MYSTERY WEEK!!! A Classroom Mystery

Hi everyone!!! Welcome to Mystery Week!!! Well, it was actually last week, but we had to solve the mystery before I could blog about it! ;) So a little over a year ago, I was perusing through Pinterest and various websites and came across the idea of having a mystery in the classroom. I have no idea where I saw it so I apologize for not being able to give that person credit for the idea. After learning about it, I ran with it!! I use Mystery Week as a means to introduce the Fiction genre of Mystery as well as introducing problem/solution and reinforcing making inferences and drawing conclusions. Making the mystery a hands on, personal and interactive activity really draws the kids in and allows them to embrace and internalize their learning.

Preparation: First, I decided which classroom treasure I want to be taken from the room. Then, I talked to one of our ISTEP Remediators whom I KNEW would really eat this up to see if she would be culprit! She then left 4 clues for me to leave in the area where our Minion stayed along with a written clue. I took those items and scattered them around the "Crime Scene." I tape off the area with "No Paparazzi" tape (left over from when I used a Hollywood theme in my class hah). You can definitely use different type of tape or plain yellow or bright tape of some sort. I just wanted to use what I had.
Prep. cont.: Then I get all of my materials together. 

- latex gloves for investigating (My head cafeteria worker gives some to me each year!)
- magnifying glasses (these aren't necessary but add to the fun and intrigue :)
- my Mystery Genre Poster from my Genre Posters Set and Drawing Conclusions Poster from my Reading Skills Posters and much more set! (Click on the posters below to see the whole sets in my TPT store. It comes with matching book bin labels as well. :)
- my Follow the Clues!!! An Introduction to Mysteries activity set (Click on the cover below to see the activity in my TPT store. :)
Day 1: The Discovery of the Crime Scene!
On Day 1, the students came in to find a taped off area and had to figure out what was missing in the scene. I do the formal activities during our reading rotations, but we also talk about it throughout the day! THEY LOVE TO TALK ABOUT IT!!! :) I mean want to interrupt you in the middle of math to say they have another suspect!! So on this day, we talked about our "Minuend" Minion (totally named the minion after the largest number in a subtraction problem so they would remember it!! hah :) missing from our classroom!!! We talk about what we think happened which leads into the introduction of what a mystery is. I use the poster above as well as examples from the classroom library that they are familiar with.  Cam Jansen is a great one even if they haven't read any, most of them have heard of the books. We then fill in our MISSING flier/poster to hang up in the hallways!!
Day 2: The Investigation!!
Now it's time to get our hands dirty!! I have the kids put on latex gloves and get out their magnifying glasses to investigate the crime scene. As they investigate or after, they wrote down the clues and what they may tell us (inferences)!! This is AWESOME practice making inferences! You can easily spot the kids who have a good handle on this! I have to throw a shout out to Jen Jones and her Picture of the Day year long set for helping us to make good inferences with pictures. This has helped us in the classroom in so many ways than just this Mystery Week! Click on the cover below to see the activity in her TPT store! It's worth it! :)
Here are some pictures of the kids investigating the crime scene!!! They were SOOOO excited!!! I wish I would have videotaped the conversations!! They would talk about who they think did it, but then another would disagree and say why! It gave me chills! :)




Day 3: The Suspects and Interrogation Questions!
Now that they have investigated the crime scene, they start to make inferences to come up with possible suspects using the clues that they found. We made a list together which they also wrote down on their organizers. There is a place for notes to add anything that is important to remember about them, like that they come to our rooms every Thursday, etc. 



Once we come up with a suspect list, we decided on what questions we should use in our interrogations. We make sure to think of the clues and what questions would get us the answers we need to see if that suspect did it using the clues that were left. I then email the suspects an email as from the kids! They send me a time that would work for them during our reading time the next day. 

Day 4: The Interrogations!!!
This was such a great day!!! Not only did the kids have to come up with questions that would lead to specific answers, they had to take the answers they were given and draw conclusions about the suspects! One of the kids started hysterically laughing after the first question was answered! He was soooo excited!! I just couldn't help buy smile and feel so proud of them! They were really a part of their classroom mystery!! So each rotation we tried to go to as many of the suspects as we could. I had it set that the actual culprit came after our reading period so since all 3 groups had her as one of their suspects, we all interrogated her!! It worked out perfectly! They were on to her from the beginning, but I may have helped deter their attention to others to keep the mystery going! :)



(Scrappy Hearts Clipart by The 3AM Teacher!)
We didn't have to interrogate all of our suspects which we talked about this happening prior. Once our ISTEP Remediator (the culprit) came in, we interrogated her! The reactions of the kids were priceless! The gasping was loud! :) Once they drew the conclusion it was her, we flipped over the written clues (which she did awesome and made a puzzle out of it to explain WHERE Minion was located). This then told us where our Minuend Minion was!
 We then went to Room 104 to find our Minion. The kids were on the hunt! Our Remediator had snuck out of the room to "flee" from the scene! We walked down to find her reading a story to Minuend Minion. :)

*There is a WANTED poster included which we did last year, but this year since she was in our room, we didn't need to put up the posters to find her! :)

Day 5: The Problem/Solution Responses
This day the kids fill out the graphic organizer showing the problem and solution boxes. We usually also do a drawing conclusions quiz of some. 

Writing Extension: As a way to extend the activity to writing, the kids write about the week Minuend Minion was missing! :) This is also included in the set! 

There it is!! Our Mystery Week!!! It's such a fun way to introduce and reinforce so many skills in a way that the kids will remember!! Several of my kids from last year came down to my room after they saw our Missing Posters in the hallways! They immediately accused my EL co-teacher since she was the culprit last year! :) One of those kids even asked if I was going to do the mystery at the beginning of the year! Interactive and personal activities really make an impact on our students!!! :)

Here is a link to another inferring activity that really was liked by my students! Grab it for free here or click on the picture below!
I hope you enjoyed the mystery...Minuend Minion is MISSING!!! The Mystery of the Disappearance of Minuend Minion, the Class Minion!  Thanks so much for stopping by!!


3 comments:

  1. What an amazing idea! I hope I can do it in my classroom someday soon!!

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    1. Yay!! It is definitely one of those activities I can't wait to get to!! If you do it, I would love to know what your kids thought!! :)

      Nicole

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  2. I downloaded this freebie when you first offered it because I loved it! While I do not teach inferences I knew this would be perfect for something even though I did not know what at the moment. Today, I used it and will use it all week during NJ's School Violence Awareness Week. So thank you. I linked to you. http://technicallylibrarian.blogspot.com

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I always LOVE to hear from other teachers and bloggers so thank you so much for taking the time to comment!! It's so exciting to meet new people who share in your passion!