Category Archives: Grade 3


December 2017 Lesson of the Month:


It’s hard to believe the holidays are upon us! During this time of year, students become excited about all the many activities going on in and outside of school. It can be a challenge to keep them engaged and on task! Try an entertaining suspense lesson featuring an encounter with the infamous Abominable Snowman or […]

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December 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


December Lesson of the Month Connection: These books (Kindergarten and Grade 1) bring the Getting Ready to Write K-1 Guide to life. Each book contains 50 side-by-side lessons that relate specific reading and writing skills to art, literature, and critical thinking. Included in each lesson are step-by-step instructions, correlated printables, and an abundant literature list intended […]

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November 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


November Lesson of the Month Connection: Using the parade or festival theme, generates other opportunities for some great writing lessons. Check out the activities in the Expository & Opinion Grade 4 Guide for Festivals of the World Lesson!

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November 2017 Lesson of the Month:


Beautiful weather, fall activities, and above all, a busy time of year. It is always great to capture student’s attention and jazz up a writing lesson by using seasonal themes as a jumping off point. This month, the November lesson piggybacks on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or a parade theme. Thanks to Kylene Reed […]

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Grammar, Punctuation and Mechanics Literature List


  Grammar, Punctuation and Mechanics Literature List  

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October 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


October Lesson of the Month Connection: For more spooky cross-curricular connections, check out the following, easily adaptable for grades K and 1.  https://www.education.com/activity/first-grade/halloween/ Of course, after completing some of these, you can model writing about them with your students!

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October 2017 Lesson of the Month:


October Lesson of the Month: The October lesson is based on a haunted or abandoned house theme. The activity focuses on the skills associated with entertaining beginnings, but is easily adaptable for other Empowering Writers Narrative skills. There are several books and even a YouTube video that can be used as a jumping off point for […]

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September 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


September Lesson of the Month Connection: A great article on using the first days of school to get a handle on “where your students are at” in order to start off on the right foot instructionally. http://teaching.monster.com/benefits/articles/9976-first-days-of-school-and-pre-assessing-students

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September 2017 Lesson of the Month:


September Lesson of the Month: What! August already? Where did the summer go? Many of you do not begin your school year until September, but we all know that it takes weeks to get ready for the new year. As you begin planning for 2017-2018, remember, two new writing lessons (one intermediate elementary and one […]

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June 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


June Lesson of the Month Connection: Read a Scholastic article titled: “5 Ways to Keep Your Student Writing All Summer Long“. Make journaling a fun summer activity!

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June 2017 Lesson of the Month:


June Lesson of the Month: This “just for fun” assignment encourages students to practice the skills they’ve acquired in the narrative and expository genres to create a writing piece worthy of sharing with their peers. It’s entitled “Where Am I?” and it not only requires specific writing skills, but is dependent on knowledge and/or research […]

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May 2017 Lesson of the Month:


May Lesson of the Month: Isn’t May like a breath of fresh air?  For some of you May marks the end of another school year, for others it’s the month that wraps up high stakes testing.  For all of us it signals the glory of spring and teases us with the promise of summer.  This […]

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April 2017 Lesson of the Month:


April Lesson of the Month: This month’s lesson is based on a book by Chris Van Allsburg entitled The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. This 1984 picture book is filled with a collection of Van Allsburg’s images inspired by the mysterious author Harris Burdick. For more information and a collection of pictures from the book, search the […]

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April 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


April Lesson of the Month Connection: This month’s lesson of the month dealt with revision.  Here’s an interesting article on one teacher’s revision strategies that you might find interesting.  Notice the use of modeling – the most important tool teachers have for preparing students to become confident, capable writers. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/4-strategies-teaching-kids-how-revise-rebecca-alber

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March 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


March Lesson of the Month Connection: Our lessons this month can easily be connected to geography.  In a recent National Geographic-Roper Global Geographic Literacy Survey polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States. Sweden scored highest; Mexico, lowest. The United States was […]

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March 2017 Lesson of the Month:


