way both authors helped me to understand how frogs and toads can be similar but they are also different. Many people do not understand the differences. Through the drawings, photographs and compare contrast writing, I was easily able to understand. Listen to what they had to say;

All About Frogs by Jim Arnosky page 4 (ish no page numbers)

Frogs and Toads by Bobbie Kalman page 7

After reading these two passages I made myself a Venn diagram to help me understand what the author was telling me about frogs and toads. A Venn diagram is a graphic organizer that helps us put our thinking on paper. It clarifies our thinking. Making a Venn diagram when we are writing also helps us to organize our writing. Look at my Venn diagram. (share and read together)

Look at my Venn diagram. (share and read together)

I really liked the way these two authors helped me to understand, so I decided to make an attribute list of the way they wrote to help me write my own paragraph.

I noticed that in All About Frogs , Jim Arnosky started by saying :”Frogs and toads are similar but different animals…” while in Frogs and Toads , Bobbie Kalman starts by saying Frogs and Toads look similar but they are different in some ways…These are two really well known authors and they start their paragraph in almost the same way! That must be a really good way to start a paragraph!

They both used compare contrast signal words to make their writing more interesting and to help me understand. Their titles tell me exactly what I was going to read about. They obviously planned out what they wanted to say beforehand. They ended carefully although I liked Jim Arnosky’s ending better-That’s the way it should be forever. He obviously cares a lot about them!!

This is the list I came up with (have it ready to post for reference)

  • Introduction says Similar but different
  • Use at least 3 compare contrast signal words (alike ,all, most, both, yet, while, many)
  • Title
  • Ending
  • Venn diagram
  • Proper punctuation

I decided I wanted to try writing a compare/ contrast paragraph the way Arnosky and Kalman did. I decided to write about Rhinos and elephants because those are two animals I am interested in. I started by making a Venn Diagram as I read-this is what I learned (fill in together to model how you were thinking as you read)Elephants VS. Rhinoceros (Animals Head to Head )

This is the paragraph I wrote about Elephants and Rhinos. (Read aloud to class-post )

Elephants and Rhinos

Elephants and rhinos are similar but different animals. They are alike because they are huge African herbivores. They are both mammals. Elephants have big ears but rhinos do not. Rhinos can run quite quickly but elephants do not. Elephants like to live together yet rhinos prefer to live alone. There are 5 types of rhinos but only 2 types of elephants. Elephants need to drink everyday while Rhinos only need to drink every four days.

Both the elephant and the Rhino are losing their habitats as cities grow. They are both threatened by poachers who hunt them.

They may have many differences but the threat to their lives is similar. Many people in the world are trying to protect these amazing animals. That’s the way it should be.

Now let’s look at my writing and see if I followed the attribute chart to write my paragraph. (correct together-I put my writing up beside the attribute chart –I write all over my paragraph circling,adding deleting and placing check marks on the attribute  chart-in this piece I will ask them what other word I can use instead of but…I hope they will notice that I have but 3 times and find a word to change it up. If they don’t notice ,I will leave it-for now.)

Elephants and Rhinos

Elephants and rhinos are similar but different animals. They are alike because they are huge African herbivores. They are both mammals. Elephants have big ears but rhinos do not. Rhinos can run quite quickly but elephants do not. Elephants like to live together yet rhinos prefer to live alone. There are 5 types of rhinos but only 2 types of elephants. Elephants need to drink everyday while Rhinos only need to drink every four days.

Both the elephant and the Rhino are losing their habitats as cities grow. They are both threatened by poachers who hunt them. They may have many differences but the threat to their lives is similar. Many people in the world are trying to protect these amazing animals. That’s the way it should be.

My next lesson will be to write a class paragraph all together about something familiar to the students using  exactly the same process. We will create a Venn diagram with attributes about their teacher and me –how we are similar but different, and turn that thinking into a paragraph. ( Maybe without the illustration ) At this point students often add to our word list. We will correct it together-did we follow our attribute chart??

Other ideas for a first try could be comparing an apple and an orange, a cat and a dog, a carrot and a potato, a motorcycle and a bicycle, fairy tales, types of rocks, two sports, two instruments,  artists, their parents…)

After some practice your students are ready to try the process with curricular content. The initial planning takes a while, but so many lessons come out of it. A final assignment for me would be to ask students to try to find a piece of writing ( book, magazine,… where the author is comparing two things. Can we add words to our list? What else did the author do to help you understand?

 

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