Welcome to School

Students discover what it means to be part of a classroom community, and learn how they can make the classroom a fun place to be by exploring a variety of texts and activities.

Unit Summary

As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in September 2020. See which texts and materials have changed as part of the revision in this guide to our Kindergarten text adjustments.

This unit serves as the foundational unit for establishing both classroom culture and the routines of the literature block. In this unit, students discover what it means to be part of a classroom community and how they can make the classroom community a fun place to be. Over the course of the unit, students explore hopes and dreams, how to be polite and treat others with respect, and why it’s important to be proud of themselves and who they are. The unit gives students a chance to project their own feelings onto characters in order to make sense of how they are feeling. Through a variety of extension activities, students will be pushed to think about how they can use what they learned from the characters in their own lives and in the classroom community. The final products of many of the lessons and activities should be displayed and reinforced daily as student-friendly reminders of what it means to be part of a joyful community.

In reading, the main focus of the unit is on setting up the routines of a successful literature block. Students will learn what it means to actively participate in a Read Aloud, how to listen to other students in the class, how to interact with and practice vocabulary, and how to write in response to the text. Students will also learn and practice strong habits of discussion, particularly the structures for Turn and Talks: tracking, voice, and focused bodies. Additionally, students will begin to learn about the importance of asking questions in response to a text and how questioning and being inquisitive is an important part of learning and exploring the world around them.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

See Text Selection Rationale


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

Unit Prep

Essential Questions


  • How can you make the classroom community a joyful place to be?




brave confident confused courage discouraged fear frustrated grumpy helpful hurtful joyful listen lie lonely respect unique worry



Related Teacher Tools:

Content Knowledge and Connections


  • Being ready for school means that you are excited and ready to learn new things.
  • Every new school year brings new hopes and dreams for what you want.
  • It is important to follow directions and listen at school.
  • Helpful words are words that make people feel good about themselves. Hurtful words are words that don’t make people feel good about themselves.
  • It is important to listen to what people tell you to do so that you know what you should be doing.
  • We are all different. We should value our differences. They make us special.
  • We all have different feelings. It’s okay to have different feelings.

Lesson Map


  • Wemberly Worried


Explain what caused Wemberly’s worries about school to go away by asking and answering key questions about key details in the text.

Make text-to-self connections between Wemberly’s experience of overcoming a worry and own experiences of overcoming a worry.


  • The King of Kindergarten


Explain what the little boy likes about kindergarten.


  • I Like Myself!


Explain why the narrator says, “There’s no one else I’d rather be” by asking and answering questions about key details in a text.

Make connections to what they like about themselves and how that connects to a joyful and safe classroom community.


  • I Am Every Good Thing


Explain what makes the boy special and why they are special.


  • The Crayon Box That Talked



Identify what the characters in a story learn by asking and answering questions about key details in a text.


  • Amazing Grace


Explain what Grace learns.


  • Ruthie and...



Explain what the author wanted us to learn by asking and answering questions about key details in a text.


  • Words Are Not for Hurting




Identify the difference between helpful words and hurtful words by asking and answering questions about key details in a text.

Generate a list of helpful words to use in the classroom.


  • Today I Feel Silly



Identify different ways that people can feel by asking and answering questions about key details in a text.

Generate a list of feeling words and pictures to use in the classroom.


  • You Hold Me Up


Explain what it means to hold someone up and how you can hold up your classmates.



Explain what it means to be part of a classroom community and how they can make the classroom community a fun place to be.



Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.K.4.b — Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.

  • L.K.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.K.1 — With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

  • RL.K.10 — Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

  • RL.K.2 — With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.

  • RL.K.3 — With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

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

  • SL.K.6 — Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.

Writing Standards
  • W.K.1 — Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is…).