Lessons & Units :: Voice 3rd Grade Unit

Lesson 1: Words and Phrases that Support the Author’s Voice

Lesson Plan

Where the Sidewalk Ends | NP

Where the Sidewalk Ends
Learning Goal
Give examples of words and phrases that support the author’s voice in a poem.
Approximately 50 minutes
Necessary Materials
Provided: Independent Practice Worksheet
Not Provided: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Teacher Modeling

    will explain that when you read, you can “hear” an author’s voice. By looking at the words the author chooses and how he/she describes the setting, characters, or plot, you can identify the voice of the author. Voice is the author’s tone or attitude toward a subject of a text. I will read the poem “Enter This Deserted House” by Shel Silverstein in Where the Sidewalk Ends (page 56) aloud. I will model identifying the author’s voice in the poem. The author describes the setting with, “frogs dwell here”, “gnomes dwell here and goblins too”, and finally “I dwell here…. And so do you”. The author is trying to make the poem spooky and give the reader an eerie feeling. By looking at how the author describes the setting and words the author chooses to use, I can identify the author’s voice as “spooky”.

  • Think Check

    Ask: How did I identify the author's voice in the poem? Students should respond that you read the poem and identified words and phrases the author used to describe the setting or other story elements.

  • Guided Practice

    will read the poem “What a Day” (p.118) by Shel Silverstein in Where the Sidewalk Ends and identify the author’s voice in the poem. For example, I can identify the author’s voice as frustrated/overwhelmed by all these events. The author sounds like he doesn’t know what to do about all of these things because he just keeps repeating, “Oh what a day.”

  • Independent Practice

    will read another poem by Shel Silverstein, “Don’t Tell Me” (p.177), and identify the words and phrases that support the author’s voice. The author’s voice in the poem you read is “annoyed”. You will identify the words and phrases that support the author’s voice. (Student Independent Practice is provided below in Teacher and Student Materials.) Note: You will need to provide a copy of the poem to students to complete the Independent Practice.

    TIP: You may choose to provide copies of the poem to students for the Independent Practice and have students underline the words and phrases that support the author’s voice.

Build Student Vocabulary dwell

Tier 2 Word: dwell
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story “Frogs dwell here and crickets too.”
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) To dwell means to live or have a home in a place. In the poem, when the speaker says that, “Frogs dwell here and crickets too,” the speaker was saying that frogs and crickets live inside the house.
Students repeat the word Say the word dwell with me: dwell.
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts I dwell in an apartment building. Birds dwell in a nest.
Students provide examples Where do you dwell? Start by saying, “I dwell in ___________________________.”
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? dwell
Additional Vocabulary Words sunbeams, deserted

Build Student Background Knowledge

Explain that you are going to read the poems of Shel Silverstein. Shel Silverstein is a children's poet, artist, and musician. Born in Chicago in 1930, Shel Silverstein did not get his start as a poet. He started his career as a cartoonist, drawing for the military and various magazines. He then branched out into poetry, writing silly and fun poems for his readers. Share some of Shel's most popular books, such as Falling Up, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree, and Laficado.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

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User Comments

It's a wonderful way to get my students engaged in reading. I love it!

Just a note - the poem "Don't Tell Me" is only available in Where the Sidewalk Ends 30th Anniversary Special Edition. It doesn't appear in the original version.

Otherwise a great lesson plan!