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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 Can We Help Save the Earth? Lesson

Additional Samples for this Writing Activity


This Activity's Title:

Can We Help
Save the Earth?

This comparison/contrast lesson was created by Northern Nevada teacher Margaret Barthel.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this writing across the curriculum lesson is the picture book The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author.

Check out The Little House 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:

Briefly retell the story of The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. Guide the students in completing a simple Venn diagram that compares the pigs' story to Red Riding Hood's. Help students discover answers about the threats and tricks of the wolf, how he is tricked in turn or punished, and the triumph of the victim. Help students see that these are deeper and better comparisons than simply saying both stories have a wolf in them.

 


Step #2:
Introducing the Topics to Be Compared:

The children will compare two texts: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton and Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet

The teacher will read and discuss each story on different days, giving the children time to look at the illustrations and enjoy the stories.


Step #3:
Establishing a Purpose for the Comparison:

I will remind the students that these stories can help us learn about what is happening to the earth and where people and animals need to live.

I want students to begin by studying the similarities and the differences from the point of view or the feelings of both stories' main characters. I want them to then focus their comparative efforts by looking at the similarities in the two stories' themes.


Step #4:
Introducing the Comparison Tool:

My tool will be a Venn diagram with a larger space in the middle for the comparisons. I want them to understand that habitats for people and animals are both being threatened. The differences in the story are not as important as the similar main theme, which is presented in a way children can easily understand.

 


Step #5:
Model the Comparison Tool:

My students and I would fill out a large diagram together. First, ask, "What happened to the old house over time? What is happening to the animals’ home? "

After noting (but maybe not writing down) some of the obvious similarities and differences, I would guide children to address the points-of-view, the characters' feelings, and the themes.


Step #6:
Posing a Deep Question to Students:

My high-level question for my students is: Could the events in the story really happen and, what could students do to prevent it?

These stories are a great lead-in to Earth Day activities and discussions on caring for the earth. Students can bring in examples from our area where people are working to preserve open space and protect habitats.

 


Step #7:
Writing About the Comparison:

My students and I will work together to summarize each story on a piece of chart paper.

Students will then write a journal entry either as a house or an animal, detailing three things they love about where they live and why it should be saved.


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