Solving Mysteries

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 :)


JanCT said...

I purchased and used your mysteries unit last year. This was my second year to use it, and I love it. The kids were so excited about their case files. We started with a scavenger hunt with clues. They had to follow the clues to find where the case file envelopes were hidden. Have fun with your mystery book clubs!
Laughter and Consistency

Primary Teachspiration said...

This sounds like such a fun and meaningful activity. I bet your kids had a blast!


Darla said...

I'm totally going to make these hats for my kids to use next week when we do "Descriptive Detectives" Adorable!

Walnut Preschool said...

This looks like an activity children would really enjoy! We could use this idea here at our school, too. For more ideas on activities or schooling curriculum, check it out here:

Lori Booze said...

Hi Mrs. Lemons,
I am guest blogging on Rachel Lynette's blog Minds in Bloom and would like to reference your post:
I mention your blog and link back to it, so I am hoping you say I may.
(My post is on clothespins in the classroom.)
Sorry to post this here; I couldn't find an email address.
Thank you,
Lori Booze

Justin Neal said...

Hey Amy! I have followed your blog for years and purchased a few of your items! Thank you for taking the time to create quality work that I can use in my classroom! I love your Mystery kids! I'm new to 2nd grade this year so I can use even more of your stuff now! Have a great week! -Justin