Appreciating Family

Students work to discover the central message of a text and to describe its characters, in order to build a deeper understanding of different types of families.

Unit Summary

A note from our team: As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit will be revised this year. Some texts, materials, and questions may change as part of the revision.

The underlying theme of this unit is building a deeper understanding of families. The world we live in is increasingly diverse, even within family structures, so it is incredibly important for students to see that there are many different types of families. Nuclear families are no longer the predominate type of family in society; more children are being raised by single parents, same-sex parents, in blended families or in families with mixed race, religion, or ethnicity. While these differences are common, it does not mean that students are comfortable with their own family experience or the differences between their families and their peers’. Therefore, one of the goals of this unit is to help students notice the similarities among families. With that said, not every type of family is covered over the course of the unit. This unit does not cover being part of a blended family or families with mixed religions or race. It does not cover families in which a child may not know his or her mother or father, families in which a child has been put into foster care, or families separated by immigration issues. These topics are incredibly important and applicable to a lot of students’ lives; however, there is not a wealth of children’s literature that adequately addresses these topics. Therefore, there are writing days added in to this unit as a way for students to reflect and share about their own families or for the teacher to bring in additional materials to reflect what they see with their students. These days should be based in conversations from the text but could lead to students talking about aspects of their families that make them unique or special. 

There are three main bends in this unit. Bend one focuses on the idea that all families are different, but no matter what, families show each other love and support. Bend two focuses on the idea that siblings are an important part of a family, even though they can sometimes be annoying. Finally, bend three talks about grandparents and how grandparents, both near and far, play an important role in families. Throughout each bend, students will continue to work on determining the central message of a text, describing characters in-depth using details from the text and illustrations, and identifying words and phrases that appeal to the senses. In this unit students also begin longer shared reading. On shared reading days, students will read a text at grade level and practice using the strategies they have learned from read aloud to deeply understand and engage with the text. 

In writing, students will continue to write daily in response to the text. At this point students should be fluid in writing about the text in a structured way. Therefore, the focus of this answer is on pushing students to include the best and most accurate evidence and then to explain the evidence with inferences or critical thinking.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting 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

Intellectual Prep

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Building Background Knowledge

  • Understand different types of families and the ways that families can show love and support. Be prepared to talk about the many different types of families that exist in today’s world and reaffirm that no family structure is better than another. 
  • Find resources to help engage in discussions surrounding family types that are not covered in the unit. Plan ways to introduce and facilitate conversations to build understanding and learning, especially of family types that may be present within the classroom.

Understanding Unit Texts and Standards

  • Read all unit texts. Notice evidence of unit themes and how the texts build a deeper understanding of family. 
  • Take unit assessment. Write and norm on student exemplar responses. 
  • Determine habits of good readers to model and reinforce over the course of the unit. 
  • Plan routines for shared reading days. What will this look like? How will students be held accountable for deeply understanding the text when reading on their own or as a class? Pick a focus based on RF1.4.
  • Brainstorm ways to keep the theme alive. How will students deepen their understanding of families over the course of the entire unit? 
  • Plan book previews that help build necessary content knowledge to help students understand different unit texts. 
  • Plan a habits of discussion focus that builds on to the focuses from units 1–4. Create a plan for introducing and reinforcing the focus over the course of the unit.

Essential Questions

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  • What makes a family? Are all families exactly the same?
  • What does it mean to love and care about someone? 
  • What does it mean to accept and appreciate someone’s differences?

Writing Focus Areas

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  • In unit 4, students began to focus on explaining their evidence and thinking through written response. At this point many students’ explanations might just be restatements of what they have already said. Therefore, the focus of this unit is to challenge students to go beyond factual restatements and to explain their evidence and thinking by including inferences or critical thinking. The other focus of this unit is to push students to move from finding just any evidence to finding the most relevant and accurate evidence to support their thinking. Finding the best evidence and being able to explain evidence using inferencing and critical thinking go hand in hand. Therefore, students should be taught both together over the course of the unit. 
  • Similar to unit 4, all structure focus correction areas should have been taught. Therefore, depending on student data and needs, plan targeted review mini-lessons or conferencing to ensure all students reach a 4 by the end of the year.

Language Focus Areas

  • Spiral two or three structure focus correction areas based on data and student needs.

