The Common Core Standards are placing a large emphasis on comparing and contrasting in the Upper Elementary grades. Students are responsible for being able to compare and contrast different characters, settings, plots, and themes within a single text and across texts as well.
In order to teach these high level skills using grade level texts, students first need to learn a foundation for comparing and contrasting.
Whenever I teach a new skill that students will use over and over again throughout the year (and in life), I try to provide them with simple hands-on experiences to engage and motivate them to want to complete and learn the task and skills required.
In order to keep with the Halloween theme in October, we decided to make Frankenstein creations that we would use to compare and contrast. I got the idea from Leslie Ann over at Life in Fifth Grade. I saw her Frankenstein’s on Pinterest and knew my students would love this project!
To begin the project, I told my students they only had 15-20 minutes to create their very own Frankenstein monster. We discussed how these are their own creations and they can be as creative as they wanted. They got super into their designs and were really proud of how they turned out!
The next day, I had each student meet with their reading partner and notice the similarities and differences between their two creations. They recorded their thinking in a Venn Diagram.
They then summarized their thinking in a written paragraph form on special Halloween paper. You can download the paper I used for free HERE.
Once they were done, we hung them up and not only did they get more practice and build upon their foundational skills of comparing and contrasting, but they also got to highlight their individual creative sides.
We hung them outside our classroom and got tons of compliments! This is a project that I will definitely plan to do year after year.