What's So Different? Comparing Characters
Students will be able to compare and contrast characters based on their thoughts, words, actions, decisions, physical attributes, and interactions with others.
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Prior to the start of the lesson, start acting differently than how you normally act. For example, start acting very depressed or very rigid to your students. They will most likely ask what is wrong. Brush them off so that they will compare your current actions to your normal behavior.
- Still in character, write compare and contrast on the board. Have students think about their meanings and discuss them with their table groups or partners.
- Explain that compare means to find similarities, while contrast means to find differences.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)
- Bring out the Venn diagram and label the right side "Normal" and the left side "Today."
- Ask students to think about how you normally act vs. how you acted today.
- Have students discuss similarities between the two behaviors with their table groups or partners.
- Lead the whole group in a discussion, adding their thoughts to the diagram in the middle area where the two circles overlap. Encourage students to look at your words, actions, decisions, physical attributes, and interactions with others.
- Have students discuss differences between the two behaviors with their table groups or partners.
- Lead the whole group in a discussion, adding their thoughts to the separate sections of the Venn diagram. Encourage students to look at your words, actions, decisions, physical attributes, and interactions with others.
- Reiterate the learning objectives and tell students they will be doing this same activity with a read-aloud.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (30 minutes)
- You will be reading a book called The Wreck of the Zephyr while students take notes on their Venn diagrams. (This read-aloud compares two characters, one of which is an old man who is discussed minimally in the book. It will require students to do some analysis in order to compare and contrast.)
- Hand out the Venn diagram sheets and ask students to write: thoughts, words, actions, decisions, physical attributes, and interactions with others on their papers to remind them of what they are looking for when they compare and contrast as you read.
- Start your read aloud by showing the pictures and getting students thinking about the topic.
- Read the first page carefully, showing the pictures. This is one of the few times the old man is talked about or shown. Ask students to make notes on those six things they noted on their paper.
- When the students are done taking notes and looking at each picture, continue the read-aloud. Allow them to take notes on the boy as you read.
- Remind them that the area in the middle of the Venn diagram is where they put their comparisons of the two characters.
- Read the last page and show the picture, allowing the students to add to their notes on the old man.
- Have students compare their findings with one another.
- Lead the group in a discussion of what comparisons and contrasts they found.
- Give an explanation of how they can use the same strategies to compare and contrast settings or events in a story.
Independent Working Time (30 minutes)
- Explain to the students that they will use the same strategies to compare and contrast the setting.
- Have students complete the Room 8 worksheet.
- When students are done, have them read their independent reading books.
- Have students draw a Venn diagram in their reading journals and start taking notes on the characters in their books.
- Enrichment: Have advanced students label the six aspects of character analysis (thoughts, words, actions, decisions, physical attributes, and interactions with others) on the Venn diagrams in bullet points. Have them find a note for each point and label it on their diagrams.
- Support: The Venn diagram is a great visual model for students who need support. Give these students the opportunity to sketch images to represent their comparisons.
Assessment (10 minutes)
- Examine the students' worksheets.
- Look for those who were unable to translate their analysis of characters to analysis of events.
- Those who filled out very little or less important details on the worksheet should meet in small groups to do some extra studying on comparing and contrasting.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Allow volunteers to share their successes or learning experiences with the rest of the class.