Let’s be honest. Back to school is NEVER easy. It’s exhausting! With so much decorating and organizing to do, it’s typically the night before the first day when you finally get to the planning part.
Years ago, I formed a group with other literacy bloggers called The Reading Crew, and we join together several times a year to share literacy inspiration and teacher tested lessons. This year, we put together a Back to School Ebook! It includes a free resource from each of us, a featured resource bundle that we are raffling off to one lucky winner, and tips for the new year. You can learn more about what we’re sharing in each of our posts as well as how to use them.
Modeling How to Make Comparisons:
The Nuts and Bolts of Comparisons
The first part of all of my paper bag books focuses on the instructional part. I include the skill specific language and tools you use. Compare and contrast key words are shared, and I suggest modeling this with a shared paragraph comparing and contrasting concrete objects such as an apple and an orange.
Tools for Comparisons
The second page explains how specific organizers are geared to comparisons. You might talk about text structures and include one of the suggested titles for modeling. Show the kids how knowing the structure helps us know to look for ways the two topics are alike and different.
Make Comparisons in Pairs:
Practice with a Gradual Release Plan
The first two activities include the tools mentioned. The first set uses a t-chart for students to observe the similarities and differences in pictures. This page may be best printed in color, but if that’s not possible, you can have students color.
After working with pictures, work with books begins. I include two Venn Diagram examples using the books, Frog or Toad? and From Wolf to Woof!. There are Youtube videos for both of these books linked in the teacher directions. You can project these and work through the two activities in teams.
Finally, I include an activity comparing fiction and nonfiction and comparing books by the same author.
Make Comparisons with Fairy Tales:
The last activity will take some time for the students to complete. I suggest making this a center/station for the week. Students will making comparisons between four versions of your favorite fairy tale. I include organizers for:
- Red Riding Hood
- The Three Little Pigs
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears
- and one blank form for others
In the organizers, students compare the fictional elements and make notes about differences.
Learn More about Using Paper Bag Books:
The paper bag books for comprehension that I’ve created are great for intervention, reteaching, for stations, and for use in small groups. There are fifteen books in the set including the comparisons books I described. During our Back to School event, I am offering the set at 20% off. The bundle will remain on sale through September 1st. Skills include: fact/opinion, cause/effect, inferences, drawing conclusions, nonfiction text structures, nonfiction text features, point of view, theme, main idea, characterization, synonyms/antonyms, predictions, comparisons, narrative elements, and summarizing.
My Back to School Teaching Tips:
- Make connecting with your students the number one priority. Kids who feel secure and supported in the school community thrive.
- Establish a community of readers. Celebrate all achievements no matter how big. Nothing motivates more than hearing you’re doing a good job.
- Make reading pleasurable. Set up cozy spaces with baskets of books to model how reading can feel good at school and at home.
- To be organized, I suggest color coding everything. Assign student numbers in order to reuse your precious classroom supplies. Long after Sarah Smith is gone from your classroom, student #18 will still be there. This doesn’t mean don’t use names. It just helps prolong the use of supplies.
- Keep a notebook of contacts between you and parents. Documentation takes a little time, but is helpful if your admin asks for it.
- Finally, this is a new year. Make this year one every student treasures. You don’t get second chances with these kids, so try your best to be the teacher that each kid needs.
Grab Your Copy of the Back to School Ebook
With back to school coming soon, my literacy friends and I want to share a collection of freebies with you to help lighten your load. Click the image below to download your copy. Freebies are available til 9/15. After that time, some links will be suspended.
Related Posts You Might Enjoy Later:
- Free Literacy Resources for Back to School
- Making Comparisons Across Texts for Deeper Understanding
- 10+ Books for Back to School that Build Positive Traits
I know back to school time is exhausting, but hopefully, these activities will take a load off of your plate as the year begins or even later in the year. To learn more about the resources we’re sharing, click the images below to visit each of our sites.