I've been blogging about my mystery unit for years now. This is my 5th year to host Detective Clubs, and I will say that it is a hit each and every year.
We started this week reading mystery picture books. I've been collecting these throughout the years, adding to my collection each time our clubs roll around. I do a read aloud each day and we discuss the elements of a mystery... detectives, criminals, clues, witnesses, suspects, etc. I also tie in a lot of inferring while reading.
Today I decided to tie mysteries into our writing focus... writing "How-Tos." Since we have read several mystery books and had a lot of discussions about cracking cases, I had my students write three steps to solving a mystery. Some of their responses were very detailed and others were straight, to the point. I definitely have a wide variety of writers in my class! This was our first independent How-To writing, so we just kept it at the three steps and made sure to use our transitional words.
After my students had written their three steps they were able to make their detective. The patterns are from my Mystery Unit.
I keep these books on my board for my students to read during independent reading time.
Tomorrow we will start our detective clubs. I'm starting a little early since next week is a 4-day week. I made each of my students a Case-File with the following items:
1. Folder (label HERE)
3. New Pencil
Of course they will also have a mystery chapter book. I put my students in detective clubs with 3-5 students. We use mostly Cam Jansen, Young Cam Jansen, and A-Z Mysteries for our Detective Clubs. Our literacy library at school has a lot of options for us to choose from. Click HERE to see the books we used last year.
The Detective Clubs will last between 4-5 days (depending on the length of their book and speed of reading). They fill out their case files as they are reading. I will also have some other options for students who finish their book study before others. While my groups are meeting, I spend most of my time with my struggling readers... helping them read the mystery. While they are jotting down information I normally go check in with the other groups. It's worked out really well every year.
And, that's that! I can't wait to give my kiddos their special case files tomorrow! It's always a special week in 2nd Grade :)