Venn Diagram For Compare And Contrast Essay

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

But, don’t let Ol’ Teddy or that compare and contrast essay get you down. Compare and contrast essays are a great way to expand your knowledge on two subjects. And, with a little guidance, they can be fun and easy to write.

Besides, what does Theodore Roosevelt know? All he ever did was invent the teddy bear.

Wait, what? He was president? We let the teddy bear inventor lead the free world? Never mind. Let’s forget I said that. It’s time to learn how to write a compare and contrast essay!

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

First, let’s make sure we all understand the basics of a compare and contrast essay. Rest assured, you will come across this type of paper at some point in your academic career, if you haven’t already. A compare and contrast essay asks you to look at the similarities (compare) and differences (contrast) between two or more items or concepts.

At first glance, this will not appear to be difficult. It may seem easy to look at Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un and notice the surface-level differences and similarities.

The compare and contrast essay often asks you to go beyond the surface, to perform a critical analysis of the two subjects, and to begin to understand the underlying tendencies and characteristics. By doing so, you not only better understand the two subjects, but you reveal the concepts and connections, and possibly what makes them the way they are.

How Can I Organize My Ideas?

Depending on the prompt assigned, you may find your mind is overwhelmed by the myriad similarities and differences related to your subjects. Instead of just shoving them all into an essay with the subtlety of a dictator with daddy issues throwing a tantrum, let’s see if we can organize them beforehand.

My favorite organization tool for a compare and contrast essay is the Venn diagram. This writing tool allows you to clearly organize the similarities and differences of two subjects with two simple, overlapping circles.

I suggest you draw a big Venn diagram on a piece of paper and write everything you can think of that fits in the three sections. Once it is packed full of aspects of each subject, you can then think about which ones are the most important to your paper. What do you want to focus on? What interests you about these two areas? Which similarities and differences best relate to the prompt, or the course in general? Which pieces of information support the argument that you are presenting?

For example, if you are comparing and contrasting two novels, you may want to take a look at how the two stories and the characters within them relate in terms of a certain theme. Do the two works support each other on a certain subject? If so, perhaps those aspects are the ones that should be presented in your paper.

Once you have narrowed your focus, you can then identify the points in your Venn diagram that you will include in your paper.

Remember that having fewer points to discuss is usually better. The more you have, the less space you will have for analysis.

On the other hand, if you are able to narrow your focus to a couple of similarities and differences that really highlight the point you are trying to prove, you leave more space for discussion of those points.

How Should I Structure a Compare and Contrast Essay?

I’m all for creativity. If you have a new and interesting angle you would like to approach the essay from, then do it.

In all of my time teaching English, I’ve never lowered the score of a paper because a student was thinking outside the box and intentionally trying something new and different.

Of course, the key word here is “intentionally.” If you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s going to come through in the paper. If you already know how to write a compare and contrast essay, however, then you can be free to let your creativity run wild.

So, what is the easiest way to do it? People may have varying opinions, but in this instance I think it is best to follow the K.I.S.S. acronym. K.I.S.S. stands for…uh…um. What is it again?

Kaleidoscopes Influence Scared Stoners?

No, that’s not it.

Kittens Inspire Sylvester Stallone?

True, but that’s not what I had in mind.

Kardashians Induce Sectarian Savagery?

Perhaps, but that’s another issue.

This is too complicated. I don’t remember. Let’s forget it. What I’m trying to say is, when you are structuring your essay, just keep it simple, you silly goose. I feel like I was so close. Oh, well.

It doesn’t get much simpler than the 5 paragraph essay, and in the case of the compare and contrast essay, it works perfectly. In fact, it lines up with our Venn diagram in an incredible fashion. The 5 paragraph essay includes an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The Venn diagram gives us 3 gorgeously clear sections to work with, which will fit nicely into that 3-paragraph-body format.

Will You Give Me an Example of How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Well, I have some good news for the bold typing friend who lives in my head, and anyone else who may be reading: I will, indeed, give you an example.

Our example compares and contrasts the Kibin.com editing service with the average online editing service. Although there are many similarities and differences, we will focus on just this one for the sake of giving an example.

