Third Grade Unit 6

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Fantastic Adventures with Dragons, Gods, and Giants

ENDURING UNDERSTANDING:  Ancient Greece and Rome is brought to life through adventures with dragons, gods, and giants.

Focus Standards:

Unit 6 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. Independently read books in the 2-3 stretch text range with fluency and comprehension.

  1. “I Can” summarize and illustrate the chapters of a book, such as My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett and Ruth Chrisman Gannett or other grade level chapter books.
  1. As you read the book My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett and Ruth Chrisman Gannett in shared reading, continue on how each chapter builds on the last to tell the story.   See questions at (Reading Literature A-1).  Have students take this strategy to their independent reading of chapter books.  Have them keep a reading journal wherein their can record such information.

Independent Reading Journal

7 Factors to successful Independent reading

Independent reading rubric

Student Reading Tracking Card

  1. My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett and Ruth Chrisman Gannett)by This is an online book that could be used with a document camera to share the story with students. Additional ways of getting the on line book Download book 
  2. Listen to the video of this lapbook that can be created about the information from My Father’s Dragon  by Ruth Stiles Gannett and Ruth Chrisman Gannett.  This is a lapbook of lots of activities that can be used along with the chapter summaries. These can be added to enrich the reading of the book.
  3. While reading My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett and Ruth Chrisman Gannett, continue the focus on how each chapter builds on the last to tell the story. As you finish reading each chapter, have students write down a short summary of what happened and illustrate it with a drawing. Have the students turn this into a mini-book of the larger book. As students write their summaries in this activity, you could teach a strategy for writing succinct summaries such as “Somebody-Wanted-But-So” .  
  4. Use the poetry in (Poetry G 1) as additional texts for this objective.
  5. Graphic Organizers to use in helping students summarize and illustrate their reading.
  1. (Summary Frame)
  2. (Thematic Web)
  3. Sum it Up
  4. Narrative Frame  
  5. One Sentence Summary (Writing C1)
  1. Other Dragon Books  for students to read– (Reading Literature A-5)
  2. Show artists renditions of Dragons.  Have students draw a picture of their own dragon, write a description (Informative/Explanatory) of their dragon, and then complete a compare and contrast Venn Diagram between their dragon and one of the dragons they have read about.  Using information in the Venn Diagram, have students write a compare/contrast piece about the two dragons (Informative/Explanatory).  Extend this activity by having students write an (Opinion) piece stating which of the dragons they have read about or created they think is the most interesting.  State their opinion, give at least three or four reasons for their choice (including citations from the texts), and a concluding statement or section.
  3. Note:  Be sure you have the support of your building administrator prior to using this activity in your class!  Create an Avatar from the Voki web site as away to retell the summary of a  chapter in Father’s Dragon, or another dragon story. Another option for you, use KidPics or other digital resource to complete the same objective.
  4. Ask the question “Where did the concept of  Dragons originate?  What countries or cultures do we find early use of dragons in tales and legends?  Begin the research which cultures use dragons as a symbol in shared reading and continue through independent research. Bring  research back together as you compare and contrast the dragons found in the various cultures. Have students take that information and record the cultural significance of the dragons in (Culture/Dragon Graphic Organizer)  
  5. Pop-up book - Have students create a pop-up page to add to the description of their dragon.
  6. Have student choose an animal listed in the book “My Father’s Dragon” research the characteristics, habitats, diet, and interesting facts.  Take notes on research, categorize information, write an (Informative/Explanatory) piece telling about their chosen animal, citing facts from the texts, digital and print, and providing a concluding statement or section.  
  7. Web Sites for additional Fables, Folktales, and Mythology that can be used and alternative themes with this objective  (Additional Resources (I-1)
  8. Other possible read alouds that deal with dragons: Could be Worse by James Stevenson Read or Dragons, Dragons by Eric Carle.
  9. Writing Knapsack – Using the backpack cover create a book with paper so that students can record either journal entries on each chapter  or summary of chapters in the Knapsack book. Either in dragon or mythology books.
  10. Another alternative or additional theme for this objective is Mythology.  There is a list of Mythology  Books at:  (Reading Literature A2)   Follow the same sequence of strategies and activities as described for Dragons when  using alternative themes.  Add these ideas as well: (Reading Literature A4)
  11. It Came from Greek Mythology provide an opportunity to use online resources to further enliven students' encounter with Greek mythology, to deepen their understanding of what myths meant to the ancient Greeks, and to help them appreciate the meanings that Greek myths have for us today.
  12. Class Discussion (Speaking-Listening D1) on the book “Could Be Worse!” by James Stevenson using the following questions to guide your discussion
  1. How do you think the children felt when they tried to tell the grandfather of an adventure and he   always topped it with a fantastic tale?
  2. If you were the grandfather, what story would you have told?
  3. Write a “fantastic” grandfather response to this: I fell off the monkey bars on the playground and scraped my knee

