K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • read a poem
  • identify and interpret cause and effect from a simple poem
  • practice listening actively

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

30–45 minutes


  • Multimedia or overhead projector
  • Copy of “Dust of Snow” by Robert Frost to project
  • White confetti if desired


  1. Read the poem “Dust of Snow” through once as students listen.
  2. Invite students to list unfamiliar words that they noticed in the poem. Record all responses.
  3. Guide students to notice the word “mood.”
  4. Ask students to predict pronunciation based on phonemic knowledge and visual structure. Guide them toward the correct response.
  5. Read the poem asking students to listen for the word and predict meaning. Brainstorm some possible means, finally have a student look the word up if necessary. Conduct a short discussion on different moods that people can have and how we can determine a person’s mood from facial expressions or body language. Read the poem again and briefly discuss mood changes in the poem.
  6. Follow a similar procedure with the word “rued” and any other words that the children noticed that were unfamiliar.
  7. Discuss how many speakers or characters are involved in the poem (two—a person and a crow). Read poem again and brainstorm about which character might read each line or pair of lines. There is no right or wrong answer here as long as the students can give a reason why they want to assign a part to a certain character.
  8. Discuss cause and effect. What changes in the poem? Why does it change? What happens to bring about the change? etc. Brain storm about how the person feels at the beginning of the poem. How does he/she change? Encourage students to experiment with how they can show feelings with body language. Allow time for several demonstrations.
  9. Select actors and act out the poem. Actors can read their parts from the overhead. Repeat enough times for each student to have a turn. Begin each reading by having both actors face the audience and say the name of the poem and the poet. At the end of their reading they should come back to center stage and face the audience for applause and bows.


  • As students recite poetry, teacher can assess speaking ability and oral language also the active listening skills of the class.
  • Cause and effect. Understanding can be assessed through questioning and class discussion.
  • Vocabulary can be assessed through a vocabulary quiz or added to unit test depending on how lesson is used.

Supplemental information

It’s Show Time by Allan Wolf

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Language

        • Grade 3
          • 3.L.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. 3.L.4.1 Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. 3.L.4.2...
        • Grade 4
          • 4.L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. 4.L.4.1 Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text) as a clue...
      • Reading: Foundational Skills

        • Grade 3
          • 3.RFS.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 3.RFS.4.1 Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding. 3.RFS.4.2 Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression. 3.RFS.4.3 Use context...
        • Grade 4
          • 4.RFS.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 4.RFS.4.1 Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding. 4.RFS.4.2 Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression. 4.RFS.4.3 Use context...
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 3
          • 3.RL.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
          • 3.RL.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
          • 3.RL.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
        • Grade 4
          • 4.RL.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
          • 4.RL.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 3

  • Goal 1: The learner will apply enabling strategies and skills to read and write.
    • Objective 1.04: Increase sight vocabulary, reading vocabulary, and writing vocabulary through:
      • wide reading.
      • word study.
      • listening.
      • discussion.
      • book talks.
      • book clubs.
      • seminars.
      • viewing.
      • role play.
      • studying author's craft.
  • Goal 2: The learner will apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.03: Read a variety of texts, including:
      • fiction (short stories, novels, fantasies, fairy tales, fables).
      • nonfiction (biographies, letters, articles, procedures and instructions, charts, maps).
      • poetry (proverbs, riddles, limericks, simple poems).
      • drama (skits, plays).
    • Objective 2.04: Identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction and support by referencing the text to determine the:
      • author's purpose.
      • plot.
      • conflict.
      • sequence.
      • resolution.
      • lesson and/or message.
      • main idea and supporting details.
      • cause and effect.
      • fact and opinion.
      • point of view (author and character).
      • author's use of figurative language (e.g., simile, metaphor, imagery).
  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.01: Read aloud grade-appropriate text with fluency, comprehension, and expression.