Detectives Solve Mysteries Written by their BFF's!

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SWBAT use context clues to solve a mystery written by a fellow classmate. SWBAT present their own mysteries that they have written, to the class.

Big Idea

Student Detectives will get to solve a mystery written by their friend and also get to share their own work with the class.


Lesson Opener

15 minutes

Have you Forgotten?  

I have given the kids some extra time to finish reading "Shakespeare's Secret" but I also don't want those kids who have finished the book already to forget what they have we're going to take some time this morning to review the discussion questions in the back of the novel. We'll talk about the characters, settings,and plot of the mystery. To make it a little more fun than just Q&A I plan on asking the kids to think of their very favorite part of the book or what makes them love the book. Will discuss our favorites in our likes.

Lesson Project

20 minutes

For this project, the students will get to solve a mystery written by a peer.  I will have the kids choose a partner. (I try to let them take their own partners whenever possible because they are usually more excited to work with that person. However, I do stipulate that if they are not working well with that partner I will choose their partner the next time there is a partner choice.)

I will hand out the magnifying glasses for the students to use to solve their friends mystery. (They love to use the magnifying glasses.) After the partners have been chosen,students will exchange the mystery stories written yesterday.t They will then get to read and try to solve the mystery written by their friend.

Lesson Closer - Mystery Presentations

20 minutes

Today we will have a good portion of the kids present the mysteries they have written, to the class.  I find that if you create an environment where kids feel safe to be successful as well as make mistakes they are eager to share.  Even my most reluctant students by midyear are begging to share their work. (It also helps to have a microphone.  Kids love to hear themselves in the microphone.)  

My students are excited to share their mysteries with the rest of the class. So we will take turns sharing our mysteries with each other. Whenever we have presentations in our classroom I let the students know up front that part of their presentation grade is audience manners. If a student does not have good audience manners it will be reflected in his or her grade. This usually prevents students from misbehaving during the presentations.

We sill spread out the presentations for the next few days until everyone has had a chance to present.

Grading Mysteries

To grade the students writing, I use the rubric located in the resources.  I do not like to markup the children's writing fixing every little spelling mistake or punctuation mistake etc.  I feel it discourages students from wanting to write. Instead, I hold individual conferences with the students after I have graded their papers and go over the rubric with them pointing out things in their paper that they could work on. I also point out that even the most accomplished authors have areas they can work on to improve their writing.  I feel this is a much more effective way to get the kids to reflect on their writing without discouraging them from writing in the future.