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An Original Compare and Contrast Lesson from WritingFix
this writing across the curriculum assignment encourages deeper student thinking

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The Comparing Community Helpers Lesson

Additional Samples for this Writing Activity

This Activity's Title:

Comparing Community Helpers

This comparison/contrast lesson was created
by Northern Nevada first grade teacher
Nakea French

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this writing across the curriculum lesson is the picture book Come on, Rain by Karen Hesse. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author.

Check out Come On, Rain at

Washoe County teachers, click here to search for this book at the county library.

This seven-step, teacher-created lesson was inspired by the NNWP's Going Deep with Compare and Contrast Thinking Guide. Click here to inquire about ordering your own copy of this resource.

Setting the Stage:

Prior to this assignment, send home a parent letter asking that each student bring in a "tool" that represents what the parents do in the community i.e. a pencil, gloves, seeds etc. It needs to be a tool (or a photograph of a tool) that the students can bring with them to class as part of this lesson.

Step #1:
Demonstrating a High-Quality Comparison:

Tell students, "Today, we’re going to look at the similarities and differences of how weather contributes to the community. To begin, we will be reading Come On, Rain by Karen Hesse. In this book John Muth illustrates the different ways rain and sun affect people in the community. As we read this book, I want you to listen to how the two types of weather are different, but how they are also similar in helping the community. At the end of the story we will compare and contrast the two types of weather that were illustrated in the book."


Step #2:
Introducing the Topics to Be Compared:

Tell students, "For this writing assignment, you will be looking at the different tools the students brought in from the beginning of the week. Each of you will be partnered up. Your partner will give a one minute presentation describing who uses the tool, what their parent does with the tool, and how their tool contributes to the community. After the two presentations, you will each be comparing how the tools you brought in are similar and different in helping our community."

Step #3:
Establishing a Purpose for the Comparison:

Say to students, "Throughout this week we have been learning that everyone has a special job in the community. As we can see, many tools in the community are used differently, just as Jon Muth showed us the different ways the rain and sun affect people in the community. Today, you will continue to look how your tools are different from one another, but also think of how the tools share the same goal within our community because later you will be using these similarities and differences in your final writing assignment."

Step #4:
Introducing the Comparison Tool:

Say, "Each of you will be getting a copy of these Comparison/Contrast Feet. At the top where it says topic, you will write the name of the two tools you are comparing and contrasting. Next, you will write 3 things that show how your tools help the community in the same way, and then write 3 things that show how your tools help the community in different ways."

The graphic organizer above is just one of the many tools found in the
NNWP's Going Deep with Compare and Contrast Thinking Guide.


Step #5:
Model the Comparison Tool:

On the easel or white board, post an example of the graphic organizer.

Say, " I will use the rain and sun as my two tools to compare and contrast. At the top of the paper you can see that I wrote down the two types of weather, rain vs. sun. On the left side of the paper you will see the word same and on the right side of the foot you will see the word different. This is where you will write down how the tools help the community in the same way. For example, I have written down that the rain and sun are similar in helping the community because they both help plants grow. On the left side I wrote that the sun is very hot and dries out the land and the rain keeps things very wet. Take 15 minutes to discuss and write down your comparisons and contrasts of the types of tools used in the community."

Step #6:
Posing a Deep Question to Students:

Ask, "How do people help the community even though they use different types of tools?"


Step #7:
Writing About the Comparison:

With a partner, students will use this writing form to compose a poem that illustrates the information from the two-feet graphic organizer. They will write A Poem for Two Voices, like those found in Paul Fleischman's marvelous collection, Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices.

It will be important to discuss how to write a poem using two voices. To do this, use the rain and sun comparison/contrast graphic organizer to create a poem illustrating the two voices. Below is Nakea's example for her first graders.

Voice #1: Both voices: Voice #2:
I am hot. I am cold.
We are weather.
I wet the ground. I dry it up.
We help grow food.


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