What Makes a Good Friend?

Students read texts focused on what it means to be a good friend, and examine key details about characters through discussion and writing, helping to facilitate building friendships in the classroom.

Unit Summary

In this unit, students read a collection of texts focused on building an understanding of what it means to be a good friend. This unit, in connection with beginning-of-the-year culture-building activities, will set a strong foundation for building social-emotional awareness within students as they navigate making new friendships within the classroom. This unit will also serve as the launch unit of the year-long theme: what it means to be a good person within a community. Over the course of the year, students will deepen their understanding of what it means to be a good person and grow up in different communities, part of which involves being a good friend.

This unit will serve as the foundational unit for creating a strong read aloud and discussion culture. Building on what students learned in K2, students will practice asking and answering questions about key details, particularly characters, in partners, individually, and through discussion. Students will also learn and practice strong habits of discussion, particularly structures for turn and talks, tracking, voice, and focused bodies. Additionally, students will be challenged to think about characters, what they are like as a person, and what they learn in the story, by noticing the details an author includes in the words and the pictures.  Unlike kindergarten units, in this unit students will begin to build connections across texts and build a deeper understanding of the unit theme of friendship.  

In writing, students will write daily in response to the text. The focus for this unit is on building student stamina and routines in regard to writing about reading. In Kindergarten, students wrote daily in response to the text, with an emphasis on both the illustration and words. Over the course of the unit, students should begin to focus more on the words they are writing and less on the illustration to convey ideas about the text. However, they should always be encouraged to start with a quick sketch to get their ideas down.

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

  • Book: Babushka's Doll by Patricia Polacco (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Reprint edition, 1995)   —  470L

  • Book: Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin (Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2007)   —  AD490L

  • Book: Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow (Lerner Publishing Group, 2006)   —  AD460L

  • Book: The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013)   —  680L

  • Book: My Best Friend by Mary Ann Rodman (Puffin Books, Reprint edition, 2007)   —  460L

  • Book: Jamaica Tag-Along by Juanita Havill (HMH Books for Young Readers, Reprint edition, 1990)   —  490L

  • Book: Jamaica and Brianna by Juanita Havill (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1996)   —  470L

  • Book: Matthew and Tilly by Rebecca C. Jones (Puffin Books, Reprint edition, 1995)   —  570L

  • Book: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell (P. Putnam's Sons, 1st edition, 2001)   —  560L

  • Book: Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathmann (Scholastic, 52850th edition, 2006)

  • Book: How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer (Gallup Press, unknown edition, 2009)   —  560L

  • Book: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012)   —  530L

  • Book: Enemy Pie by Derek Munson (Chronicle Books, 736th edition, 2000)   —  550L

  • Book: The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPucchio (Disney-Hyperion, 2010)   —  570L

  • Book: Big Al by Andrew Clements (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Reprint edition, 1997)   —  740L

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Assessment

This assessment accompanies Unit 1 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What does it take to be a good friend? 
  • What causes friendships to change? 
  • How do we make and keep friends? 
  • How does being a good friend help build a strong team?

Writing Focus Areas

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  • The focus of this unit is on establishing the routines and procedures necessary for students to write for 15 minutes daily in response to the text. In kindergarten, students wrote daily in response to the text but with heavy picture support. In first grade, students should focus more on words and less on using pictures to express their ideas. This may be a challenge for some students; therefore, the expectations for this time should be very clear and practiced with students. 
  • While the main focus of this unit and the informational unit is on establishing the routines and procedures for writing about reading, students will also be working on correctly answering a question by answering the question and adding an inference, critical thinking, or facts to show understanding of the question.

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

Vocabulary

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Literary Terms

message, lesson, character, setting, event

Text-based

truth, lie, courage, Invisible, scolded, listen, proud, foolish, pleasant, coincidence, copycat, invisible, include, misunderstood, insults, ashamed, tag along, bother, influential, naughty, selfish, bossy, frustrated, enemy, satisfied, narrator, lonely, clever, fierce, ignore, ragged, tattered

Idioms and Cultural References

See eye to eye

Intellectual Prep

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Build Content Knowledge: 

  • Brainstorm qualities of a good friend that are important for students to internalize and learn over the course of the unit. 
  • Brainstorm ideas for how being a good friend supports a strong community.

