Close Read: “The Glass Frog” | EL Education Curriculum

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RI.3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RI.3.3: Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
  • RI.3.4: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
  • RI.3.5: Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
  • RI.3.7: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • RI.3.8: Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
  • L.3.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • L.3.1a: Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.
  • L.3.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • L.3.4a: Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
  • L.3.4b: Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).
  • L.3.4c: Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., company, companion).
  • L.3.4d: Use glossaries or beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can refer explicitly to the text when answering questions about the text. (RI.3.1; RI.3.3; RI.3.5; RI.3.7; RI.3.8; L.3.1a)
  • I can find the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary. (RI.3.4, L.3.4a, L.3.4b, L.3.4c, L.3.4d)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Close Reading: "The Glass Frog" note-catcher (RI.3.1; RI.3.3; RI.3.4; RI.3.5; RI.3.7; RI.3.8; L.3.1a; L.3.4a, L.3.4b, L.3.4c, L.3.4d)


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Close Read: "The Glass Frog" (50 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Debrief (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Vocabulary. Follow the directions in your Unit 2 homework packet.

B. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt to respond to in the front of your independent reading journal.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In this lesson, students participate in a teacher-led close read of a complex text about glass frogs. This close read guides students through the text's challenging vocabulary and helps them to understand what makes glass frogs unique (RI.3.1, RI.3.3, RI.3.4, RI.3.5, RI.3.7, L.3.1a, L.3.4a, L.3.4b, L.3.4c, L.3.4d).
  • The close reading guide is very detailed, and in its entirety the close read may take longer than the time allocated. Consider spreading it out over two lessons, working through Questions 1- 9 on the first day and the remaining questions on the next day.
  • During the close read, students participate in a Language Dive that guides them through the meaning of a sentence from the anchor text, Everything You Need to Know about Frogs and Other Slippery Creatures (RI.3.1, RI.3.3, RI.3.8, W.3.2c, L.3.1a, L.3.1i). The sentence is compelling and complex because it uses the subordinating conjunction when to begin an adverbial clause and to indicate a sequence of events. Invite students to discuss each chunk briefly, but slow down to focus on the conjunction When. Note that the chunk When is presented out of order to first establish the subject of the sentence. Students will apply their understanding of the structure of this sentence when completing their research during the mid-unit assessment in Lesson 7.
  • The close reading in this lesson is mostly teacher-led, so all students work at the pace the teacher sets, with support where necessary. Consider inviting students who need an extension opportunity to be peer coaches.
  • In this lesson, the habit of character focus is working to become an effective learner. The characteristic they are reminded of specifically is collaboration, as they will be working in partners and small groups as they read and analyze "The Glass Frog".
  • The research reading students complete for homework helps to build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to frogs and specifically frog adaptations. By participating in this volume of reading over a span of time, students will develop a wide base of knowledge about the world and the words that help describe and make sense of it.
  • Students practice their fluency in this lesson by following along and reading silently as the teacher reads aloud from Everything You Need to Know about Frogs and Other Slippery Creatures throughout Work Time A.

How it builds on previous work:

  • In Lessons 1-4, students developed a general understanding about frogs. In this lesson, they continue to build background knowledge on what makes the glass frog unique and how they survive.
  • Students continue to research the answer to one of the "why" questions developed in Unit 1.
  • Continue to use Goals 1-3 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas where students may need additional support:

  • Throughout Lessons 4-5, students should work with a reading partner. Strategically partner students so they can support one another well as they read this complex text.

Assessment Guidance:

  • Throughout the teacher-led close read, call on students to share their responses with the whole group to build knowledge collectively and clarify any misconceptions. As students are writing, circulate to clarify misunderstandings and use these as teaching points for the whole group.
  • Consider using the Speaking and Listening Informal Assessment: Collaborative Discussion Checklist during the Close Read in Work Time A and Closing and Assessment A.

Down the road:

  • In Lesson 6, students will use the information they have learned and gathered in the close read to plan and write an informational paragraph in response to the "why" question generated in Unit 1, "Why is the glass frog so hard to see?"
  • Students will read a new section from Everything You Need to Know about Frogs and Other Slippery Creatures and take notes to research a topic independently as part of the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment in Lesson 7.

