Red and Green Apples
At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to compare and contrast two nonfiction books on the same topic.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Call students together.
- Show students the red and green apples.
- Ask students to list as many similarities and differences as they can between the two types. (Push students to think past the obvious. For example, it can be fun to cut the apples open and see how many seeds each has.)
- After completing these lists, remind students that another way to describe what they just did was comparing and contrasting. Ask students to identify which were comparing and which were contrasting the apples.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)
- Pass out the Comparing and Contrasting Three Nonfiction Texts worksheets to every student.
- As a group, go through the worksheet discussing the type of information students should be looking for to fill in each of the boxes.
- Read aloud Apples by Gail Gibbons.
- After reading the story, go through the worksheet as a whole group filling in each of the boxes.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Next, read aloud The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons.
- Have student volunteers lead the group in filling in the various boxes on the worksheet for this book.
- Discuss as a whole group what things are different and the same.
- Pass out copies of Apples for Everyone by Jill Esbaum.
- Explain to students that they will be reading this book independently and using it to fill in the final sections of the worksheet.
- Ask students if they have any questions about the different parts of the worksheet. Remind students that they will ultimately be using this information to figure out how these nonfiction books are similar and different.
Independent Working Time (15 minutes)
- Before sending students off to work, any classroom rules should be reviewed with the group along with any specific directions or restrictions for this lesson. As students are working independently or in small groups, any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, and redirecting students as needed. If the room is becoming overly noisy, playing soft music in the background can help to reduce side conversations. It can also be helpful to have a copy of the story for each student even if they are working in partners.
Support: For English Language Learners, it can be helpful to offer books in their native language or bilingual dictionaries. For students who need a little help, providing a partner to scaffold the activity can be extremely useful. It can also be helpful to offer books on apples at a slightly lower reading level or allow students to listen to the books on tape.
- Enrichment: For students who need a greater challenge consider the Comparing and Contrasting Nonfiction T-Chart worksheet. This will provide less of a scaffold. Also, choosing higher level books about apples can increase the difficulty.
Assessment (5 minutes)
- An informal assessment can be done based on student involvement in class discussions. Whether or not students are able to contribute in meaningful ways and their enthusiasm levels can be used to determine lesson success.
- For a more formal assessment, students’ worksheets can be reviewed for accuracy and depth of information/understanding.
- For an additional form of assessment, students can be assigned to fill out an additional worksheet on two new books for homework.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- Call students back together.
- As a whole group, share what students included on their worksheets. Did students find similar things? What aspects of the nonfiction texts were different? Did students disagree on anything? Were some sections harder than others?
- Remind students that when they compare and contrast two things they are looking for similarities and differences. Some things that students may want to look at when comparing and contrasting nonfiction pieces are the point of view, whether photos, illustrations, or captions are used, and what facts are presented.
- It can be fun to let students eat the apples they observed earlier in the lesson as you encourage students to start thinking about the next topic they want to research!