The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks
(Code and Color Key)

An Exercise in Logic and Style
based on "Why The Hoofs of The Deer Are Split"
from The Book of Nature Myths by Florence Holbrook

     Although many people usually do not think of it as such, the distinction between general and specific ideas is FUNDAMENTAL to logic. It is, after all, the basic premise of inductive logic. Getting students to see this distinction is, in addition, a primary task of writing teachers. Over and over teachers beg, push, and drag students into getting specific details into their writing. Anyone can make a general statement about anything, but pushed to offer specific examples, many people falter. Note, by the way, that this is also an exercise in parallel construction. I'm not sure that I would discuss parallel construction with third graders, but I think they would understand the basic idea, even without the term. In essence, each example has its own main clause. A non-parallel version would be something like, 

The green leaves whispering merrily together, the waves lap on the shore and laugh while the squirrels are chattering and  laying up their food for winter.
In this version, the first example is stated in a noun absolute; the second, in a main clause; and the third in a subordinate clause.
     You might want to break this exercise into two assignments. Have the students do the analysis first. Then have them discuss examples of general and specific statements before you ask them to write the sentences of their own. You also might want to tuck this assignment aside for repeated use, later in the year, or in later years. (You'll be able to use the sentences written by your students as examples for later assignments.)

Analysis Key

     Everything is good (PA) and happy (PA). | The green leaves are whispering

merrily together, | the waves are lapping {on the shore} and laughing, | the squirrels

are chattering and  laying up their food (DO) {for winter}. |

  Because the second sentence provides three examples of the idea presented in the first, the two sentences could be combined by using either a colon or a dash:

Everything is good and happy: the green leaves are whispering merrily together, the waves are lapping on the shore and laughing, the squirrels are chattering and  laying up their food for winter. 
or
Everything is good and happy -- the green leaves are whispering merrily together, the waves are lapping on the shore and laughing, the squirrels are chattering and  laying up their food for winter. 

Note
I would also simply accept "up" as an adverb in "laying up." Some grammarians will argue that "laying up" means "storing" and thus should be considered a "phrasal" verb, but telling students that they are wrong about a minor detail like this will detract from their attention to the main point of the exercise. Note that "for winter" can alternatively be explained as an adjective to "food."