March Lesson of the Month: This month’s lesson links a St. Patrick’s Day research project with persuasion. The students will learn facts surrounding the Irish holiday. They will combine their acquired facts with a bit of untruth. Thereafter, try to convince their audience to believe a light-hearted ruse over true facts. Overview: Students will research […]

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February 2017 Lesson of the Month:


February Lesson of the Month: Your students are writing an information piece about a topic of interest – perhaps a science or social studies theme, or an essay on a favorite season, holiday, animal, or activity. The common student pitfall in this kind of piece is that they simply present a list of facts. When […]

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January Lesson of the Month Connection:


January Lesson of the Month Connection: Keep in mind that the best instruction happens when every subject is in some way integrated.  Using a “Make it Your Own” approach, teachers can always drop their own thematic or topical material into a writing lesson, “customizing” it so that the writing draws upon relevant cross-curricular study.  Here’s […]

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December Lesson of the Month Connection:


December Lesson of the Month Connection: Many schools are being asked to supplement classroom instruction with station activities. The lesson this month can be used as a classroom activity and then placed in a station (learning center) to further reinforce the skill. There are a number of activities in each of the Empowering Writers Guides that […]

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November Lesson of the Month Connection: “The Writing Revolution”


November Lesson of the Month Connection: Read the amazing article in the Atlantic entitled, “The Writing Revolution” to see the impact of writing all day everyday. The following web address will take you to this poignant read about the success of New Dorp High School, a school in which many teachers had lost their desire […]

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Essays, Reports, and Response to Text – Workshop Resources


Essays, Reports, and Response to Text  Click here to download the resources.    

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May Lesson of the Month – Search and Research


Have you noticed how we live in an “insta-learn” world? From 4 year-olds playing on Mom’s phone,  teen-agers stuck to their phones like glue, school children searching their iPads for information, to adults looking up every tidbit of data on their devices. We can’t function in this techno generation without several gadgets plugged in and […]

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April Lesson of the Month – Revising for Success!


Any writing teachers out there who don’t have writing assessments on their minds? If you teach writing in a tested grade, it probably never strays far from your thoughts. Often times, at this point in the year, you feel as if you’ve done all you can do and now it is up to the students. […]

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February Lesson of the Month – How to Babysit “Grandpa/Grandma”


Some of the greatest memories for most of us are the times spent with our grandparents. I love to think back on the pleasant, and sometimes goofy, experiences I had visiting my grandparent’s house. I would sit on the back of the couch, with my grandfather seated in front of me. I tied his hair […]

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January Lesson of the Month – BURRR!


My favorite time of year is when it’s cold outside and I am curled up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate. For many of you, the cold lasts way too long for you to love it. In Texas, we get just the right amount. The cold and snow always bring about a […]

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December Lesson of the Month – Dream Big!


Let’s dream and dream big! December is a special time for kids to “wish upon a star”, “dream the impossible dream,” or “hope against hope” for the big gift. This month the students will research their dream destination or ambitious activity they have forever wished for and put it into writing, including facts about the […]

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October Lesson of the Month – Spooky Snapshot


Lesson of the Month – Spooky Snapshot It’s a fact that elaborative detail brings writing to life. Often times, student’s writing samples lack elaboration. They add a string of adjectives, size or color words, or a repetitive series of words to strengthen their sentiments, none of which enhance the story.  In this lesson, students will […]

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Making Annotation and Analysis Fun – Text Detective Kits!