Introduction

So, the introduction paragraph of your five paragraph compare and contrast essay will, besides introducing your topic and hooking your reader like Ali in his prime, present a solid thesis that guides the rest of your paper.

A common problem in compare and contrast essays is a weak thesis statement. It seems logical to write something like, “This paper will compare and contrast Kibin.com with other online editing services” or “There are many similarities and differences between Kibin.com and the average online editing site.”

Although these statements may be true and describe what your paper is about, they are way too vague. It is like writing, “This is an essay that will use words in a structured way to bring attention to something you may or may not already be aware of.”

Okay. Well. That’s great, but your readers already know that, and now they are upset that you wasted the amount of time it took to read it. That’s 5 seconds of their lives that they can never get back, and, if they are as begrudging as I am, they may never forgive you for it (I will destroy you, BuzzFeed, if it is the last thing I do!!!).

So, instead, we want to present a thesis that is specific, proposes an argument, and gives a bit of insight into your analysis.

For example, “Although there are many editing services available online, Kibin.com’s commitment to providing high-quality editing that never overcharges sets it apart from the rest.”

See the difference?

Body Paragraphs

In your Venn diagram, you will have several points and examples from the two subjects. Once you have narrowed them down to the ones that best fit the theme of your paper, you will be able to clearly organize them in the body of your paper. There are a few different ways that you can present these similarities and differences in your paper, but each fits really well into our essay structure.

One way of organizing the information is to

  • First paragraph: present aspects unique to subject A
  • Second paragraph: present aspects unique to subject B
  • Third paragraph: show how aspects A and B are similar

In this example, we would start by discussing how Kibin.com has developed its own software for counting words, ensuring that the customer is never wrongly overcharged.

Then, in the next paragraph, we could address the point that most other editing services use Microsoft Word’s word counter, resulting in customers being wrongly charged for things like numbers and icons.

Then, the third paragraph would be dedicated to how the two subjects are alike.

Another idea is to dedicate a paragraph to each point. As long as you have narrowed your focus to a small number of points, you may find that your essay flows better if you dedicate the extra space for the analysis of each point.

Learn more about how to create a compare and contrast outline.

There are many ways you could accomplish writing your compare and contrast essay. This is a chance for you to be creative. Don’t be restricted by the idea that the body of your essay must have 3 paragraphs. As long as you address the similarities and differences, and how they relate to your thesis, the body of your essay will have served its purpose.

Conclusion

In the conclusion paragraph, you get a chance to restate your thesis and the conclusions that you have arrived at through your research and the writing of your paper.

Wrap up your ideas so that there aren’t any loose ends, and don’t add any new information at this point. If, while writing your conclusion, you think of an important piece of evidence that needs to be included, you’ll need to find a place for it in the body of your paper.

Don’t panic if you can’t find a place for it to seamlessly fit in. Remember, writing is a process that requires several steps.

Those steps usually (if not always) include writing multiple drafts of your paper. If you finish the first draft, but something doesn’t feel quite right, shoot it over to the great folks at Kibin.com. Not only will they correctly count your words, but they will help you take your writing to the next level.

Here’s a Quick Rundown

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/teaching-compare-contrast-essay-275.html

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Lesson Plan

Teaching the Compare and Contrast Essay through Modeling

 

Grades3 – 5
Lesson Plan TypeStandard Lesson
Estimated TimeThree 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author
Publisher

 

Preview

OVERVIEW

Together, students and teacher use charts and Venn diagrams to brainstorm and organize similarities and differences between two objects. The teacher then models the beginning of the first draft, inviting students to help rephrase, clarify, and revise as the draft is written. Finally, students take what they have learned to complete the draft independently.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

Comparison and Contrast Guide: This student-centered online guide provides a thorough introduction to the compare and contrast essay format, including definitions, transitions, graphic organizers, checklists, and examples.

Venn Diagram: Use this online tool during prewriting to organize ideas for a compare and contrast essay.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

Rick VanDeWeghe writes of modeling: "teachers show how they go about the processes of reading and writing-drawing students' attention to the ways readers and writers think and the real decisions they make, especially when they themselves are challenged." In her book Conversations, Regie Routman explains why this modeling process is so successful: "It has always been our job to teach directly and explicitly in response to students' needs-carefully demonstrating, specifically showing how, clearly explaining. Whatever we want our students to do well, we first have to show them how. Of all the changes I have made in my teaching, adding explicit demonstration to everything I teach has been the single most important factor in increasing students' literacy" (24).

