Launching Units to Support a Year Like No Other

Launching Units to Support a Year Like No Other

Dear Readers,

For the next few weeks I am going to posting units for your use as we enter into the new school year. They are free, I encourage feedback, and I hope that you find them useful and meaningful in the months to come.


  • They are ALL living documents. The K/1 has been updated a handful of times in the week since I originally posted it. Keep checking back at the document if you print it
  • I welcome and encourage feedback. If something does or does not work, let me know. Especially for those of you who start school earlier, you can help refine the work for those who will start a little later.
  • I tried to keep any and all prep work to a minimum. We are all trying to keep our heads above water. Once you get a sense of the units, you should be able to do 99.9% of the work with your children- no making the charts the night before or any of that.

The first one is for K/1 and contain a mash-up of community and relationship building, show and tell, interactive writing, phonics and shared reading. You could call it a reading unit, but it crosses out of that neat box into other areas. The unit is written with variations for distanced, virtual, or blended schooling. It is also written with the feedback of many brilliant educators, I celebrate them at the end.

 K/1 Reading Unit: Shared Stories, Shared Voices!

The 2/3 unit tries to bridge community building, identity, agency, and getting to know your readers. There is a huge emphasis on collaborative conversations. I tried as much as possible to account for all the variations in schooling, but honestly, who knows what it will look like tomorrow. Remember to check out the end where I thank the talented educators who gave their feedback.

2/3 Reading Unit: Building Communities of Readers

4/5 Reading Resources are here! This is a different set-up than the others because I think starting the year with a communal study of a book would be amazing to build relationships, support your readers, and manage a few variables. The incredible Kate Roberts has written a book called A Novel Approach  which marries the core beliefs of readers workshop with the idea of a whole class novel. Since the wheel has already been invented, I am sharing some resources with you about the wheel. Kate holds true to the importance of choice, the importance of agency, and the importance of choosing a text that matters to your kids. Kate calls it a “read-aloud” focused unit, and that gives me a great framing on how to think about how it can live within the structures of a typical reading workshop.

Here is Kate talking about it on Zoom with me. 

Here are some resources Kate created to help you make this work for your community.

Here is Kate’s website so you can soak up her brilliance. They have made a ton of helpful materials for online teaching.

We talked a little bit online and off about how much book choice matters. You might choose a selection of books that are connected to your kids and their passions and ask them to vote on which ones they would want to read and study. We Need Diverse Texts is a great place to find some titles.

Last by not least, this is not a year long curriculum, after a read aloud focused unit, you will want to shift kids into their own texts. Hopefully, by then, maybe, the world will make a little more sense, and if not, perhaps the book we have shared as a community helps us have ways to talk and think about ourselves.

I would pair this study with some of Sara Ahmed’s identity work in Being the Change.

AND PLAY. Okay, this one has been a while in the making but also probably needs the most feedback. In this document, I’ve tried to figure out how play works in a virtual and distanced space. Please give feedback and the document can grow and change as people are experiencing it in real time. My Purposeful Play Co-authors and I also have a post coming out on this topic which has even more information and materials.

A Handbook for Play in the Virtual/Distanced Classroom

The resources are all free. Use them, give feedback, share them. They are living, they will change. You can contact me through the blog or leave a comment, I will approve them all and make changes that need to be made.

Having said all of that, if you would like additional support, you can always connect with me for a webinar or private office hours. As a matter of fact, why don’t I just dive right into a shameless plug. Here are all the ways I am working with schools at this time:

Individual office hours: In this format, teachers/admin/coaches schedule time to talk, usually about 20 minutes. We might plan, co-teach, talk, problem solve, whatever!
Virtual labs and meetings: In this format, we meet as a group (usually as a grade team, though it can be 1-1) and plan something, then we co-teach or, if you would prefer,  I demonstrate on a zoom or whatever virtual platform you are using. Think small group work, shared reading, read aloud, minilessons, etc etc.
Meetings: Self explanatory. I meet with teams, individuals or whole groups and we plan, problem solve, try things out with tech, etc etc
Workshops: The difference here is its mostly content delivery from me to your staff. You can also do these as courses- a course about play, a course about shared reading, etc.
A Benevolent Hovering Presence: In this option, we just set up a standing date across the weeks for check ins, meetings, workshops, etc.


