Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco is a GREAT literature unit for the beginning of the year! I often use this book on the first day of school to stress that we can all succeed despite our weak areas if we are willing to let someone help us. It also works great to open discussions about bullying. This mini unit includes a literature response journal with seven half page sized writing prompts to use as students (or you) read the story. The writing prompts can be used individually, in small groups or partnerships, or in whole groups as you read the book.
There is also a 10 question multiple choice quiz included; a page with 7 vocabulary words; an illustration / visualization page; and a discussion page on bullying that can be used to extend the lesson for Thank You, Mr. Falker.