With COVID-19 and school closures, we need easy access to well-structured, on-line informational sources, huh? This blog is the first in a series that provides two sources & quick notes.
My first recommendation is asking students (grades 2-5) to compare two animals on the San Diego Zoo Kids site.
What students need to notice:
- The pages on each animal are structured in a similar way which makes it easy for students to notice that authors writing about different topics may include similar types of details (e.g., descriptions of habitat, size, color, food eaten, etc.).
- Once they notice the similarity in structure between pages, they can begin to find and compare details (e.g., size).
Quick thoughts for teaching:
- To start, encourage students to just enjoy reading-viewing-listening to both sources. (I’d ask them to pick two animals that are alike – amphibians, reptiles, etc. The website has them organized this way.) Then they can slow down and think across the two.
- Remind students why comparing and contrasting is important as readers: If you think about how two topics are similar or different, then you are more likely to notice important features of each and also remember what you learned. This knowledge can help you change or add to what you already know about the world.
- Layout clear steps for engaging in this type of thinking. (See suggested steps in “barebones” bookmark below.)
- If you can, start this endeavor together – with some shared thinking aloud & shared writing of notes. See one-pager below for explanations of what, why, how plus suggestions for introducing & then coaching students.
If you have my book Nurturing Informed Thinking, there are additional lesson ideas for thinking across sources in Chapter 3.
Hope this helps!