Using Key Words to Compare and Contrast

Subject: ESL/ELL (English Language Learning)

Lesson Length: 30 - 45 mins

Topic: Compare and Contrast

Grade Level: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: Students will practice using key words to signal compare and contrast.

Know Before You Start: This lesson is intended to help students use key words when speaking and writing to express their ideas on how two things are similar or different.


  • Read and discuss the sample comic.

    • Discuss how in English, you can use certain words to compare people, things, or ideas to show how they are similar or the same. 

    • In addition, you can use certain words to contrast, or tell how people, things, or ideas are different. 

  • Create a T-chart of words that signal compare and contrast, e.g., also, like, too, same, similar, both; but, differ, however, unlike, while.


  • Write down topic pairs on index cards and have students choose a pair, e.g., whales and sharks, dogs and cats, two favorite movies, two favorite video games. 

  • Using the sample comic as a guide, have students create a comic that compares and contrasts their topic pair. 

  • Display sentence frames and/or signal words for students to use in their comic.


  • Have students present their comics to the whole group or in pairs.


  • Allow students to use speech-to-text as needed.
  • Allow students to use the voiceover feature to read their comics aloud.
  • Allow students to work in pairs as needed.
  • Print out the comic and have students highlight the signal words they used.

  • Adapt sentence frames to match student language level.

  • Allow students to come up with their own topic pair.


Suggested Story Starters: