Compare and Contrast

Grade Levels
6th - 8th
Formats Included
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Make comparing texts FUN for students by turning your ELA class into a courtroom!

**Download Preview to see full Lesson contents and overview.**

In this 5-day lesson, students become "attorneys" and compare and contrast two texts based on 6 different characteristics. The courtroom drama unfolds as you "judge" their arguments.

The "court case" proceeds like this:

  • Students must first pass a “bar exam” proving they know key literary terms.
  • Students are then assigned a “plea” of SIMILAR or DIFFERENT. They must cite evidence that supports their plea for all 6 text characteristics.
  • Students must “appeal” their case until all of their arguments make sense.
  • Students may write a “Case Brief” paragraph explaining their argument.

This lesson can be used multiple times throughout the year because it can be used with different text pairings. 

*A Marzano learning scale is included in this lesson.

Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.


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