Love Makes a Family

In this unit students will focus on the central message of a text and describing characters, through fiction books on various types of families.

Unit Summary

As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in March 2021. See which texts and materials have changed as part of the revision in this guide to our 1st Grade text adjustments. If you are looking for the previous version of this unit, you can find it in our archives here.

The goal of this unit is to help students understand that families come in all different shapes and sizes, and that no matter what a family looks like, all families love and care for one another. The world we live in is increasingly diverse, especially within family structures. As students are building their own identities, it is important for students to see windows into their own lives so that they can develop healthy identities while also seeing windows into other lives so that they can embrace differences. Over the course of the unit, students will read stories that highlight a wide range of families and experiences, some of which may not be present in your school community. Ensuring that students see a wide range of families and experiences is crucial for helping students make sense of the world around them.

In reading, this unit builds on work done in previous units. Students continue to ask and answer questions about key details in the text, particularly about character and central message. Students will analyze character feelings, focusing on more nuanced feelings and explaining why the character feels that way. Many of the vocabulary words in this unit do not come directly from the text, rather they are precise feeling words students can use to understand the nuanced differences in character feelings. Students will also analyze character relationships and notice how relationships impact a character's feelings and actions. Finally, building on work done in previous units, students will continue to think about the central message of the text and how the central message builds a deeper understanding of family.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

Assessment

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

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What is a family?
  • What makes some families different from others?
  • How does having different kinds of families make the world and our classroom community a richer place?

Writing Focus Areas

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Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Write complete sentences.
  • Write different types of sentences (statements, questions, exclamations, commands).

In this unit, students continue to work on writing complete sentences and should have opportunities in all lessons to practice forming complete sentences in response to the text. Building on work done in the Animals unit, students will also practice using different types of sentences to convey different emotions and details.

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Write a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Include specific details about what happened.
  • Provide a sense of closure.

In this unit, students continue to work on narrative writing by writing a personal narrative about a family memory. Students craft narratives that include a strong beginning, middle, and end and details that clearly describe events.

Vocabulary

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Text-based

accepting admire adopt appreciate bilingual content communicate curiousity discouraged down eager ecstatic frustrated glare jealous joyful lonely multiracial nonverbal patient positive regular

Related Teacher Tools:

Content Knowledge and Connections

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This unit builds student understanding of the following Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards:

  • Identity 1: I know and like who I am and can talk about my family and myself and name some of my group identities.
  • Identity 4: I can feel good about myself without being mean or making other people feel bad.
  • Identity 5: I see that the way my family and I do things is both the same as and different from how other people do things, and I am interested in both.
  • Diversity 7: I can describe some ways that I am similar to and different from people who share my identities and those who have other identities.
  • Diversity 8: I want to know about other people and how our lives and experiences are the same and different.
  • Diversity 10: I find it interesting that groups of people believe different things and live their daily lives in different ways.

By the end of the unit, students will build the following understandings about families.

  • All families are different, but no matter what, families show love.
  • Families might not always be around, but that does not mean they do not love one another.
  • Parents and other family members support and help dreams come true.
  • Having siblings can create a wide range of emotions.
  • Extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) are an important part of a family.
  • Families like to spend time together. Different families have different rituals and traditions that they do together.
  • Families communicate with each other in many different ways.

Notes for Teachers

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  • As you prepare for this unit, consider the composition of your classroom and the different kinds of families represented in it. Make sure to think about the following things before teaching the unit:
    • It is important that all students are able to learn about families that are similar to theirs as a way of validating and exploring their own identities. However, not all family experiences are highlighted over the course of the unit. Prior to teaching the unit, identify if any of your students have family types that are not represented and make a plan for how to bring their experiences into the unit.
    • It is not the job of students to teach other students about a particular type of family. For example, if you have one student in your class with same-gender parents, be mindful of not putting that student on the spot and requiring them to teach others.
    • Talking about family and home life may be triggering to some students. In some cases you may know in advance if a student has a tricky home life, and you should take steps to ensure that you use trauma-informed practices to make the student feel safe. In other cases, you may not know. Therefore, it is important that you create an environment that is a safe place for students.

