Saturday, September 06, 2008

Apples & Oranges: Going Bananas With Pairs

Apples & Oranges: Going Bananas With Pairs
by Sara Pinto
Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books, 2008
review copy provided by the publisher

This year, our staff is focusing on a few of the strategies in Marzano's CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION THAT WORKS.  One of the instructional strategies that has been proven by research to raise student achievement is identifying similarities and differences.

To launch our study of weather, we brainstormed all the weather words we could think of.  I recorded the words on the overhead, and the students at each table took turns writing the words on index cards.  Then I gave the groups this task:  sort the words into groups that you think make sense.

After this content work on similarities and differences, I shared APPLES & ORANGES: GOING BANANAS WITH PAIRS.  This book nearly put a couple of my students over the edge.  

Page 1: "How are an apple and an orange alike?"  Page 2: "They both don't wear glasses."    

"I don't get it!"  "It doesn't make sense!"  

Others, however, delighted in the playfulness and quickly were able to adapt to the BOTH DON'T format of the comparing.

Page 17:  "How are a spoon and a fork alike?"  Student Response:  "They both don't run away with the dish."  About half the class understood the literary allusion.  I was thoroughly impressed.  This is clearly a student to watch!  (Page 18:  "They both don't dance in the ballet.")

This seems like another book that would be fun to take down the grade levels to see how younger and younger students handle the BOTH DON'T format.  Or maybe a certain librarian could try it for me -- hint, hint Franki!  Or maybe you can try it in your classroom and let me know how it goes! 


  1. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Mary Lee, that is so interesting about identifying similarities and differences. I start next week with the first-graders, and I could take "Apples and Oranges" at some point! Good idea.

  2. Susan, it's a VERY fun book and would suit perfectly for your small group work. Lots of opportunity for discussion. Be sure you come back and let me know how it works with younger students!

  3. What great thinking, ML!! Thanks for sharing the idea and the book!!

  4. interesting. i just recently discovered the concept attainment instructional strategy, whereby teacher gives students the examples, and they have to sort into the "yes" or "no" category (example: for onomatopoeia, you could give words that are, like "woof" and "quack," and also words that are not would be mixed in, like "shout" or "whisper"). i'm going to keep thinking on this, and look for a way to bring in the "both don't" categorization too.

  5. ^i left out that the teacher would have given the students a starting example of both a word that would fit in "yes" and one that would go in "no"


Comment moderation is turned on.