Further, writing out loud with students gives me an opportunity to show my enjoyment for the writing process. Students see that revision and editing are part of the fun, and that even teachers don't get it correct the first time. As an added bonus, students are frequently more eager to share personal writings with me for feedback once they see this process modeled.

Further Reading

VanDeWeghe, Rick. "Deep Modeling and Authentic Teaching: Challenging Students or Challenging Students?" English Journal 95.4 (March 2006): 84-88

 

Routman, Regie. 2000. Conversations: Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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Standards

NCTE/IRA NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

3.

Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

 

4.

Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

 

5.

Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

 

6.

Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

 

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Resources & Preparation

MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY

  • LCD Projector hooked to a computer with a word processor, or an overhead projector

  • Word processor software

  • General classroom supplies (pencils, paper, etc.)

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STUDENT INTERACTIVES

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Comparison and Contrast Guide

The Comparison and Contrast Guide outlines the characteristics of the genre and provides direct instruction on the methods of organizing, gathering ideas, and writing comparison and contrast essays.

 

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Compare & Contrast Map

The Compare & Contrast Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for different kinds of comparison essays.

 

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.

 

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PRINTOUTS

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PREPARATION

  • Set the projector up so that the teacher is facing the class and able to type the text (or write easily on the overhead) and the class is able to follow along.

  • Familiarize yourself with the basic commands of the word processor on the computer that you're using.

  • Test the Venn Diagram student interactive, Comparison and Contrast Guide, and Compare and Contrast Map on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

  • Prior to this lesson, students should have learned how to write introductions and conclusions. The ReadWriteThink lesson Leading to Great Places in the Elementary Classroom can be a useful resource for exploring introductory sentences.

  • (optional) For background information on the compare and contrast essay format, see Literacy Education Online's Comparison/Contrast Essays.

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Instructional Plan

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • define the characteristics of a comparison/contrast essay.

  • generate ideas for the group composition and their own essays as the process is modeled.

  • develop a final copy of a comparison/contrast paper.

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Session One

  1. Hold up or display two different objects for students to focus on as they explore the meaning of the terms compare and contrast. You might choose two different beverage options (juice versus milk), two candy bars (Milky Way versus Reese's Cups), or two different television programs (SpongeBob SquarePants versus The Rugrats). Be sure to choose items which students are familiar with so that the process of comparing the objects will be clearer to them.

  2. Make two columns on the board or chart paper and invite students to brainstorm characteristics of first one of the objects (e.g., juice) and then the other object (e.g., milk). Invite students to add and revise information as they work, moving between the two columns.

  3. If students need help building the lists of characteristics, ask leading questions such as "How do you decide which beverage you want to drink?" or "How do you decide which candy bar to buy?"

  4. Ask students to identify characteristics that are included in both of the columns. Either mark these similarities using a different colored pen, or create a new chart with the column headings of "Comparison" and "Contrast."

  5. Based on the information in the lists, lead a class discussion on the definitions of the words compare and contrast. Refer to examples on the charts to clarify the difference between the two terms.

  6. As a class, brainstorm other ways students compare and contrast in their daily lives (sports teams, restaurants, toys, books, etc.). You can do this by pairing students in groups or 2-4 having them compose a list as a group and then as a coming together as a class to share ideas.

  7. From there, you will brainstorm and generate a class definition of compare and contrast making sure they understand why comparing and contrasting is important by using examples as needed.

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Sessions Two and Three

  1. Use the Comparison and Contrast Guide to review information from the first class session as needed.

  2. You can decide or allow the class to help you decide two things to compare and contrast for the class essay.

  3. Use the "Graphic Organizer" tab on the Comparison and Contrast Guide to introduce the Venn Diagram. Alternately, you can use the Compare and Contrast Chart Graphic Organizer if you prefer.

  4. Open the Venn Diagram Student Interactive. Alternately, you can draw a simple graphic organizer on the chalkboard of a Venn diagram (two overlapping circles).

