Teacher Tip Tuesday: Would You Rather…?

Today’s tip was once again inspired by Lisa Donohue from the Millersville Writing Institute…yep, I’m still blogging about the best grad class ever!

Quite simply it’s called Would You Rather?  And, do not fret, it is a completely acceptable approach to use with your youngsters.  Let’s get the technical gibberish out of the way and then let’s give it a try!

Today’s tip is going focus on comparing and contrasting  by examining  how story elements are similar (the comparing) and how they are different (the contrast).  With the Would You Rather?  technique we are going to be encouraging our students to make connections between texts or ideas and engage in critical thinking skills. This will in turn lead to a students gaining a deeper understanding of the text.  Meet our good friend the Venn Diagram because this will be the graphic organizer that spurs all that wonderful critical thinking:

Good Old Mr. Venn

The lessons are going to be focused on books that can be used during the Read Aloud block of instruction.  They can be used to promote discussion or they can be used as part of a Reader’s Response Notebook.  (By the way, be sure to click on the link for the Reader’s Response.  I think you will find some great ideas.)

Here is a brief overview of how the lesson will work:

  1. Choose book(s) that will promote critical thinking skills and analysis.
  2. Read the book(s) aloud.
  3. Share the Would You Rather? prompt.
  4. Organize thoughts on the Venn Diagram
  5. Respond in the Reader’s Notebook being sure to provide text support as to why.

Sample prompt to promote the analysis of the setting:

Would You Rather…live at Hogwarts or in the land of Narnia?

Harry Potter

Chronicles of Narnia

Sample prompt to promote the analysis of the plot line:

Would You Rather…go on an adventure with Eric, Julie, and Neal from the Secrets of Droon or go on an adventure with Jack and Annie from the Magic Tree House?

Secrets of Droon Series

Magic Tree House Series

Sample prompt to promote character analysis:

Would you rather… be Rose or Ben from the story Wonderstruck?

by Brian Selznick

Sample prompt to promote the theme (frinedship):

Would you rather…be best friends with August Pullman in Wonder or Jessica Feeney in Firegirl?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Firegirl by Tony Abbott

Let’s not forget about nonfiction!  Here is a sample prompt the requires the analysis on content information:

Would you rather…live on Saturn or Neptune?

Saturn by Seymour Simon

Neptune by Seymour Simon

So, whatever Would You Rather? prompt you choose, it is sure to spark those critical thinking skills in your Langage Arts instruction.  I hope you give it a try, and I hope you let me know how you used it in your classroom!

Happy Reading!

Happy Writing!

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