Oct 30, 2010

Compare and Contrast Workstations

After struggling with finding different activities for literacy workstations, I have found this compare and contrast workstation to be a good one for my 2nd graders. They are engaged in the workstation and it is easily reused and changed out weekly for students.

I use short compare and contrast passages that are at a 2nd grade level. This is the book that I use:
I find this book to be useful because all of the passages are short and the same length. They are very concrete items and animals that are compared. Students seem to have an easy time filling in a Venn Diagram from the information given in the passage. However, they aren't too easy. Each passage contains similarities and differences. I always have students fill in a Venn Diagram before they answer the questions included with the passage. Also, students may highlight different parts of the passage to help them easily locate parts that they want to remember.
The workstation is kept a small basket with the passages in a clear sheet protector and Venn Diagrams are in clear sheet protectors as well. There are also dry erase markers and some paper toweling that is included in the basket for students. I find it important for all of the materials to be right there for students, so they don't have to go anywhere else to complete it.

1. Students are to choose a passage to work on and read it twice.
2. Then students may fill in the Venn Diagram, labeling it correctly.
3. Once the diagram is finished, they are then able to answer the questions by using the Venn Diagram to find the answers.
4. After checking their work, students are then able to have an adult (my assistant) check their work before they can erase it with a tissue and return it to the basket for another student to use.

This workstation can be easily changed each week by just taking out the passages that are included and putting in new ones. Also, I take the ones that are in the compare and contrast station and move them onto the "Main Idea Workstation" the following week (which I will post more about later!) That way, when students work on the passage in the Main Idea Workstation, it is a familiar read because they should have already read it in the Compare and Contrast Workstation. 

My students are able to explain what they are comparing and contrasting and how the things are alike and different easily because they are using his graphic organizer in a hands-on workstation situation.

Additional Resources:
FCRR Narrative Text Structure Activities Scroll through these great activities for some more compare and contrast ideas. There are some great graphic organizers and activities that include comparing and contrasting two narrative texts.

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