It would be great if there was a sexier name for annotation and analysis.The term conjures up images of students slumped at their desks, the teacher pressing them to a task that sounds as though it belongs in the same category as sentence diagraming. In other words – deadly boring. I’m happy to say that […]

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Teaching Grammar and Mechanics in those Extra Ten Minute Slots


You’ve just wrapped up a reading lesson, and in about ten minutes it’ll be time to head off to art. Or music. Or wherever. Or, it might be the interminable stretch of time between when the school buses line up, bus numbers are called, and the kids file out to board. Not enough time to […]

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Comprehensive Narrative Writing Guide – Grade 2-3 – Scope and Sequence


Unit by Unit:     Full Year:     In my school we used to say, tongue-in-cheek, that our over-all approach to writing was “curriculum by folktale.” Our building had been closed for many years and recently reopened, bringing together educators from the thirteen existing schools throughout the district. And everyone brought with them the […]

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Comprehensive Expository and Opinion Writing Guide – Grade 2-3 – Scope and Sequence – (2014 Edition)


If you’re interested in beginning the process of establishing consistency across and between grade levels through reasonably paced writing instruction, have a look at these ever-evolving scope and sequence documents – and begin the journey! Grade 2:                                     […]

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Author’s Group Model


Author’s Group Model  Click here to download the Author’s Group Model Where would I be without my Writer’s Group?  Alone in my office in my pajamas, probably, which is where I spend most of my work days.  This an occupational hazard of being a novelist.   The antidote to this professional solitude is the Writer’s […]

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Middle Grade Fiction Literature List


Click here to download Middle Grade Literature Connections   The most powerful way to teach author’s craft is to have students become aware of the way authors use it in their best work. Students begin to read with “author’s eyes” recognizing and respecting the skills as they come across them in published examples. Can they […]

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Multicultural Literature Connections for Elementary Grades


Download the list, keep a copy for yourself, and pass one along to your school media specialist.   Twenty-first century students will increasingly see themselves as citizens of the world. Having the opportunity to understand and empathize with their global neighbors is a critical part of their education. When looking for a jumping off point […]

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Literature Connection – Stories with Opinion/Persuasive Elements for Elementary Grades


These days, in response to the most current state standards, students are expected to be able to write convincing opinion and argument pieces. The books on this list can support your efforts in this regard.   If there’s one thing kids are good at, it’s persuasion. They have strong opinions about all kinds of things, […]

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Literature Connection – Recommended Picture Books for Teaching Writing in the Elementary Grades


Download this list of mentor texts and share a copy with your school media specialist. Refer to “Getting Ready to Write” to discover all the mileage you can get from these, and any of your favorite picture books.   Picture books are treasure troves of material that can be used to teach writing in memorable […]

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The Opinion Pillar


The Opinion Pillar Click here to download the Opinion Pillar Opinion Writing requires the author to respond to an issue or question with logical reasoning in an organized fashion. The Opinion Pillar mirrors the Expository Pillar with minor shifts in language. Due to the similar structure and expectations for opinion writing, students need to have […]

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The Expository Pillar


The Expository Pillar Click here to download the Expository Pillar Organization – Expository writing, by its very nature, requires careful organization. In order to deliver information in a way in which the reader can easily grasp, information must be arranged and presented in a logical, sequential manner, with like details grouped together. Often times, students, when writing about a […]

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The Narrative Writing Diamond


Narrative Writing Diamond Click here to download the Narrative Writing Diamond We encourage students to use the Narrative Diamond as a pre-writing graphic organizer to plan their narrative stories. This provides a simple, basic story plan on which to build. Student’s can use organizers like this to help them translate their story summary or pre-writing […]

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ELAR TEKS Cross Referencing Guide – Essential Guides to Writing – Grade 2-5


ELAR TEKS Cross Referencing Guide – Essential Guides to Writing Grade 2:     Grade 3:     Grade 4:     Grade 5:  

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TEKS ELAR – Comprehensive Guide – Expository – Grade 2-8


  TEKS ELAR – Comprehensive Guide – Expository Grade 2:     Grade 3:     Grade 4:     Grade 5:     Grade 6:     Grade 7:     Grade 8:  

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TEKS Alignment – Expository Guide – Student Expectations – Grade 2-8


TEKS Alignment – Expository Guide – Grade 2:   Grade 3:   Grade 4:   Grade 5:   Grade 6:   Grade 7:   Grade 8:  

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TEKS Alignment – Narrative Guide – Student Expectations – Grade 2-7


