Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Murder in Whitechapel


This is what my students see when they come into the English Only Zone this week. Their job, to find the culprit! The year, 1891. The location, London. Outside The Rose and Crown Pub, Whitechapel.

Inside the classroom are various locations in London, and students move from station to station playing a "choose your own adventure" murder mystery. The Whitechapel Killer is on the loose, loosely based on Jack the Ripper--and our murderer turns out to be named Jack. Just not that one! Leaves it open for a sequel next year ...


In order to begin, students must pair up and receive the handout, which describes the initial situation. You are Mycroft Pound, famous detective, and your associate is Dr. Browning. A knock at your door introduces an Inspector from Scotland Yard who asks for your assistance. Students must answer two or three simple questions from me about the opening paragraph in order to enter the classroom and begin sleuthing.






Based on their choices after reading a card, students may get closer to finding the killer, or they may go off on red herrings. When hot on his trail, they may choose the wrong course of action and lose the scent. Failed attempts get directed to station #22, where they begin again, so there is a chance for everyone to succeed.

Never having done this before, I am pleased to see the level of success--most teams take twenty-five or thirty minutes to find the criminal, then they get to go across the hall and watch a Jeremy Brett Holmes video, as mentioned below. A few groups take all period (well, once they get inside) and a few don't actually succeed in solving the crime. Still, even from that group, I have heard how funny it is--which is Konglish for fun!


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great idea! Your students are lucky to have you. I would love to try something like this.

Foreigner Joy said...

Wow! You may want to make a book out of your lesson plans. ^^

Bucheon Matt said...

Did you create all of this yourself or did you find it somewhere? This would make a good summer camp activity I think.

SuperDrew said...

Man, your lessons make me look like the worst teacher on earth! Stop showing off, yo.

Tuttle said...

It's just a matter of preparation. I had the idea to do this some time ago, and finally found a choose your own murder mystery online. I beefed it up somewhat, and converted it from paragraphs to cards or stations, illustrated it, and figured out how to organize the classroom.

I want to do a sequel next year, so I'm going to have to write it myself. Better get started...

Eric said...

I used this same story when I taught ESL in Korea and I have been searching for it online but can't find it. I'd like to use it again here in the States. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Tuttle said...

Hi, Eric:

Send a another comment, including your email address.

I won't publish the message, but I'll use the addy send you my files.