The Power of Friendship: Charlotte's Web

Students explore the meaning of true friendship by reading E.B. White's classic novel Charlotte's Web, examining its themes, setting, character and language, and learning to develop empathy for others.

Unit Summary

In this unit, students will explore the meaning of true friendship by reading Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Charlotte’s Web, a classic novel written in 1952, clearly illustrates how difficult and scary it can be to make a friend, yet how rewarding a true friendship really is. Over the course of the novel, students will consider what it means to be a good friend, whether or not friendship is always easy, and whether or not conflicts and struggle really are an important part of strengthening friendships. By deeply connecting with the characters, students will learn about the power of helping others, how creativity and determination can help solve problems, and that people can and do change. Students will also begin to understand the cycle of life and beauty, and the emotional responses that come with death through the eyes of Wilbur. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with other units, will provide the foundation for developing empathy and understanding about true friendship and life.

Charlotte’s Web was chosen not only because of the strong theme of friendship and life, but because it is a classic in children’s literature. Charlotte’s Web was written in the early 1950s and contains themes and language that are more archaic than other texts from the year. Therefore, students will learn how to analyze themes, settings, characters and language that are less familiar and relatable.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

  • Book: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (HarperCollins Publishers, 2012)    —  680L

Assessment

These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills. Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What are the characteristics of a strong friendship?
  • What can death teach us about how to live? 

Vocabulary

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Text-based

admiration amused anxiety appalled appeal/lure arose bloodthirsty boast brutal cautiously clever commotion complimentary conspiracy dazed decency detested disgust dreary dud enchanted endure envy fibs frantic gloomy gullible humble hysterics injustice listless loathed modest neglected objectionable praise radiant relieved runt salutations scheming sedentary shamelessly shrieked slogan sociable triumph triumphantly unbearable vaguely vanish versatile wearily wondrous

Root/Affix

-able -less -ly -ous -tion in- un-

To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 3rd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

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Lesson Map

4

Writing

    L.3.1.h

    L.3.1.i

Writers combine sentences to make their writing more interesting.

5Essential Task

  • Charlotte’s Web — Ch. 4

    RL.3.3

    RL.3.4

Describe how E.B. White creates the feeling of loneliness.

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  • Charlotte’s Web — Ch. 6

    RL.3.3

    RL.3.4

Describe Templeton and how the others feel about him.

14

  • Charlotte’s Web — Ch. 12

    RL.3.3

Explain why the animals want to save Wilbur.

15

  • Charlotte’s Web — Ch. 13

    RL.3.2

    RL.3.3

Explain why the chapter is titled “Good Progress.”

19

  • Charlotte’s Web — Ch. 16

    RL.3.3

Analyze how Wilbur has changed and predict what Wilbur will do next.

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  • Charlotte’s Web — Ch. 19

    RL.3.3

Explain how the fair has caused people to change and why.

29

Assessment

Common Core Standards

Core Standards

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L.3.1

L.3.1.h

L.3.1.i

L.3.2

RL.3.2

RL.3.3

RL.3.4

SL.3.1

SL.3.1.c

SL.3.1.d

SL.3.3

W.3.1

W.3.1.a

W.3.1.b

W.3.1.d

Spiral Standards

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L.3.4

L.3.4.b

L.3.6

RF.3.3

RF.3.4

RL.3.1

RL.3.10

RL.3.5

RL.3.6

SL.3.1.b

SL.3.6

W.3.10

W.3.4

W.3.5