Writing-About-Reading Focus Areas

  • Correctly answers the question with an inference, critical thinking, or facts that show a basic understanding of the question or text 
  • Includes relevant and accurate evidence from the text 
  • Explains evidence and thinking by including inferences or critical thinking 
  • Uses vocabulary from content

Vocabulary

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Literary Terms

lesson

Text-based

truthful, confess, long, determined, proud, bargain, exchanged, spoiled, patiently, adoption, jealously, lead, greedy, announced, screamed, insisted, hissed, yelled, teased, shouted, autism, tolerance, familiar, surrounded, translate, unsure, duty, communicate, twins, exactly

Content Knowledge and Connections

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  • Understand that all families are different, but no matter what, families show love. 
  • Explain that families might not always be around, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love one another. 
  • Describe how parents support and help dreams come true. 
  • Describe how sometimes families have to work together to overcome tragedy. 
  • Explain how having siblings can create a wide range of emotions. 
  • Describe how extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) are an important part of a family. 
  • Describe different ways that families like to spend time together. 
  • Describe different ways that families communicate with each other.

Lesson Map

1

  • Too Many Tamales

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.4

Describe what lesson the author is trying to teach, by using key details about characters and events to demonstrate understanding of the central message.

2

  • My Rows and Piles of Coins

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.4

    RL.1.7

Explain how Murete’s, Yeyo’s and Saruni’s words and actions show they love and care about each other, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

3

  • A Chair for My Mother

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Analyze if buying a different piece of furniture would mean as much to the family, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

4

  • Visiting Day

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Describe the relationship between the little girl and her grandmother and the little girl and her father and how they show love, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

5

  • Home at Last

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain why Vera B. Williams titles the story Home at Last and what lesson she wants a reader to learn, by using the illustrations and text to identify key details and lessons.

6

  • Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Describe what lesson the author is trying to teach, by using key details about characters and events to demonstrate understanding of the central message.

7

  • Pecan Pie Baby

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Describe what lesson the author is trying to teach, by using key details about characters and events to demonstrate understanding of the central message.

8

Discussion

    W.1.1

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.4

Describe what makes a family and if all families are the same by participating in a class discussion using details from the unit and background knowledge.

9

  • Big Red Lollipop

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Describe why Rubina stands up for her sister and what we can learn from her, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

10

  • My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.4

Explain how the little girl’s feelings about her brother change and what we can learn from them, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

11

  • My Brother Charlie

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain what the author wants the reader to learn in this story and why, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

12

Discussion

    W.1.1

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.4

    SL.1.6

Explain what it means to love and care about someone and what it means to accept and appreciate someone’s differences, by participating in a class discussion using details from the unit and background knowledge.

13

  • I Love Saturdays y domingos

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Describe the ways in which each set of grandparents are similar by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

14

  • Last Stop on Market Street

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how CJ changes on his bus ride with Nana, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

15

  • Grandma's Gift

    RL.1.3

Explain how a single moment can change a person’s life, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

16

  • Mango, Abuela, and Me

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain what the author wants the reader to learn, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

17

  • 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 the story, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

18

  • Dear Juno

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain what differences made it hard for Juno and his grandmother to communicate and how they were able to overcome the differences, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

19

  • Uncle Jed's Barbershop

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain what lesson can we learn from Uncle Jed and why, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

20

  • Dear Primo

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Describe the ways in which the two primos’ lives are similar and in what ways they are different, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

21

Discussion

    W.1.1

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.4

    SL.1.6

Discuss all unit essential questions by participating in a class discussion using details from the unit and background.

22

Shared Reading

  • Ling and Ting p. 1 — Chapters 1-3

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RF.1.4

Describe how we know that Ling and Ting care about each other, by using key details to describe characters and major events in a story.

23

Shared Reading

  • Ling and Ting — Chapters 4-6

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RF.1.4

Explain how you know that Ling and Ting enjoy spending time together, by using key details to describe characters and major events in a story.

24

Shared Reading

  • Sofia Martinez — Chapters 1-2

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RF.1.4

Explain why Sofia and Carmen thought they were in big trouble, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

25

Shared Reading

  • Sofia Martinez — Chapter 3

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how the family worked together to throw Abuela a party that she would never forget, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

26

  • All unit vocabulary

    L.1.5

    L.1.6

Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings by participating in word sorts and activities using target unit vocabulary.

27

Assessment

Common Core Standards

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

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

  • L.1.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word 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.1.2 — 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.

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

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
  • RF.1.4 — Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

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.1.4 — Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

  • 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.1.5 — 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.