Teaching Comparison

Let’s create a lesson plan for teaching comparison to students by using adjectives and conjunctions, comparatives, superlatives, and adverbs. This is an important skill for our students especially English Language Learners (ELLs). To successfully teach this concept to your students, it’s important to break down the learning objectives into manageable steps.

Vocabulary – Adjectives

The first step in teaching comparison using adjectives and conjunctions is to familiarize your students with basic descriptive words such as large, big, tiny, small, tall, short and warm, cold. I love to use semantic gradients as a visual way for students to “see” the difference in similar words.

Semantic gradients are powerful tools to teach elementary students the differences between related words and increase their vocabulary.  This graphic organizer improves reading comprehension and works with both English Language Learners (ELL) and native English speakers.

semantic gradient

Graphic organizers for shades of meaning offer classroom teachers and ELD teachers a vehicle to reach the needs of all students. This type of gradient helps students distinguish between the subtle nuances of the meaning of related words and broadens their understanding of connected words, opposites meanings, and synonyms.  (Read more here)

Furthermore, semantic gradients show all students how to use vocabulary precisely when expressing themselves in speaking and writing.

More and Less

Introduce the concepts of more and less using examples that help students understand the difference between these two terms. Visual aids work well when teaching comparison to demonstrate the differences between more and less. After introducing these basics concepts to your students, begin teaching them how to combine two descriptive words with conjunctions such as “and” or “but” in order to compare two objects or things. Practice makes perfect and activities like making sentences with both descriptive words and conjunctions will help your students grasp this concept quickly.

Comparatives and Superlatives

Next it’s time to introduce comparatives and superlatives. Start by introducing comparative adjectives such as




as well as superlative adjectives like best or biggest.

When teaching comparison encourage your students to make comparisons between different objects by having them use these new adjectives in their sentences. For example: The elephant is bigger than the mouse or The cat is the smallest animal in the zoo.  Use visuals such as pictures or diagrams for further clarification of the concepts being taught.


The last step in teaching comparison is focusing on adverbs. Introduce adverbs by having your students create sentences using adverbs that describe how something happens (quickly or slowly) rather than simply comparing two things (bigger or smaller). This will give them a better understanding of how adverbs are used in comparison structures while also helping them improve their English language skills overall. Examples of sentences they can make include: My brother runs faster than me or She writes slowly compared to her sister. Have them practice and practice these sentences so they are comfortable with this concept.

By following these steps carefully when teaching comparison using adjectives, conjunctions comparatives and superlatives, you will be able to effectively teach elementary students including English language learners about this important topic!

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