Mini Mysteries Return and Shakespeare's Secret Continues

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SWBAT use context clues to read and solve mysteries.

Big Idea

Back by popular demand - Mini Mysteries! Book Club continues for Shakespeare's Secret


Lesson Opener

15 minutes

Welcome to the 4th day of our detective unit!  The kids have been begging to solve more mini mysteries me ever since we did the Mini Mysteries activity during the first lesson of this unit.  To mix it up a little bit, I will have the students working on a mini mystery in pairs instead of small groups.  Of course I strategically choose the pairs.  I pair my struggling readers with not necessarily the highest readers, but the readers whom I feel will best help the struggling readers without making them feel bad and without getting frustrated.  The partners will again fill out a copy of the Detective Academy Handbook. I will remind them that many times it is necessary to reread parts or all of the mini mystery in order to find clues to solve the mystery.  I absolutely LOVE when students get excited about learning and love to let them feel ownership in what we are doing.  So whenever possible, if they ask, I try to listen. :)

Mini Mysteries series (Books 1, 2, and 3) 

Walton, R. (2004). Mini Mysteries. Middleton, WI : Pleasant Company Publications.

Walton, R. (2006). Mini Mysteries 2. Middleton, WI : American Girl Publishing, Inc.

Walton, R. (2007). Mini Mysteries 3. Middleton, WI : American Girl Publishing, Inc.


Lesson Project

45 minutes

Yesterday we read to chapter 10 in class and then I assigned them to read Chapters 11, 12, 13 and 14 on their own.  (Not all of the "on your own" reading has to be done at home.  I give students time daily to do some reading and reading is always one of the choices when they finish different projects throughout the day.)

Today we will hold  group discussions, book club style, about the chapters we read yesterday.

I will divide the students into small groups of about six students where they will discuss what they've read so far in the novel. They will also look over the literature circle questions written in the back of the book and answer the ones that they can so far. (See lesson 2 of this unit for instructions on how I work the book club groups.)

We will read chapters 15, 16, 17, and 18 in the in class and then I will assign the students to read chapters 19, 20, and 21 on their own tonight at home.

I will encourage the students to fill in the detective academy handbooks as they read and find clues and discuss the clues they have gathered so far.


Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach

Broach, E. (2005). Shakespeare's Secret. New York, NY : Scholastic Inc.


Lesson Closer

10 minutes

Detective Debriefing:

Detectives will have the opportunity of presenting their mini mysteries cases to the class and telling whether or not their theories on solving the case were correct or not.