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Lesson Plan

Examining Plot Conflict through a Comparison/Contrast Essay

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Examining Plot Conflict through a Comparison/Contrast Essay

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Six 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Amy Siemmao

Wakefield, Rhode Island


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Students explore picture books to identify the characteristics of four types of conflict: character vs. character, character vs. self, character vs. nature, and character vs. society. Next, students write about conflict in their own lives and then look for similarities among all the conflicts shared by the class, ultimately classifying each conflict into one of the four types. Finally, after investigating the compare and contrast format, students conclude with a compare and contrast essay that focuses on two conflicts—one from their own experience and one from a picture book or story that they have read.

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Plot Conflict PowerPoint Presentation: This brief presentation introduces the plot diagram, and offers examples of each type of conflict.

Comparison and Contrast Guide: This student-centered online guide provides a thorough introduction to the compare and contrast essay format, including definitions, transitions, graphic organizers, checklists, and examples.

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"Where do good writers come from? . . . [T]hey develop through creative instruction, caring adult models, well-structured peer interaction, and lots and lots of practice. But we also know, both from composition research, and from our own lives, that good writers also grow by reading" (58).

This testimonial from Harvey Daniels speaks directly to the power of using literature to teach writing. In this lesson, students are doing just that-They look at examples of plot development and conflict resolution as they grow into their own definitions. Building bridges from literature to writing, students then write their own piece about conflict resolution.

Further Reading

Daniels, Harvey. "THE LITERATURE CIRCLE: Reading Like a Writer." Voices From the Middle 11.2 (December 2003): 58-9.

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