In Advance

  • Read the Close Reading Guide: "The Glass Frog" in conjunction with the text to familiarize yourself with what will be required of the students. Determine which questions your students will work through based on their needs.
  • Consider strategic pairing of students to enable peer support during partner work for the close read.
  • Prepare the sentence strip chunks for use during the close read (see supporting materials).
  • Post: Learning targets.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time A: For students who will benefit from hearing the text read aloud multiple times to find the gist, consider using a text-to-speech tool like Natural Reader, SpeakIt! for Google Chrome, or the Safari reader. Note that to use a web-based text-to-speech tool like SpeakIt! or Safari reader, you will need to create an online doc, such as a Google Doc, containing the text.
  • Work Time A: Students complete their note-catchers in a word processing document, for example a Google Doc using Speech to Text facilities activated on devices, or using an app or software like
  • Work Time A, Closing and Assessment A: Student Freaky Frog research notebooks could be completed by students online, for example on Google Docs in a folder for each student.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 3.I.B.6, 3.I.B.8, 3.II.B.3, 3.II.B.4, 3.II.B.5, 3.II.C.6.

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to talk explicitly about English during the close read and Language Dive of "The Glass Frog." Students discuss the meaning of vocabulary in context and focus on the English independent clause system, investigating both and and When for example. Both the close read and the Language Dive give students the opportunity to break text down into smaller chunks. These conversations allow students to develop the habits of mind and character they need to approach other complex texts and to develop their own academic writing skills. In addition, students have the opportunity to test their oral language skills, confirming their successful communication or "repairing" communication that is not understood by other students. These oral processing sessions are critical for language development.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to listen for an extended period of time to the read-aloud, as in Lesson 2. Students with limited comprehension of English may become particularly restless. Consider incorporating some movement into the routine. Example: "Stand up and wiggle like a polliwog!" or "Get up and switch spots with your partners. Sometimes moving to a different spot helps us think in new ways."

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During the Language Dive, challenge students to generate questions about the sentence before asking the prepared questions. Example: "What questions can we ask about this sentence? Let's see if we can answer them together."
  • Encourage students to write their own selected response questions for related ideas and author's intent. If students struggle, consider writing the answer options for them and having them write the associated question.
  • Consider pairing students according to home language and at varying proficiency levels during the close read. Invite them to discuss the questions first in their home language, the respond in English.

For heavier support:

  • The forthcoming mid-unit assessment contains several selected response questions that require students to analyze text for related ideas and author's intent. Sample questions appear in the Closing and Assessment section in this lesson. Gauge students' comprehension of the questions. If necessary, spend extra time unpacking them and discussing potential incorrect responses to the questions.
  • There is an abundance of information discussed during the read-aloud. It would help students who might become overwhelmed to briefly preview some of the key ideas and concepts before beginning the close read. Key points to preview: understanding that glass frogs are like glass; understanding ways that glass frogs are unique; comprehending hyphenated and compound words. Consider assigning different groups to listen very carefully for one of these key concepts each. They can be the experts on their own "piece of the puzzle." This will give students a focal point, and it will also provide additional motivation.
  • Direct students to their vocabulary logs to review some of the academic language that has been covered in the unit. Possible key words to review: adaptation, unique, survive.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): This lesson offers a variety of visual anchors to cue students' thinking. Continue to support students by creating additional or individual anchor charts for reference and charting student responses during whole class discussions to aid with comprehension.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): This lesson offers several opportunities for students to engage in discussion with partners. Continue to support those who may need it with expressive language by providing sentence frames to help them organize their thoughts.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Continue to help students feel successful with reading by allowing them to create feasible goals and celebrate when these goals are met. Celebrate students who meet their reading goals.


Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • explicitly (L)
  • glass, see-through, blends in, surroundings, rainforest, canopy, transparent, overhang (T)


  • Everything You Need to Know about Frogs and Other Slippery Creatures (from Lesson 1; one per student and one to display)
  • Freaky Frog research notebooks (from Lesson 1; one per student and one to display)
    • Close Reading: "The Glass Frog" note-catcher (pages 5-6 of Freaky Frog research notebook)
  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (from Module 1)
  • Close Reading Guide: "The Glass Frog" (for teacher reference)
  • Parts of Speech anchor chart (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 11)
  • Parts of Speech anchor chart (example, for teacher reference)
  • Vocabulary logs (from Module 1; one per student)
  • Academic Word Wall (started in Module 1)
  • Domain-Specific Word Wall (started in Unit 1, Lesson 1)
  • Affix lists (from Module 1; one per student)
  • Language Dive Sentence strip chunks: "The Glass Frog" (for display; see supporting materials)
  • Language Dive Note-catcher: "The Glass Frog" (one per student one to display)
  • Exit Ticket: The Glass Frog (one per student)


Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and ask for volunteers to read them aloud:

"I can refer explicitly to the text when answering questions about the text."

