Mystery and Baseball

Students explore the characteristics of a mystery, and how an author uses those characteristics to develop the plot, while reading about the American pastime of baseball in the text The Fenway Foul-Up.

Unit Summary

In this unit second graders 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 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 realize that being a good detective involves teamwork and that teamwork makes everything easier because people are able to play off of each other’s strengths and differing perspectives.  It is important to note that while the main focus of this unit is on mystery and the features of mystery, students will also be learning a great deal about baseball and content-specific vocabulary associated with baseball.

As readers, at this juncture in the school year, it is assumed that students are inquisitive consumers of a text and are able to 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. If there are other spiraling skills from units 1–5 that have not been mastered, they should continue to be included in daily lessons to ensure that students are fully able to access and comprehend the text.

Students will continue to write daily in response to the text with an emphasis on the most relevant evidence to support an idea or claim. In this unit students will also begin writing newspaper articles in response to the text. The newspaper articles will push them to synthesize important plot details and then retell them in a catchy yet informative way.

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

Purchase Books Icon Created with Sketch.

Purchase Books

Assessment

This assessment accompanies Unit 6 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

?

  • What makes a good detective?
  • How does teamwork make it easier to solve problems?
  • How does a person’s perspective on a situation influence his or her actions?
  • How does the setting of a story influence the plot?
  • What are the characteristics of a mystery? How does an author use clues to develop the plot of a mystery?

Writing Focus Areas

?

  • At this point in the year, students should be scoring a 3 on the reading response rubric. Therefore, the priority Focus Correction Areas in this unit are aimed at pushing students from a 3 to a 4 in their writing. In unit 4 students began working on writing answers that went beyond literal comprehension and included inferential or critical thinking. This will continue in this unit. An additional focus of this unit is on including the most relevant and accurate details, facts, and other varied evidence from the text. In previous units students practiced using evidence from the text to support an answer, but they were never pushed to think about if the evidence they picked was the most relevant. Finding the most relevant evidence will make it easier for students to include inferential and critical thinking because the evidence they are finding should directly support the claim.
  • All grammar Focus Correction Areas in this unit are spiraling. Students should receive weekly feedback on grammar based on individualized student needs.

Language Focus Areas

  • uses correct end punctuation
  • spells grade-level words correctly
  • uses complete sentences
  • uses correct capitalization

Writing-About-Reading Focus Areas

  • makes an accurate claim that demonstrates comprehension of the text (spiral)
  • includes some inferential or critical thinking
  • uses the most relevant and accurate details, facts, and other varied evidence from the text
  • uses specific vocabulary from the text (spiral)
  • groups information into a paragraph structure that introduces a topic and provides details (spiral)
  • uses some linking words and phrases (spiral)

Vocabulary

?

Literary Terms

alibi, breakthrough, clue, crime, detective, evidence, hunch, motive, mystery, coincidence, suspect, witness, guilty

Baseball vocabulary: Green Monster, stadium, Major League, batter’s box, dugout, Wally, first base, home plate, foul ball, home run, batboy/batgirl, line drive, center field, rival, mound, infield, program, umpire, scoreboard, strikeout, ball, hit, pitcher, pop fly, catcher, grand slam

Roots and Affixes

-ful, -less

Text-based

scamper, expert, suspicious, rummage, lugging, startled, rivals, clumsy, towered, squinted, exchange, glance, hustle, obvious, stash, mumbled, vanish, replica, decoy, eavesdrop, declared, interrupted, snooped, hustled, sifted

Idioms and Cultural References

"hit the nail on the head", "touch and go"

Intellectual Prep

?

Building Background Knowledge: 

  • Research and learn about baseball. Be prepared to explain the rules of the game and introduce/explain all baseball-specific vocabulary found in the unit. (It is incredibly important that students understand the rules and vocabulary of baseball in order to track the mystery and the clues in the text. If they don’t understand how baseball works, many of the obvious clues will go unnoticed.) Plan how to introduce and reinforce baseball-specific vocabulary.
  • Research and learn about the characteristics of mystery. Be prepared to explain the different features of the genre and their purpose. Plan how to introduce and reinforce the different features of a mystery so that students are able to fluidly use the vocabulary.

Internalizing Unit Standards and Content:

  • Read and annotate The Fenway Foul-Up. Track key elements of mystery and evidence of essential question.
  • Take unit assessment and notice priority standards and key understandings. 
  • Unpack unit standards and determine focus strategies for the unit. What do good readers need to know in order to access the text? 
  • Plan routines and structures to reinforce genre and subject-specific vocabulary. Without a deep understanding of the vocabulary students will be unable to access the text, therefore, vocabulary reinforcement and introduction needs to be present in every lesson. 
  • Determine a habits of discussion focus for the unit based on targeted speaking and listening standards. Create a plan for how to introduce and reinforce the habit over the course of the unit. 
  • Plan a field trip to Fenway Park, or other baseball park, to help students visualize what they are reading.
  • Plan an author’s visit with David Kelly, if possible.
  • Order additional books from the series for students to read during independent reading if desired.
  •  

Content Knowledge and Connections

?

