Similar and Different

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The purpose of this activity is for students to use critical thinking skills to identify cultural products and practices that they have in common with members of the target culture/community as well as those that are unique to either the target culture or the students’ home community. By comparing and analyzing similarities between both the target culture and themselves and between themselves and their classmates, students are able to make connections to other cultures within and beyond their own communities in the target language.

Instructions

  1. The teacher develops several (5-6) statements about practices or products.

  2. Using a graphic organizer, students are given a certain amount of time after each statement to indicate if that product or practice is something they have in common with the target culture or if it is something that is unique.

  3. Working in small groups, students use the target language to share their opinions with each other, noting how they are similar and different as a group and individually compared to one another and the target culture and recording their findings on their graphic organizers.

  4. The teacher may choose to call on non-volunteers to share what either (a) they or (b) their group members noted about similarities/differences.

Adaptation for Online/Distance Learning

  1. Same as above, but students work in breakout rooms.

Helpful Tips

  1. Novices can do this task using a sentence frame like “in my local community I/we….., but in (country/community) some people …..”

Differentiation

  1. Change Modes: students could do a collaborative writing explaining similarities and differences based on their graphic organizers.

  2. Change Level of Thinking: increase the thinking level of the output using one of the following suggestions: -Ask students to hypothesize reasons why the similarities and differences exist. -Ask the students to identify other cultural products or practices in each culture and predict how welcome that practice would be to the other culture. -Ask students to connect additional activities to cultural products and practices.

Materials

  1. Statements (possibly supported by images) about products, and practices.

  2. Graphic organizer (print or digital)

  3. Speaking placemat with sentences stems to compare and contrast, to agree or disagree, to support and defend an opinion and to have collaborative discussions.