"I can find the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary."

  • Underline the word explicitly in the first target and use a total participation technique to invite responses from the group:

"What is a synonym for the word explicitly?" (exactly, specifically)

  • Tell students that like in Lesson 2, they will be closely rereading a section from Everything You Need to Know about Frogs and Other Slippery Creatures and will need to explicitly refer to the text when discussing it.
  • Let them know they have read this text for the gist in Lesson 4, and today they will dig deeper. Tell them they may struggle with some sections of the text at first, but by working through it in small chunks and persevering, they will have a deeper understanding of frogs by the end of the lesson.
  • For students who may need additional support understanding the terms in the learning targets: Remind them that these are the same learning targets they worked on during Lesson 2 and write synonyms or descriptions above key terms. (MMR)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with verbal expression: Introduce a sentence frame to reinforce accountable talk during the close reading. Example: "I think that ________ because in the text it says __________." (MMAE)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Close Read: "The Glass Frog" (50 minutes)

  • Pair students.
  • Display pages 32-33 of Everything You Need to Know about Frogs and Other Slippery Creatures and invite students to turn to the Close Reading: "The Glass Frog" note-catcher on pages 5-6 of their Freaky Frog research notebook.
  • Point out the Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart and focus students on bullets 5-11.
  • Tell students you are going to guide them through this close read. Some of the questions will be discussed as a whole group, and others will be discussed with a partner.
  • Focus students on the Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart, specifically collaboration. Remind students that as they will be working in pairs as they work, they will need to collaborate.
  • Refer to the Close Reading Guide: "The Glass Frog" (for teacher reference), Parts of Speech anchor chart, and Parts of Speech anchor chart (example, for teacher reference). Distribute Language Dive Note-catcher: "The Glass Frog".
  • Invite students to share any new words, adding any unfamiliar words to their vocabulary logs. Add any new words to the academic word wall and domain-specific word wall and invite students to add translations in native languages.
  • For students who need additional support referring explicitly to the text when answering questions: Provide a partially filled-in "The Glass Frog" note-catcher. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: To focus students' attention, ask them to choose one bullet from the anchor chart on which they would like to concentrate. Have them tell share with their partners: "Today, I am going to _________."

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Debrief (5 minutes)

  • Congratulate students on their hard work persevering through the close read.
  • If productive, cue students to think about their thinking:

"What strategies or habits helped you succeed in this close read? I'll give you time to think and discuss with a partner." (Responses will vary.)

  • Focus students on the learning targets. Read each one aloud, pausing after each to use a checking for understanding protocol for students to reflect on their comfort level with or show how close they are to meeting each target. Make note of students who may need additional support with each of the learning targets moving forward.
  • Repeat, inviting students to self-assess against how well they collaborated in this lesson.
  • Remind them that the reason they read these pages was to try to answer the "why" question: "Why is the glass frog so hard to see?"
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

"Why is the glass frog so hard to see?" (They are transparent or see-through so they can hide from predators.)

  • If productive, cue students with a challenge:

"What if the glass frog weren't transparent? I'll give you time to think and discuss with a partner." (Responses will vary, but could include: the frogs would be easier to see and might evolve to favor other defenses.)

  • Distribute Exit Ticket: The Glass Frog.
  • Read the question on the exit ticket aloud. Then select students to read each option aloud and invite students to underline the answer they think is correct.
  • Tell students they will have the chance to write an answer to this question in the next lesson.
  • For students who may need additional support with fluency: Invite them to practice reading the options on the exit ticket in advance and then call on them to read aloud to the class during the lesson. Giving these students an opportunity for public success will build their confidence and internal motivation. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs and students who need may need additional support with organizing their ideas for verbal expression: Point to the book to illustrate the content and encourage them to repeat a phrase to answer the question. Example: "They can hide from predators." (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: In preparation for the mid-unit assessment, consider leaving enough time to review the exit ticket after completing it.


HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Vocabulary. Follow the directions in your Unit 2 homework packet.

B. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt to respond to in the front of your independent reading journal.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with reading and writing: Refer to the suggested homework support in Lesson 1. (MMAE)

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