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 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 as students navigate making new friendships within the classroom.

This unit will serve as the foundational unit for creating both a strong Read-Aloud culture and a strong culture of discourse. Building on what students learned in Kindergarten, students will practice asking and answering questions about key details in a text, particularly characters. Students will notice a character’s actions, motivations, and feelings and how they influence the sequence of events, while also making connections to their own lives and learning from the experiences of the different characters. Over the course of the 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 establish clear routines and procedures that allow students to share their thinking and ideas. 

Students begin to build their fluency with daily writing in response to the Target Task question, learning how to take their understanding of a story and transfer that into writing. In this unit, students also have their first chance to explore narrative writing by writing 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. Students also learn what an opinion is, and write an opinion piece about what it means to be a good friend. 

Fishtank Plus for ELA

Unlock features to optimize your prep time, plan engaging lessons, and monitor student progress.

Texts and Materials

Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you click and make a purchase, we receive a small portion of the proceeds, which supports our non-profit mission.

Core Materials

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

  • 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

Before you teach this unit, unpack the texts, themes, and core standards through our guided intellectual preparation process. Each Unit Launch includes a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning to ensure you're prepared to support every student.

Essential Questions

  • What does it mean to be a good friend?

Reading Focus Areas

  • To understand a text, readers ask and answer questions about key details.

  • To understand what happens in a story, readers notice a character’s actions, motivations and feelings.

Writing Focus Areas

Narrative Writing

  • 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.

Opinion Writing

  • State an opinion. 

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.



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

Request a Demo

See all of the features of Fishtank in action and begin the conversation about adoption.

Learn more about Fishtank Learning School Adoption.

Contact Information

School Information

What courses are you interested in?



Are you interested in onboarding professional learning for your teachers and instructional leaders?



Any other information you would like to provide about your school?

We Handle Materials So You Can Focus on Students

We Handle Materials So You Can Focus on Students

We've got you covered with rigorous, relevant, and adaptable ELA lesson plans for free