Learning From Mistakes: Keena Ford

In this unit students explore the concepts of honesty, forgiveness, and friendship by reading Freckle Juice and Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up.



Unit 5

2nd Grade

Unit Summary

In this unit, students explore the genre of mystery—in conjunction with exploring the American pastime of baseball—by reading the mentor text The Fenway Foul-Up. Over the course of the unit, students will be challenged to think about and notice the characteristics of a mystery and how an author uses the characteristics of a mystery to develop the plot. Students will also be challenged to think about what makes a good detective and how much information detectives need before they can be confident enough in their decisions to avoid unfairly or unjustly accusing someone of committing a crime. Students will also discover that being a good detective involves teamwork; teamwork makes everything easier because people can play off of each other’s strengths and differing perspectives. While the main focus of this unit is on understanding the mystery genre, students will also be learning a great deal about baseball and the content-specific vocabulary associated with baseball.

At this point in the year, it is assumed that students are inquisitive consumers of a text and can identify and describe characters and plot events in a text read aloud or silently. Therefore, this unit focuses on pushing students to describe the overall structure of a story, particularly identifying and explaining how the characteristics of a mystery support the plot of a story. Students will also be pushed to go beyond just describing characters and will instead be pushed to explain how characters respond to major events and challenges, and how different characters have different perspectives on events and why. Throughout the unit, students will use all of the strategies they learned in previous units to engage with classmates in partners, small groups, and whole class discussions. Students will continue to build on to their peers’ and may begin to critique and analyze the reasoning of their peers when applicable.

As writers, students continue to work on building their writing fluency by writing daily in response to the Target Task question using a combination of simple and complex sentences. Over the course of the unit, students write various narrative newspaper articles and conclude by writing their own mystery. Building on work done in previous units, students are focusing on developing narratives that include descriptive language to describe all aspects of character and how to end a story on a cliffhanger. 

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • How do other people influence the decisions you make in your life?
  • What does it mean to forgive someone?
  • How can we learn from our mistakes?
  • What does it mean to be honest? Why is it important to show honesty in our everyday lives?

Writing Focus Areas


  • Write simple and complex sentences.

  • Combine simple sentences to make longer, more interesting sentences.

Opinion Writing

  • Brainstorm using a Single Paragraph Outline.

  • State an opinion and supply reasons that support that opinion.

  • Choose reasons that are the most convincing.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Build on others' talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.

  • Ask for clarification and further explanation as needed about topics and texts under discussion.

Reading Focus Areas

  • To understand what happens and why it happens in a story, readers notice a character’s motivation and relationships.

  • Characters are complex, and sometimes want or feel more than one thing at the same time; understanding a character’s conflicting feelings and motivations helps the reader understand the decisions they make.

  • As readers tackle longer chapter books, they have to hold onto the plot over multiple chapters to understand how the beginning of the text impacts the end of the text.



"clean slate" actually admit allowance apologize conflict conflicting complain desparate disappointed forgive freckles grateful instead jealousy mess mysterious permanent peer pressure recipe sternly startled wacky


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To see all the vocabulary for Unit 5, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Fishtank ELA Connections

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards

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Unit 4

Cinderella Around the World


Unit 6

Solving Mysteries: The Fenway Foul-up

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