This is a guest blog post from fifth-grade teacher Diane Roethler that originally ran in August 2014. If you like what you read here, check out her blog at this link !
Hameray has several high-interest biography texts that can be used to compare and contrast people’s lives. At the fifth-grade level, Common Core states that students should be able to integrate information from two or more texts, so this is a great way to start working on those skills.
In the group of books that I have, I found that the biographies of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs paired well. Any student this age who knows anything about technology should recognize these two names. If they don’t, they will still be interested in these people with a brief introduction.
Benjamin Franklin and George Washington would be another nice pair. Both were huge influences when our country was fighting for its independence from Britain, but for completely different reasons. Students would be able to find many, many similarities and differences.
Another pair in the books that I have is Sacagawea and Chief Sitting Bull . Even though they were both Native Americans, their lives were completely different. Another good set of books to have students think about similarities and differences.
Diane has been teaching fifth grade in Iowa since 1999. She has her masters in Educational Technology and loves finding ways to integrate technology into her curriculum. She blogs about organization, classroom management, DIY projects, and more at
To download an information sheet with more information about The Hameray Biography Series , which contains the books shown in this post, click the image to the left below. To download the Biography Compare and Contrast Worksheet, click the image to the right.