TEKS Alignment with EW Comprehensive Narrative Guide-  Student Expectations Grade 2: Grade 3: Grade 4: Grade 5: Grade 6: Grade 7:    

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CCSS Alignment Guide – Grade 2-5


Click the link below for your grade level to access our year-at-a-glance grid, powerful preview lessons from the Essential Guides, and lesson alignment documents for all ELA standards.      Grade 2: Grade 3: Grade 4: Grade 5: There are standards of living. Financial standards. Standards of etiquette. Standard deviations. Standard deductions on your taxes.  […]

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“Dogs” – Expository Annotated Sample


Click the link below to see one student sample Dogs WOOF! WOOF!  Warren, a third grade student, loved to act like a dog. He’d get down on all fours and sniff around the room, bark on command, and even sit and stay (on a good day).  As you can imagine, writing was about the last […]

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Quick Writes – Point of View/Tense


  Quick Writes – Point of View/Tense Click here to see all of our Quick Writes Have you ever had a student begin a story in third person point of view (about a character they name, let’s say Jenny) and several sentences in revert to first person (I)? Makes a lot of sense for younger […]

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Quick Writes – Letter Writing


Quick Writes – Letter Writing Click here to see the Letter Writing Quick Writes In this age of texts, tweets, and email, it might seem like letter writing is a dying art! However, there are times when Grandma deserves a thank you note, a convincing persuasive complaint letter to a company might score you some […]

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Quick Writes – Taking Notes


Quick Writes – Taking Notes Click here to see the Taking Notes Quick Writes Ask a group of fourth graders to “take notes” and you’re likely to get one of two responses – blank looks or anxious glances from kids trying to copy down every last word from a book in order to “capture” what […]

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Quick Writes – Figurative Language


Quick Writes – Figurative Language Click here to see the Figurative Language guide My second grade class became obsessed with similes after reading Roald Dahl’s “The BFG”. He described one terrifying giant as having a nose “as sharp as a knife.” When my students drew their own fearsome giants and wrote vivid descriptions of their […]

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Quick Writes – Expository Writers’ Craft


Quick Writes – Expository Writers’ Craft Click here to see the Expository Writers’ Craft Quick Write You’ve spent weeks and months teaching expository writing – so many key skills to remember and apply! And sometimes after just a long weekend students come back and seem to have forgotten the bulk of it! Review, reinforcement, practice […]

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Quick Writes – Narrative Writers’ Craft


Quick Writes – Narrative Writers’ Craft Click here to see the Narrative Writers’ Craft Quick Writes With so many different genres of writing that are required to meet the latest state standards, it’s hard to have kids remember it all! Once you’ve set narrative writing on the back burner and focus on expository writing, those […]

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Quick Writes – Sentence Construction/Revision


Quick Writes – Sentence Construction/Revision Click here to see the Sentence/Revision Quick Writes One lament we hear from teachers is this: how in the world do we teach sentence structure? Kids learn through modeling, of course, but often that’s not enough. They need some solid strategies for sentence combining, adjusting run-ons, improving syntax and structure. […]

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Quick Writes – Mechanics, Punctuation, Editing


  Mechanics, Punctuation, Editing Click here to see the Mechanics, Punctuation, Editing Quick Writes   Punctuation is a lot more than rules for writing. Punctuation and capitalization help the reader understand what the writer intended. Read the following unpunctuated sentence: katherine went to the beach with her little sister in her mouth she had a […]

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Quick Writes – Parts of Speech


Quick Writes – Parts of Speech Click here to see the Parts of Speech Quick Writes What’s the best way to get students to not only identify parts of speech, but to have them recognize why it’s important? How vivid verbs can create action and a sense of movement, how the right adjectives can bring […]

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Quick Writes – Vocabulary / Word Choice


Vocabulary / Word Choice Click here to see the Vocabulary/Word Choice Quick Writes Carpenters use wood, jewelers gold and silver, masons, stone. Writers use words, and the more precise the word, the more clear the meaning. Every writer should wrestle with this word or that, and benefits by building a wide repertoire of vocabulary. These […]

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