Archive for the ‘Contrast’ Category

Earlier, I mentioned that one of the remarkable things about using digital material is the wide variety that can be collected over time. This variety, in turn, will appeal to the wonderful diversity of students we have in our classrooms!

Below is a short, but very interesting, video of students talking about the differences between their cultures and what they have observed in the U.S.  I think this might make a great prompt for sentence level practice when my writing students work on paragraphs of contrast. Thank you to James Trotta at


James Trotta also gives a clip from the movie Mr. Baseball which can be used for writing about contrasts.


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One of the beautiful advantages of materials accessed through digital memory versus material accessed through paper and ink is the richness and authenticity of the images that a teacher can make available to students. In the past, for example, when presenting students with materials that would give the opportunity to practice writing sentences of contrast, instructors were limited by what was offered in the textbook or what they were able to find and copy for their students. Digital memory, however, offers nearly limitless access to authentic media of most kinds and over time instructors and students can collect a wide variety of writing prompts. In turn, students are then able to choose the prompts that speak to their particular interests. One student who is interested in cross cultural comparison could write about a cultural difference. Another student who is interested in the visual arts could contrast two paintings.

On a recent visit to the Art Institue of Chicago, I viewed the two paintings below and felt that a visually oriented student or one who is interested in the the visual arts might enjoy writing sentences that contrast these two paintings. BoatsontheBeachatEtretat

Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926). Boats on the Beach, Etretat, 1885. Downloaded August 20, 2009 from http://z.about.com/d/arthistory/1/0/D/X/impsea_07.jpg.


Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926). The Departure of the Boats, Etretat. Downloaded August 20, 2009 from  http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/claude-monet-paintings-1879-1886-12.jpg.

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colored_pencils_chevreMy last post was on writing about smilarities and this one is on writing about differences. In my post on using blogs with students, I mentioned an assignment that my students complete on writing about the differences between high schools in two different countries. One thing they do to get ready to write this paragraph is study some vocabulary and grammar used to write about differences. I give them a handout with this information. In addition, using StudyMate, I’ve made a set of fill-in-the-blank cards that reviews these points and attached them to Blackboard. My students work on these cards as homework and later have a very short quiz on them. This helps prepare them to write their paragaphs of contrast.

I’d like to add that the opinions in the cards came from my students, and not everyone will agree with every sentence. Please feel free to use these cards on Writing about Differences with your students and, if you have some time, please share your ideas in the form of a comment to this post.  Have fun!

Chevre. Colored Pencils. Retrieved December 14, 2008 from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Colored_pencils_chevre.jpg

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