What's In a Friend?

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SWBAT identify adjectives that describe a friend. Students will identify print and book awareness skills (capital letters, endmarks, print directionality)

Big Idea

It's time to study our friends! What are your friends? My friends are kind.

Prepare the Learner

10 minutes

Friends Thinking Map


I create a circle map with 'My friends are ___" in the middle.  Another suggestion is to print the word ‘Friend’ in the middle of a bubble map. 


I brainstorm with students describing words for a friend. I say: ˆWhen I think of my friends, I think of how kind they are.  I am going to write  ‘kind’ in my first bubble. (or inside of a circle map) What words come to mind when you think of your friends?  Think for a moment and when you have an idea for our thinking map, raise your hand.  


I continue with the same pattern of guided inquiry until we have several ideas recorded on our thinking map that describe friends.  


Students can use the linguistic pattern My friends are___ if they are having trouble coming up with adjectives for friends.


I say: We are going to be writing about FRIENDS today, so I want you to keep thinking about what makes a friend a friend.

Interact with Text

45 minutes

The Lonely Prince



I introduce the story The Lonely Prince as a story that falls in the genre of ‘realistic fiction.’  I say: Realistic fiction is a story that could be real but isn’t.  We could have experiences and feelings like the characters and can understand what they must be feeling and thinking, even if the author doesn’t explain it to us.


I ask: Do you know any stories about princes or princesses?  My kids will usually name all of the Disney princesses and we often look at one of the student’s princess backpack (there is always a girl who has one!)  I ask them this to set the stage for reading and to activate any prior knowledge they may have about the main character in our story.  When kids approach a read feeling like they already know something about it, they read with more confidence!


We look a the picture on the first page and read the title.  I ask: Does anyone remember what the TITLE of the book is? (the name of the book) 

We then look at the picture.  I ask:  What would be fun about being a prince?  Where does a prince live? (in a castle) How could kings and queens be like regular parents? (play with kids, eat lunch/dinner, take care of kids)


 Browse the selection

We now browse the selection, looking at the pictures on each page.  I am usually animated, showing that I am thinking, wondering and noticing things on the page. I like to tap my head to show that I am wondering or thinking.  I also point to details in the pictures that catch my eye.  I want the kids to SEE what browsing looks like.  

When we are done browsing I remind students: Browsing takes time.  When we browse we don't flip through the pages so fast we can't even see the pictures!  We look at pictures and words to help us get an idea of what the story is going to be about.  Does anyone have an idea of what the story will be about?

Before I read we review vocabulary words: sad, happy and worriedAsk: What makes you sad?  Happy?  Worried?  We discuss each.  I prompt: Show me HAPPY.  (we all smile)  Show me SAD. (we all make sad faces)  Show me worried.  (we put our hands on our cheeks and raise our eyebrows or put our fingernails in our teeth like we are biting them in a worried fashion) 

 "Worried"  is a word that my students usually don't know in English.  I spend a little more time on this one.  I ask: What might make you WORRIED? I worry when I am late for school.  I worry that I might get in trouble.  I also worry if I can't find my car keys.  Why do you think I'd worry about finding my car keys?! Turn and talk to your partner about something that worries you.  I am going to come around and listen to your conversations.

I try to use meaningful examples when I am building vocabulary for my second language learners.  It helps the kids connect with the word and build understanding.  With the stress on nonfiction reads in Common Core, the need to build vocabulary is going to become even more pronounced in our teaching.


 1st read unencumbered

The first read is unencumbered.  I try to stop as little as possible, allowing the students to get the gist of the story.  For this read, I do stop periodically at capital letters and end marks to reinforce the idea of a complete sentence. This is something at this time of the year that we are emphasizing in our writing, so seeing it in real writing gives it purpose and meaning.


Somewhere in the middle of the read, I pick a page to start at the last word of the page and read backwards until the students stop me.  I ask: Why did you stop me?  What's wrong?!  I then have a volunteer come up to the big book and point to the word that I should start reading on that page.  I ask the group: Should I start reading on this page here? (pointing to the first word)  Why is that? 

I say: I think you are right!  Let's read it this way (top to bottom, left to right) and see if it makes more sense!  I like to have my volunteer stay up with the bib book and point to each word on the page as I read it from left to right.  


The kids get a real kick out of this!  I do it periodically so they remind me where we start reading.  Most of my students have little to no experience with books, so the basics are very important at this time of year.



 When we are done reading, we quickly review our vocabulary words and I have students put words and illustrations in their dictionaries.   These dictionaries are easy to make and are versatile!

Extend Understanding

20 minutes

My friends are __


Students are seated on the carpet with me.

Students will write a descriptive sentence or two(if able) about friends using the circle map as a resource.  The linguistic pattern is  My friends are ____. 

In my journal I will model my sentence and picture for my sentence.  I say: Boys and girls, what is the first word of our sentence? (My)  How do we write ‘my?’  Can somebody find it for me on the word wall? (a student uses the pointer to touch ‘my’) 

I continue: Now let’s write ‘friends.’  Tell me the letters you see in that word.  You can look at the circle map to help you.  (I write it as students spell it) 

Can someone come find the word ‘are’ on our word wall for me? (student points to it) 

 Now I need my final word.  My adjective to describe my friends.  I am going to write kind.  What letter does ‘kind’ start with?  The first sound is /k/ /k/ /k/.   Which word on our bubble map starts with ‘k’?  Who can come find it for me? (I write it as students spell it for me) 

What goes last in my sentence? (period) 

I finish: Now let's read the sentence together.  i touch (the words), you read.  Ready?  I touch the words and we all read my sentence together.


I think aloud: What could I draw to show that my friend is kind?  Let me think.  What do friends do for us that is kind?  I KNOW!  Mrs. Martinez gave me a pencil to use when I didn't have one.  I though that was very kind of her.  I am going to draw Mrs. Martinez giving me a pencil!

I illustrate my sentence in front of the kids talking though my drawing.  I point out that the people are grounded.  The people look like people and not spiders with no body.  I add details around us to show where we are.

These are all things that many of my students do not do intuitively.  I have to directly teach illustrations, but the kids really respond well and pick it up quickly!


 Up the rigor...but don't frustrate!

At this point in the year I begin to challenge the students to find the sight words they need on the word wall. 


On the board I will write ___ friends ____ ____.   They need to find "My" and "are" on the word wall.  I write friends for them because that is a frustration level word at this point in the year.  They then sound out their last word or they can refer to the circle map to help them write it.  I have that hanging up where they can all see it.


Students get their journals out of their desks and write their sentence.  As they finish they raise their hands and I come for them to read me their sentence.  Most kids are beginning to read independently, but if they do not know a word they wrote, they echo read it to me.