Short Story "The Dream" Explores Respect, Building Community and Friendship (From Squid And Octopus: Friends for Always)
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Short Story "The Dream" Explores Respect, Building Community and Friendship (From Squid And Octopus: Friends for Always)

Book Title: Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always

Author: Tau Nyeu

Illustrator: Tau Nyeu

Book Summary:

Through four short stories, we follow the adventures of two friends, Squid and Octopus. Even though they are quite different, and even though they often don’t always agree, Squid and Octopus, through words and actions, show us the true meaning of friendship. The importance of community is further enhanced as all the creatures work and play together, share ideas, and befriend one another.

Topic(s) Addressed:

Build Community, Welcome New Friends, Show Respect, New School Year

Activities engage: Critical and Creative Thinking Skills, Cooperative Learning, Problem Solving

Students will enjoy this book at anytime, however, the beginning or the year is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to one or more of the engaging short stories included. Through activities that foster cooperative, critical and creative learning opportunities and problem solving experiences, students, begin to build their classroom community of learners.

It is recommended that you begin with the first short story "The Quarrel" as it provides the background knowledge needed for the other three stories.

Story1: “The Quarrel”
Story 2: “The Dream”
Story 3: “The Hat”
Story 4: “The Fortune Cookie”

This unit is based on story 2, “The Dream” from Squid and Octopus: Friends For Always in which Squid dreams that he is special and wakes up to find he is just himself and very ordinary. His friend Octopus helps Squid understand how very special he is.

Enduring Understandings:

  • A community is a group of people who share activities and ideas; a classroom is a community of learners. 
  • The best communities are those where different voices are welcomed, encouraged, and respected. 
  • Learning, working, and playing together help to build a sense of community.
  • There are many ways that we can get to know new people, make new friends, and build community- kehilla.

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Materials and resourcesmore


Boundary Breaking: Student copies of “Getting to Know You Bingo” (make them on a site such as, and/or download an example set from this site made by a teacher who used this plan)

Sharing The Storymore

Introducing The story

Introduce the title of the chapter, “The Dream.” Ask, “What is a “dream?” Encourage students to each share a dream they have had.

Reading The Story

Read the story aloud, stopping when appropriate to explore illustrations, address comments, clarify, predict and guide students’ understanding of the story and the values of community -kehillah, to Welcome New Friends- Hachnasat Orchim, and Respect- Kavod.

Discussion Questions May Include:

  • What did Squid dream about?
  • Why did Squid feel ordinary?
  • How did his friend Octopus help Squid feel better?
  • What would you like to say to Octopus? What would you like to say to Squid? 

After The Story

Boundary Breaking:
The following will give students the opportunity to discover new things things about their classmates, forging relationships and community as they see many similarities among one another and ways in which each is unique.

  • Getting to Know You Bingo (Use a site such as to create a card that will resonate with your community) Distribute Bingo cards to each student that includes various questions and /or accompanying pictures: (e.g. “Who has more than 2 brothers and sisters?” “Who has read the book, Where the Wild Things Are?” Go over each question and then have students move around the room to find students who meet the various criteria. (Each student’s name or initial can only be filled in one time on a card.) The student who fills in the card first (or fills in X amount of spaces or fills in all spaces across, diagonally, or horizontally, etc.) gets the opportunity to introduce each classmate on his/her Bingo card. Allow for all other students to similarly be introduced. 
  • Whip Around : Involve students in a “Whip Around,” going quickly around the room posing open-ended questions similar to those below that are open ended. Students can “pass,” but let them know you will come back to them later to respond. Add your own open-ended phrases --do one or more each day as time allows. Allow time at the end of each session for students to ask each other questions about their responses in order to learn more about things they are interested in. Be sure that all students are included and are respectful of each other. 
Hamburger or Hot Dog?
Horse or Elephant?
Superman or Spiderman?
Park or Beach?
My Favorite Things:
When you are home, what is your favorite thing to do?
When you are with a friend, what is your favorite game to play?
What is your favorite thing to share with friends or family?


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

“Throw Back Thursday”:
 Octopus listed a lot of things that Squid did that make him special: Have class list these - reread as necessary:
--knitted cozies for Hermit the Crab’s family when they lost their shells.
--organized Tickle Mondays each week
--can play all Octopus’s favorite music--- at the same time

To help build a sense of community, brainstorm ideas of what type of “special day” they would like to have once a week (let them take part in the preparation) such as:

  • “Throwback Thursday”- students bring pictures of themselves when they were younger
  • Game Day” -certain students are asked to bring in a favorite game that can be played by 2, 3 or 4 people (rotate so that there are a sufficient number of games for small groups of students to play), etc.
  • “Share with us Wednesdays” - students bring in something personal or something special that they want to share with the class. 
To continue to highlight student individuality and strengthen community, involve students in “Throw Back Thursday” type of activities on a regular basis (it could be on a different day as appropriate to your school)!

Music Connectionsmore

Evidence of Learningmore

  • Students are observed learning and working together respectfully, sharing ideas and valuing each others contributions.
  • Student responses reflect their feeling of safety as they share things about themselves with their classroom community.
  • Student whip-around reflects ways in which students are each special and unique.


literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
Zero Kathryn Otoshi Zero sees herself as a big round number with only emptiness inside. She thinks the other numbers have fun, and they count. Ultimately, Zero listens to some wise words, “‘Every number has value,” says Seven. “Be open. You’ll find a way.”
Elephants Cannot Dance! Mo WillemsMo WillemsGerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.
I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off A Little Self-Esteem Jamie Lee CurtisLaura CornellCelebrate liking yourself! Through alternating points of view, a girl's and a boy's, Jamie Lee Curtis's triumphant text and Laura Cornell's lively artwork show kids that the key to feeling good is liking yourself because you are you. Like the duo's first New York Times best-seller, Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day, this is an inspired book to rejoice in and share. I'm Gonna Like Me will have kids letting off some self-esteem in no time!
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors

Dr. Anita Meinbach