Third Grade Unit 5

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A Feast of Words on a Planet Called Earth and Beyond

ENDURING UNDERSTANDING: Reading stories, poems, and informational text filled with rich language allows a reader, through visualization, to explore our earth and beyond.

Focus Standards:

Unit 5 Houghton Mifflin Resources

Questioning Stems: Narrative (literature) and informational texts questioning stems based on questions  WITHIN, BEYOND, and ABOUT  the texts, to be used throughout the unit.

Student “I Can” Statements:

  1. “I Can” independently read stories, poems, and informational text.

  1. Suggested texts for students to read independently with scaffolding as needed: (informational B1) (Narrative A1) (Poetry G1)
  2. Ways to help students read grade level texts independently:  Choral reading, paired reading, repeated rereading. etc.

  1. “I Can” use dictionaries and thesauruses, both in print and online, to look up words and to consider varied shades of meaning.

  1. Have students look up a word in an online thesaurus. Have them write all the antonyms, synonyms, word parts etc on the Graphic Organizer
  2. Read Frindle  by Andrew Clements and Brian Selznick.  This book talks about why words means what they do.  As a class, do some research on how words got meanings.  (Teacher resource for word and phrases meaning origins - choose appropriate ones to discuss in class- Word Meaning Origins.  In pairs, have students “create” a new name for a common object and explain in writing “why” they would make that change.  They should give at least three reasons.
  3. Read Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt.  Talk about the challenge of finding the “perfect” match for some descriptive words.  Make a list of synonyms for “delicious”.  In small groups have students choose one of the synonyms to brainstorm all of the foods they think would be the “perfect match.
  4. Resources for teaching synonyms and antonyms etc., to help in teaching the various meanings of words.
  5. Explicitly teach students about the shades of meaning in words through this activity.  Have students look up the word “know” in an online thesaurus.  Create a horizontal line on the board with “wonder” at one end and “know” at the other.  Look up synonyms for both words.  List them on the board or chart.  Have the students rank them in order of intensity.  Put the most intense word for wonder on one end of the line and the most intense word of know on the other.  Continue adding words getting less intense and moving toward the middle.  Repeat this activity with verbs and /or adjectives (such as “warm”) that come up in student reading.
  6. Online sources for determining word meanings:

Multiple meaning words  Use primary resources when possible Dictionaries and glossaries 

Yahoo Reference Library

Merriam-Webster Online Elementary Dictionary

Fact Monster



  1. “I Can” decode and analyze words with Latin suffixes.
  1. This is an extended activity wherein you will explicitly teach the difference between a BASE WORD and a ROOT WORD and work with PREFIXES and SUFFIXES.  Deffintions and list of the affixes are found in the Word Study Scope and Sequence.  . (Reading Foundational E-1) List of Suffixes (Latin and others) to be taught in 3rd grade:  (Language F1)
  2. Reading Resource Room is a good resource for suffixes, meanings, uses, etc.
  3. Interactive Quizzes using Prefix and Suffix

  1. “I Can” collect words from poems, both through listening to read-aloud selections and independent         reading.
  1. As you and the students read poems throughout this unit, ask them to choose words that they like to collect in their journals. Ask the students to organize the collected words into categories such as, interesting, confusing, or wonderful.  (Reading Foundational E-2)
  2. Graphic Organizer for Personification
  3. Teaching Personification through rubrics
  4. Dancing Minds and Shouting Smiles: Teaching Personification through Poetry  
  5. Delicious, Tasty, Yummy: Enriching Writing with Adjectives and Synonyms
  6. “Daffodils”, by William Wordsworth
  7. Additional Poem Resources  (Poetry G 3)

  1. “I Can” comprehend that poetry builds from stanza to stanza and line line to line for meaning, such as in the poem “Eating While Reading” (Gary Soto).
  1. Use a poem such as “Eating While Reading” (Gary Soto) to illustrate how each line builds meaning to the next, and from one stanza to another. The various types of poetry forms are explained at “Poems for Teaching Stanza Form”  (Poetry G 2)
  2. Personification poems lessons and resources (Poetry G1)
  3. Additional Poem Resources (Poetry G3)

  1. “I Can” carefully listening to a read-aloud novel such as The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt, note how each chapter builds on earlier chapters.

  1. Explicitly teach the importance of sequencing in narrative stories.  In an interactive read aloud, set up what you will be looking for in the story before reading.  Read and stop periodically, at strategic points, to record what is happening in the story throughout the text.  Next, discuss what the students will be listening for as you continue reading.  Continue to stop periodically to give students time to record their thoughts on what is happening at those points.  When you have completed the texts, revisit the recordings, summarize each point, and create a sequence of happenings.  This is a great graphic organizer for students to use.  Continue using this strategy at various times throughout the school year, deepening the students ability to do this independently.