  5. Label the circles and brainstorm as a class what is different about your topics and drag the ideas to the appropriate circle and what is the same about your topic and drag those ideas to the overlapping part of the circles.

  6. Print out the Venn Diagram, and make copies for students to use in later sessions.

  7. Use the "Organizing a Paper" tab on the Comparison and Contrast Guide and the Compare and Contrast Map to introduce the Similarities-to-Differences structure.

  8. Open a new word processor file, where you'll compose the first sections of the essay as a group.

  9. Brainstorm an interesting lead with the class. Have several people give ideas and model for the class how to rearrange ideas and thoughts to come up with the best and most interesting beginning and continue writing as a class from there.

  10. Demonstrate cut, copy, and paste commands for your word processor software.

  11. As you write with your class, feel free to delete ideas and change them as better ones come up and reread what has been written before asking for the next idea to be sure that the thoughts flow nicely. Refer back to the Venn Diagram as necessary.

  12. Use the "Transitions" tab on the Comparison and Contrast Guide to introduce the use of transitional words to increase coherence.

  13. Save your class draft of the introduction and the section on similarities. If possible, share the file with students, so that they can continue writing the text in their own copy of the file. Alternately, print the file and makes copies for students.

  14. Ask the students to continue the essay using the beginning that you've written together. They can add the section on differences and the conclusion in class or as homework.

  15. Use the Comparison and Contrast Guide to review information as needed. Use the "Checklist" tab to explain the requirements for the finished essay. If desired, share the Comparison and Contrast Rubric with students as well.

  16. Show students how to access the Comparison and Contrast Guide so that they can refer to the resource as they like while writing.

  17. If students work in class, circulate among students, giving ideas and help.

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EXTENSIONS

  • Write another comparison and contrast essay, using the whole-to-whole or point-by-point organization explained in the "Organizing a Paper" tab on the Comparison and Contrast Guide.

  • Have students write a compare and contrast essay in a different content area. See the list below for a sampling of topics that can be compared.
    History
    historical figures, maps of different time periods, states, time periods, books on the same historical subject

    Science
    scientists, weather patterns, plants in habitats

    Art
    paintings, artists' lives, different techniques

    Reading
    two different authors, two stories by the same author, books on the same topic by different authors, a book and the movie made from it

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

If possible, it is great to read the essay with the student individually and provide direct feedback. When this option is not available, constructive written comments are helpful. As you read the essays, keep notes on the aspects to review and share with the class later. For more structured feedback, use the Comparison and Contrast Rubric.

After you have finished responding to the essays, review them with the class, adding advice as needed. You might go back and model an area where students needed more practice. Alternately, you can use the Compare and Contrast Guide to review the area.

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Related Resources

LESSON PLANS

Grades   3 – 6  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

The Tale of Despereaux: Fact or Fiction?

Using the book The Tale of Despereaux, students look a closer look at medieval times to see if the novel accurately portrays this time in history. Looking at key sections of the book, students will use the Compare and Contrast Guide and Map to help them decipher between fact and fiction.

 

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STUDENT INTERACTIVES

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Comparison and Contrast Guide

The Comparison and Contrast Guide outlines the characteristics of the genre and provides direct instruction on the methods of organizing, gathering ideas, and writing comparison and contrast essays.

 

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Compare & Contrast Map

The Compare & Contrast Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for different kinds of comparison essays.

 

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.

 

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Comments

This lesson was just fantastic especially the visual aids which really got the students into thinking. Thank you for this great lesson

 

Zoraida Rivera

January 31, 2016

Excellent lesson plan, they are teacher/student friendly. In addition, the resources were phenomenal.

Thanks.

 

Dorit Sasson

July 24, 2012

Great ideas for for organizing the ideas of a comparison/contrast essay - something that students seem to think it easy but need pre ideas/work to help get students started.
Thank you,
Dorit Sasson
The Teacher's Diversity Coach
www.DoritSasson.com

 

Tammy Wood

February 14, 2012

I just loved the interactive charts and etc that you have made. It will really be useful when teacher my 2-3 special ed students. Thank you!!!

 

 

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