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Explore the research, principles, and classroom phases that make Compare & Contrast such an effective strategy.
Although comparative thinking is a natural operation of our minds and is essential to learning, most students have a difficult time making use of comparisons in school.
By focusing student thinking on analyzing pairs of ideas, the Compare & Contrast strategy strengthens students' ability to remember key content. Compare & Contrast acts as a practical and easy-to-use introduction to higher-order thinking. Compare & Contrast improves comprehension by highlighting important details, making abstract ideas more concrete, and reducing the confusion between related concepts (think meiosis versus mitosis). The Compare & Contrast strategy strengthens students' writing skills by providing a simple structure that helps them organize information and develop their ideas with greater clarity and precision.
In their years of research into the defining characteristics of intelligent behavior and thought, Art Costa and Bena Kallick (2008, 2009) have identified 16 “habits of mind.” By nourishing these habits in our students, we give them the tools they need to use their minds well, thus increasing their chance for future success. Which of the five goals of the Compare & Contrast strategy is most important to you, and why? The next few pages show the kinds of work students create while engaged in Compare & Contrast lessons. We all want our students to produce this kind of work—to be able to use comparative thinking independently to advance their own learning. The ability to explain the importance of analyzing narratives and documents from different times and places to understand historical events.
As you review this lesson, keep in mind the principles of Compare & Contrast, the role of the student, the role of the teacher, and the goals of the strategy. The “hook and bridge” is meant to hook students into the lesson by creating bridges between students' prior knowledge or personal experiences and the content of the lesson. Joanne continues, “In this lesson, we are going to go back into the 17th and 19th centuries, where you will have the opportunity to visit two homes. Recognizing that I, like all men, will one day perish, I invited my daughter, little Katy, into my study. You'll notice that even at this early stage of the lesson, students are engaged in addressing state standards by analyzing primary documents from different time periods. Now Joanne asks students to use the criteria provided in the description organizer (see Figure 1.3) to describe each household.
You'll notice that we have added a section to the right for you to record your own thoughts on the lesson.
Thinking About Phase One: Thorough descriptions framed by clear criteria lead to deeper and richer comparisons.
Joanne now moves her students into the comparison phase by having them work with partners to identify similarities and differences between the two households and then to record those similarities and differences using the Top Hat Organizer (see Figure 1.4).
Thinking About Phase Two: Notice how much easier it was to conduct a comparison having already completed detailed descriptions of the readings.
For this phase, Joanne asks her students to discuss what they have learned as a result of their comparison and to form some conclusions.
Thinking About Phase Three: Guided by questions, students are forced to distill the evidence they have gathered from the passages and analyze the two readings in greater depth.
Joanne introduces her application activity by saying, “You have seen how specific time periods affect the notion of family and the roles of fathers and daughters. Pick two universal traits for ideal fathers, whether they come from the 17th, the 19th, or the 21st century.

Take a moment to reflect on what you covered in this section by answering the questions below. As you teach over the coming weeks, keep track of those times when you might have used Compare & Contrast. For photocopy, electronic and online access, and republication requests, go to the Copyright Clearance Center. Subscribe to ASCD Express, our twice-monthly e-mail newsletter, to have practical, actionable strategies and information delivered to your e-mail inbox twice a month. This page is full of Surprise birthday invitation ideas so that you can create the most secretive Surprise party! The MOST IMPORTANT PART of a Surprise birthday invitation is that it CLEARLY states the party is a SURPRISE party! You'll want to add any special instructions to each Surprise birthday invitation, for example a specific dress code or anything else important they need to know.
We've created two kinds of these free and original Surprise birthday invitation printables for you to print out. In this section, our goal is to help you understand how you currently use comparative thinking in your classroom and to explain the Strategic Teacher approach to the Compare & Contrast strategy. When we are infants, one of the first differences we must identify is that between mother and other.
To better understand how to achieve success when asking your students to make comparisons, it is important to first understand your own attitude toward comparisons and how you use them in your classroom.
Figure 1.1 includes a variety of student work samples that span a wide range of content areas and grade levels. To help us achieve this goal, let's turn our attention to the four principles and the four phases of Compare & Contrast.
Joanne Glass, a high school history teacher, wants her students to understand how circumstances of time and place influence perspective.
We also encourage you to be the student by completing the student activities throughout the lesson. The first passage you will read is taken from a 17th century father's diary, and the second passage comes from a 19th century song. I told my child that I am to die shortly, and she must, when I am dead, remember everything I said unto her.
This is part of a process we call “Do, Look, Learn.” Too often, we go through the motions of learning a new process or idea without reflecting on our own thinking. The more students are encouraged to think about details and specifics in their description, the easier and more sophisticated their comparisons will be.
Most comparison strategies ask students to focus their attention on critical attributes, which are the defining characteristics of the items under investigation.
These first two phases encourage students to use details and evidence from the readings to support their comparisons, and the Top Hat Organizer helps students give their thoughts a shape. By asking students to take a position and draw conclusions about the content, we enhance their retention and understanding. Now you will be asked to synthesize what you have learned in this lesson in a creative task.
Creating a real-world task and asking students to stretch their thinking beyond the original context increases transfer and helps students find deeper meaning in the content. How is the Compare & Contrast strategy similar to what you already do with your students when you want them to engage in comparison?

Take note of these instances, and be ready to share them as you proceed through the following sections.
You can even write it a few times or decorate the Surprise birthday invitation in a way that no one will miss it. If the RSVP is a phone number, make sure it's not the home number of the birthday person (even if you think you can hide the messages, e-mails, letters in the mail, etc.
Remember to invite everyone AT LEAST half an hour before the Surprise will be taking place. Portrait and landscape orientated stamps in a light gray color and a darker gray central part that can be replaced with an image. Without the ability to make comparisons—to set one object or idea against another and take note of similarities and differences—much of what we call learning would quite literally be impossible.
The answer lies in the research of renowned educators Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock (2001).
As you examine this work, ask yourself, What skills are students demonstrating in this work? Each principle is tied closely to the difficulties students commonly encounter when they engage in comparative thinking. With this lesson, Joanne is looking to shift her students' attention from macrohistory to microhistory. I set before her the sinful and woeful condition of her nature, and I charged her to pray in secret places every day without ceasing that God for the sake of Jesus Christ would give her a new heart. As you “do” the lesson, “look” in on your own thought process to see what you can “learn” from your own experiences. Critical attributes are always a good starting point for helping students to focus their attention on the essential information, but sometimes we want students to go beyond simply describing the items by these attributes. You can then seal each envelope with red wax to make it more intriguing (drip red wax onto where you close the envelope, wait for it to get a tad harder – not as drippy, and stamp it with anything that is hard and that has an interesting or relevant design or texture). By compiling the available research on effective instruction, Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock found that strategies that engage students in comparative thinking had the greatest effect on student achievement, leading to an average percentile gain of 45 points (p. Most students are familiar with the major events, dates, and people that make up macrohistory, but students are often not aware of the knowledge that can be gained from studying the microhistory of social customs, personal writings, and everyday lives of common people.
How do our time period and culture affect the role that fathers play in our families?” Joanne then introduces and explains the following synthesis task. If you are living with the birthday person, possibly assign a good friend to take care of the RSVP's (write down their phone number, address, or e-mail). Leading your students through these four phases is essential for ensuring your students' effective use of the Compare & Contrast strategy in the classroom.
To this end, Joanne has designed a lesson using Compare & Contrast based on two primary documents, one from a 17th century Puritan family and one about a 19th century industrial family. I gave her to understand that when I am taken from her she must look to meet with more humbling afflictions than she does now [when] she has a careful and tender father to provide for her.

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