  • Explain that mystery stories normally include one of the following:
    • A problem that needs to be solved
    • An event that cannot be explained
    • A secret
    • Something that is lost or missing
    • A crime that has been committed
  • Explain that mysteries are full of clues that can help the reader and the detective solve the mystery. They can be things people say or do, or objects that they find that provide important information.
  • Traditional mysteries include the following characters:
    • Suspects: characters who are believed to have committed the crime
    • Detective: characters trying to solve the mystery
    • Witnesses: characters who saw the crime being committed
  • Explain the rules and components of the game of baseball. (See baseball-specific vocabulary as a guide for which rules and components to teach students.)

Lesson Map

1

  • F is for Fenway

Explain what makes Fenway Park unique by answering questions to demonstrate understanding of key details.

2

  • F is for Fenway — B, D, G, H, I, L, M, T, Y

    RF.2.4

    L.2.6

Describe three baseball-specific words and why they are important to the game by determining the meaning of words in a story and explaining how they are connected.

3

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 — Ch. 1

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.5

    RF.2.4

Explain how David A. Kelly starts the story The Fenway Foul-Up and why by describing the overall structure of a story, including how the beginning introduces the story and aspects of a mystery.

4

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 — Ch. 2

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Describe how Kate and Mike respond to the news that Big D’s bat had been stolen by describing how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

5

2 days

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 — Ch. 3

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.5

    RF.2.4

    L.2.4

Explain why the chapter was titled “Sunflower Seeds” by recounting key details in a text and describing the features of a mystery.

6

Writing

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 — Ch. 1-3

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.5

    RL.2.6

    W.2.3

    L.2.6

Write a newspaper article detailing what has been happening at Fenway Park by retelling key details and characters’ perspectives on events.

7

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 — Ch. 4

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.3

    RF.2.4

Describe Mike and Kate and how their different strengths make them a good team by describing how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

8

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 — Ch. 5

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain what Kate means by “It’s probably been right in front of us all this time” by describing how characters respond to major events and challenges.

9

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 — Ch. 6

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain if Kate and Mike are right to suspect Kevin or if they are unfairly jumping to conclusions about him by describing how different characters respond to major events and challenges.

10

Writing

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.5

    RL.2.6

    W.2.3

    L.2.6

Write a newspaper article detailing what has been happening at Fenway Park by retelling key details and characters’ perspectives on events.

11

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 — Ch. 7

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain if Kate and Mike are right to suspect the photographer or if they are unfairly jumping to conclusions about him by describing how different characters respond to major events and challenges.

12

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 pg. 76 – 82 — Ch. 8

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain the significance of the sentence “Suddenly, the pieces fell into place” by describing how different characters respond to major events.

13

Writing

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.5

    RL.2.6

    W.2.3

    L.2.6

Write a newspaper article detailing what has been happening at Fenway Park by retelling key details and characters’ perspectives on events.

14

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 pg. 82 – 87 — Ch. 8

    RL.2.3

    RF.2.4

Debate if Mike and Kate have solved the mystery and why by describing how characters respond to major events.

15

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1 — Ch. 9

    RL.2.2

    RF.2.4

Explain why Kate and Mike were MVPs by determining the central message of a story.

16

Writing

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.5

    W.2.3

    L.2.6

Write a newspaper article detailing what has been happening at Fenway Park by retelling key details and characters’ perspectives on events.

17

Writing

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1

    RL.2.5

    W.2.2

Describe how David A. Kelly uses elements of mystery to develop the plot of the story by describing the overall structure of a story and how elements of mystery help drive the plot of a story.

18

Discussion

  • Ballpark Mysteries #1

    RL.2.2

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.2

    SL.2.6

Analyze and discuss unit essential questions by stating a claim and providing evidence from the entire unit to support the claim.

19

  • All unit vocabulary

    L.2.5

Distinguish shades of meaning among closely related verbs and closely related adjectives by sorting and interacting with target unit vocabulary.

20

Assessment

21

Project

  • Project materials

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.3

Apply knowledge of elements of a mystery in order to solve a classroom mystery.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.2.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.2.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.2.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.2.5 — Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

  • L.2.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.2.2 — Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

  • RL.2.3 — Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

  • RL.2.5 — Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

  • RL.2.6 — Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

  • RL.2.10 — By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
  • RF.2.4 — Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.2.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

  • SL.2.2 — Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.2.3 — Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.

  • SL.2.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

Writing Standards
  • W.2.1 — Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.2.2 — Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.2.3 — Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

  • W.2.8 — Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.