Lesson Plans For Writing Compare And Contrast Essays For Kids

Compare and Contrast Writing

Alike or Different? You Be the Judge
Students write an expository paragraph after comparing and contrasting items of texture, taste, odor, and visual appearance. This activity will work with students from upper elementary through high school. Lesson includes student handout and rubric.

Compare and Contrast Lesson Plan
Students use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast. Introductory activity leads to reinforcement with a story. Designed for grades K-5.

Comparing and Contrasting
This site emphasizes construction of the thesis statement. It is designed for college freshmen.

Comparison and Contrast Guide
The Comparison and Contrast Guide outlines the characteristics of the genre and provides direct instruction on the methods of organizing, gathering ideas, and writing comparison and contrast essays. This resource is designed for elementary students to use independently.

Forty Topic Suggestions: Comparison and Contrast
Scroll down on the page for a list of topics designed for high school or college students.

A Pair of Anything
Students use a Venn diagram as a prewriting activity for a compare/contrast essay. This page includes a rubric.

Teaching the Compare/Contrast Essay
This lesson plan includes explanations, a timeline, and handouts. At this site, the same material annotated by a master teacher. These materials work with middle and high school students.

Writing a Comparative Analysis , a handout from The Writing Center at Harvard
Explanation of both traditional compare/contrast and "lens" papers, suggestions for organization.



Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

Together, students and teacher use charts and Venn diagrams to brainstorm and organize similarities and differences between two objects. The teacher then models the beginning of the first draft, inviting students to help rephrase, clarify, and revise as the draft is written. Finally, students take what they have learned to complete the draft independently.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

Comparison and Contrast Guide: This student-centered online guide provides a thorough introduction to the compare and contrast essay format, including definitions, transitions, graphic organizers, checklists, and examples.

Venn Diagram: Use this online tool during prewriting to organize ideas for a compare and contrast essay.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

Rick VanDeWeghe writes of modeling: "teachers show how they go about the processes of reading and writing-drawing students' attention to the ways readers and writers think and the real decisions they make, especially when they themselves are challenged." In her book Conversations, Regie Routman explains why this modeling process is so successful: "It has always been our job to teach directly and explicitly in response to students' needs-carefully demonstrating, specifically showing how, clearly explaining. Whatever we want our students to do well, we first have to show them how. Of all the changes I have made in my teaching, adding explicit demonstration to everything I teach has been the single most important factor in increasing students' literacy" (24).

Further, writing out loud with students gives me an opportunity to show my enjoyment for the writing process. Students see that revision and editing are part of the fun, and that even teachers don't get it correct the first time. As an added bonus, students are frequently more eager to share personal writings with me for feedback once they see this process modeled.

Further Reading

VanDeWeghe, Rick. "Deep Modeling and Authentic Teaching: Challenging Students or Challenging Students?" English Journal 95.4 (March 2006): 84-88

 

Routman, Regie. 2000. Conversations: Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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