Tag Archive: Venn diagram

1st Grade Comparison

img_03291st graders spent the last 2 weeks learning about penguins and snakes.  Both books are from the “All About…” series.  We’ve been working on noticing similarities and differences in books.  1st graders are working on characters and setting so even in a non-fiction book we are still able to talk about where these animals live and how that’s a “place” just like we look for settings in fiction books.

As the first graders make progress through the year we are looking for them to stretch words out and hear multiple sounds in words along with using words or parts they know to build new and unknown words.


My 2nd graders just finished reading Hang On, Monkey and Hop, Bunny from National Geographic Kids.  Both of the stories are very similar but one talks about a journey through the woods/forest and one talks about a journey through the rain forest.  The kids loved the vibrant and silly pictures of the animals.  These books have a lot of rich vocabulary that was nice for us to get some practice on those blends and digraphs we really need.

After we read both of the books they were given graphic organizers to compare the two stories.  I normally use a Venn Diagram, but I found a new graphic organizer that I had that was more of a list format and branched off.  It’s designed specifically to compare two stories so I think it’s almost easier for the kids to compare on this graphic organizer versus a Venn Diagram.   They’ve been asked to be adding more details to their writing to make it more thorough and detailed along with quick decoding during reading.


IMG_0069My 3rd graders just wrapped up a couple of weeks on volcanoes!  I started out by reading them The Magic School Bus: Volcanoes and Earthquakes. From there I brought in vinegar and baking soda where the kids were able to make a mini volcanic explosion in the classroom.  Let’s face it, I would have loved to have made a big mess, but it was a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of baking soda.  Don’t worry–it still got plenty of “whoa’s”, “ooooo’s” and “ahhhh’s”.

The students then read National Geographic Kids: Volcanoes and read about the different kinds of volcanoes, the difference between lava and magma, what happens when lava cools quickly or slowly, and the different kinds of lava.  On note cards they had to write about geysers, cinder cone volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, shield volcanoes, and calderas.  They each then made their own diagram of one of the volcanoes they wrote about.

Each day they asked if they could make another volcanic explosion.  They were disappointed I wasn’t THAT cool to do daily explosions!

What’s Up With 2nd Grade?

IMG_8341I haven’t posted about 2nd grade in a while!  I’m sorry!  We’ve been busy and I don’t always remember to take pictures.  In the IMG_8062last couple of weeks we have followed a similar path as my last semester 3rd graders.  My 2nd graders have made tremendous growth and have moved about a year’s growth in a semester.

We started out with fables!  I read them two fables, then read them a fable I created.  If you read my post about the 3rd grader’s fables, I used the same books.

IMG_8058From there we created our own list of fable ideas.  They came up with a lot of fun and new ideas that I hadn’t heard when 3rd grade created their fables.  We organized our ideas on a graphic organizer before writing and creating our own fable books.

They had a lot of fun creating and sharing their fables with everyone.

This past week we worked on different versions of the same story using Country IMG_8337Mouse and City Mouse.  I read them two different versions and then they read their own version.

We then compared all 3 of the stories using a 3 circle Venn diagram.  It ended up being a little trickier having them doing it on their own so they each had their own chart papers, but we did it together.  We brainstormed ideas together and students were able to put the information they found most important on their own chart.

From there students were asked to compare two things of their choice.  We had Minecraft vs. Lego Batman, zebras vs. horses, and whales vs. sharks.  I was impressed how they went to my library and found books to help support their ideas or if they were confused on something they double checked that they had the correct information.

Next week we’ll move onto some work with dolphins.

Story Comparisons

IMG_0015Fresh off the tail of our fables we moved into reading several versions of the same story with my 3rd graders and comparing different versions of the same story.  During our preparing phases I read Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse by Lindsey Barrett George and Country Mouse-City Mouse retold by John Wallner as our mentor texts.  We compared the two books I read initially to get us prepared for comparing all 3 of the books later on.

The next day I had the kids read City Mouse and the Country Mouse retold by Amy Helfer.  They took notes on all 3 of the books of characteristics they noticed while the stories were read.

Once they were finished with all of the stories they each were given chart paper to compare all three of the stories.  We talked as a whole group about different ideas such as all three stories had 2 mice in them, but in one story they were cousins, in another they were friends, and in the last one they were strangers.  In 2 of the stories there was a problem and a solution and in the 3rd story there was no problem or solution.  It was neat to see the kids organize the stories and really dig deeper into the texts and see how 3 stories that are the same can be so drastically different.

2nd grade Bug Comparison

IMG_0006One of my 2nd grade groups has been working on comparing and contrasting two animals.  We started out by me reading our mentor text, IMG_0007Animals with Wings, and together we compared and contrasted using a Venn Diagram, 2 animals from the books.

