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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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Navigating this lesson:

The Pondering Opposing Points of View Lesson

Additional Samples for this Writing Activity

This Activity's Title:

Opposing
Points of View in History

This comparison/contrast lesson was created by NNWP Teacher Consultant Kim Bronk.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this writing across the curriculum lesson is the picture book I am the Dog I am the Cat by Donald Hall. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author.

Check out I Am the Dog I Am the Cat at Amazon.com.

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.

Step #1:
Demonstrating a High-Quality Comparison:

Teacher says: Today, we’re going to be reading a book with two opposing viewpoints. What does opposing viewpoints mean? [Discuss this with students] In the book I am the Dog I am the Cat, Donald Hall has two opposite characters talk about the same things, and each seems to have a different viewpoint of the same object. As we read this book aloud, I want you to listen for two examples where you believe the dog and the cat definitely have a different viewpoint about the exact same object or topic. Be prepared to share how the two viewpoints are different, and how you know they were different.


Step #2:
Introducing the Topics to Be Compared:

Teacher says: For this writing assignment and lesson, you will be looking deeply at opposing viewpoints of real people during the time just before the American Revolutionary War. Together we are going to brainstorm how different people from history might have felt about important events that preceded the American Revolution. Specifically, you will be looking at the British point-of-view and the American point-of-view.


Step #3:
Establishing a Purpose for the Comparison:

Teacher says: We know that the British leaders and troops were our enemies during this time in history, but I want you to fairly examine their point-of-view as we do this assignment; even though they were on the other side of the war, they might have had some good reasons for doing what they did and believing what they believed. Remember I am the Dog I am the Cat? The author may actually like dogs more than cats (or vice versa), but the he has done a great job of capturing both viewpoints without showing favoritism. In particular, you will be thinking of things both the British and the American Colonists might have thought or said, because you will be using dialogue from both perspectives in your final writing assignment.


Step #4:
Introducing the Comparison Tool:

Teacher says: On your own piece of paper, I need you to create your own graphic organizer that looks like this one. It needs to have three columns. In the first, you will brainstorm ideas about how one person thinks about the topic you'll be assigned. In the last column, you will need to brainstorm ideas about how a different person thinks about the same topic. The middle column is for things they might both think about the topic.


Step #5:
Model the Comparison Tool:

Teacher says: Here is my example for this topic: The Townsend Acts. On the left, we have the British point-of-view; on the right, we have the American point-of-view. You will be completing a similar graphic organizer using a different Revolutionary War topic.

 


Step #6:
Posing a Deep Question to Students:

Teacher says: What causes and/or effects did the differing viewpoints have on the outcome of the American Revolution events you brainstormed for your writing assignment? Can you show me those causes and effects in your finished writing assignment?


Step #7:
Writing About the Comparison:

Students will write their own comic strip using the phrases from their graphic organizer to support their thoughts about cause and effect.

Discuss with students attributes of a comic strip. As a class, use the phrases from your class graphic organizer to write a comic strip. The strips should go back and forth between opposing viewpoints, generally speaking, but some students may need to have 2-3 strips with the same person talking before moving to the opposing viewpoint for the comic strip to make sense. The last strip should include both people saying the same thing.

Below is a fifth grade sample for this assignment:


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