  • Dawn Malone
    Posted at 20:24h, 23 July Reply

    This looks fantastic! Thank you for generously sharing this work.

  • Tracey Penney
    Posted at 20:48h, 23 July Reply

    Thank you for this thoughtful work. I’ve only skim read it once over and I can’t wait to go back in to really digest its content.

  • Loralee
    Posted at 08:30h, 24 July Reply

    You are amazing!

  • Terri Ruyter
    Posted at 08:43h, 24 July Reply

    You are a godsend! We are just diving into planning K for the fall after recuperating from the spring and are struggling to imagine what a play centered kindergarten can look like in a hybrid or remote model.

  • Christine Abdalla
    Posted at 09:09h, 24 July Reply

    Excited to read about these units!

  • Tamieka Hart
    Posted at 09:28h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you!!

  • Sarah
    Posted at 09:59h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you

  • Lorri Smith
    Posted at 10:44h, 24 July Reply

    I’m a grade 2 teacher. I’m excited to learn from you!

  • Carlos Hernandez
    Posted at 11:51h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you for being so generous!

  • Bridget Cassidy
    Posted at 13:28h, 24 July Reply

    Please share, thanks

    • kristimraz
      Posted at 14:51h, 24 July Reply

      Click on the words “here it is”

  • Michelle Burnett
    Posted at 13:59h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you. I would love to see the K/1 resource.

    • kristimraz
      Posted at 14:51h, 24 July Reply

      Click on where it says “here it is”

  • Joanne Warner
    Posted at 14:31h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you!

  • Maria Doyle
    Posted at 15:26h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you 🙏

  • Cathy Cooper
    Posted at 16:11h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you so much. I have followed your work for years.

    In your post you direct us to the bullets. I do not find them to be live links. Am I missing something?
    Table of Contents-ish (to open live links click on the small box with bullets to the left of the document)

  • Carolyn Lewis
    Posted at 17:14h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you so much!!!

  • Rita Koski
    Posted at 21:23h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you!

  • Deborah Vila-Tricomi
    Posted at 13:16h, 28 July Reply

    What a resource! Your explanations and resources are invaluable to all teachers, new and seasoned. Thank you for sharing!

  • Erika Griffin
    Posted at 14:21h, 31 July Reply

    Thank you! This is such a beautiful way to launch a year. I love the way the work is co-constructed with kids. I want to try it!

  • Cynthia Barron
    Posted at 22:36h, 06 August Reply

    Thank you for sharing and for your good work! Is the 2/3 unit ready? It doesn’t have a hyperlink. Happy to see you are doing a guide to play too!

  • Lea Karr
    Posted at 02:28h, 12 August Reply

    Hi Kristi – You are doing such wonderful work! I’m in awe of you. Was the Webinar recorded so that we could register to watch it?

    • kristimraz
      Posted at 19:06h, 12 August Reply

      We will do more! I will keep you posted!

  • Diksha Mohanani
    Posted at 23:03h, 13 August Reply

    Please share

  • Diksha Mohanani
    Posted at 23:07h, 13 August Reply

    I am a grade 3 teacher. Excited to know about the units. Thanks

  • Melissa Kane
    Posted at 09:47h, 15 August Reply

    Thank you! I can’t wait to dive into this!!

  • Ali Beach
    Posted at 20:12h, 09 September Reply

    You have no idea how much I appreciate you. You never fail. You are making changes around the world. Thank you, Kristi!

  • Pingback:What are we Waiting For? - Create a Literate Classroom
    Posted at 10:34h, 13 September Reply

    […] are having conversations that build community and help us get to know each other as readers and as […]

Post A Comment