19. Using the “RAFT” Strategy students keep a diary of the adventures that happen in each chapter. Father’s Dragon RAFT (Attached)

  1. “I Can” improve my accuracy and fluency by creating recording my dramatic reading of a chapter in a challenging chapter book, and using it to improve my skills of dramatic reading.
  1. As a class create a set of audio recordings of texts you are using in this unit. Using the illustrations from the chapter summaries (see Class Discussion / Literary above), assign to each student a chapter to rehearse reading aloud. With a video camera, garage band computer program, tape recorder, or other digital resources, have students record themselves reading a chapter in their best reading voice, interpreting the parts of each character.  Explicitly teach students how to use the recordings to personally evaluate their reading, practice the things they need to improve, re-record reading, evaluate the improvement, and continue the process until they have accomplished the task. When students are given the opportunity to know what good reading sounds like, what their reading sounds like, and what they can do to improve it, they make more progress.  Teachers must provide continued support to students as they go through this process.

  1. “I Can” create a multimedia presentation (e.g., a set of Power Point slides) of the recording and the illustrations for the book summaries.

**Note:  For this and other objectives in this unit students should be using note taking.  Explicitly teach this skill.  This resource could be helpful to students in this process:  Note Taking Template

  1. Explicitly teach students how to create power point slides through work in shared reading.  Use one of the chapter summaries you created in previous objectives in this or other units.  Together create a power point with writing and pictures to explain the chapters.  This will be completed completing as a whole group.
  2. Next have the students work in pairs to create one power point slide on another chapter.  These slides will be combined into the power point you began in objective #1.
  3. Then, have student create their own power point slide of a chapter of one of the books you have worked with in the is chapter (or a new one).  All of their slides will be combined to a total power point.  
  4. Extend this to have students create their own power point of a chapter book they have read and summarized the chapters.  Many will require continued teacher support throughout this process.  This activity will have a combination of “with” and “by” throughout.  Teachers need to scaffold instruction on an individual basis to meet student needs.

  1. “I Can” write an opinion piece describing the “most interesting” mythical character.
  1. Since this unit may be the first time students are introduced to myths, it is helpful to keep a list of the mythological gods, creatures, and characters as you read. By focusing on the outstanding characteristic (e.g., Heracles—Greek, Hercules—Roman—strength) or domain (Poseidon—the sea) of each, students will begin to see the foundational role played by these names and places in word derivations.  (Gods Graphic Organizer)
  2. If you have not introduced the Mythology texts in objective II, introduce the texts here:  (Literature A 2). 
  3. Explicitly teach the structure of Mythical texts, what cultures they come from, what questions they answered for the people of those cultures.  Use charts to record these important details.  Use the chart as a resource as the myths are read throughout this objective.  Origins of Mythology   Questions about Mythology   Simple answers
  4. Make a list of the prominent characters in Greek Mythology that you want to focus on in your class.  Create a large graphic organizer with the names and descriptions of these characters for student to have access to throughout this unit.  Have students create their own graphic of these and other character they think are important.
  5. Use appropriate poetry from (Poetry G 1) as additional texts for tis objective.
  6. Create their own Myth  with characteristics from  myths that would make them the mighty leader in a myth that they will create.  You may want to begin with a shared experience before they are asked to create their own myth.  
  7. Many useful digital sources that can be used by students as they create their myth.  This activity should be done over an extended period of time and should be taken through the complete writing process to publishing!  This needs continued adult support and scaffolding.
  8. Powerful Writing: Description in Creating Monster Trading Cards (ReadWriteThink). Helps students generate a list of descriptive words and phrases to describe them.Note: This lesson could be used for collecting cards of mythical characters or creative dragons.
  9. Character Circle (Writing C-2)  Have students use the character circle to work on the creation of characters in their myth.
  10. Mythic Creation - this web site containing great information that is easy to read, to help students as they create their myth.
  11. Magical Creatures  - a ThinkQuest where students choose a magical creature to explore and research.
  12. Starfall Greek Myths (simple read aloud stories on the web) This site woks well for student who are reading below level, and ESL students.
  13. StoryNory Free Greek Myth Audio Stories     The story of Troy read  while students record important information on  this Greek Myth.
  14. Scholastic Myth Printables - and a graphic organizer to help you compare Legends and myths.

  1. “I Can” retell myths with key details, noting the message of each.
  1. After reading each of the myths, have students retell the story with as many key details as they can. Key Details of Myths Using the following questions to guide your discussion.

Why was the myth told during the time of the Ancient Greeks?

Why is it still told today?  

As we read the myth and as retell the story think of the message as a group.

