Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Teaching Similarities and Differences: More than Two Animals—with FREE Download!

Posted by Susanna Westby on Feb 24, 2014 9:21:00 AM

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of Whimsy Workshop, and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas! If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here!

Hello again! I’m Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching, and today I’m sharing with you some examples of how I use books from the Zoozoo Animal World and Zoozoo Into the Wild series of informational texts in my classroom: Frog by Claire Vial and Graham Meadows and Sheep and Pig by Lee Waters.

              frog 200sheep 200pig 200

Our last lesson compared and contrasted two animals from different biomes. This time, we are using the books to compare more than two different animals and species to see what information we can find, and explore different ways of organizing that information. Our first task was to read through the books together. We projected the images so that we could read together and notice the details of each animal. Each page gave us information to add to our list.

pig spread

We identified relevant vocabulary words by circling or underlining. We made lists on the board as we went along to keep track of information, as you can see in the picture.

                sheep projection 185 pig projection 185

frog projection 185

Once we were done, students completed a task to compare all three animals. This was quite a challenge! They referred back to the lists we made on the board, and read through the books several more times to confirm information and find new ideas.

three animal comparison 

I have included our three-animal comparison sheet as a free download to try with your class! You can find it at the bottom of this page.

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I have been teaching primary grades for 20 years. My classroom is a place of hands-on, creative learning where students feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them! I live near Vancouver, BC Canada with my music-teacher husband and two teenage boys. More literacy ideas and graphics can be found on my blog, Whimsy Workshop Teaching.

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Download your free three-animal comparison sheet by clicking the worksheet image below! For more information on the Zoozoo series, click the images below to download a series information sheets with highlights and key features.

Three-Animal Comparison Sheet Download New Call-to-Action New Call-to-Action

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Topics: Informational Text, Zoozoo Animals, Susanna Westby, Zoozoo Animal World, Venn Diagrams

Teaching Similarities and Differences: Bats & Owls—with FREE Download

Posted by Susanna Westby on Feb 10, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of Whimsy Workshop, and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas! If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here!

Hello again! I’m Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching, and today I’m sharing some examples of how I use books from the Zoozoo Animal World series to teach similarities and differences. The books we used were ”Bat” and “Owl” by Lee Waters.

Bat Cover.new Owl Cover.new

My key concepts for these lessons were difference and similarities of animals that live in different biomes. In this case, we compared a forest owl and a rainforest bat to see if we could find some similarities despite living in a different environment.

3 

As we read through each story as a whole group, we took note of different animal characteristics, similarities and differences. We projected the images so that we could read together and notice many of the detail in the wonderful photographs.

owl 1 bat 2
 

We identified relevant vocabulary words by circling or underlining on the board, as shown.

Students also love to trace the words that are projected to see if they can make them look “perfect”; everyone wants a turn at this, and they love to read it once we turn the projector off!

Our next task is to organize our findings. We make two lists: one for each animal containing the things we’ve noticed about each. During this time, we also make good use of the “Talking Points” section of both books, which has a lot of interesting information. Students noted information from both the text and the pictures. Here are a few examples:

  • Bat and owls both fly.
  • Owls are birds, but bats are mammals.
  • Bats and owls both live in the forest.
  • Bats and owls both have wings.
  • Bats and owls are both nocturnal.

Once we’re done, students go back to their desks to complete a Venn Diagram to compare/contrast the bat and owl (this is available for download at the bottom of the page). They are repeatedly reading and discussing the pictures from the book, and the information we’ve collected on the board as they decide which points to include in their own diagram.

Students love to share their work using a document camera so the whole class can see!

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I have been teaching primary grades for 20 years. My classroom is a place of hands-on, creative learning where students feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them! I live near Vancouver, BC Canada with my music-teacher husband and two teenage boys. More literacy ideas and graphics can be found on my blog, Whimsy Workshop Teaching.

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Download your free "Bat and Owl" comparison sheet by clicking the worksheet image below! For more information on the Zoozoo Animal World series, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the right to download a series information sheet with highlights and key features.

Bat and Owl Venn Diagram Download New Call-to-Action

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Topics: Zoozoo Animals, Susanna Westby, Animals, Zoozoo Animal World, Venn Diagrams

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