Love Makes a Family

In this unit students learn 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, by reading 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.

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

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

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

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

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.

6

2 days

Writing

    L.1.1.b

    L.1.1.j

    L.1.2.b

    W.1.5

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.

11

  • Sulwe

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how Sulwe changes and what causes the change.

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

    L.1.1.j

    L.1.2.b

    W.1.3

    W.1.5

Write a story about two siblings fighting over a toy.

18

  • Grandmother's Visit

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

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

19

Discussion

    L.1.6

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.2

    SL.1.6

Discuss unit Essential Questions.

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.

29

Assessment

30

4 days

Writing

    L.1.1

    L.1.1.c

    L.1.2

    W.1.3

    W.1.5

Write a story about a special family memory.

Common Core Standards

Core Standards

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L.1.1

L.1.1.b

L.1.1.c

L.1.1.h

L.1.1.j

L.1.2

L.1.2.b

L.1.2.c

L.1.5.d

L.1.6

RL.1.1

RL.1.10

RL.1.2

RL.1.3

RL.1.4

RL.1.7

RL.1.9

SL.1.1

SL.1.2

SL.1.3

SL.1.5

SL.1.6

W.1.1

W.1.2

W.1.3

W.1.5

W.1.8

Supporting Standards

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L.1.1.d

L.1.4