Unit 1: 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.
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 the 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 exploration of what it means to be a good person within a community.
This unit will serve as the foundational unit for creating a strong Read Aloud culture. 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. Through doing so, students will also be able to make connections to their own lives and learn from the experiences of the different characters. This unit also serves as the foundation for creating a strong culture of discourse. 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. As writers, students begin to build their fluency with writing daily 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 a 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. Students also learn what an opinion is, and write an opinion piece about what it means to be a good friend.
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Book: The Day You Begin by by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018)
Book: The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013)
Book: Matthew and Tilly by Rebecca C. Jones (Puffin Books, Reprint edition, 1995)
Book: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell (P. Putnam's Sons, 1st edition, 2001)
Book: Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathmann (Scholastic, 52850th edition, 2006)
Book: Enemy Pie by Derek Munson (Chronicle Books, 736th edition, 2000)
Book: The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPucchio (Disney-Hyperion, 2010)
Book: The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (Dragonfly Books, 2003)
Book: Jamaica and Brianna by Juanita Havill (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1996)
Book: Big Al by Andrew Clements (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Reprint edition, 1997)
Book: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012)
Assessment Text: “Your Name is a Song” by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (The Innovation Press)
These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
Download Content Assessment
Download Content Assessment Answer Key
Download Cold Read Assessment
Download Cold Read Assessment Answer Key
Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
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.
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
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.
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.
State an opinion.
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.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 1st Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
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.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
Being a good friend means:
Explain what the author wanted the reader to learn.
Describe why Molly Lou Melon acts the way she does.
Describe how you are unique and how that helps strong friendships and teams.
Describe how Ruby’s feelings changed by asking and answering questions about character feelings.
Make connections to what it means to be a good friend and part of a strong team.
Explain why the author ends the text by saying “Maybe, just maybe, Brian’s not so invisible after all” by asking and answering questions about character feelings and motivation.
Describe how the main characters change by asking and answering questions about character motivation.
Explain what Unhei is worried about and why she is worried.
Describe what lesson Unhei learns.
Explain what Jamaica and Brianna learn by asking and answering questions about character motivations and feelings.
Describe how the narrator’s relationship with Jeremy Ross changes by asking and answering questions about character feelings.
Describe how Big Al’s relationship with the other fish changes by asking and answering questions about character motivation.
Explain what Matthew and Tilly realize and why by asking and answering questions about character motivations, feelings, and actions.
Retell Each Kindness using key details from the story.
Explain what Chloe learns and how she learns it by Close Reading a text.
Discussion & Writing
Write an opinion piece about what makes a good friend.
Narrative Writing – 3 days
Write a narrative about a time you were a good friend.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Print all upper- and lowercase letters.
— Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).
— Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
— Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
— Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
— Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.
— With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.
— Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups
— 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.
— Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
— Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
— With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.
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