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

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Learning outcomes

Students will learn that although home life has changed from the early 1900s to the early 2000s, there are still many ways that their home lives are similar. The changes that have occurred within these families have been influenced by events taking place within their communities, then and now.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

5 days


Technology resources

  • Computer with printer
  • Word Processing Program such as Microsoft Word
  • Acceptable Use Policy on file for each student


The teacher reads the stories Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia McLaughin and Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. During the reading of the books, the teacher and students will discuss the family life of the book characters. They will also discuss the influence the community had on family life.

The teacher will introduce, or review…

  • the Venn Diagram (or other graphic organizer) for comparing and contrasting
  • definition of what makes up a community.

It is helpful for the students to have a working knowledge of a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.


Day One

  1. Give each student the scoring rubrics (paragraph and presentation) and discuss them.
  2. Give each student a Venn Diagram handout.
  3. Students label one side of the Venn Diagram with “Family Life in the 1900s” and the other with “Family Life in the 2000s.”
  4. Students add six or more facts to the outside circles of the Venn Diagram contrasting the children and their families in the 1900s to the 2000s.
  5. Students add 3 or more facts to the overlapping part of the circles telling how the children and their families are similar in the 1900s and 2000s.

Day Two

  1. Students will use the information from the Venn Diagram to write a paragraph describing how family life is alike in the two books.
  2. Students will use the information from the Venn Diagram to write a second paragraph describing how the family life is different in the two books.
  3. Students will use the information from the Venn Diagram to write a third paragraph analyzing how the communities of each time period influenced the changes within the characters’ family lives.

Day Three

Students will edit their three paragraphs.

Day Four

  1. Students will type their paragraphs on a computer using a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.
  2. With the teacher’s approval, students will print their paragraphs.

Day 5

Students will present their information to the class by reading orally their paragraphs.


Venn Diagram and Written Paragraphs graded using the attached Rubrics: paragraph and presentation

Supplemental information


The reading level of the books used is above grade level. The lesson is intended for higher achieving third graders but could be used with any third grade students. It would require added time to complete each activity, and the rubric may need to be modified to match students’ levels. It is important that the students be given the Rubric at the beginning of the unit. Their success depends upon how much or how little work they choose to complete.

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

        • Grade 3
          • 3.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. 3.W.2.1 Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension. 3.W.2.2 Develop the topic with...

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 3

        • 3.H.2 Use historical thinking skills to understand the context of events, people and places. 3.H.2.1 Explain change over time through historical narratives (events, people and places). 3.H.2.2 Explain how multiple perspectives are portrayed through historical...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Information Skills (2000)

Grade 3

  • Goal 3: The learner will RELATE ideas and information to life experiences.
    • Objective 3.05: Describe how information and ideas are influenced by prior knowledge, personal experience, and social, cultural, political, economic, and historical events.
  • Goal 4: The learner will EXPLORE and USE research processes to meet information needs.
    • Objective 4.09: Present information in a variety of formats (print, graphical, audio, video, multimedia).

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 3

  • Goal 2: The learner will analyze the multiple roles that individuals perform in families, workplaces, and communities.
    • Objective 2.02: Analyze similarities and differences among families in different times and in different places.
    • Objective 2.03: Describe similarities and differences among communities in different times and in different places.
  • Goal 3: The learner will examine how individuals can initiate change in families, neighborhoods, and communities.
    • Objective 3.01: Analyze changes, which have occurred in communities past and present.
    • Objective 3.02: Describe how individuals, events, and ideas change over time.
    • Objective 3.03: Compare and contrast the family structure and the roles of its members over time.