Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Writing Workshop Session 14 (Argument)

Comparing and Contrasting Themes across Texts

Here is what you need:

  1. mentor texts
  2. earlier drafts
  3. checklists
  4. sit with writing partner


Sometimes when I watch movies, right in the middle of it,  I find myself thinking, 'This is not as good as the other movie I just saw.'  I started comparing the movie to the other one I liked more, thinking about how the main characters were similar and different, and thinking about the themes.  I saw that in one movie, the lead character was kind of helpless looking for love, and in the other, she was headstrong and brave.  And it made me think that the theme of both romantic comedies was about love, of course, but that in one it seemed like the theme was 'Love will make everything okay, and the other it was more like 'If you live your life well, love will come to you.  

This unit has changed me and I am analyzing people and comparing things, and thinking more deeply about things.  I want that for you too.  More so than teaching you to be great essay writers-which I totally care about:)

Today I want to teach you that essayists bring all of their skills to compare-and-contrast essays by comparing what is similar and contrasting what is different about the themes in different texts.  


  • We need to choose a text to work with and have  a list of possible themes 
    • Three Little pigs-when one way of dealing with a problem isn't working, you should try a new one, a better approach.
  • Pick a second text to compare it with 
    • Think of a story that has the same theme?

***REMEMBER*** The themes in one text will always relate to lots of other text.  That is why they are called themes.  They are Universal.

  • Raymonds Run-Squeaky is like the third pig. She just keeps doing the same thing.  But she finally stops and tries something different, and things start to change.  
  • Now we have something that these 2 texts have in common, let's think of something to contrast.
  • To do that you could think about who the different characters react to the trouble of the text, or if there is anything different about their situation.  
  • The Three Little Pigs is just teaching you that some people are just better than others at dealing with their problems.  
  • Raymond's Run teaches you that you can change who you are and how you deal with life.  That is a better message I think:)


  1. Choose a text and think about its theme(s)
  2. Consider other texts that might carry that same theme, choose one
  3. Think about how the 2 texts are similar and different 
  4. Move back and forth between universal themes and specific examples from each text.

Active Engagement 

  1. Use your short story that you used for you character and theme essay as your first text.  You should know that stories theme.  
  2. Work with your partner to think of another story that also has that theme-anything you have read.
  3. Start comparing and contrasting


You have been building your comparing and contrasting muscles over two days, and now you have arrived at an important moment in your essay writing lives.  You are ready to do the most challenging work you will do in this whole unit.  Your job over the next three days is to write one last essay.  It will be a compare-and-contrast essay. 

Add to Chart
Bold Bullet Points on page 133


(If time pg 136)
Highlight how one student is revising with an eye toward literary language.


Draft your compare and contrast essay.  Tomorrow we will dive into revising your writing using all you have learned, so it will really help if you have a solid first draft written.  You might want to copy "How to write a Compare and contest literary Essay" into your writers notebooks as a reference.  

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