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 exploration 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. Throughout 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.

This unit builds on the foundation set in the Being a Good Friend unit. Students will continue to practice asking and answering questions about key details with partners, individually, and in discussion, although questions will require a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the text than in the previous unit. To understand the story, students will be pushed to notice a character’s traits and how a character’s traits influence their actions, and thus the sequence of events. In this unit students also explore the central message of a story. Being able to determine the central message of each folktale will help students answer the essential question of what we can learn from reading folktales.

 In this unit, students continue to use partner, small-group and whole-group discourse to show their understanding of texts. Building on the work they did in Being a Good Friend, this unit focuses on the structures needed for successful academic discourse, including following agreed-upon rules for discussions, asking and answering questions, using vocabulary, and producing complete sentences. The work in this unit sets students up for success in later units when they begin to engage with the thinking of their classmates.

Students continue to build their writing fluency by writing in response to the Target Task question. Over the course of the unit, students learn strategies for using complete sentences and are expected to use complete sentences orally and in writing when responding to the text. Students also continue their exploration of narrative writing by writing their own Anansi narrative that has a strong beginning, middle, and end. The unit culminates with students writing an opinion piece with a strong opinion and two to three details to defend if folktales are or are not just silly stories.

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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

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

Reading Focus Areas

  • To understand what happens in a story, readers notice a character’s traits.

  • The central message of a story is the big idea or lesson the story teaches. Noticing character traits and character change can help the reader determine the central message.

Writing Focus Areas

Narrative Writing

  • Write a narrative with a beginning, middle and end.

  • Include details about what happened with each event.

Opinion Writing

  • State an opinion. 

  • Include two to three reasons to support the 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.

  • Use specific vocabulary. Use vocabulary that is specific to the subject and task to clarify and share thoughts.



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

Amazing Animals

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