Compare And Contrast Essay For 8th Grade

Today's lesson was in the computer lab.  Time in the lab is precious, so I tried to be as efficient as possible with the directions.

On the SmartBoard, I pulled up the ReadWriteThink site, and I accessed the Compare/Contrast map.  The map is great because it walks the students through the steps of constructing an essay, and it prompts with helpful questions.  For example, it asks the student to select what kind of compare/contrast essay he/she is doing.  In our case, I told the student to select "Similarities and Differences."  If my class were more experienced, or if it were later in the year, I might let them choose the structure.  But, we are definitely not there yet and I wanted them to spend their time thinking about the stories (and later crafting really good paragraphs, rather than making structural choices.

I had the students work in pairs for practical reasons (my classes are large and a bunch of our computers were being serviced), but it worked out really well.  The students knew that they would not be writing the final draft together, so they basically had another person with whom to talk through ideas.  Though this doesn't always produce a better product, I do think the working in pairs worked this time.

My students had a hard time with condensing their ideas down to the allotted characters on the template.  This is mostly because my students like to just write and write and write and hope the right answer/thesis/idea is in there somewhere.  The planner forced them to be concise and think about ideas.  I told them to use the planner in such a way that it was USEFUL to them, since I was only going to give it a process (classwork) grade.

A nice feature on the template is that you can have the students e-mail their work to themselves and to you, rather than printing.  This helped them the next day, because they could use a split screen to see the planner and their essay page at the same time.


Creating A Great Compare And Contrast Essay: Tips For Grade 8 Students

The primary purpose for writing a compare and contrast essay is to analyze the similarities and differences of two specific subjects. A great compare and contrast paper also provides a significant argument regarding the two subjects. It may seem challenging to approach this type of paper, but with a little bit of practice it can be fairly simple.

Picking Your Subjects

Your first step is to pick two subjects that can be easily contrasted and compared. They must be different enough to be carefully contrasted. There are some factors that you need to consider before you choose your subject.

  • Pick two subjects that are of the same type or category but have significant differences.

  • Pick two subjects that do not seem to have much in common but do have some similarities.

  • Pick two subjects that seem to be the same but have some differences.


Once you have chosen your two subjects, you must now brainstorm and perform research on the subjects. There are some different ways you can go about brainstorming.

  • Create a comparison chart of the two subjects, one for similarities, and one for differences.

  • Once this chart is complete you can begin organizing these thoughts in the order you wish to discuss them in your paper.

  • Include examples in your brainstorming notes so that when it comes time to write your paper, you are organized and ready to go.

Develop a Thesis

Once you have a clear idea of the organization and order of your paper, you can then begin to develop a thesis for your paper. There are several ways to go about this.

  • Show the reader how one of your subjects is better than the other.

  • Create a meaningful comparison between the two subjects.

Discuss Subjects in a Meaningful Way

The two subjects you choose must be discussed in a meaningful way. In order to successfully compare and contrast these two subjects, you need to be able to explain what makes them different and similar from one another. A good compare and contrast paper will allow your readers to understand why it is unique and interesting that these subjects are together.

  • Explain to the reader why the comparison between the two chosen subjects is unique and interesting.

  • Explain this in a way that readers are able to understand.

  • Include examples and details in your paper.

Following these suggestions will help you easily write a compare and contrast essay.

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