Thursday, September 25, 2014

Interactive Notebook Lesson for Comparing and Contrasting Paleo Indians and Archaic People

As promised, I'm back with an Interactive Notebook template for comparing and contrasting early North American peoples. I've also included an anchor chart and a sample summary for the lesson.

Here's the INB template I designed for this lesson. I would have students cut this out during morning announcements, then store it in the envelopes in the back of their notebooks until time for the writing lesson. Since this is a cross-curricular skill lesson, I would take time during both the writing block and social studies as needed to finish.

Paleo vs. Archaic People Front Sample


The copy I give to students would actually be blank where I currently have clipart showing people of the time. I want them to use their own illustrations, but this is an accommodation you could use for absent or struggling students. I designed this starting with a completely blank template I downloaded from Tangstar Science here.

Paleo vs. Archaic People Blank Front


I would have my own copy of the blank template projected on the Interactive Whiteboard, so that we could complete this as a class. This is what the inside would look like.

Paleo Vs. Archaic People Blank Inside
As a class, we would come up with descriptive items to fill out the chart. Differences go under the specific people, while similarities go under "Both." For instance, Paleo Indians lived when the Earth was much colder, while Archaic people enjoyed a climate and environment much like today's. However, both were hunter-gatherers. However, the Paleo Indians used sticks and spears to hunt large animals, while the Archaic people developed the atlatl to enable them to hunt smaller animals with greater accuracy. Here's a video from PBS showing the design and use of the atlatl.

PBS Atlatl Video


By the time we finished filling out our chart, I would expect it to look something like this:

Paleo Vs. Archaic People Sample Inside
This foldable chart would be glued into the Interactive Notebook, but we wouldn't stop there.

Next, I would project this blank anchor chart, which I would fill in front student suggestions, while students worked on their own copies.

Blank Compare Contrast Anchor Chart
We would talk about the use of signal words to show when we are comparing two like items, or contrasting two items which are not alike. I would encourage students to come up with these signal words to fill the chart. (If students had difficulty with this, I would have them pull out a previous comparison/contrast article from a different assignment and have them search for the transition words.) This is what I would expect the chart to look like by the time we finished creating it as a class.

Once the anchor chart and Paleo vs. Archaic People foldable graphic organizer were complete, we could proceed to the compare/contrast summary paragraphs. Of course, your own curriculum probably differs from mine, but here is a sample of what I would be working on with my students.

Compare/Contrast Paleo vs. Archaic People

I love typing this sort of thing on the computer while students watch, because it shows the ease of editing from a computer program. Fourth graders need encouragement to type on the computer, and this is one way I try to encourage them. I also think it's a good idea to go back as a class and highlight the comparison/contrast transition words. It's an effective way to remind students to look for these words in their own writing later.

Completed Sample with Highlighted
Compare/Contrast Transition words
Once students have completed these steps together as a class, I would have them complete similar activities for later Native American groups. My struggling students would probably continue to need small group support to be successful at this, while my high groups would be able to fly on their own. By far the largest group of students would need modest support, and we would continue to complete more of these types of assignments as the weeks progress.

As a quick response, I would ask students to compare and contrast two items of their own, such as two types of animals, or two sports teams, and write a brief paragraph about it in their journals.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about using Interactive Notebooks for comparison/contrast lessons. If you are interested in purchasing this lesson, check out my store here. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave some feedback below!

"See" you next time!

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