Grade 3 Writing

Crafting True Stories

Unit Sketch

The Common Core State Standards require Third Grade students to write narratives in which they establish a situation and introduce a narrator or characters with naturally unfolding sequence of events. Additionally, students are expected to use details including dialogue, descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words and phrases to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure. The goal of this unit is for students to write well-elaborated true stories based on students’ experiences. Students will immerse themselves in age-appropriate narrative stories to discern how these texts tend to go and to gather possible true story ideas. They will draw on everything they've learned from writing small moment stories from Kindergarten- Second Grade and their study of craft. Additionally, students revisit qualities of good writing to create personal narratives or true story pieces. They will select their best work to revise, edit, and publish.

Special attention will be given to reviewing routines and rituals in order to develop a community of independent writers. Students will learn to work in effective partnerships so they can support one another in cycling through the writing process at their own pace, developing increased independence and self-reliance.

Lessons are designed to teach writers how to navigate through the process: generating story ideas, rehearsing for writing, drafting, rereading, revising and then starting on another piece. At the end of the unit, children will choose their best work and revise this more deeply and extensively to share with an audience. The unit culminates with a celebration of writing growth, recognizing students’ growing knowledge of good writing, their increasing repertoires of writing strategies and their success with cycling through the writing process.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Writers follow a process.

  • Narratives have a specific story structure.

  • The heart of a narrative is a small moment.

  • Writers get ideas for stories from many places which include memories, people, strong feelings and personal life experiences.

  • Even the smallest moment in time can be captured to tell a story.

  • Writers have roles, organizing strategies, routines and responsibilities in writing workshop that contribute to a successful writing community.

  • Writers collaborate with others to effectively communicate their ideas and work.

  • Writers deliberately choose text structures to craft their personal narrative.


Students will be able to...

  • Set personal goals for writing powerful stories

  • Generate ideas from life experiences (people and places)

  • Generate alternate leads to narratives

  • Draft stories in scenes and paragraphs

  • Zoom in from personal experiences to small moments

  • Develop and elaborate the most important part of the story

  • Recognize an author’s craft in narratives

  • Self-monitor for areas of improvement or areas of excellence

  • *Convey sequence of events through the use of temporal words and phrases, dialogue and elaboration

  • Balance dialogue with actions, thoughts, and details

  • Have meaningful conversations with peers to improve writing

  • Use descriptive words to develop experiences and events

  • Show character’s responses (action, thinking, feeling) to situations

  • Attempts to use dialogue to show character’s responses to situations or develop the experience

  • Revise for clarity and purpose

  • Edit to make writing easy to read

Opinion and PSAs (Public Service Announcements)

Unit Sketch

This unit is taught in conjunction with the Social Studies unit on Children's Rights. Students learn how to write persuasive opinion pieces.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Opinion writing is a powerful way to get people to appreciate a different point of view, change their way of thinking, and/or to take action.

  • Opinion writing needs to have a clear purpose and focus.

  • Knowing the audience influences structure, word choice, and content.

  • Opinion involves emotional and logical arguments that are supported by facts, details, or emotional appeals.

  • Effective writers are able to select and use appropriate information, which means they must evaluate different sources for reliability and relevancy.

  • Capturing and maintaining the reader’s interest is essential in the process of persuasion.

  • Effective writers use the writing process of brainstorming, prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing to organize and strengthen all types of writing.

  • Writing is done for different purposes.

  • Proper grammar and conventions play a role in creating an effective piece of writing.

  • Evaluating opinions relies on the strength of the supporting details.

  • Persuasion requires a committed stance and call to action.


Students will be able to...

  • Recognize and understand the parts of an opinion essay

  • Analyze and summarize an essay

  • Establish criteria for evaluating an essay

  • Read critically essays

  • Discuss characteristics of essays

  • Classify arguments as either fact or opinion

  • Choose a topic and generate ideas for an essay

  • Evaluate and synthesize information used as support in an essay

  • Write an essay using the writing process

  • Critique their own writing and the writing of their peers

  • Write an essay using voice, inflection, and passion

Fables, Folktales, and Myths

Unit Sketch

Students write their own myth, folktale or fairytale after reading mentor texts.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Writing should be purposely focused, detailed, organized, and sequenced in a way that clearly communicates the ideas to the reader.

  • Writer's write for a variety of purposes.


Students will be able to...

  • Identify the purpose behind myths, folktales, and fables.

  • Engage in the writing process to write a myth, folktale, and/or fable.

Informational: "All About" Books

Unit Sketch

Students will create an "all about" informational book. This book will include text and non-text features. Students will come up with 4-5 Chapters.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Writers share information that they have learned from informational texts through their writing.

  • Writing is a process and good writers make many changes to their writing to ensure their meaning is clear for the reader.

  • There are many resources that will help with writing (e.g. teacher, word wall, word lists, environmental print, etc.).

  • Writers write about what they know.

  • That nonfiction text features provide additional information to support learning about the topic.

  • Writers use special structures to teach what they know.


Students will be able to...

  • Plan for writing using talk, text, or drawing

  • Use graphic organizers to organize information gathered from reading

  • Organize ideas under headings

  • Elaborate on ideas by adding details or comments

  • Begin to use structures of written language, i.e. write in the third person

  • Respond to feedback by making changes to their writing

Write Your Favorite Genre

Unit Sketch

Students will focus on

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...


Students will be able to...

Realistic Fiction: Graphic Short Stories

Unit Sketch

Students will focus on the role of illustrations in a story and how they contribute to the mood of the setting or characters.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Realistic fiction helps us to understand our own lives and the lives of others.

  • Many characters’ problems and responses to those problems are universal across cultures, families, and friends.

  • All of the story elements (setting, character, problem/goal, events, solution) connect to tell a story.

  • We understand a character by making inferences from how the character acts, what the character says and/or thinks, and what others say about the character.


Students will be able to...

  • Use prewriting strategies (such as: brainstorming, graphic organizers, oral storytelling, free writing, notes and/or logs) to generate ideas for realistic fiction stories

  • Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters

  • Organize events into a natural sequence, using transition words

  • Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts and feelings to develop experiences and characters

  • Show the response of characters to situations

  • Provide a sense of closure in a realistic fiction story

  • Produce one or more organized realistic fictional stories that provide clarity and cohesiveness and is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience

  • Plan, revise, and edit writing with guidance and support of peers and adults in order to strengthen writing

  • Show evidence of character traits within a realistic narrative story