I decided to do an author study of sorts on Jan Brett (one of my favorite children's authors) and have the students compare and contrast some of her books.
First, I had the students read their assigned Jan Brett book and describe the main character and setting.
Students shared their character and setting with the class and we made a class chart of the different characters, settings, problems, and solutions. We did a thumbs up, thumbs down activity during this part of the author study to see who had similarities in their books.
Next, I had the students pick a partner and trade books. They read each others Jan Brett books and verbally discussed the similarities and differences between their stories. This is where they got there graphic organizer to jot down these thoughts. We spent a great deal of time discussing character feelings/actions and setting descriptions to ensure that they were thinking broader with their compare/contrasting.
Last, they used their graphic organizer to make their final draft of a venn-diagram on the paper plates. I just stapled them together prior to the lesson but you could have them clue them together if you wanted. When they were finished they were able to pick a character from both stories and draw them to decorate their venn-diagrams.