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 1


Unit Summary

This unit serves as the foundational unit for establishing both classroom culture and the routines of the Fishtank ELA block. In this unit, students discover what it means to be part of a classroom community and how they can make it a fun place. 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. 

The unit's main reading focus is on setting up the routines of a successful Fishtank ELA 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. Since this is the first unit of the year, the goal for discourse is to begin to establish clear routines and procedures that allow students to share their thinking and ideas.

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. Since this a short unit that primarily serves as a welcome to school unit, all reading, discourse, and writing focus areas from this unit spiral in the next unit: Noticing Patterns in 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

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

Reading Focus Areas

  • To engage with a text, readers ask and answer questions about key details. 

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussion. 
  • Speak audibly. 



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



To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our Kindergarten 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

  • 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

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Unit 2

Noticing Patterns in Stories

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