Students explore the world of poetry by reading, discussing and writing about a selection of carefully chosen poems, realizing that poetry can inspire, motivate, and help them see things in a new way.



Unit 7

3rd Grade

This unit has been archived. To view our updated curriculum, visit our 3rd Grade English Language Arts course.

Unit Summary

In this unit students begin to explore the world of poetry. By reading a wide variety of poems, students will see the power of the precise words and carefully chosen language used by poets. Students will also understand that poets use poetry, in a way that is different than prose, to share their thoughts, experiences, and strong feelings about something. Additionally, students will realize that poetry can inspire, motivate, awaken, amuse, and help them see things in a new way. It is important to note that the focus of this unit is primarily on familiarizing students with the nuances of the genre. In later units and grades, students will be pushed to think analytically and critically across poems, but in order to do so they need to understand the foundational aspects of poetry.

Because the focus of this unit is on teaching students the foundational aspects of poetry, parts of this unit will feel more skill-based than others. To access poetry at a more complex level in later grades, students must be able to name and explain the different structural elements of poetry. Therefore, these key structural elements are explicitly taught in this unit. After learning about each different element, students will be challenged to think about why the poet wrote with that structure and how the structural decisions a poet makes helps readers better understand the central message of the poem. While one of the main focuses of the unit is learning the structural elements of poetry, these structural elements should never be discussed independent of the central message of the poem. The structural elements a poet includes enhance the overall message of the poem; therefore, it is critical to discuss both simultaneously.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials


These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Building Content Knowledge:

  • Research and learn about the different structural elements of poetry and why poets use different structures.

Internalizing Text and Standards:

  • Read all unit poems. Annotate focus poems and additional poems for evidence of structural elements and the central message of the poem.
  • Take unit assessment. Notice evidence of unit priority standards. Write exemplar student response.
  • Plan ways to reinforce vocabulary over the course of the unit so that students have fully internalized all unit-specific vocabulary.
  • Determine habits of discussion focus based on unit priority standards.
    • SL3.5 expects students to create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace. Think of ways to spiral this throughout the unit so that all students have a chance to practice reading poems out loud and also have a chance create an audio recording of a poem.

Essential Questions

  • Where do poets get their ideas and inspirations?
  • What is a poem? How do you read a poem?
  • What is the difference between literal and nonliteral language? Why do authors include both?

Writing Focus Areas

Literary Analysis Writing Focus Areas

  • Makes a correct claim that connects to the topic and shows understanding of the text
  • Refers to more than one text-based detail from the text
  • Writes two to three sentences about each text-based reason
  • Uses transition words and phrases to connect evidence to reasons
  • Uses paragraphs to group ideas and evidence
  • Writes paragraphs that are relevant to the overall claim
  • Writes paragraphs that show coherence, clarity, and cohesion
  • Uses domain-specific vocabulary

Language Focus Areas

  • Uses nouns to show a picture of people, places, and things. (spiral)
  • Uses plural nouns to show more than one person, place, or thing. (spiral)
  • Uses plural nouns to show more than one person, place, or thing. Sometimes plural nouns are irregular. (spiral)
  • Uses abstract nouns to refer to an idea or concept. Abstract nouns are things that you can’t see or touch. (spiral)
  • Uses pronouns to substitute for nouns. (spiral)
  • Matches pronouns by number, person, and ownership. (spiral)
  • Uses verbs to show action. (spiral)
  • Uses verbs of being to show what things are like (are, was, were, be, been, and am). (spiral)
  • Uses verbs to show time: past, present, and future. (spiral)
  • Uses irregular verbs. (spiral)
  • Uses and understands simple sentences. (spiral)

There are no new language focuses in this unit. The focus of this unit should be on spiraling language focus areas from the previous two units. Use data to plan targeted feedback and review of previously taught focus areas.

Foundational Skills

Phonics and Word Recognition Focus Areas

  • Readers use syllabication rules to sound out and tackle new words
  • Students use spelling patterns and generalizations to write words correctly.

As part of the vocabulary routine for this unit students will practice using syllabication patterns to break down vocabulary words. Students will identify practice identifying the number of syllables and use knowledge of syllabication patterns to explain how they determined the number of syllables. This vocabulary and word-work routine should take place daily.

During writing conferences, review with students known spelling patterns and syllabication to spell words correctly. If needed, have students consult a beginning dictionary to confirm the meaning of the word.

Suggested Supports:

  • Syllabication routine
    • Find the word in the sentence. 
    • Sound out the word by breaking the word into syllables
      • Identify the number of syllables and explain how you determined the number of syllables by explaining the type of syllable
    • Read the sentence. Determine which words in the sentence give a clue about the meaning of the word. 
    • Determine a potential meaning of the word.
    • Check to see if the meaning makes sense in the sentence.

Fluency Focus Areas

  • Readers read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage (spiral)
  • Readers use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage (spiral)
  • Readers self-correct when reading difficult words and sentence structures. (spiral)
  • Readers read smoothly and with accuracy. (spiral)
  • Readers use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage. (spiral)
  • Readers adjust reading rate depending on the purpose for reading and task. (spiral)

There are no new fluency focuses in this unit. The focus of this unit should be on spiraling fluency focus areas from the previous two units, including reading with smoothness, accuracy, and expression. Use data to plan targeted feedback and review of previously taught focus areas.


There are no new vocabulary focuses in this unit. Readers should focus on vocabulary strategies from the previous two units; using context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase, and using syllabication rules to sound out and tackle new words. Use data to plan targeted feedback and review of previously taught focus areas.

Literary Term

alliteration figurative language metaphor onomatopoeia personification repetition rhyme scheme simile

Literary Terms

rhyme scheme, rhythm, stanza, verse, free verse, imagery, simile, metaphor, alliteration, personification, onomatopoeia, repetition

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 7, view our 3rd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

  • Two main types of poetry are poems that have a specific rhyme scheme and poems that are written as free verse.
  • Free-verse poetry is free from the usual rules of poetry. Free verse may have rhyming words, but it doesn’t have to. Free verse could look like a paragraph, sentences, phrases, or just single words on a line. Punctuation may be missing or may be used to give certain words great emphasis. Often free verse poetry has colorful words, punctuation, and word placement to help readers get the overall message.
  • Poems have different types of rhyme. End rhymes occur at the end of two or more lines of verse (the last word in the line or in the second line). (Examples of end rhymes include abcb and aa, bb.)
  • Poems use various types of figurative language, such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, simile, and metaphor, to help create a picture in the reader’s mind.
  • Concrete poems are poems that look like what they are about.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards

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Unit 4

Defining Identity: Dyamonde Daniel and My Name is María Isabel