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 Summary

As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in October 2020. See which texts and materials have changed as part of the revision in this guide to our 1st Grade text adjustments.

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 López (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)    —  AD590L

  • 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


This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions


  • What does it mean to be a good friend?




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

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

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


  • The Day You Begin



Explain what the author wanted the reader to learn.


  • The Name Jar pp. 1 – 13



Explain what Unhei is worried about and why she is worried.


  • The Name Jar — pp. 14-end



Describe what lesson Unhei learns.


  • Each Kindness


Retell Each Kindness using key details from the story.


  • Each Kindness



Explain what Chloe learns and how she learns it by Close Reading a text.



Common Core Standards

Core Standards