Being a Good Friend

Students read texts focused on what it means to be a good friend, and examine key details about characters through discussion and writing, helping to facilitate building friendships in the classroom.



Unit 1

1st Grade

Unit Summary

In this unit, students read a collection of texts focused on building an understanding of what it means to be a good friend. This unit, in connection with beginning of the year culture-building activities, will set a strong foundation for building social-emotional awareness within students as they navigate making new friendships within the classroom. This unit will also serve as the launch unit of the year-long theme, what it means to be a good person within a community. Over the course of the year, students will deepen their understanding of what it means to be a good person and grow up in different communities, part of which involves being a good friend. 

This unit will serve as the foundational unit for creating a strong Read Aloud and discussion culture. Building on what students learned in Kindergarten, students will practice asking and answering questions about key details, particularly characters, in partners, individually, and through discussion. Students will also learn and practice strong habits of discussion, particularly structures for Turn and Talks, tracking, voice, and focused bodies. Additionally, students will be challenged to think about characters, what they are like as a person and what they learn in the story by noticing the details an author includes in the words and the pictures. 

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

  • Book: The Day You Begin by by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael L√≥pez (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018)   —  AD980L

  • Book: Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow (Lerner Publishing Group, 2006)   —  AD460L

  • Book: The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013)   —  680L

  • Book: Matthew and Tilly by Rebecca C. Jones (Puffin Books, Reprint edition, 1995)   —  570L

  • Book: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell (P. Putnam's Sons, 1st edition, 2001)   —  560L

  • Book: Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathmann (Scholastic, 52850th edition, 2006)

  • Book: Enemy Pie by Derek Munson (Chronicle Books, 736th edition, 2000)   —  550L

  • Book: The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPucchio (Disney-Hyperion, 2010)   —  570L

  • Book: The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (Dragonfly Books, 2003)   —  590L

  • Book: Jamaica and Brianna by Juanita Havill (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1996)   —  470L

  • Book: Big Al by Andrew Clements (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Reprint edition, 1997)   —  740L

  • Book: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012)   —  530L

  • Assessment Text: “Your Name is a Song” by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (The Innovation Press)

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • What does it mean to be a good friend?

Writing Focus Areas

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Write a narrative with a beginning, middle and end. 
  • Include details about what happened with each event.
  • Use unit vocabulary words to describe what happened.

In this unit, students write their first personal narrative about a time they were a good friend. Since this is the first process writing project of the year, the focus is on generating on-topic ideas with a beginning, middle, and end.

Opinion Writing Focus Areas

  • State an opinion. 

In this unit, students are introduced to what an opinion is. Students learn how to write opinions about what it means to be a good friend. 

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions.
  • Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
  • Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation. 

In this unit, students learn how to use discussion and oral discourse to show their understanding of texts. Since this is the first unit of the year, the goal is to begin to establish clear routines and procedures that allow students to share their thinking and ideas. The focus areas and discourse in this unit align with Tier 1 of the three tiers of academic discourse and row 1 and 3 of the Academic Discourse Rubric (K-2). See the Teacher Tool on Tiers of Academic Discourse to help support students with the focus areas for this unit.



ashamed brave clever coincidence copycat enemy fierce foolish include insults influence invisible jealous judge kindness lonely misunderstood proud satisfied

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 1st Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Content Knowledge and Connections

Being a good friend means:

  • You tell the truth and do not lie to your friends.
  • You do and say kind things to each other.
  • You are proud of each other's differences and do not make fun of one another.
  • You do not copy each other.
  • You include others.
  • You do not judge people. You ask questions to learn more.
  • You do no judge based on looks, clothes, or skin color.
  • You get to know people before you decide they will not be your friend.
  • You are not jealous of each other.
  • You work together to solve conflicts.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Unit 2

Folktales Around the World