Contrasts and Contradictions

We finally began looking at the Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading signposts this week, starting with the tried and true Contrasts and Contradictions. I wanted to share with you a few of the things we did in class that helped the students to really grasp the idea of a character acting out of the norm for that particular character.

To introduce the signpost to my fifth graders, I began with the "Thank You, Ma'am" lesson in the book.  I highly recommend purchasing the book and starting with this lesson, if you haven't.  There are a lot of great ideas contained within the book itself that will be helpful to you as a teacher when teaching the signposts. Click the link above that will take you to my Amazon Affliate link to purchase the book.

During that introduction lesson, I created this  anchor chart with the students.  They wrote the information in their journals as I was writing on the poster.  Having the kids write this down really helped them to begin to internalize the information.
The next time we visited the signposts, I showed the students the Pixar short Presto.  This is a funny little short movie about a magician's bunny who acts in very unexpected ways.  As we were watching, I had the students note the times when they asked themselves "Why did the character act this way?"  After a lot of laughing on the students' part (it was a funny movie that they LOVED), we created a T-chart on the board.  One side of the t-chart was for "Characters Actions".  The other side was labeled "Why did the character act this way?"  Then the students told me all of the times they jotted down when one of the characters acted in an unexpected way, and the reason for it.


We then did a lesson another day using the book Stellaluna (just like my friend Kathie at Tried and True Teaching Tools did)  I read the book to the students and, again, they noted when the character acted in a way that contradicted with what they thought would happen.  This was a bit more challenging this time, as the students wanted to list all of the things *they* thought were weird (ie: bats eating bugs) and not thinking about that being out of the ordinary for *that* character.  We created the same t-chart as with the Presto movie to map out the contradicting character actions.

Now that the students were becoming more familiar with the ideas of what it means for a character to act out of the ordinary, I gave themlittle foldable I created asking them to actually list out the instances in "Thank You, Ma'am" where the Contrasts and Contradictions moments occurred.  (we only did it whole group and orally before)  They worked in pairs to make note of the C/C in the short story.

So that about does it for Contrasts and Contradictions.  I am on to the next signpost next week...and will bring you a new post when I have some new ideas to share :)


  1. Now I want to show Presto to my kids, too!! Love your foldable; I love how you always make concepts so concrete for students. Thanks!!

  2. I have been wanting to dive into this method for some time after purchasing this book last year. However, I have really struggled with fitting the lessons and ideas into our Basel series which I have to use. I know that you mentioned in some of your posts that you utilize a Basel as well, I am curious as to how you fit in these other resources into your daily schedule.

  3. Thanks for the progression - I just did the CC lesson straight from the book for the first time today, and I really liked the results so far. I appreciate the little tickets you offered as a download, though. They'll be put to good use!


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