In this Guiding Question, I ask that students begin thinking toward that character analysis essay at the end of the Unit.
In thinking about how to get kids to use evidence to support their claims, I began to think about how real evidence is used in a court room. This then led me to look at these mysteries I had on my teacher shelf at school...to see if maybe it would be a way for the kids to read a text and use clues, or evidence, from the text to support the solution, or claim. Unfortunately, these books were a little heavy for 6th graders, but fortunately I found this fabulous site.
I get the students to read and annotate on the Disappearing Dimes mystery (looking for evidence), and then come up with a solution, or claim on the graphic organizer attached to the mystery. They really, really, really want to talk as they do this. They want to work together! I want them to figure it out together, too, but I want them to be able to create claims and evidence on their own, too.
So...I have them talk at their tables only after they think they have a solution. Then each table shares out. After everyone shares, I give them the solution from the site.
After we finish the mystery, and I get the kids calmed down (did I mention how much they love these mysteries?), we read aloud from The Fourth Stall, while students are filling out their Double Entry Journal to prepare for our Embedded Assessment at the end of the unit.