Lesson Map

1

  • Stella Brings the Family

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain what we can learn from Stella about what it means to be a family.

2

  • Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain what Marisol learns about herself and what lesson we can learn from her.

3

  • In Our Mother's House pp. 1 – 24

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.4

Describe how the family shows that they love and care for one another.

4

  • In Our Mother's House p. 24 — to end

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain why the house is important to the family.

5

  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain why fry bread is important to Native American families.

6

Writing

    W.1.5

    L.1.1.j

    L.1.2.b

Write a description of your family.

7

  • Pecan Pie Baby

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Describe what lesson the author is trying to teach.

8

  • When Aiden Became a Brother

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Describe the times when Aidan feels frustrated and the times when Aidan feels joyful.

9

  • First Laugh - Welcome Baby!

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain what the family does to welcome baby and why it is important.

10

Writing

    W.1.1

    W.1.5

    L.1.1.j

    L.1.2.b

Write about the advice you would give to a friend who is about to have a new baby sibling.

11

  • Sulwe

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how Sulwe changes and what causes the change.

12

  • The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain what message the author wants the reader to take away from the book.

13

  • Big Red Lollipop

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain why Rubina stands up for her sister and what lesson she learns.

14

  • My Brother Charlie

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Analyze how the family shows that they appreciate Charlie.

15

Writing

    W.1.3

    W.1.5

    L.1.1.j

    L.1.2.b

Write a story about two siblings fighting over a toy.

16

  • A Tale of Two Seders

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Analyze how the narrator’s parents show they love and care for her even though they are no longer married.

17

  • Visiting Day

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Analyze how the different family members in the story show that they love and care about each other.

18

  • Grandmother's Visit

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how things change in Grace’s family and how she responds.

19

Discussion

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.2

    SL.1.6

    L.1.6

Discuss unit Essential Questions.

20

  • I Love Saturdays y domingos

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how the narrator’s abuelitos and grandparents are similar.

21

  • Last Stop on Market Street

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.2

Explain what CJ learns from his Nana and how he learns it.

22

  • Freedom Soup

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain why Freedom Soup was important to Belle and Ti Gran.

23

  • Nana Akua Goes to School

    RL.1.3

Determine what lesson we can learn from Zura and her Nana.

24

  • Jingle Dancer

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain why Jenna’s family came together to help her solve her problem.

25

  • Grandfather Counts

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how the train helps bring Helen and Gong Gong together and what lesson we can learn from them.

26

  • Mango, Abuela, and Me

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.9

Explain how Mia’s feelings change from the beginning to the end of the story.

27

  • Dear Juno

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.9

Explain what differences made it hard for Juno and his grandmother to communicate and how they were able to overcome those differences.

28

  • Ojiichan’s Gift

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Analyze how Mayumi responds to the changes in her family and explain what we can learn from her.

29

Assessment

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Project

    W.1.3

    W.1.5

    L.1.1

    L.1.2

Write a story about a special family memory.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.1.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.1.1.j — Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.

  • L.1.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.1.2.b — Use end punctuation for sentences.

  • L.1.5.d — Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs differing in manner (e.g., look, peek, glance, stare, glare, scowl) and adjectives differing in intensity (e.g., large, gigantic) by defining or choosing them or by acting out the meanings.

  • L.1.6 — 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).

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.1.1 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

  • RL.1.10 — With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.

  • RL.1.2 — Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

  • RL.1.3 — Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

  • RL.1.4 — Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

  • RL.1.7 — Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

  • RL.1.9 — Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.1.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups

  • SL.1.2 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.1.3 — Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.

  • SL.1.5 — Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

  • SL.1.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.

Writing Standards
  • W.1.1 — 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.

  • W.1.2 — Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

  • W.1.3 — 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.

  • W.1.5 — 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.

  • W.1.8 — With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

Spiral Standards

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L.1.4