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Compare and Contrast without the Venn Diagram

The Teacher From the Black Lagoon and the Principal from the Black Lagoon

We have been reading The Teacher from the Black Lagoon and The Principal from the Black Lagoon.  Two wonderfully funny books about how students sometimes hear how mean a teacher or principal can be and then their imagination runs wild on all the awful things the school staff does to students who get into trouble.

The Teacher From the Black Lagoon and the Principal from the Black Lagoon

There are several of these Mike Thaler books and the kids just love them for the outrageous things that happen: a teacher who eats half a kid to teach fractions and a principal who spanks with a 12 foot poisoned spiked paddle!!

After reading both books and doing some deeper thinking on Post It notes about what the student was experiencing, we moved on to comparing the two stories.  We used Post It notes for this too.  We put our similarities and differences on Post Its and stuck them on our planning board.

How they are different and how they are the same

Then I took their thoughts and typed them (to save time).  The next day, to check their thinking and comprehension, I handed out the differences and they had to say which book the comparison came from and we placed it on the chart.  How the books were the same went in the middle.  

Teacher from the Black Lagoon and the Principal from the Black Lagoon

I needed a new way to do comparing and contrasting.  I was tired of the Venn Diagram and the T-chart.  I get bored with doing the same things and need to change it up.  This picture took no time to make and it was very motivating for the students.  As soon as they walked in and saw it, they were all over it- what is this, what's it for, did you draw that???  They now think I am the best artist!  But I did come clean and tell them all I did was trace it on the Smartboard.  I think they still think it took lots of talent and that's okay with me!


  1. That's a great visual and most likely makes sense to those kids who have a hard time with the more abstract visuals that they see most of the time, even though we try to make them meaningful. I'd agree with the kids. You are talented. :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. You know, it's weird, but I've never read those books and I know they've been around forever.
    Great activity! I'm like you ... have to change it up LOTS:)

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  3. Thanks Tammy, the kids really liked the visual. But really, it took no talent at all. Less than 10 minutes to trace the lines. :)

  4. Barbara, the books are funny and the kids enjoy them because they are a little outlandish! I am glad to hear that someone else has to change things up all the time too!
    Conversations in Literacy

  5. I am a new blogger & I teach 2nd grade. We do a lot of comparing & contrasting, but I LOVE this idea! Thank you!
    Amy Howbert

    Little Miss Organized

  6. Amy, I am so glad you came by! I used to teach 2nd grade-it's a great grade. Thank you!!


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