You are here


Case Study: Reading to Build Expertise about Freaky Frogs

You are here:

The Foundational Reading and Language Standards Resources Package for Grades 3–5

Use this guide to build additional literacy blocks alongside the module lessons.


In Unit 2, students will continue to develop their skills through careful reading of informational texts. Class members will extend their expertise beyond the bullfrog and begin studying “freaky frogs”: frogs with unusual behavioral and physical adaptations. Students will build their ability to read and understand informational text. The class begins the unit by building basic background knowledge about adaptations as well as learning more about how to use features of informational text when learning about a topic. They read key sections from the central text Everything You Need to Know about Frogs and other Slippery Creatures, to build their expertise about frogs’ life cycle, habitat, and the physical characteristics that make some frogs particularly “freaky.” Students will be supported to pay particular attention to key vocabulary each day, and will begin a vocabulary notebook.

For a mid-unit assessment students will demonstrate their reading skills through reading a new text about a different species of frog, the spadefoot toad. Next, students will continue with the same central text and build their knowledge by studying three different kinds of freaky frogs: the glass frog, the Amazon horned frog and the water-holding frog. These lessons also will incorporate a routine of reading poetry about frogs to build students’ reading fluency. Students then go into more depth about one specific freaky frog, comparing and contrasting how two different authors present information about a particularly intriguing frog: the poison dart frog. As an end of unit assessment, students will write an on-demand paragraph about the poison dart frog, using the expertise they built and drawing from their learning in Unit 1 about vivid and precise language.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How do frogs survive?
  • How do I build expertise on a topic?
  • Experts build knowledge by studying a topic in depth.
  • Animals have unique adaptations that help them to survive in various environments. 

Content Connections

  • This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards and to be taught during the literacy block of the school day. However, the module intentionally incorporates Science content that many teachers may be teaching during other parts of the day. These intentional connections are described below.


Texts to buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please refer to Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
Everything You Need To Know About Frogs And Other Slippery Creatures
by DK Publishing
One per student
ISBN: 978-0756682323, 0756682320
Poison Dart Frogs Up Close
by Carmen Bredeson
One per student
ISBN: 978-1598454208, 159845420X
Deadly Poison Dart Frogs
by Lincoln James
One per student
ISBN: 978-1433957444, 1433957442



Optional Activities

Visit a local zoo or nature center exhibit on amphibians (e.g.,

Reach out to amphibian conservation organizations (e.g.,

Optional: Extensions

  • Science: Study the causes of many frog species disappearing (i.e., loss of habitat, pollution) and research frog conservation efforts.
  • Science: Frog anatomy: frog body parts, virtual frog dissection. Science lab: Students grow tadpoles.
  • Art: Create trading card scientific drawing, illustration, and layout.
  • Technology: Create a digital layout of a trading card.
  • Geography: Research about countries inhabited by freaky frogs. Locate countries on a map where certain frogs live.

Our newest K-5 curricula is available on a new site,
This website will be decommissioned in June 2018. Sign up for updates.