Students begin a year-long exploration of the seasons and how weather, plants, and animals change at different points in the year by reading about the beauties of fall and fall harvests.
A note from our team: As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit will be revised this year. Some texts, materials, and questions may change as part of the revision.
In this unit, students begin a year-long exploration of the seasons and how weather, plants, and animals are different depending on the season by studying the beauties of fall and fall harvests. Students launch the unit by setting up an ongoing weather experiment in order to understand the patterns of fall and how weather changes during fall. While gathering on-going data about the changing weather in fall, students will learn and observe what happens to leaves in the fall and notice the difference between various types of leaves. In the second half of the unit, students explore the different harvests of fall, particularly apples and pumpkins, and discuss the basic life cycles of both. This unit is a chance for students to stop and think about the changes that are happening in the natural world around them and why the changes happen. It is our hope that by the end of the year, after studying winter and spring in subsequent units, students will have a deeper understanding of the unique features of each season.
In reading, this is students’ first introduction to informational texts and reading to learn information. Students will continue to develop their inquisitive side by being challenged to ask and answer questions about the content and text they are interacting with. This unit exposes students to a subject matter that is present in their day-to-day lives; therefore, they should be challenged to ask questions and make connections between what they are reading and learning and what they are seeing outside. Additionally, while listening to stories, students will learn how to use the text and illustrations to determine the key details of a text and then use those details to retell what the text was mostly about. Students will also continue to understand the author’s and illustrator’s roles in writing texts and should be able to identify and explain both by the end of the unit. In this unit, students will also begin to explore the content in-depth by participating in labs and projects. These teacher-created projects will allow students to interact with and synthesize the material they are learning at an even deeper level.
In writing, students will continue to write daily in response to the text. As with units 1 and 2, students are focusing on using correct details from the text to answer the question. Students should be using a combination of words and pictures, depending on the student’s development as a writer. Daily teaching points, based on student data, should be included to ensure that students are progressing as writers.
Book: Fall Weather: Cooler Temperatures by Martha E. H. Rustad (Millbrook Press, 2011) — 530L
Book: Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1991) — AD680L
Book: Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro (HarperCollins, 2015) — 580L
Book: Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins (Scholastic Press, 1998) — IG570L
Book: Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert (Harcourt, 2005) — AD310L
Book: We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger (Cartwheel Books, 2008) — AD410L
Book: Leaves by David Ezra Stein (G.P. Putman’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2010) — AD180L
Book: Fall Harvests: Bringing in Food by Martha E. H. Rustad (Millbrook PR, 2011) — 590L
Book: The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons (Holiday House, 1999) — AD570L
Book: Apples by Gail Gibbons (Holiday House, 2001) — 650L
Assessment Text: “Busy Animals” by National Geographic Learning (National Geographic School Pub, 2010)
See Text Selection Rationale
In units 1 and 2, students learned the routines and procedures for daily writing about reading. In this unit, students will continue to write daily in response to the text, with a focus on using a combination of drawings and words to correctly answer the question. Short mini-lessons should be included before students go to write on their own, to model how to take ideas from a class discussion and turn them into pictures and words that correctly answer a question. Some students will only be able to use pictures, others will begin to use words, and some may be ready to include more advanced ideas such as inferences, critical thinking, or facts to support their answers. Due to the varying ranges in ability, individualized feedback is incredibly important to ensure that students are progressing toward the target of using a combination of drawings and words to correctly answer a question.
Pick class-wide or individual focus correction areas to focus on to help students learn the needed structures to make their writing legible.
autumn bare blow breeze crop fall forecasting harvest jagged narrow ripe smooth stems survive tended variety vines weather wide
collect detail illustration observe record topic
Building Content Knowledge:
Internalize the Text and Standards:
This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
Brainstorm one or two questions about fall by asking and answering questions about details from a discussion.
Create a plan to collect, record, and observe the weather daily by using quantitative observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf
Explain how the tree changes from the beginning to the end, by using words and illustrations to retell key details in a text.
Why Do... — skip 16-21
Explain why leaves change color, by using words and illustrations to retell key details in a text.
Describe the types of leaves we might see in autumn and what they look like by using words and illustrations to retell key details in a text.
Explain where Leaf Man goes, by using words and illustrations to retell key details in a text.
Explain why the little bear was confused and what advice you could give the little bear about what was happening with the leaves, by using words and illustrations to retell key details and ideas in a text.
We're Going On ...
Retell what the kids did on the leaf hunt by retelling familiar stories and including key details.
Leaf unit texts
Complete a leaf-related project by using details from multiple texts to show understanding of leaves.
Explain what a harvest is and what types of foods can be harvested in the fall, by using the words and illustrations to retell key details in a text.
The Pumpkin Book — Stop at Pilgrims
Explain what the text was mostly about and three to four things they learned about pumpkins, by identifying the main topic of a text and using the words and illustrations to retell key details.
The Pumpkin Book — Close-read
Explain how pumpkins grow, by using the text and illustrations to describe the connection between key details in a text.
Explain what the text was mostly about and three to four things they learned about apples, by identifying the main topic of a text and using the words and illustrations to retell key details.
Apples — Close-read
Explain how an apple tree changes from season to season, by using the text and illustrations to describe the connection between key details in a text.
The Pumpkin Book
Complete an apple- or pumpkin-related project by using details from multiple texts to show understanding of apples and pumpkins.
Use the data collected to create a weather forecast that describes what weather is like in the fall and how it impacts different living things, by sharing observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.