If you are looking to add some high-interest activities to your compare and contrast lessons, try using animated shorts to teach reading skills.
This post contains the animated short The Girl and the Cloud found on Youtube and inserted in this post along with the commercial The Perfect Surprise. In this exercise, students will compare and contrast the film version of the story to the commercial that inspired the film.
Teaching Compare and Contrast with the Animated Short The Girl and the Cloud [2:54]
The Girl and the Cloud idea began with an advertisement (television commercial) titled The Perfect Surprise that aired during 2014/2015 year. The advertisement was so popular that the next year a picture book was created and sold as a fundraiser to help children in need at Christmas. Early on, when the fundraising campaign was active, videos of the book being read could be found on YouTube.
The year after the picture book was made, the book was turned into an animated short film which is still available on YouTube and Vimeo. The reading of the book is no longer available; however, I was able to find the original commercial that sparked the idea. You can use the organizer to compare the commercial to the animated short and instigate discussions about how popular advertisements could be turned into ideas for books.
I removed the words “The Girl in the Cloud Online Book” from the organizer, so you can still use it as a compare and contrast activity either with The Perfect Surprise or another similar video. I left the original answer key in this handout for those who are lucky enough to have gotten the book when it was available.
On this graphic organizer, students compare and contrast The Girl and the Cloud animated short to either the commercial that inspired the video or the book.
What people are saying about the full unit…
My students loved watching the shorts that went with it. They said it was so much easier than reading and trying to comprehend a book. I would buy again if she ever makes more!
The handout includes the following information:
The Girl in the Cloud Book
The book tells the story in more detail.
The librarian at school helped Anna research.
The sea voyage was dark and stormy.
In the book, the narration tells the reader about the Northern Lights.
The book contains onomatopoeia. For example, the school bus beeps. Dad slurps his coffee. The car engine cranks.
The Girl in the Cloud Animated Short Film
The animated short is an abridged version of the story.
Anna researched clouds on her own.
The sea voyage was calm and sunny.
The audience has to make inferences. For example, the Northern Lights fill the sky, but the narrator does not mention this.
The animation contains music to enhance the mood.
Overall the story is the same. The characters look similar.
Many of the pictures are identical. For example, Mom with the box of Christmas ornaments.
Both are narrated by men.
More Samples from the Teaching Reading with Animated Shorts Series
- Main Idea and Details
- Point of View and Perspective
- Characters and Setting
- Cause and Effect
- Compare and Contrast
- Problems and Solution
- Christmas Shorts
- Mood and Tone with Christmas Shorts
Check out all six products in the Reading and Writing Series. Units are also available as bundles.