To prepare students for comparing and contrasting two passages or pieces, begin with one text. Ask students questions that require pulling information from more than one place in the text. Work with students on developing sentence that cite evidence that can be explained or elaborated.
Explain how . . . Explain why . . . Explain why the author uses . . . RL.4.9 -- Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.
RI.4.6 – Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.
RL.5.9 -- Compare and contrast stories in the same genre on their approach to approaches to similar themes and topics.
RI.5.9 – Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.
RL.6.9 – Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (stories and poems, historical fiction and fantasy stories), in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.
RI.6.9 – Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (a memoir written by and a biography about the same person).
Buried Treasure [RL. 3.2, 4.2, 5.2, 6.2]
Under a board
Near the back
Of the barn
In a box
Lies buried treasure.
A little brown cap that fit about eight years ago,
A gift from Grandpa, my first hunting trip.
A soft, red feather,
A broken match—used, and
A chip from an antler . . .
One of a pair of lucky, once-blue shoestrings,
Half of a game-winning ticket,
Some slivers of net—color now indeterminate
And a basketball that will no longer hold air . . .
The best and worst times of my life--
Through my museum of memories
Where admission is always free,
And the only visitor allowed is . . . me.
Explain how the details in the poem support the main or central idea.
Describe the narrator in “Buried Treasure,” citing evidence from the poem.
Magic Spinach Once in a village in China there lived an old blind lady and her son. The old lady was a good person and had worked to help her family and the people of her village when she was able. The son had pledged to take care of his mother, so he did not marry and lived instead in his mother’s house. In summer he took her out walking in the cool night air, and in winter he warmed her bed before she got in. Everyone knew that he was a remarkable boy.
Then one spring a flood came and covered the village farms with water. Nothing would grow anymore, and the son had to walk far to find wild grasses for them to eat. The people of the village worked hard and tried to help each other find food.
One day while he was cutting grasses, it began to rain, so he took shelter in a nearby cave. When he sat down, he felt tender, fresh leaves under him. He saw that it was spinach and he began to cut it. No sooner had he cut the last of the leaves than new leaves sprang up. He cut these, too, and that night he carried a basketful of fresh spinach home to his mother.
The next day he returned to the cave, and it was the same as before. No matter how much spinach he cut, more grew it its place.
On the third day the son returned to the cave once again. This time he uprooted the spinach. I’ll plant it in the village so that everyone might have spinach, he thought.
As he pulled up the last plant, he saw something glinting in the ground. It was a small, perfectly smooth, perfectly round stone. He took it home with him and put it in the rice jar, where he was saving a handful of rice for his mother’s birthday. The next day when he opened the jar, it was full of rice. He took some of it out, but the jar quickly filled up again. When he poured out all the rice, he was overjoyed to find that once again the jar filled itself up to the very top.
The son picked up the jar and went out to share the rice with the poor families in the village. Soon everyone knew about the magic stone.
When the son returned home, he met his landlord at the door. The landlord asked him for some rice, and the son gave it. Then the landlord asked for the stone. “No, I will give you anything but the stone,” the son said, holding it tightly in his hand.
“I don’t want anything else—only the stone,” the landlord said. And he kicked the son in the stomach, snatched the stone, and stuck it in his mouth to keep it safe. Then the landlord ran home, but on the way he slipped and swallowed the stone.
Suddenly he felt very thirsty and drank all the water in the house, but he was still thirsty. There was no one to bring him more water, so the landlord ran outside and started drinking the floodwaters from the ground. He drank and drank, until he drank up all the water.
Then he turned into a toad. When his transformation was complete, the toad coughed and the magic stone appeared. The son, on his way to cut grasses, found the stone by the side of the road.
Why does the landlord want the magic stone? [4.1, 5.1, 4.3, 5.3, 6.1, 6.3]
He could use its powers to help his tenants.
He could use its power to make money for himself.
He could keep it safe for the son and his blind mother.
He could find out what made it work.
