The Double Diamond
Primary Market
Education, Primary Ed
Character Focus
Items Needed
1 Toobeez set, The Principal’s New Clothes by Stephanie Calmenson, The Emperor’s New Suit by Hans Christian Anderson, sentence strips, markers, chart paper (optional)
The Activity Time
45 – 55 minutes


  • Differentiate between comparing and contrasting when analyzing a story
  • Determine similarities and differences between two stories
  • Discuss and reflect on the experience
Character Focus
The Challenge

Analyze two stories to determine both similar and differing elements between the stories.


Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 Toobeez set
  • The Principal’s New Clothes by Stephanie Calmenson
  • The Emperor’s New Suit by Hans Christian Anderson
  • copy of The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (optional)
  • sentence strips
  • chart paper (optional)


  • Create two large square shapes using the Toobeez.
  • Turn the squares so each represents a diamond, and overlap them at two corners (refer to photo).
Activity Plan

Time: 45 – 55 minutes

Space: Medium

Instruction: Groups

Helpful Hints

  • Be sure to review these tips prior to beginning the activity, and if necessary, share reminders with the group during the activity.
  • Reading the stories: You can read both these stories aloud to the class, or you can split students into two groups so each group hears only one of the stories
  • To save time, have students read the stories in advance, or read one story the day before and the other story prior to beginning the lesson
  • This lesson imitates the Venn diagram technique to make the skills of comparing and contrasting reading material a hands-on activity

Here are available Training Options!

Activity Instructions

1. Circle up the group.

Discuss the following concepts with the group before beginning the activity. Have students recall times when they had to compare or contrast something in their life.

* To compare items means to analyze the similarities between the items.
* To contrast items means to analyze the differences between the items.

2. Read aloud the following Activity Challenge Box to the group.

Challenge: Analyze two stories to determine both similar and differing elements between the stories.

3. If students are going to read both stories for the first time, divide students into two groups. Provide each group with one of the books, and have students in each group take turns reading the story aloud.
Teacher Note: Groups should move far enough apart so as not to be distracted by the other group’s reading. Teacher Note: See the “Helpful Hints” section above for other reading options.

4. Once reading has been completed, regroup the students and place the Toobeez diamonds in the middle of the circle with the two corners overlapping (they should look like overlapping diamonds). Arrange students around the Toobeez.

5. Label one Toobeez diamond for each book title using a sentence strip.

6. Begin discussing the stories by asking some of the questions below. As the students respond to the questions, have students take turns recording the responses on sentence strips or paper. Teacher Note: If the two groups read separate books, have each group record their own responses on their own sentence strips. If both stories were read as a whole class, then have students take turns recording responses for each story.

  • Who was the main character?
  • What was the character’s conflict?
  • What happened to the main character?
  • Who were the secondary characters?
  • How did the main character solve the conflict?
  • What was the moral of the story?
  • And so on… .

7. For each question, have students determine if the group’s responses are similar or different. If they are similar, place the similar-statement sentence strips (one on top of the other) in the center of overlapping Toobeez. If they are different, the responses should go in the larger open part of the Toobeez square under the corresponding book title.

8. When the Toobeez are filled with as many responses as possible, review how the books were similar and how they were different.

9. After the activity, move to the “Activity Discussion and Processing” section of the activity.

Double Diamond
Label each diamond with the book title and place cards in the diamonds. Place similar traits in the overlapping center space.

Label each diamond with the book title and place cards in the diamonds. Place similar traits in the
overlapping center space.


  • Students worked cooperatively in groups
  • Students participated in classroom discussion and volunteered information from the group reading
  • Teacher observed good student work

Activity Discussion and Processing

To close the lesson, end with a group discussion about what was learned during the activity. Circle up the group, and work through the following questions. If possible, record the group’s responses on flip chart paper so all comments are displayed.

  • Why is comparing and contrasting stories important?
  • How did using the Toobeez help you to see the similar and different elements between the stories?
  • How do you feel your group communicated during this activity?
  • How did your work contribute to the success of the group?
  • Why is it important for people to work together when trying to achieve a common goal?

Activity Variations

1. On display.

Tape the large, overlapping Toobeez diamonds to the wall to track and display similarities and differences of a classroom novel as the class works through an entire book. You could also use this method to emphasize character development by comparing and contrasting characters between or within books.

2. Extension to content areas.

This activity can extend beyond reading and be applied to content areas, such as Social Studies, to compare and contrast information. You can also apply this technique for non-fiction sources such as textbooks, magazines, pamphlets or any other research resource.

Author of the Toobeez Language Arts Activity Workbook and Independent Writing Consultant. Anderson Editorial Services is a company dedicated to providing writing services for creative, informational and educational writing. Whether developing, editing, formatting or proofreading, Anderson Editorial is committed to producing the highest quality of writing.
All Activities of Victoria Anderson, M.Ed.

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