Gr. 3 ELA ANet Constructed Response (A2)
from Koalas
by Sandra Lee

Meet the Koala!
1 A warm breeze blows through a forest in Australia. Leaves rustle as
the branches sway back and forth. Between one of the branches and the
tree’s trunk, you can see a furry creature. Even though the tree moves
gently in the breeze, the creature stays still—it’s asleep! What is this
sleepy animal? It’s a koala!

What Are Koalas?

2 Many people think koalas are bears, but they are not. Instead, they
belong to a group of animals called marsupials. Kangaroos and opossums
are marsupials, too. Marsupials are animals that have a pocket of skin for
carrying their babies. This pocket is called a pouch. Only female
marsupials have pouches. A female koala’s pouch is on her stomach.

3 Marsupials are also mammals. Mammals are animals that have warm
blood, have fur or hair on their bodies, and feed their babies mother’s
milk. People, dogs, and cows are mammals, too. [ … ]

Where Do Koalas Live?

4 Koalas live only in the eastern half of Australia. They live in forests of
eucalyptus (yoo-kuh-LIP-tuss) trees. A koala’s body is perfect for life in
the trees. Each of its hands has two thumbs. These thumbs are ideal for
grabbing branches. Sharp claws on the koala’s hands and feet also help
the animal climb.

5 Koalas move about by climbing across branches. When they want to
move to a nearby tree, they leap across and use their claws to grab onto a
branch. If the trees are farther apart, the koala must climb down the tree
and walk on the ground to reach the new tree.

What Do Koalas Eat?

6 Koalas are very fussy eaters. In fact, just about the only thing they will
eat is eucalyptus leaves! Koalas will also eat acacia (uh-KAY-shuh) and
melaleuca (mel-uh-LYOO-kuh) leaves, but eucalyptus leaves are by far
their favorite.

7 There are many kinds of eucalyptus trees, but koalas eat the leaves of
only a few types. They are even fussy about which leaves they eat. Before
they eat a leaf, they carefully check and smell it. If it isn’t quite right,
they leave the leaf alone and move to the next one.

8 Koalas aren’t very active. They spend most of the day sleeping in the
trees. When a sleepy koala moves, it often looks as if it’s in slow motion.
Why don’t koalas have a lot of energy? It’s because of their food.
Eucalyptus leaves don’t provide much energy, so koalas move slowly
most of the time.

9 Eucalyptus leaves do provide a lot of water, though. In fact, they hold
almost all the water a koala needs to drink. Every once in a while, a koala
might climb down to the ground for a drink. But it doesn’t stay on the
ground for long! As soon as it can, it climbs back up into the safety of the
trees. […]

Do Koalas Have Any Enemies?

10 Koalas spend almost all of their lives high in the treetops. There they
are safe from most enemies. Sometimes, however, koalas are attacked by
large owls, wedge-tailed eagles, pythons, or even giant lizards. Wild dogs
called dingoes also eat koalas if they find them on the ground.

11 The koalas’ worst enemy, however, is people. Many forest areas where
koalas once lived have been destroyed to make room for cities, roads,
and farmland. With fewer eucalyptus trees, koalas have less food to eat
and fewer places to live. Many koalas are also hurt or killed trying to
cross roads to reach new trees.

Are Koalas in Danger?

12 In the early 1900s, koalas were hunted for their thick fur. Laws were
finally passed to protect koalas from hunters. Even so, the number of
koalas stayed low because of the loss of their forest homelands. Today,
koalas have made a slight comeback, but they still need people to protect
the forests in which they live. If the koalas lose more of their forest
areas, they might be in danger of becoming rare once again.

13 The people of Australia are now trying to protect koalas. They have set
aside special areas with plenty of eucalyptus trees where the koalas can
live. These special areas are called preserves. In preserves, the
eucalyptus trees are safe, too. If people continue to take care of
Australia’s eucalyptus forests, koalas will be munching leaves for a long,
long time.

Explain the main idea and how it is supported by key details in the text. Support your answer with several details from the text.Write your answer in 1–2 paragraphs.Your third question? *
Question 2: Read Both Texts to Answer the Question
from “Chapter 1: The Best Thing About 20th Avenue South”
by Lenore Look

1 The best thing about living on 20th Avenue South was everything. […]

2 But the very best thing about living on 20th Avenue South was Oscar.
Oscar was Ruby’s baby brother. When he was brand-new, he felt as solid
as wrapped tuna from the Pike Place Market and smelled like fresh baked daan taht.
He was more beautiful than Ruby had imagined. She
had waited a very long time for him. And when he came home from the
hospital, she had nearly forgotten that she had wished for a puppy.

3 The second very best thing about living on 20th Avenue South was
Emma. […] Emma also had a baby brother. When he was brand-new, he,
too, felt like wrapped fish and smelled like something freshly baked. Sam
was more beautiful than Emma had imagined. She had waited a very long
time for him. And when he arrived, she and Ruby became as close as

4 Sam weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces, at birth. So did Oscar. Sam scored a
9.5 out of a perfect 10 on his Apgar test.
So did Oscar. […] Sam sat up.
So did Oscar. Sam cut his first tooth. So did Oscar.

5 Sam said his first word.

6 “Da,” he said.