What is the best title for this passage? [4.2, 5.2, 6.2]
Why does the son put the stone in the rice jar? [4.1, 5.1, 6.1]
He wants to see if the stone will make the rice jar full.
He wants to keep the stone out of sight.
He has heard that putting stones in rice helps preserve rice.
He plans to give the stone and rice to his mother for her birthday, so he puts them in the same place.
What does “glinting” mean as used in paragraph 7? [4.4, 5.4, L.4.4a, L.5.4a, 6.4, L.6.4a]
Read the following list of events in the story. [4.5, 5.5, 6.5]
The son shared spinach with the people of the village.
The village was hit by a flood.
The son gave rice to the villagers.
The son put back rice for his mother’s birthday.
What is the order in which these events occurred in the story?
A, B, C, D
D, B, C, A
B, D, A, C
B, D, C, A
How did the landlord find out about the magic stone? [4.1, 5.1, 6.1]
He saw the son carry it into his house.
The son told him about it.
He heard about the stone in the village after the son gave away rice.
The landlord heard about it from another one of his tenants.
A. Explain why the people of the village thought the son was a good person.
A common theme or central message in literature is that good behavior is rewarded, while bad behavior is punished. After reading “Magic Spinach,” explain how this theme is developed in this story.
The Year Without a Summer It was 1816, and the spring in New England was cold and damp. The farmers grumbled a bit because their crop planting was delayed. Such chilly springs in New England, however, are not unusual. Anyone who takes up farming in that part of the United States has to expect the worst, but even the old hands were not prepared for the summer of 1816.
June started out nice and warm. It made the farmers forget the frosts and snows of May, but on June 6, and for the next five days, snow and hail returned. Several inches of snow covered the newly planted fields. It was so cold that a fire was necessary to keep warm indoors. It felt like mid-November rather than early June. People had to wear winter hats and coats.
Finally, more normal weather returned. The farmers tried to repair the damage done by the killing frost and snow.
In July, however, a second blast of cold arrived. It was not as severe as the June cold, but this was July, and July was supposed to be the hottest month of the year. Ice and cold again killed the crops. From July 5 to July 9 the temperature hovered near the freezing mark.
Warm, summerlike weather finally came on July 12. The weather stayed pleasant until August 20. Around this time the farmers began to harvest the crops that had survived the cold spells of June and July.
Then came the most incredible cold of all. Frost again killed the crops in New Hampshire and Maine. The mountains of Vermont were covered with snow. In fact, it snowed every month that year in Vermont. The corn crop was ruined. In Canada, even the normally hardy wheat crop was wiped out.
The story was the same in Europe. Crop failures and food shortages plagued the people. Record-cold temperatures were recorded. Unseasonable snows fell. In the years to come, 1816 would be known as the “Year Without a Summer.”
What caused this frigid summer with the strangely colored sky? Scientists blame the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tambora, in Indonesia—half the world away. The explosion was so great that the height of this volcanic mountain was reduced by 5,000 feet. Many cubic miles of ash and dust were hurled into the air. They gathered into a huge cloud in the upper atmosphere. This cloud then began to circle the globe. It prevented some of the sun’s rays from reaching Earth and made the temperature drop dramatically. It also caused some spectacular sunsets and weird colors in the sky.
No one is certain just how much blame belongs to Tambora for the unusually cold summer of 1816. Some of the cold might have been the result of normal weather changes. But other volcanoes, such as Krakatoa in 1883 and Gunnung Agung in 1963, have also been accused of causing unusual weather. In 1982, El Chichon in southern Mexico exploded. Many scientists believe that its impact on world weather will be felt for many years to come.
Why don’t the people complain about the chilly spring? [4.1, 5.1, 6.1]
The people knew that complaining didn’t change the weather.
Chilly springs aren’t unusual in New England.
The people had heard about the volcano eruption of Mt. Tambora.
June started out warm and nice.
Which of the following statements best expresses the main or central idea of the passage? [4.2, 5.2, 6.2]
During the cold summer of 1816, the corn crop was ruined.
