And Contrast Essay Lesson

This interactive guide provides an introduction to the basic characteristics and resources that are typically used when students compose comparison and contrast essays. The Comparison and Contrast Guide includes an overview, definitions and examples. The Organizing a Paper section includes details on whole-to-whole (block), point-by-point, and similarities-to-differences structures. In addition, the Guide explains how graphic organizers are used for comparison and contrast, provides tips for using transitions between ideas in comparison and contrast essays, and includes a checklist, which matches an accompanying rubric.

Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Teaching the Compare and Contrast Essay through Modeling

The compare and contrast essay is taught through modeling from the brainstorming phase through the first draft.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Examining Plot Conflict through a Comparison/Contrast Essay

Students explore picture books to identify the characteristics of four types of conflict. They then write about a conflict they have experienced and compare it to a conflict from literature.


Grades   3 – 6  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

The Tale of Despereaux: Fact or Fiction?

Using the book The Tale of Despereaux, students look a closer look at medieval times to see if the novel accurately portrays this time in history. Looking at key sections of the book, students will use the Compare and Contrast Guide and Map to help them decipher between fact and fiction.


Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Compare & Contrast Map

The Compare & Contrast Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for different kinds of comparison essays.


Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


Today's lesson was in the computer lab.  Time in the lab is precious, so I tried to be as efficient as possible with the directions.

On the SmartBoard, I pulled up the ReadWriteThink site, and I accessed the Compare/Contrast map.  The map is great because it walks the students through the steps of constructing an essay, and it prompts with helpful questions.  For example, it asks the student to select what kind of compare/contrast essay he/she is doing.  In our case, I told the student to select "Similarities and Differences."  If my class were more experienced, or if it were later in the year, I might let them choose the structure.  But, we are definitely not there yet and I wanted them to spend their time thinking about the stories (and later crafting really good paragraphs, rather than making structural choices.

I had the students work in pairs for practical reasons (my classes are large and a bunch of our computers were being serviced), but it worked out really well.  The students knew that they would not be writing the final draft together, so they basically had another person with whom to talk through ideas.  Though this doesn't always produce a better product, I do think the working in pairs worked this time.

My students had a hard time with condensing their ideas down to the allotted characters on the template.  This is mostly because my students like to just write and write and write and hope the right answer/thesis/idea is in there somewhere.  The planner forced them to be concise and think about ideas.  I told them to use the planner in such a way that it was USEFUL to them, since I was only going to give it a process (classwork) grade.

A nice feature on the template is that you can have the students e-mail their work to themselves and to you, rather than printing.  This helped them the next day, because they could use a split screen to see the planner and their essay page at the same time.


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