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.



Alternate Unit 5

2nd Grade

Unit Summary

In this unit, students learn about making mistakes, honesty, and the power of forgiveness by reading the core texts Freckle Juice and Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up. In Freckle Juice, students explore what peer pressure is and the ways in which people can influence the decisions that we make. In Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up, students explore what it means to be honest, especially when it may seem difficult to tell the truth. Students will also explore the value of friendship and how jealousy can sometimes come between friends. Andrew in Freckle Juice and Keena Ford are both highly relatable characters struggling with issues that are common in second grade. Therefore, these books will give students a chance to grapple with and explore the nuances of peer pressure, honesty, friendship, and jealousy in a non-threatening way.

This unit acts as a transition from early chapter books that have an equal balance of words and pictures into chapter books where the picture support is removed. Throughout the unit, students will work on using the strategies they have learned to help build stamina in order to read longer texts. Besides building stamina, there are a few main focuses of the unit: deeply understanding characters, including character motivations, perspectives, and relationships. Keena Ford shares lots of insight into how and why she does the things that she does, which will make it easier for students to internalize what it means to notice and track characters over the course of a longer text. Another focus is on holding onto the plot across multiple chapters. This is the third chapter book that students will be reading, but the plot of this text is slightly more nuanced. Over the course of the unit, students will use all of the strategies they learned in previous units to engage with classmates in partner, small group, and whole class discussions. Students will continue to build on their peers’ talk and may begin to critique and analyze the reasoning of their peers when applicable.

Students continue to build their writing fluency by writing daily in response to the Target Task question using a combination of simple and complex sentences. Students also hone their opinion writing skills by crafting strong paragraphs that state an opinion, provide reasons to support that opinion, and have some type of closure. 

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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

Before you teach this unit, unpack the texts, themes, and core standards through our guided intellectual preparation process. Each Unit Launch includes a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning to ensure you're prepared to support every student.

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?

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.

Writing Focus Areas

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.



"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


-ful dis-

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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