Scientists believe that the volcanic ash and dust from Mt Tambora may have caused the cold and snow in the summer of 1816.
No matter what happens, people keep on trying to plant crops and survive.
Unusual weather may result from the explosion of a volcano.
What does plagued mean as used in paragraph 5? [4.4, 5.4, 6.4]
The people became sick.
The people were greatly interested.
The people were covered in ash and debris.
The people were greatly troubled.
Read the following list of events: [4.5, 5.5, 6.5]
The most incredible cold spell of all occurred.
Five days of hail and snow hit New England.
Mt. Tambora erupted.
Ice and cold killed the first round of crops.
In which order do these events occur?
A, B, C, D
C, B, D, A
C, D, B, A
D, C, B, A
Which statement best describes the structure of the passage? [4.5, 5.5, 6.5]
The passage begins with a chronological description of the spring and summer of 1816 in New England and other parts of the world and ends with explanations of possible causes of the cold summer.
The passage gives specific examples of unusual weather and discusses some possible causes of the unusual weather.
The passage tells a story of June, July, and August in New England during the summer of 1816.
The passage describes and explains the effects of volcanic eruptions on the rest of the world.
What does a reader NOT learn about 1816 after reading “Year Without a Summer”? [4.1, 5.1, 6.1]
The explosion of Mt. Tambora reduced the height of the volcanic mountain by 5,000 feet.
The ash and dust gathered into a large cloud in the upper atmosphere.
The cloud prevents sun’s rays from reaching Earth and may have lowered the temperature in other parts of the world.
Extreme heat caused by volcanic eruptions always causes lower temperatures elsewhere on the planet.
How do scientists explain the exceptionally cold summer of 1816, the “Year Without a Summer”?
The Boston Marathon
Each year for over 100 years, runners have gathered outside of Boston Massachusetts. Each year for over 100 years, they toe the starting line. They hear the starting gun, jump into motion, and race to the finish line. It is not any easy race. The finish line is in downtown Boston, more than 26 miles away.
This yearly event is known as the Boston Marathon. Runners from around the world compete in the race. The Boston Marathon has become a huge sporting event. Many runners feel it is the most prestigious race of the year. To them, the race is second only to the Olympics.
The first “marathon” took place in ancient Greece. In 490 B.C., the Greeks won a battle at a town called Marathon. A Greek soldier carried the news to Athens. He ran all the way—about 25 miles.
In 1896, the modern Olympics were established. The organizers chose to honor the ancient “marathon.” They added a marathon race to the Olympics. The course was 25 miles long. In 1908, the distance was changed to 26 miles, 385 yards—the course length for all modern marathons.
The first Boston Marathon took place on April 19, 1897. Fifteen runners lined up in a small town near Boston. They ran 25 miles into the city. Most of the course was dirt roads. There was no prize money, and few people came to watch.
This humble event was the start of a great tradition. Today, the Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon. It has been called “the Super Bowl of the foot racing.” Nearly 40,000 men and women ran the race in 1996. About two million people lined the roads to watch. Now the roads of the course are paved. And Marathon winners earn prize money, fame, and glory.
In the early years of the Boston Marathon, running was not a popular sport. Few runners took part in the race. Most people thought the runners were odd. Running all those miles was a difficult, exhausting challenge.
In the 1960s, people views about running started to change. Doctors began to prove that running can promote good health. People soon realized that running has many perks. It is great exercise, it is free and it requires little equipment. It can be done just about anytime, anywhere, and just about anyone can run.
More and more people began to jog and run. Suddenly, running was a popular pastime. Some people ran just a few miles a week. Others began to run 50 miles or more per week. Still others began to wonder if they too could run in a marathon. More and more people signed up to run the Boston race.
By the 1970s, thousands entered the Boston Marathon each year. They came from every state and almost every country. In fact, too many people wanted to enter the race. The course could not hold them all, so the organizers made a rule. Runners now had to qualify. They had to prove they could run the distance in a set time.