As I read the kids took notes on the 4 animals from the book on characteristics of each animal.  After we were finished the kids helped me transfer the notes we took into the diagram and deciding if it was unique to that animal or something in common with the other animal.

This prepared them for reading All About Bugs, taking notes on the bugs in the book, and then picking 2 bugs to compare and contrast on their own Venn Diagram.

I had initially planned on each child making their own Venn Diagram, but they were so convincing to be allowed to work in pairs and since Lowell is a PCL school and collaborative learning is vital how could I resist?  So they got together and took notes together on 2 bugs from the book.  I was really impressed with how well they worked together deciding which information was important and delegating who was going to add which parts to their charts.  Who knew?  They were better at deciding this part of their learning that  I could have tried to get out of them.  The partner work was a glowing success.

I was fascinated by what they chose was important and pulling out details from the pictures.  They were actively flipping back and forth between the 2 bugs in the book and really analyzing to make sure they had all the information they needed for both bugs.


Kdg Comparison Writing

IMG_6826My Kindergarten boys are blowing me away!!  They are working so hard and taking on so much learning every session we meet.  (Our Chicka Chicka tree is almost full–and boy do they let me know if we aren’t working on a new letter and adding letters to our tree!!  We might even need a new tree pretty soon!)

Lately we’ve been working on, yep, you guessed it–All About books!!  This time my boys read All About Snakes and All About Penguins.  I don’t know what it is, but EVERY time I read these books with my kiddos they get super excited about both snakes and penguins.  The All About Series is actually really incredible reading for our students.  They are high interest and have a lot of really great vocabulary choices.

My boys read about snakes and then wrote about snakes.  Then we read about penguins and they wrote about penguins.  After that we re-read both of the stories and made a chart of how they are similar and different.  It was like their minds were blown when they realized all the similarities between the two animals.  There was lots of clapping and high fiving and giggling while we were doing this.  It’s inspiring to see kids so excited about reading, writing, and discussing what we’ve read in books.

After we made our Venn Diagram, the boys had to write one fact about each of the animals to go with our diagram.  What a fun couple of weeks of learning!



Sometimes plans change when students bring up things you didn’t think about.  This happened while I was working with my bonus Kindergartners.

Last week I had my Kindergartners read All About Penguins (I posted their writing in a post below) and then they read All About Snakes.  It just happened that while we were talking about the different things we read snakes do they brought up how the penguin does some of the same things.

I thought this was a great opportunity to introduce them to a Venn Diagram and give us a jump start on writing about snakes.  The kids read both books and then we talked about the different things penguins and snakes do.  We decided if that was something they had in common or didn’t have in common.  I had them put their ideas on the chart and then we went over the correct sounds they produced and the way it would look in a book.

I was super impressed that they came up with these ideas.

3rd grade: Comparison Writing

My 3rd graders have been extremely hard at work completing their writing project where they write like the author.  In a previous post you saw me do a read aloud for Big Cat, Little Cat by Maryann Dobek.  After reading the story we did a Venn Diagram on lions and house cats.  The students knew they would then need to compare 2 things of their choice.  The next day I modeled the expectations by comparing moms and teachers and writing a mini story to go along with it.

The next day students got to work comparing the 2 topics of their choice with the help of a Venn Diagram.  At first ideas came quickly and then students started to struggle.  I realized it wasn’t a situation of not knowing, but how to get the ideas out.  I grabbed a sticky pad and had the struggling students just start telling me what they knew about their topic.  The ideas came flooding out and I was able to bullet some of those ideas.  I put the sticky note in the corresponding section of the Venn Diagram and they were back on their way to brainstorming ideas.

From there we went into the rough draft stage.  Students organized their stories initially with the stoplight paragraph format.  I was surprised how easy this was for them, but happy they had a writing format that they remembered and worked well for them.  They quickly got to work and they were frustrated that I wouldn’t help them with spelling.  I had to emphasize that this was a rough draft and editing and conferencing with me would be the next step.

Once the students had finished their rough draft they were given a checklist where they had to check to see what they had finished and what they still needed to do.  We conferenced together on spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and word choice and students were sent back to correct spelling errors with their personal dictionaries.

Once all of that had been completed, students wrote their final drafts.  Wow!  This has been a process.  This is the first time we’ve ever taken a story through the full writing process.  I hope this helps them a lot more when they are working in the classroom.  Take a look below at their final stories.  Some of them didn’t follow the corrections we talked about, but that’s another conversation we can have the next time.  But over all this has been a very encouraging and fun process for all of us.