Folktales Around the World

Students use the text and illustrations of fables and folktales to analyze setting, characters, and key details, allowing them to connect traditional stories to their own lives.



Unit 2

1st Grade

Unit Summary

This unit continues the yearlong theme of what it means to be a good person in a community by pushing students to think about how the lessons and morals from traditional stories and folktales connect to their own lives and communities. The unit launches by listening to the book A Story, A Story, in which students see the power of storytelling not only for entertainment, but also for learning valuable life lessons. Over the course of the unit, students will explore lessons and morals about hard work, happiness, friendship, honesty, and humility. Through discussion and writing, students will be challenged to connect their own lives with the sometimes-abstract lessons and stories in order to build character and a strong community. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with other units in the sequence, will help students internalize the idea that we not only learn from our own experiences, but we also learn and grow by hearing the experiences of others.

In reading, this unit builds on the foundation set in Unit 1. Students will continue to practice asking and answering questions about key details in partners, individually, and in discussion, although questions will require a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the text than in Unit 1. Students will learn to use the text and illustrations to both identify the setting of a story and think about why the setting is important to the story. Students will also be pushed to deeply analyze characters' traits, actions, and feelings and how those change and evolve over the course of the story. Once students have a deep understanding of the setting and character motivation, students will grapple with figuring out the lessons the characters learn and how they learn them. Finally in this unit, students will begin to notice the nuanced vocabulary authors use to help a reader visualize how a character is feeling or acting.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

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 lessons can we learn from reading folktales?
  • How can we use the lessons we learn from folktales in our lives?

Writing Focus Areas

Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Orally produce complete sentences.
  • Write complete simple sentences.

In this unit students begin their exploration of sentences by identifying and producing complete sentences orally and in writing. 

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Write a narrative with a beginning, middle and end. 
  • Include details about what happened with each event. 

In this unit students write their own Anansi narrative. Since this is their first experience with narrative writing in the sequence, the focus is on crafting stories with a strong beginning, middle and end. 

Opinion Writing Focus Areas

  • State an opinion. 
  • Include two to three reasons to support the opinion. 

At the end of the unit students learn to craft a strong opinion and then support their opinion with two to three reasons from the unit. 

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.
  • Use specific vocabulary. Use vocabulary that is specific to the subject and task to clarify and share thoughts.
  • Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation. 

In this unit, students continue to learn how to use discussion and oral discourse to show their understanding of texts. Students build on the work they did in Unit 1 and continue to focus on the structures needed for successful academic discourse. 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.



advice aghast amazement ashamed courage demand dishonest fool folktales generous gentle gullible impatient intend insult justice lazy livid mischievous misfortune misunderstood patience peaceful respect satisfied selfish stretch thoughtful unusual unfortunate valuable wasteful wise


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To see all the vocabulary for Unit 2, 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

Lessons learned in the unit:

  • It is important to get to know people. You should not judge someone by what they look like.
  • You should think carefully before you act.
  • Do not be greedy. Be thankful for what you have.
  • Be careful what advice you listen to. You need to think for yourself.
  • Be kind to everyone. Show kindness and share with others.
  • There are many ways to solve a problem.
  • You should keep trying, even if you do not get what you want right away.
  • Be honest. Always tell the truth, even if it is hard.
  • Only take what you need.
  • Women are powerful and important.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards

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Unit 1

Being a Good Friend


Unit 3

Love Makes a Family