  1. Good Art connection for this unit:  Greek and Roman Art Collection (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) Introduce some of the art held in the Greek and Roman collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.   Have students record their origins and characteristics and key details that tell the message.(origins)  
  2. Read a variety of nonfiction readings on the first Olympic games in Ancient Greece and then modern Olympics, especially the games held in modern Greece!  Then give the students this prompt: “Using online resources, research one sport from the most recent summer Olympics and tell how it is similar and how it is different from the first games. Create a teaching poster or multimedia slide and report orally on your learning.”  

  1. “I Can” quote from the text to support the main idea of an informational text. 

  1. Introduce the book Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs! by Kathleen V. Kudlinski and S.D. Schindler.   Explain that this book will teach them about how scientists can change their thinking after new evidence is collected. Tell students that in the discussion after reading, they should be prepared to share two different specific places in the book where this happened. Have them use a white board or Post-It to write down their thinking.
  2. Explore other things that have changed over time in the scientific arena.  Make a list of things students think have changed.  Chart the thinking, questions, answers, and thought.  This is best searched on the Internet, but must be monitored by adults!!  Teachers should do some of the research before doing it with students. Take the student thinking, google it, identify good sites to use.  On a subsequent day, do the research together using your sites.  Record your finding on the chart to answer questions and find changes.
  3. Have students choose one of their questions and write an (Informative/Explanatory) piece stating their question, the answers with citations from digital or print texts, and a concluding statement.

  1. “I Can” read a variety of informational books on Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome and summarize the information.   
  1. List of texts to read in shared reading and in independent reading about Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome:  (Informational Texts B 1 & B 2)
  2. Additional Greece and Rome on line resources:

 Greek Mythology

Ancient Civilizations

Greece and Rome Civilizations

  1. After reading a variety of texts on Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome have student create a game that is set in Ancient Greece or Rome.  Students choose a favorite story and note the details they wish to include in the game. They write a rule book and design and produce the necessary accessories: board, cards, dice, spinners, etc.
  2. (Opinion) Piece - Give the students this prompt: “Choose a character that you think is the most interesting of all the characters we have studied.  Write about that character.  Be sure state your opinion, support your opinion with strong reasons from texts, and connect your writing to specific parts of the myth. Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, therefore, since, and for example) to connect your opinion and reasons. Provide a concluding statement.”
  3. Complete a Something-Happened-and-Then graphic organizer to summarize a non-fiction selection

  1. “I Can” research a current Olympic sport and compare and contrast it to a sport in the days of Ancient Greece. 
  1. Read a variety of informational texts in shared reading and through student independent reading about the first Olympic games in Ancient Greece. Then give the students this prompt: “Using online resources, research one sport from the most recent summer Olympics and tell how it is similar and how it is different from the first games. Cite facts from texts and provide a conclusion.  Create a teaching poster or multimedia slide and report orally on your learning.”  (Informative/Explanatory)
  2. Write a letter to the Olympic Committee to persuade them to hold the Olympics in your town.  HAve the students research their community and state to identify fact that they can use in their letter.  In the letter have them state their opinion that this is the best place to hold the Olympics, and list the reasons based on the facts they have found in their research.  Have them end their letter with a concluding statement that sums up their points.   (Opinion)
  3. Opinion)  Why are the Olympics just as popular today as in Ancient Greece?  From all of the texts, print and digital that have been read, have students answer this question citing reasons from specific texts and naming those texts and page numbers.
  4. Create a Venn Diagram to illustrate how the Ancient Olympic Greek Games are both alike & different than modern day Olympics.
  5. What makes a game good competition or bad competition? Use a Discussion Web Are Athletes Heroes? Debate ?  Have students individually write a summary of the thoughts on the discussion web, explaining both  sides of the question.
  6. Website:
  1. Olympic Museum
  2. Design your own Olympic Medal or Flag
  3. Ancient Greece vs. Present Day Olympics
  4. Modern Day Olympics
  5. Olympics at Enchanted Learning 

  1. “I Can” write a short fantasy narrative in response to a prompt based on the style of a text, (e.g. Could Be Worse! by James Stevenson.
  1. Lead a class discussion based on Could Be Worse! by James Stevenson, using the following prompts and    questions:
  1. How do you think the children felt when they tried to tell the grandfather of an adventure and he always topped it with a fantastic tale?
  2. If you were the grandfather, what story would you have told?
  3. Write a “fantastic” grandfather response to this: I fell off the monkey bars on the playground and scraped my knee.  
  4. Then hold a class discussion about the book before moving to the creative writing
  1. Have students complete Could be Worse Creative Writing Assignment using some everyday routine (i.e., brushing teeth, riding to school) as the prompt for an imagination adventure.  This is a single sitting assignment!  You determine the length of time to provide for your students.  remind them to State the topic, sequence the routine they are describing, use interesting adjectives and adverbs and temporal words to signal changes, and a concluding statement.

Additional Resources