Ncdpi – aig instructional Resource: Background Information

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NCDPI – AIG Instructional Resource: Background Information

Resource Title: I Know What Told the Wild Geese…

Subject Area/Grade Level (s): English Language Arts / Grade 3

Time Frame: Two to four 45-minute class periods

Common Core/Essential Standard Addressed:

RL.3.5 Refer to parts of stories, drama, poems when writing or speaking about text using terms such as chapter, scene & stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.

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.3.5 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.3.9 Compare and contrast the most important points and key detail presented in two texts on the same topic.

W.3.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

W.3.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

W.3.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

SL.3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

Additional Standards Addressed: NA

Brief Description of Lesson/Task/Activity:This activity for gifted learners might serve as part of a larger poetry unit. Students will take part in close readings of a variety of poems throughout the unit. The whole-group reading of the poems should include independent reading, read aloud, literature circle groups, teacher conferences regarding comprehension, and other activities designed to engage all learners in high-level thinking about the poems. Instruction regarding figurative/nonliteral language (similes, metaphors, personification) must be explicitly taught, as well, through the reading & analysis of various texts containing nonliteral language, group work deciphering nonliteral language in context, and the analysis of poems’ structure & meaning. This research project should be assigned to students who demonstrate solid understanding of poetry (figurative language, structure, meaning) and are ready for a challenge as they work individually, or with a partner, to close read “Something Told the Wild Geese” by Rachel Field and then investigate…What is the “something”? Using the information they discover in their research, they will create a complementary poem to “Something Told the Wild Geese,” explaining the scientific principal behind each stanza in verse which they will read to the class.

Type of Differentiation for AIGs (include all that apply): x Enrichment x Extension x Acceleration

Adaptations for AIGs: x Content x Process x Product

Explanation of How Resource is Appropriate for AIGs: This activity is appropriate for gifted learners on many levels. Students are integrating more than one subject or skill (poetry & scientific research), which automatically increases the task’s complexity. In researching the rotation & tilt of the earth, and then using the information they gain to explain the various stanzas of “Something Told the Wild Geese,” they are forced to manipulate information and show true understanding…not just echo facts. They’re identifying bigger picture patterns and making connections, which advanced students appreciate, as they rarely leave content to its individual pieces. In this one activity, students must analyze the original poem, evaluate the information they discover in their research, and then create a new poem that explains the scientific principals behind the original poem, thus incorporating the three highest levels of Bloom’s taxonomy – analysis, evaluation, and creation.

Needed Resources/Materials:

  • Copies of “Something Told the Wild Geese” by Rachel Field

  • Internet access

  • Non-fiction books & texts about Earth/Moon/Sun, Rotation of the Earth, Seasons, animal migration, etc.

  • Copies of dictionaries

  • Copies of thesauruses

  • Internet access

  • Word processing software (optional)

Sources: NA

TEACHER NOTES: This activity is an effective and efficient way to challenge learners at higher levels of thinking and assess students’ comprehension of literal and nonliteral meaning. In addition to directly teaching poetry, research skills must be directly taught, as well. Students need to be taught how to efficiently & effectively search for information, how to assess the credibility of what they find online, how to utilize indexes, & tables of contents, how to paraphrase the information they find, and how to accurately cite their sources. A variety of research tasks throughout the school year should provide students the experience they need to develop as independent researchers.

NCDPI AIG Curriculum Resource Outline


Day 1

  • Teacher asks students: What day is it? What month? What time of year? How do you know? What are clues that tell you it’s that particular time of year? Class brainstorms clues to time of year/seasons…ex. – temperature, length of days/nights, animals hibernating, giving birth, etc.

  • Teacher pushes students further: But what causes these clues that you just listed to happen? What is the bigger picture? Today you’re going to find out, as you will be both poet and scientist.

  • Teacher gives students copy of “Something Told the Wild Geese” by Rachel Field & tells students that they can work individually or with a partner to closely read the poem.

  • Students will close read the poem & then discuss the poem’s meaning and hypothesize as to what the “something” is…referring to the various stanzas and giving evidence from the poem to back up their thoughts. (Teacher will circulate, listening to discussion & stepping in where necessary.)

