Comparing story elements within the same genre is a crucial skill for students to develop in reading comprehension. This skill is essential for understanding how different authors approach similar themes and topics. This blog post will explore a lesson plan that helps students practice this skill by comparing and contrasting stories in the same genre on their approaches to similar themes and topics. By the end of this post, you will better understand how to teach this important skill to your students.
This blog post contains a lesson designed to help students practice RL.5.9 by comparing and contrasting stories in the same genre on their approaches to similar themes and topics. The lesson includes engaging and hands-on activities, such as watching animated shorts and creating an art project using watercolor paints and paper.
Get the full lesson plan here, including printables and links to the digital resources.
Comparing Stories in the Same Genre
Comparing Stories: Essential Questions
To learn more about this subject, we will investigate some key questions:
- How do stories in the same genre use similar or different elements to tell their stories?
- What common themes and topics appear in stories of the same genre, and how do they differ?
- How do stories in the same genre influence our expectations, predictions, and connections to themes and topics?
- How can we compare and contrast stories in the same genre using graphic organizers, charts, or other tools?
- How can we appreciate and evaluate the creativity and quality of stories in the same genre?
Hook Activity: Predicting Themes
The lesson begins with intriguing watercolor images to spark students’ curiosity. Students will guess the theme connecting these images and discuss their observations, emotions, and interpretations. This visual exploration will lay the foundation for understanding time, family, and life themes.
Activity #1: Organizer – Comparing and Contrasting Stories
Next, students will watch a lesson video as they complete an organizer reviewing the lesson vocabulary. The video covers definitions, examples, and graphic organizers such as Venn diagrams and T-charts. The video lesson provides the foundation information students need to understand before comparing and contrasting stories.
Activity #2: Analyzing Animated Shorts
Students will watch two animated shorts to apply their newfound knowledge: “Life & Butterflies” and “Snowball.” As they watch each film, students will take notes on a summarizing T-chart, noting key details and the overall theme. After each film, they will answer questions on the T-chart to compare and contrast the storytelling techniques, characters, settings, and themes employed in each short. This activity will encourage students to engage with the texts actively and develop their analytical skills.
Life and Butterflies Animated Short
Snowball Animated Short
Activity #3: Creative Expression
To conclude the lesson, students will engage in a hands-on art activity that combines creativity with the identified themes. Using watercolor paints and paper, students will create vibrant and colorful backgrounds. Over these backgrounds, they will write famous quotes related to the themes of time, family, and life, using contrasting markers or ink pens. This activity will allow students to express their understanding of the themes while engaging in a visual and reflective exercise.
To start the lesson, I give each student cards with excerpts from well-known novels in different genres. Some of the novels I use are:
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (fantasy)
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (science fiction)
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (historical fiction)
- Holes by Gary Louis Sachar (adventure)
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (realistic fiction )
- The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (poetry)
Through this lesson, students practice comparing stories in the same genre and their approaches to similar themes and topics. Students have gained a deeper appreciation for storytelling techniques and the power of themes in shaping narratives by analyzing animated shorts, completing graphic organizers, and engaging in creative expression. They have honed their critical thinking skills, expanded their vocabulary, and developed a more vital understanding of genre elements. This is a great opening lesson for studying the teaching standard RL.5.9.
See all three posts in this series.