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Adapted from another compare contrast slideshow I found on slideshare, but this one is focused towards helping high school students compare the novel Persepolis to their own lives

Adapted from another compare contrast slideshow I found on slideshare, but this one is focused towards helping high school students compare the novel Persepolis to their own lives

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  • A common assignment in all disciplines is to compare and contrast two or more things to discover how they are alike and/or how they are different. In U.S. History students might be asked to compare Jackson and Jefferson, in science students might compare and contrast the results of two similar labs, in music students might compare different pieces of music and their interpretation, in FTA students might compare elementary students to high school students etc. Besides its value in organizing an essay, comparison/contrast is also useful as a technique to structure a paragraph, to define a complex idea, to think about one thing in terms of another (vertebrates vs. invertebrates, World War I vs. World War II, etc., and to make an evaluation. Only similar items can be compared and/or contrasted. The comparison/contrast must be supported by examples. This Power Point will focus on two organizational patterns for this type of writing assignment, but as with all assignments, you should follow the directions as outlined by your instructor.
  • You must have a purpose for writing the essay—why are you writing the essay? What is your point? When you are getting ready to buy a car you might have specific criteria to compare and contrast. ( Teachers -Ask students to generate a list of things they might look for when buying a car.) The purpose of the comparison/contrast might be to get the best value for your dollar, to meet the needs of your budget, to plan for your future etc. As you plan for which college you may want to attend, you ’ll compare and contrast specific criteria to make an informed decision. Writing a solid essay takes planning. Remember the Rhetorical Square . If you don ’t have a clear idea of why you are comparing or contrasting two things, then you will have difficulty writing a focused paper.
  • Some teachers may ask for a specific thesis pattern and others may allow you to have some freedom in developing your thesis. Also, your ideas may not be completely balanced between comparison and contrast; you may have more similarities than differences or vice versa.
  • This method is also referred to as Subject by Subject or Whole to Whole . With this pattern ( AB,AAA,BBB,AB A = Person or Place, Thing, Idea #1 and B = Person or Place, Thing, Idea # 2 ) you first discuss all of the details for one subject, in this case the BMW, and then all of the details for the second subject, the Honda Civic. The conclusion will reach some sort of final evaluation about the items you have chosen for your paper. If you were writing about cars, you might conclude your paper by making a selection based on the criteria. For example: Based on the excellent mileage, the low cost of insurance, and the price of the vehicle, the Honda Civic will definitely be my choice when I buy a new car.
  • In this pattern AB, AB, AB, AB you provide details about both your subjects in each paragraph. You should follow the same order in each paragraph as well. For example if you begin by discussing the BMW each subsequent paragraph should begin with the details for the BMW. Another pattern, also known as Modified Block (AB, SSS, DDD, AB) introduces the two persons or things in the first paragraph, then focuses on their similarities in the second paragraph, then focus on their differences in the third paragraph, and finally returns to summarize the comparison and contrast. Choose a pattern that fits your topic and the length of the paper and stick with it.
  • These transitions words will help to guide your reader through your comparisons and contrasts.
  • Ask questions if you do not understand an assignment. Complete some type of pre-writing BEFORE you begin your first draft. If the strategies reviewed on the Power Point do not work for you, choose some other method that does. Gather enough supporting evidence to support your topic sentences. That evidence may be in the form of facts, statistics, examples, observations, quotations from literature etc.. Write a thesis statement and keep it in front of you on a big sheet of paper as you write. This strategy will help you to avoid including unnecessary detail or bird walking . Write an outline. This does not have to be as formal as the samples given, but some sort of planning will help you to stay focused. As with all writing, you should continue to work through the writing process to prepare an essay for teacher evaluation. If you are not peer editing in class, ask another student or a parent to review the directions for the assignment and evaluate your draft.