  1. “I Can” think critically about a text by listening to a read-aloud informational text such as What the World Eats (Faith D’Aluisio and Peter Menzel).
  1. Discuss differences in the way people eat around the world.  Comparing how things they eat and the countries are similar and different. List of texts for this purpose: (Reading Informational B-2).
  2. Differences in the World (Writing C-1)
  3. Pictures at TIME Photo Essays
  1. Resource #1
  2. Resource #2
  3. Resource #3
  4. Additional  Information Sheet

  1. “I Can” write an opinion piece based on my own thinking about food legislation.        
  1. Assign an opinion - writing piece about how they feel about how they feel about food safety,  or about legislating what should be in school lunches. (or any other issue with food legislation)
  2. Additional Books on eating healthy (Reading Literature A 4)
  3. Books about Food (Reading Informational B2)
  4. Read Literature and Informational texts in companion pairs format.  Identify information in both types of texts that inform your understanding.  Use Venn Diagrams, two-sided charts, and other appropriate graphic organizers to analyze the information provided in the texts.  Explicitly teach students to identify the differences between the two types of texts, their structure, and their purposes.  Narrative Text Structures    Informational Texts Structures

  1. “I Can” dramatically read a poem.
  1. Model a bland reading of a poem and then a dramatic reading of a poem.  Have students respond to their personal involvement, interest, enjoyment in each style of reading.  Explicitly teach about Prosody (expression, attention to punctuation, intonation, pacing,etc.) Together in shared reading, read and re-read a poem working specifically on prosody.  Record the first reading and the last reading.  Play the two records for the students and together analyze them.  Next, have each students choose a poem to practice, record, improve, through re-readings and then dramatically perform it in small groups, pairs, whole class, or in different classrooms.   (Speaking and Listening D-1)

  1. “I Can” comprehend the meaning of idoms both within stories and in books about idioms.
  1. Read several books that use idioms in the story (e.g., the Amelia Bedelia series by Lynn Parish Have students listen for interesting things that Amelia Bedelia does in the books because she does not understand the idioms.  Identify the idioms in the texts and record them on a running  chart.  On the chart, write the literal meaning and the idiom.  This needs to be very explicit for ELL students!  Discuss how words have different meanings. Describe an idiom. Discuss how they can be misunderstood.
  2. Thesaurus Degrees of Words (Gradient Chart)
  3. READWRITETHINK : Eye On Idioms
  4. Idiom Site
  5. ESL Idiom -  Definitions and Examples
  6. Paint by Idioms
  7. Idioms by Kids (teacher directed)
  8. Read a variety of additional books on idioms:

In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban and Giulio Maestro

Mad as a Wet Hen!: And Other Funny Idioms  by Marvin Terban and Giulio Maestro

Punching the Clock: Funny Action Idioms by Marvin Terban and Thomas Huffman

Even More Parts Idioms by Scholastic

  1. After reading these Idiom books:  Have students work in pairs to create their own idioms.  Have them draw a picture of the literal meaning and the figurative meaning (idiom).  Write a short paragraph to explain it to someone like Amelia Bedilia.   Share with other pairs and create a class book of of their 3rd grade idioms.
  2. 20 Hands-On Activities for Learning

  1. Idiom power point
  2. Lesson Plan on Idioms
  3. Give students several copies of the Idiom Graphic Organizer that includes a place for the picture of what the idiom might look like and a place for what it really means. Read the book In a Pickle by Marvin Terban and Giulio Marsto. Do not show pictures. Have them fill out the graphic organizer for several idioms and then compare them with the real picture.

Idiom Graphic Organizer #1

Idiom Graphic Organizer #2

Thesaurus Uses primary resources when possible Dictionaries and glossaries

  1. A Feast of Words Lesson Plan by Dr. Julie Baker

  1. “I Can” research and write a report about a planet, using the key questions (“who, where, when, why, what, and how”) to guide research.
  1. Explicitly teach about the who, what, where, why, who, how questions.  Make a six-columned chart with the questions types at the top of each column.  Do a mini-research in shared reading/writing about an aspect of the planet earth and together fill in answers on the chart from the texts you are using in the mini-research.  Make sure all questions have been addressed before students begin their own research.
  2. Assign to the students a research project on a planet other than earth.  (Writing C-2)  Research packet   Sample Photo
  3. Resources for students to use:  
  1. Use the Shell Leveled Texts Books, themes “The Inner Planet”, “Outer Planet”, “Our Place in          Space”.  Appropriately distribute the leveled texts to match student reading levels and have them use the information as part of their research. B
  2. Books about Space  (Reading Informational B1)
  3. Additional Internet Resources:
  1. Use Pioneer Online Library WorldBook for planet research
  2. The Nine Planets Astronomy for Kids
  3. StarChild
  4. The Planets of our Solar System
  5. Our Solar System
  6. Planet Quest