Chris Adcock
English Language Arts, Composition and Rhetoric
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Character
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Editing
  • Essays
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Writing
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Compare and Contrast Two Main Characters

    Compare and Contrast Two Main Characters


    In this lesson, students will reflect on the main characters in the two short stories they have read recently. They will begin a short paper about these stories.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Decide how you will group students for their discussion of the homework questions.
    • Plan which students will write about each of the short stories in Task 4.
    • Determine what you will communicate to students about the length and content of the paper they are beginning in this lesson.

    Homework Group Share

    • You may want to group your students according to who answered the same question for homework.


    Share your responses to the divergent question you answered for homework.

    • Make notes on any of your classmates’ responses that you find intriguing.

    Open Notebook

    Short Stories Reflection

    • Facilitate a class discussion in which students think through the relationships between the two stories.
      • ELL: Be prepared to provide some background information on this particular time period in American history for students who might not be familiar with it.

    Work Time

    • What do both stories suggest about America during these particular time periods? (Both stories could have taken place in the same era of American history.)
    • Did your annotations of the stories help you understand them better? Explain.

    Open Notebook

    Share your responses with the entire class.

    Main Character Comparison

    • You may choose to have students create a T-chart instead of a Venn diagram to compare the characters.
    • Briefly review both kinds of charts, so that students can make an informed choice.
    • Circulate among the pairs to check for understanding.
    • If time permits, give students a chance to share their best ideas with the full class.

    Work Time

    Using a Venn diagram, compare and contrast the two main characters.

    • In what ways are Mr. Ryder and Tusee similar?
    • How are they different?

    Share your diagram with a partner.

    Character Identity Questions

    • Let students know how you want them to explore the rubric.
    • Students can refer to the annotations they have made in the texts.
    • Assign students to reflect on the protagonist from “A Warrior's Daughter” or “The Wife of His Youth.”
    • Help students use critical questioning as a way of generating ideas for a thesis. If you think it will be helpful, provide a few examples of good questions and model how to turn a response into a thesis. They won’t be answering the questions until the next task, but some students may benefit from knowing the desired outcome in advance.
      • SWD: Use a Think Aloud to show students how to use questioning to build and refine a useful and appropriate thesis. Model interrogating the thesis you create: ask students questions based on the thesis you create that make them look back at the original text for responses.
    • Encourage students to write down whatever questions they have, however mundane they feel those questions might be.
    • Have them generate their questions as a way of raising more questions that are more in-depth and analytical.

    Work Time

    First, follow your teacher’s directions as you explore the Informational Writing Rubric so you know more about the upcoming writing task.

    Your teacher will assign you to reflect on one of the two main characters from “A Warrior’s Daughter” or “The Wife of His Youth.”

    Then follow the instructions.

    • Review your annotations and consider how the main character in your story explores questions of identity.
    • Write down two or three questions regarding your character and his or her understanding of personal identity.
      • These questions should be open-ended.
      • Try to frame questions that can be answered in one sentence.

    Open Notebook

    Critical Questions Group Share

    • Put students in groups of four or five so they have a few questions to answer.
    • If students are not able to share their writing with each other electronically, decide how you will have them exchange their questions and responses.
    • Circulate among the students to check for understanding.
      • ELL: This is a good opportunity to check for understanding, go over the questions and responses that these students have generated, and make sure they understand the process by which they will construct a thesis.

    Work Time

    Working in your small group, share your critical questions from the previous task with your classmates.

    • Respond in writing to each of your classmates’ questions.

    When you finish, share your responses with each other.

    Question Review and Reflection

    • Project or display the questions for easier student viewing.
    • Encourage students to critique their own work and the work of their classmates in a positive manner.
    • Remind students that giving and receiving constructive criticism is an important skill.
    • Have several students share their responses with the class.


    Review your group’s questions and responses. Reflect in writing on the following questions.

    • Which question seemed to generate the best responses?
    • Why do you think this is?

    Open Notebook

    Essay Introduction

    • If needed, review the elements of an effective introduction and thesis statement.
      • SWD: Some students can benefit from working with you to clarify a thesis statement before they start writing an introduction.
    • Let students know what your expectations are in terms of paper length and content.
    • Remind students that their thesis statement should be in their own words, not a verbatim copy of another student's response.


    • Begin writing an introduction to your essay using your own version of one of the responses as your working thesis.

    Open Notebook