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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 2-3:

Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up

Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up introduces us to young Keena, a delightfully sweet and sometimes mischievous girl who encounters some challenges settling into the new school year in her second grade class. We chose this novel for its powerful attention to some rich social and emotional themes: honesty, friendship, family, forgiveness, trust, and kindness. Students will find themselves relating to and being inspired by Keena’s experiences; this curriculum will help students build connections between Keena’s story and their own.


Meet Keena, a creative and curious girl, with a flair for getting into trouble, despite trying to do the right thing. Keena just started the school-year and she’s already pretended it was her birthday, made her best friend Eric jealous, and snuck into another classroom!

Keena lives in Washington, D.C. with her mom and brother during the week and spends the weekends with her dad in Maryland. Her best friend is Eric and she just started 2nd grade. On the first day of 2nd grade, Keena is sad to learn she and Eric are in separate classes, but her doubt subsides after she meets her new teacher and finds out everyone gets chocolate cake on their birthday! She’s so excited in fact, that she lies and says her birthday is tomorrow. Even though she lied, Keena finds a friend in someone who used to be the enemy, and she has no idea that her new classroom and new friendship are making Eric feel sad and jealous. To hide his true feelings, Eric lies about how great his new class is. Keena wants to see what it’s like in Eric’s classroom, so she sneaks into the room without anyone seeing her— until she gets caught hiding under his teacher’s desk!

Keena learns valuable lessons about telling the truth and thinking about how her actions can make others feel.

Author:  Melissa Thomson

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • Seven individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • An assessment to monitor student progress.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-building unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 60
Dimensions: 8.5” x 11”



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