Venn Diagrams as a Reading Strategy

Who doesn’t love a good Venn Diagram? Me, I didn’t. I don’t have anything against Mr. Venn, I think his double circle idea is pretty clever, but  always thought of Venn Diagrams as an output strategy that I didn’t find very helpful  for my level 1 little darlings. In September, when they’re brand new to Spanish,  they don’t have the language to compare and contrast the differences between Mexican Independence and American Independence, for example. Every year, I’d comprehensify “El Grito”  by illustrating it on the board, and then they’d compare and contrast Mexican and US independence, in English, on their Venn Diagrams, which sorta always felt like a big waste of my precious class minutes.

Then it hit me: what if I stopped thinking of a Venn Diagram as an output strategy and turned it into an input strategy…what if I gave them they phrases and they had to read them and decide where they fit in their Venn Diagrams. It is embarrassing how  long this took me to figure out, and even more embarrassing how proud I am of this idea, because I am sure that someone brighter and smarter and more creative than me as been doing this for years….but seriously guys, when this thought occurred to me, the globe stopped spinning just for a minute. Earth Shattering, my friends. 

And it’s so ridiculously easy:

  1. Have your kiddos draw a sweet Venn Diagram.
  2. Project a list of sentences.
  3. Students (working in pairs or individually) read the statements and copy them onto their Venn Diagram.
  4. Teacher puts her feet up and watches her little darlings work.

How easy is that?!?! I suppose you could make life easy for them by making it a worksheet and they draw a line or symbol instead of having them copy it down…but I like my kiddos to work for it. And reading and copying sort of feels like a leveled up dictation.

Dia de los muertos venn

Here’s one I made for Mexican Independence vs. US Independence for my Level 1s

Here’s Día de los Muertos vs. Halloween for my Level 1s.

Feel free to make a copy if you’d like to adjust the language to make it more comprehensible for your little darlings!

And although I haven’t tried this yet…I think this will be a great strategy to use when my 2nd period class reads 4th period’s story and they have to compare and contrast it to their own. I’ll just copy and paste a handful of sentences from both class’s Write and Discuss, project them and send my little darlings to work while I take a little break 🙂

Of course, this won’t be my Little Darlings’s first introduction to Día de los Muertos… We’ll Movie Talk this adorable Día de los Muertos short film first…they’ll do their Venn Diagraming as a follow up activity.

PS- And speaking of Día de los Muertos…I have a pretty sweet Coco Movie Summary written for Level 2+ to accompany the movie, if you’re planning on showing Coco this year.  (It makes for great multiple day sub plans if you find you need something!)

It finally feels like Fall in Northern Nevada and I’m loving it! Hope you’re enjoying your fall and all things pumpkin spice!

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  1. Love your examples! I have done a similar Venn diagrams at the beginning of Spanish I comparing and contrasting La Tomatina (based on Amy Leonard’s fabulous lesson plan) and En Encierro de San Fermín (SOMOS Camina o Corre). One thing I do differently however is, rather than taking the time to rewrite all of my sentences, I have them create their VENN diagram on a big piece of construction paper, then give them the sentences to cut apart and glue to the right section of the chart. I was surprised at how much high schoolers still love to cut and paste!


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