Internalize the Text and Standards: 

  • Read the unit texts. Identify the lesson that can be learned from each text and how the texts connect to the essential questions and building classroom culture. 
  • Take unit assessment. 
  •  Internalize priority standards. Break the standards down into habits of good readers teaching points. What do good readers need to know in order to show mastery of the standards? 
    • RL1.1 – What does it mean for students to ask and answer questions? Why do good readers ask and answer questions? 
    • RL1.2 – What do good readers include in a retell? How do good readers figure out the lesson of a story? 
    • RL1.3 – What does it mean for students to describe a character? What strategies do good readers use to describe a character? 
  • Brainstorm ways to extend lessons so that students can make connections between the text and developing classroom culture and community. 

Classroom Structures and Routines: 

  • Determine routines and structures for vocabulary introduction and reinforcement. 
  • Determine routines for writing about reading and feedback during writing about reading. 
  • Determine routines and teaching points for habits of discussion and discussion day at the end of the unit, specifically turn and talks, tracking, voice, and focused bodies. Use focus Speaking and Listening Standards as a guide. 
  • Determine components of a strong book introduction. Book introductions should highlight the author/illustrator and provide enough context, when necessary, for students to connect and understand the text.

Content Knowledge and Connections

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Explain what it takes to be a good friend, what causes friendships to change and grow, how to make and keep friends, and how being a friend helps build a strong team.

Lesson Map

1

  • Ruthie and...

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.2

    SL.1.2

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

Make connections to what it means to be a good friend and part of a strong team.

2

  • How Full...

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Describe what it means if someone fills your bucket, by asking and answering questions about character feelings. 

Make connections to what it means to be a good friend and part of a strong team.

3

  • Howard ... Learns to Listen

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Explain what Howard learns about listening and what we can learn from Howard’s story that will help us be a good friend and part of a strong team, by asking and answering questions about key details in a text.

4

  • Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Describe why Molly Lou Melon acts the way she does, by asking and answering questions about character motivation and feelings.

Describe how you are unique and how that helps strong friendships and teams.

5

  • Ruby the Copycat

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Describe how Ruby’s feelings changed, by asking and answering questions about character feelings.

Make connections to what it means to be a good friend and part of a strong team.

6

  • The Invisible Boy

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Explain why the author ends the text by saying “Maybe, just maybe, Brian’s not so invisible after all,” by asking and answering questions about character feelings and motivation.

Make connections to what it means to be a good friend and part of a strong team.

7

  • The Sandwich Swap

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Describe how the main characters change, by asking and answering questions about character motivation and feelings. 

Make connections to how friendships and feelings can change and what we can learn from each other.

8

  • Jamaica Tag-Along

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Describe how Jamaica’s feelings change, by asking and answering questions about character motivation and feelings. 

Make connections to what it means to be a good friend and part of a strong team.

9

  • Jamaica and Brianna

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Explain what Jamaica and Brianna learn, by asking and answering questions about character motivation and feelings.

Make connections to how friendships and feelings can change and what we can learn from each other.

10

  • Babushka's Doll

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Describe how Natasha’s feelings change, by asking and answering questions about character motivation. 

Make connections to what it means to be a good friend and part of a strong team.

11

  • Enemy Pie

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Describe how the narrator’s relationship with Jeremy Ross changes, by asking and answering questions about character feelings. 

Make connections to how friendships and feelings can change and what we can learn from each other.

12

  • Big Al

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Explain why Big Al has more friends than anyone else and what we can learn from Big Al to make our team stronger, by asking and answering questions about character motivations, feelings, and actions.

13

  • My Best Friend

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Describe what lesson Lily learned about friendship and what advice you would give to Tamika to help her be a better friend, by asking and answering questions about character motivations, feelings, and actions.

Make connections to how friendships and feelings can change and what we can learn from each other.

14

  • Matthew and Tilly

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Explain what Matthew and Tilly realize and why, by asking and answering questions about character motivations, feelings, and actions. 

Make connections to how friendships and feelings can change and what we can learn from each other.

15

  • Each Kindness

    RL.1.1

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Explain how the little girl changes, by asking and answering questions about character motivations, feelings, and actions. 

Make connections to how friendships and feelings can change and what we can learn from each other. 

16

2 days

  • All unit texts

    W.1.1

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.6

    L.1.6

Write an opinion piece about what makes a good friend by using details from the unit to support an idea.

17

  • 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.

18

Assessment

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Project

  • Project materials

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.2

Students will be able to identify one way that they can be a good friend.

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.1.5 — 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.1.1 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

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

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.1.6 — 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.1.8 — With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.