Monday, April 27, 2015

Need Some Inspiration?

It is that time of year again... the last quarter of the year. I am tired. The kids are tired. Everyone is dragging themselves through the halls and into the classroom. It is the beginning of the end. But wait, we still have 6 more weeks!  How can we end like this?

It's time for some inspiration. Yes, I know I don't feel like putting my full energy into a new unit of study. I know I am overwhelmed with assessment, but don't I owe it to my kids and myself to end the year just right? Why, yes I do!
So I started a mystery unit in my class. So. Much. Fun! We began with a mystery KWL. I was actually surprised to see what second graders know about Mysteries. Most of them could even relate to some of their parents' favorite shows with mysteries, like Castle, and CSI. Some of them have even played Clue! My all time favorite childhood board game. Gotta love Professor Plum! I was thrilled to see they even WANTED to know some more about this lost genre study. They wanted to know how to look for clues. They were eager to determine who dun it in the first reading of our mini-mystery. They were even excited to learn new mystery words like red herring, conviction, detective, suspect, and more!

After finding out what they knew and wanted to know, I introduced a short trailer I created on Mysteries. {You can find it on TpT for free!}
Free Mystery Trailer

So the spark is ignited. For me and for them. We will answer so many questions like What is a Mystery? How do characters respond to events in a mystery? What are the elements of a mystery? How do readers use what they know to make a prediction of who dun it? And on and on...
Unit on Teaching with Mysteries
To make reading mysteries even more fun my teaching partner, Melanie Redden, chose to do a writing mysteries unit. She even created a real crime scene in her classroom. Guess who the guilty suspect was? ME! The kids love it!
Mystery Writing Unit
The kids can even get a mystery writing certificate!
At the end of the unit we will celebrate with a classroom mystery. This is so much fun! The kids take all they learned while reading and writing about mysteries and they try to solve the classroom mystery. Even the guilty person doesn't know they are guilty until the end.
Classroom Mystery
I am hoping this revives our last 6 weeks of school! I know classes from the past always come to me and ask me if we have done the mystery play again. So I guess it sticks with them! Here's to hoping it sticks with your kids as well...


  1. This is such a fun unit you and Melanie do. The connection between reading and writing is really smart and the culminating activity is so engaging. (Obviously... the kids keep coming back to ask you if you're going to do it again!)

    Who's the handsome boy in the black hat? ;)

  2. I think I'd like to be a second grader for the last 6 weeks… :-) FUN!

  3. I agree with Robin! I want to be a second grader for the last 6 weeks of school!

  4. I wanna be in your class!!!