Common Core and Nonfiction

Well, today I attempted something new.  I decided to tackle CCSS 2.RIT.9.  In English, that means that I decided to have my students compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.  I also threw a little main idea in there (2.RIT.2). 

I don't know about you, but that compare and contrast standard has always intimidated me a bit.  I mean, not the compare and contrast part, we do that all the time.  It's the rest of the description that has kind of sent me for a bit of a loop.  I mean, how do I get 7 year olds to not only identify the important points in two different (nonfiction) texts but then use that information to compare the texts?  Let's be honest, this can be tricky.  

So, with the help of my teaching buddy, "A," we came up with an idea that seems to have worked well.

This week we are reading The Secret Life of Trees (FYI, I think that is the weirdest title) in our basal.  After reading it today, we went back and focused on one of the pages that told about roots.  Then, we read about roots from an A-Z reader called About Trees.

The page in the basal isn't the one we read; the page we read is actually under the paper and A-Z Reader (guess I didn't stage this photo very well).

By focusing on just one page of specific information from each text, the students were still comparing information on the same topic, but the topic was narrowed down for them.  I think that part of my hesitation with this standard was that nonfiction text is often times so broad and general.

We created an activity page for the students to record the important points presented by each text.  There was also a place to note the main idea of each text.  We didn't have them complete a traditional Venn Diagram.  Instead, they answered some follow up questions to demonstrate their ability to compare the texts.

There were more questions on the back; I just didn't take a picture of them.

We had decided ahead of time to guide our students through identifying the important points in each text (which we recorded in the boxes at the top of the page).  Once we listed the important points for the first story, we discussed, as a whole group, the main idea of the text. We then recorded that information on our page (beneath the boxes).  We did the same thing for the second text.  Then, I had the students work independently to answer some questions (which were fairly easy this time around) about the texts.

I will admit, I was worried that this lesson would be difficult for the kids.  However, I was really pleased with how well they participated in our whole group discussion.  I plan to do this a few more times before I have them attempt it independently (for an official grade).

What kind of surprise successes have you had with Common Core?
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  1. Love this idea! Pinning it for when we go CC next year! Thanks!

    Christina :)
    Apples, Books, and Crayons

  2. We just finished up this unit and the test is tomorrow, using the same math book as you!! going to definitely have to save this idea for next year... Thanks :-)

  3. Love the worksheet you use. Is there some place to buy/download it?

  4. Yes, is there a place to download this sheet?


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