You're holding a new kind of professional development tool called a Strategic Teacher PLC Guide. Designed in partnership with more than 75 schools, Strategic Teacher PLC Guides make the important work of bringing high-impact, research-based instructional practices into every classroom easier than ever before. Each guide focuses on one strategy from the bestselling ASCD book The Strategic Teacher: Selecting the Right Research-Based Strategy for Every Lesson and serves as a complete professional development resource for a team of teachers (or professional learning community) to learn, plan, and implement the strategy in their classrooms.This guide focuses on Compare & Contrast, a critical thinking strategy unique in its capacity to build students' memories, eliminate confusion, and highlight crucial similarities and differences. Research shows that comparative thinking strategies are the single most effective way to improve student learning. Compare & Contrast takes the natural human capacity to make comparisons and maximizes its effectiveness by leading students through a four-phase learning process that involves* Describing each item separately using criteria.* Capturing key similarities and differences on a comparison organizer.* Forming and discussing generalizations and conclusions.* Synthesizing learning by completing a relevant task.This PLC Guide takes you and your colleagues on a "guided tour" of the Compare & Contrast strategy, enabling you to* Explore the principles and classroom phases that make Compare & Contrast such an effective strategy.* Experience a model lesson using the Compare & Contrast strategy and learn from sample lessons designed by other teachers.* Plan a complete lesson using the Compare & Contrast strategy.* Reflect deeply on your lesson to refine and expand your use of the strategy.* Examine student work at various levels of proficiency and use your findings to plan next steps in building students' comparative analysis skills.Harvey F. Silver, president of Silver Strong & Associates and Thoughtful Education Press, has conducted numerous workshops for school districts and state education departments throughout the United States. He has collaborated with Richard Strong and Matthew Perini on a several best sellers in education, including ASCD's The Strategic Teacher and Thoughtful Education Press's Tools for Promoting Active, In-Depth Learning, which won a Teachers' Choice Award in 2004.