  • Using non-fiction books (informational texts) & other texts about the Earth/moon/sun, rotation of the Earth, the four seasons, growing seasons for various produce, animal migration, etc. and websites found through online searches, students will begin to research what causes the changes described in each stanza of the poem, making sure to compare and contrast the information they find from the various sources to gain accurate, consistent information. (Again, teacher circulates, making sure students are on the right track, have a plan in mind that works, are organized in their approach etc.)

  • As they research students will organize/sort their notes/evidence (and sources) as it relates to each stanza (1, 2, 3, 4), thus giving them a wealth of information to draw on later as they write each new explanatory stanza & sources to refer to when asked to prove their thinking. (See attached graphic organizer.)


Day 2

  • Student research continues for each stanza.

  • After students have sufficient information to explain each stanza, they may begin sorting though the information and pulling out the pieces of evidence they would like to craft into a poem, making sure to have four stanzas, each referring to the original stanzas in “Something Told the Wild Geese.

(Ex. – Stanza 1 - Winter wheat is harvested from August to September;

a sure sign to Canadian geese that it is time to remember

That snow will come soon enough, starting in October;

So, it is time to flap their wings over, and over, and over. )

Day 3

  • Rough drafts are finished and students peer edit their work first and then with the teacher.

  • Students work together to create final copy of poem to be read aloud to the class as well as viewed by the class…can type it, put it into a power point, create a poster, whatever they prefer.

Day 4

  • Students practice presenting their poems, making sure to speak clearly and at a reasonable pace.

  • Students present their poems to the class.


Day 5 The students’ poems and presentations should be evaluated based on the following criteria using either a rubric or a checklist. Students can also complete a self-evaluation of their work using the same criteria.

  • The poem addresses the original stanzas from the poem “Something Told the Wild Geese” by Rachel Field sequentially and in a way that shows understanding of the original poem.

  • The scientific principal behind each stanza is explained & it is clear that students have done appropriate research…citing sources. (Techer observation and student chart of information/stanzas)

  • The scientific research is presented in verse.

  • Mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, etc.) are clean and the poem has a title.

  • Piece shows effort/students best work & creativity…it’s visually appealing.

  • Students speak clearly and at a reasonable pace when presenting.

The students’ poems and presentations should be evaluated based on the following criteria using either a rubric or a checklist. Students can also complete a self-evaluation of their work using the same criteria.

  • Narrative focus: The poem is clearly focused and maintained throughout…effectively describes the relationship between a series of scientific concepts (earth/moon/sun in relation to the seasons, growing seasons, weather, animal migration, etc.). Students were able to accurately analyze the scientific concepts captured in “Something Told the Wild Geese” and use that analysis to inform their research and create their own “scientifically accurate” version of the poem.

  • Organization: The poem has an effective organizational structure helping to create unity/completeness…logical sequence of events from beginning to end and effective opening/closing for audience/purpose. (Students were able to compare and contrast the information contained in the various stanzas of “Something Told the Wild Geese” and the important points/key details in the non-fiction articles they read to capture the clear event sequence in their complementary, more “scientifically accurate” version of the poem.)

  • Elaboration of Narrative: The poem provides thorough and effective elaboration using details &/or description. (Student is able to recreate the events described in each stanza of “Something Told the Wild Geese” in a more specific, scientifically accurate way to help better illustrate the experience, through their research.)

  • Language and Vocabulary: The poem clearly and effectively expresses experiences or events...using specific, scientifically accurate, concept related vocabulary (found through student research and documented in their graphic organizer) to advance the purpose of the poem.

  • Conventions: The poem demonstrates a strong command of conventions…few errors in usage & sentence formation and effective and consistent use of punctuation, capitalization and spelling throughout…. as it fits within the realm of poetry and Field’s original usage of such in “Something Told the Wild Geese.”

  • Poem is typed neatly and piece shows creativity and effort/students best work.


PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF NORTH CAROLINA State Board of Education | Department of Public Instruction AIG ~ IRP Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project

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