  • 1. Compare and Contrast
  • 2. What is the Purpose?
    • To show the similarities between at least two things
    • and/or
    • To show the difference between two things
    • To inform
    • To explain
    • To analyze
    • To evaluate
  • 3. How do I do this???
    • Take some time to plan with thinking maps or other forms of brainstorming.
    • Remember that brainstorming is just coming up with ideas. Not everything from your brainstorming sessions should go in your essay.
  • 4. Marjane Me With this thinking map completely filled out, you have SIX different options of topics to write about! 1 1 4 2 3 3 2 5 6 Catholic Gangs Rebellion Relation-ship with Parents Education Strict Laws Muslim War & Revolution Freedom of Expression
  • 5. Writing a Thesis Statement
    • Review your brainstorming and your data.
    • What are your strongest arguments? Which topics do you have the most support for?
    • Decide to what extent you will stress the similarities between your subjects and to what extent you will stress their differences.
    • Create a thesis statement that reflects your decision.
  • 6. Marjane Me 1 1 4 2 3 3 2 5 6 Perhaps you decide that the most interesting things to talk about would be to talk about these two differences, along with one key similarity. Catholic Gangs Rebellion Relation-ship with Parents Education Strict Laws Muslim War & Revolution Freedom of Expression
  • 7. Weak Thesis Statements
    • They are both somewhat alike and somewhat different.
    • I can see some similarities and some differences too.
    • Both of them involve (single similarity, no mention of differences).
  • 8. Strong Thesis Pattern
    • While Marjane grew up in a country with stricter laws than here in America and also survived war and revolution, like me, she also rebelled against her parents.
    Freedom of Expression Strict Laws Gangs War & Revolution Rebellion
  • 9. Strong Thesis Pattern
    • Marjane and I had very different experiences growing up, due to the lack of freedom she had and the political upheaval around her, but we were both typical teenagers in the ways we rebelled against our parents.
    Freedom of Expression Strict Laws Gangs War & Revolution Rebellion
  • 10. Organizing the Essay
    • There are two ways to organize a compare-contrast essay....
    • Block
    • OR
    • Point-by-Point
  • 11. Paragraph Organization--Block This would result in TWO body paragraphs. (They will be large paragraphs).
  • 12. Paragraph Organization-- Point by Point 1 st paragraph 2 nd paragraph 3 rd paragraph
  • 13. Outline - Block Method
    • I. Introduction
    • a) Attention Getter or Hook
      • b) Background Information
      • c) Thesis
    • III. Me
    • a) Environment
    • b) Government
    • c) Rebellion
    • II. Marjane
      • a) Environment
      • b) Government
      • c) Rebellion
    IV. Conclusion a) Emphasize Major Ties b) So What? c) Evaluation
  • 14. Outline - Point by Point
    • I. Introduction
      • a) Attention Getter or Hook
      • b) Background Information
      • c) Thesis
    • IV. Rebellion
    • a) Marjane
    • b) Me
    II. Environment a) Marjane b) Me IV. Conclusion a) Emphasize Major Ties b) So What? c) Evaluation III. Government a) Marjane b) Me
  • 15. Transitions
    • To Compare
      • also
      • as
      • in the same way
      • like
      • likewise
      • similarly
      • comparable
      • equally
      • in addition
    • To Contrast
      • although
      • but
      • even though
      • however
      • on the other hand
      • otherwise
      • yet
      • still
      • conversely
      • as opposed to
      • different from
      • whereas
  • 16. Review
    • Make sure you understand the purpose of the assignment
    • Complete pre-writing activity
    • Gather evidence
    • Create a thesis statement
    • Choose an organizational pattern
    • Write an outline
    • Write the essay
    • Revise as needed
  • 17. How to Take a Timed Essay Test
    • It’s all about PACING yourself!
  • 18. Pacing? What is that?
    • Pace (verb)
      • Sentence: You want to make sure you pace yourself as you run the marathon. If you run too hard at the beginning, you will tire out by the end.
      • Definition: to set or regulate speed
      • Try to use the word “pace” or “pacing” in a sentence with your partner.
  • 19. How do I “pace” an essay?
    • Just like you would pace a tri-a-thalon.
      • Tri-a-thalon (Run, bike, swim)
        • Athletes only have 17 hours to complete the whole thing!
        • That means that they have to figure out a certain amount of time to spend on the swimming, on the biking, and on the running.
        • For you, think of it like a tri-a-thalon
        • Pre-write
        • Write
        • Revise/Edit
        • You have to plan…
        • or you will run out of time!
  • 20. How much time do I have to write this? I could do it in 17 hours!
    • You only get 1 hour!!!!
    • The test starts the moment you walk in the door. If you are late to class, you do not get extra time.
    • Use your time wisely. Do NOT spend too much time planning.
  • 21. Suggested Pacing for 1-hour Essay Exam
      • 40 minutes to write
        • Follow your outline and write a coherent essay.
        • Use the book and your notes!!!
        • Include specific evidence.
        • Don’t forget paragraph breaks!
      • 10 min to plan
        • Write a mini outline on the inside cover of your test book!
        • You can write this out beforehand, memorize it, and rewrite it when you arrive.
      • 5-10 minutes to revise and edit
        • Read the essay over again. Fix mistakes you notice as you go along.
        • Add details where it feels weak, even if it means writing between the lines.
        • Cross out anything that doesn’t fit.
        • Do NOT attempt to re-write your paper to make it neater. You will NOT have time.