7 Emma beamed.

8 “Da da da,” he said. In case nobody heard, he said it louder, “Da da

9 Ruby looked at Oscar. Oscar looked at Ruby. Oscar really was the
cutest little brother on 20th Avenue South. He had headlight eyes, a
drippy tongue, and a runny little nose. Ruby liked doing her magic tricks
for Oscar, who cooed and drooled and clapped under their plum tree.
Ruby’s magic show had many fans, but Oscar was the best one of all.
When everyone else went home, Oscar was still there. Oscar loved Ruby.
And Ruby loved Oscar. But Oscar was not producing, as Emma had
delicately put it.

10 “Please,” Ruby pleaded. “Say something…Anything.” […]

11 To make matters worse, Sam said his second word. And then his third.
And his fourth. Soon, he said what sounded like the longest sentence
Ruby had ever heard. […]

12 So Ruby tried candy. And presents. She promised fireworks. She tried
[…] She borrowed language tapes and videos. She put Oscar in
front of the mirror. She moved his lips. He moved his hips. Ruby was a
convincing ventriloquist.
And Oscar was ready for a nap.

13 Ruby was close to tears. Oscar gave Ruby a yawn. And a burp. But
Oscar did not say boo. […]

14 It was just the same old Oscar. And Ruby felt her love for him getting
thin around the edges.

15 Now the worst thing about living on 20th Avenue South was Oscar.
Oscar was not talking. If only Oscar would say something—one
word—everything would be right again. Rain would fall. Slugs would
ooze. Plums would grow. It was all Ruby wanted. It was all she could
think of. She wished for it with her cigar box full of old birthday candles
and Thanksgiving wishbones. And just before falling asleep, she wished
for it upon all the stars in the sky.

1 daan taht - a sweet egg dessert
2 Apgar test - a test that is given to babies
3 hypnosis - the act of putting someone in a dreamlike state in order to get them to do something
4 ventriloquist - someone who can make it look like someone else is speaking

from “Chapter 2: Ruby’s Magic Madness”
by Lenore Look

1 One day, when Ruby was busy, Oscar spoke.

2 “See,” he peeped. “Seeeeeeee.”

3 His words were glass-noodle1
clear. Ruby froze.

4 “See,” Oscar repeated. “Seeeeee.” He pointed at Ruby’s sleeve where
she had hidden her coin for Ruby’s Vanishing Quarter trick.

5 Ruby could not remember what she was doing. Clink! A shiny quarter
fell out of her sleeve and rolled away.

6 Everyone laughed. Ruby’s audience thought Oscar was very funny.
Oscar clapped and blew bubbles through his lips. Everyone laughed
again. Almost everyone, that is. Ruby did not laugh.

7 Ruby moved on to her next trick, Magnetic Ruby, in which a spoon
sticks to Ruby’s hand as though she is magnetic.

8 “See,” Oscar said. “Seeeeee Bee!” “Bee” was Oscar’s second word (He
could not quite say “Ruby.”). And he pointed right at where she was
holding the spoon.

9 The crowd roared. Plums dropped from the tree. Oscar clapped. He
was very clever. Now everyone could see that “Bee’s” finger was secretly
bent around the spoon.

10 Ruby closed her eyes. She wished with all her magical powers that she
could make Oscar disappear. But when she opened her eyes, he was still
there. [...]

11 Now Ruby was no longer truly amazing on 20th Avenue South. Oscar
was. And Ruby felt all her love for him drying up like spilled soda on a
hot sidewalk. [...]

12 Until … Emma made her announcement.

13 “Sam can walk,” Emma bragged. “Sam can talk. Sam knows his colors.
Sam knows his shapes.” Then the big sister of all announcements: “Sam
even knows magic tricks.”

14 Ruby could see that Sam could walk … when he wasn’t crawling. Sam
could talk … if you considered baby babble talking. Sam knew his colors
… except for orange and purple. And his shapes … well, he knew squares.
But magic tricks? No way! Sam showed Ruby his Mummy Finger in a Box.
He pushed his finger through a hole in the bottom of a little box. He
opened the box. Ta-da! There was his finger! He wiggled his finger
across the cotton in the box, phh-phh. He closed the box. His little finger
went phh-phh. Now you see it, and now you see it again. Sure was cute.
But everyone could see that it was not magic.

15 Ruby couldn’t stand it.

16 She ran straight into her house and grabbed Oscar from behind the
sofa. [...]

17 She was no ordinary magician. She had a baby brother assistant who
could walk fast, talk even faster, and now he knew real magic tricks. She
taught him how to blow a half-dollar into a standing position, just like
that. (A secret wire attached to the back of the coin and falling through a
crack in the table let Oscar pull it upright.) It beat Mummy Finger in a
Box any day.

18 Ruby’s Magic Madness was never the same again. It became Ruby’s
Magic Madness, Featuring the Amazing Oscar. It was famous on
20th Avenue South, where Ruby was truly amazing and Oscar was pretty
clever too. But most important of all, Ruby loved Oscar and Oscar loved
Ruby, and they loved being together … at least for now.

You have read two chapters from a book about Ruby Lu. Write an essay that explains how and why Ruby’s feelings toward Oscar change in both chapters. Make sure to describe how events involving Emma and Sam affect Ruby’s feelings about Oscar.Write a well-organized, text-dependent response. Be sure to save time to edit and review your work for complete sentences, spelling, punctuation, and appropriate language. *
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