EL Support Lesson

Similarities and Differences

Use this lesson with your students to practice comparing and contrasting the key details in two texts on the same topic. It can be a stand-alone lesson or a pre-lesson for the *What's Similar? What's Different?* lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What’s Similar? What’s Different? lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What’s Similar? What’s Different? lesson plan.

Students will be able to use two texts to compare and contrast important points on the same topic.


Students will be able to compare and contrast two texts with complete sentences using sentence frames.

(2 minutes)
  • Explain that today’s lesson will be about comparing and contrasting with complete sentences using sentence frames.
  • Access prior knowledge about comparing and contrasting by displaying an image of a car and an airplane.
  • Draw a T-chart on the board with columns labeled "Compare" and "Contrast." Display sentence strips with information about the two images and model sorting an example onto the correct side of the T-chart.
  • Have a student read aloud each sentence strip and allow the rest of the class to discuss if that sentence shows comparing or contrasting.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that they will learn how to compare and contrast with complete sentences using sentence frames, but that they will first look at some key terms.
  • Display the tiered vocabulary words with student-friendly definitions and visuals. Provide students with a Glossary to complete information about the vocabulary words. In the last column, instruct students to record a related word or phrase. For example, a related phrase for temperature would be hot or cold.
  • Instruct students to choose one of the following words: compare or contrast. Have the students complete a Frayer Model for their chosen word.
  • Call on nonvolunteers to share information from their graphic organizers.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Comparing and Contrasting with Sentence Frames worksheet to each student and display a copy. Review the teaching box at the top with examples, and have a student read aloud the information.
  • Model comparing and contrasting the first two images. Think aloud about how the city and farm are similar and different, and fill in the sentence frames. Model reading aloud the completed sentences to show how to check if the sentence makes sense with correct information.
  • Put students into A-B partnerships to discuss how the second two images are alike and different. Have them jot notes down next to the images. Have them complete the first sentence frame with their partner, and go over it as a group.
  • Instruct students to complete the remaining examples with their partners. Go over them as a group, calling on nonvolunteers to share sentence frames. Ask other students to give a thumbs up or thumbs down sign to show if they agree or disagree with the statement.
(10 minutes)
  • Give each student a copy of the Comparing and Contrasting: Feeding Our Pets worksheet and display a copy. Have a student read the information from the teaching box as a review.
  • Read aloud the texts to the group, and have them circle any new vocabulary words they want to discuss. Ask them to identify any of the important vocabulary terms they learned earlier in the lesson.
  • Model completing the first few blanks in the paragraph frame. Demonstrate how to go back to the text and underline details that are the same in both texts. Mark them with an "S" for same. Share that when a difference is found, it can be marked with "D" for different.
  • Point out the key words that show comparing and contrasting in the paragraph frame. For example, the paragraph frame for comparing uses words like both and similar. The paragraph frame for contrasting uses words like different and difference.
  • Have students work with a shoulder partner to complete the next few blanks in the paragraph frame. Prompt them to reread the text aloud as needed. Go over them together as a group.
  • Instruct students to complete the rest of the paragraph frame with information from the paragraphs. Remind them to go back to the text to underline the related information in the two texts and identify if it is a similarity (S) or a difference (D).


  • Provide sentence stems for students to use when sharing information about their Frayer Models. For example, "An example of the word ____ is ____."
  • Pair Beginning ELs with supportive non-ELs for partner work and discussions.
  • Allow students to utilize glossaries and dictionaries in their home language.


  • Ask Advanced ELs to share their ideas and rephrase what their peers say throughout the lesson.
  • Have students summarize key ideas and instructions.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute an index card to each student. Have the class consider the topics of home and school and the similarities and differences between the two settings.
  • Write the following sentence frame on the board, "The two items are the same in that ____, but they differ in that ____."
  • Instruct students to complete the sentence frame on the index card.
(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to read aloud their exit ticket to the class in which they compared and contrasted home and school. Review the key words that are in the sentence frame that indicate comparing and contrasting.
  • Emphasize the importance of comparing and contrasting in our lives because that is when we are thinking deeply about two topics or texts.

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