My Family and Other Families, Now and Long Ago
My Family and Other Families, Now and Long Ago Unit 2 Overview Guided Reading Suggestions Glossary Document Based Question Constructed Response Question Lesson 5 Families Over Time Lesson 4 All Families Are Different, Yet the Same Family Roles and Responsibilities Lesson 2 Family Tree Lesson 1 My Family, Your Family

Lesson 4: All Families Are Different, Yet the Same


Through Read-alouds, a “Celebrations Chart,” and the construction of a “Class Celebrations Book,” children will be exposed to a variety of cultural traditions. Students will recognize the similarities and differences between their own family and those of others around them or those portrayed in the books being read. They will reflect on the traditions of others as they respond to a writing prompt.
Suggested time allowance: 3 class periods

Unifying Theme: (based on the National Council for the Social Studies)

  • Individual Development and Cultural Identity

New York State Social Studies Framework

  • Social Studies Standard 1: History of the United States and New York
  • Key Ideas and Conceptual Understandings
    • 1.1 Language, beliefs, customs, and traditions help shape the identity and culture of a family and a community.
      • 1.1b People and families of diverse racial, religious, national, and ethnic groups share their beliefs, customs, and traditions to create a multicultural community.
      • 1.1c Awareness of America’s rich diversity fosters intercultural understanding.
    • Social Studies Practices:
      • Chronological Reasoning and Causation
        • Retell a real-life family event in sequential order.
        • Recognize and identify patterns of continuity in his/her family.
      • Comparison and Contextualization
        • Describe an event in his/her family.
      • The Role of the Individual in Social and Political Participation
        • Demonstrate respect for the rights of others in discussions regardless of whether one agrees with the other viewpoint.

Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy

  • RL.1.1: Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • RL 1.9: Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.
  • RL.1.11: Make connections between self, text, and the world around them (text, media, social interaction).
  • 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: Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • W.1.3: Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, 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.

Unit Essential Question:

  • How are families both different and the same?

Resources/Materials for this lesson: (Recommended book is bold)

  • Kuklin, Susan. Families. New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children,2006. Looks at how various children identify themselves within their families. Lionni, Leo. Frederick. New York, NY: Random House Children’s Books, 1973. A story about Frederick the mouse who has a tradition of gathering food before winter.
  • Morris, Ann. Light the Candle, Bang the Drum. New York: Dutton Childrens' Books, 1997. Illustrations and brief text present various holidays celebrated around the world, including New Year’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Easter, Ramadan, Diwali, Posadas, and Hanukkah.
  • Parr, Todd. The Family Book. New York: Little Brown, 2003. A fictional story introducing various types of families through literature and child friendly illustrations.
  • Rylant, Cynthia. The Relatives Came. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, 1985. A story about the joy of a family gathering.
  • Simon, Norma. All Kinds of Families. Chicago, Illinois: A. Whitman Publishing Company, 1976. Explores what a family is and how families can have different lifestyles.
  • Family Celebrations” (included) Enlarge as a poster.
  • Family Questionnaire” sent home before beginning this lesson (included)
  • Pencils/Crayons/Markers
  • Family Celebration Book Page (included)
  • "Celebrating Differences" worksheet (included)
  • “Common Core Standards: Reading Informational Text in First Grade” found on the grade level home page. Includes both instructions and a checklist for close reading and writing.
  • SMART Board Activity (included)
    Students compare their families to other families.
  • Other Interactive Whiteboard file (included)
    Same as above but modified for use with other types of interactive whiteboards.


Day 1

Note to Teacher: Prior to lesson Send home the “Family Questionnaire” (included) and have it returned before Day 3. Read All Kinds of Families or any similar book that explores different kinds of families and talks about adoption.

1) Gather students together. Introduce the lesson by telling the class that
just like each one of you is both different and the same, each of our families
are both different and similar.
Discuss that adopted children are completely part of any family

2) Have students brainstorm facts about their families. Chart student responses.

3) Distribute the graphic organizer, “Celebrating Differences.” (included) Have students write or draw a fact about their family in each box on the graphic organizer.

Day 2

1) Have children walk around room and have classmates sign their name to boxes that show or tell a fact that is the same about their family.

2) If you want to introduce Reading Information Text using two books of different genres at this point, duplicate “Common Core Standards: Reading Informational Text in First Grade” found on the grade level home page. This option includes an essay and will add two days to the lesson.

Day 3

1) Gather the students together and share with the students the completed family questionnaires.

2) Model for children how to interpret information from questionnaires. Use your own family questionnaire as a model.

3) Read Light the Candle, Bang the Drum. Have children think, pair, share about their family’s celebrations. Introduce the word “tradition,” and ask the students if their family has any traditions as they have family celebrations.

4) Introduce “Family Celebrations” poster (included).

5) Have students describe their family celebrations. Chart family celebration on the poster. Remind students of Read-aloud from previous day. Chart the family in the story as well.

Day 4

1) Review “Family Celebrations” poster from previous day. Begin discussion by asking children to find similarities and differences among family celebrations.

2) Model for the students how to create a page for a class book based on their own celebration/tradition.

3) Each student will create a page for the class book independently. Students will illustrate and write a caption for their drawing. (see attached sample)

4) Gather students together to share their pages for a class book. Teacher will model how to share their page using a teacher made page as model.

5) Have students describe their family celebrations. Children will share the page they created for the class book.

6) Place the completed book in the class library.

Extension Activity:

After all students have a chance to share their tradition/celebration, pair students and give them the opportunity to “compliment” each other’s tradition, using the "Celebrating Differences" worksheet.


  • Daily teacher observation Contribution to “Celebration Chart” Completion of page for the Class Book Sharing of Family Tradition/Holiday
  • Completion of “Celebrating Differences ” worksheet


adoption When parents bring a child born to other parents into their families forever
alike same or similar
celebration observing something in a special way
culture languages, traditions, beliefs, clothing, activities of a group of people
custom the usual way of doing things
different not the same
divorce When two adults decide to live separately and not be married anymore.
generation all people born and living at about the same time
holiday a day of celebration
tradition a special way of doing something that is handed down from generation to generation


Integrated Social Studies/English Language Arts Curriculum (Grade 1)
©Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Curriculum & Instructional Services
Last revised September 28, 2016