Review reading comprehension strategies with my Mother's Day-inspired compare and contrast lesson. Although this compare and contrast lesson was inspired by Mother's Day, I use the readings and activities to celebrate the mothers and caretakers in our lives.
One of the reasons I became a literacy specialist is because I truly enjoy children's literature. I love reading everything from clever picture books to adolescent novels and I hope that my passion for reading inspires my students to want to read more. Luckily for me, the media assistant in our school library has excellent taste in books. She always has a good recommendation for whatever topic I am looking for! When I was personally inquiring about a book I could give my own mom for Mother's Day, she suggested A Mother's Wish by bestselling author Kathy-Jo Wargin.
A Mother’s Wish elicits the feelings of love and warmth that a mother and her child feel for each other. After I read this book I knew I wanted to share it with my students! Although each of my students has a unique family and living situation, this gentle tale showcases the beauty of familial bonds.
I make this wish on wings of love
And send into the sky above
That Mother holds me every day
And never, ever goes away.
Young Ella never forgets the wish she made upon the wings of a butterfly, even as the years pass by. Ella's mother also makes a butterfly wish, full of strength and love.
This book is so beautifully written that there are many different teaching possibilities. With my students, I did a compare and contrast exercise about the mother's wish versus the daughter's wish. I decided to focus on comparing and contrasting the two wishes because it seemed like an obvious choice to me.
I feel it important to note that one big mistake I notice teachers make is choosing a mentor text that does not highlight the objective or teaching point. If a text clearly underscores the teaching point, there is a better chance that it will resonate with your students.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST LESSON FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS
STEP 1: Read A Mother's Wish by bestselling author Kathy-Jo Wargin aloud to students.
STEP 2: Give each student their own A Mother's Wish Compare and Contrast Organizer. Explain to students that they will use this organizer to take notes while classroom discussions take place.
STEP 3: Together, discuss how the mother's wish and daughter's wish are alike and how they are different. If necessary, reread passages from the book.
STEP 4: Then discuss what each wish suggests about the kind of people the mother and daughter are.
STEP 5: Share with students what your butterfly wish would be for them. Then have students write their own butterfly wish in the last box on their A Mother's Wish Compare and Contrast Organizer. To avoid causing emotional distress for students that may have stressful family/living situations, emphasize that their butterfly wishes can be for anyone or anything i.e. friends, planet earth, grandma, dog, themselves.
STEP 6: Give each student a pre-cut butterfly to decorate with crayons, glitter, sequins, etc. Have students write their wish on their butterfly template prior to decorating. Once complete, give students the option to take their butterfly home to gift to a loved one this Mother's Day OR leave at school to be hung from the classroom ceiling for ALL to admire.
This exercise helped students hone their compare and contrast skills while also using their note-taking abilities. Being able to take notes while participating in and listening to a discussion is a valuable skill to learn! It also takes a lot of practice.