Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hyde Park Mystery

This week is my second annual mystery week, in which I have arranged the classroom as a sort of choose-your-own-adventure murder mystery. Each pair of students make a Holmes-and-Watsonesque duo called Mycroft Pound and Dr. Browning.

While it's true there's no way to make them converse in English in this activity, they must at least read for understanding and process some reasonably complex information. They begin by reading a few paragraphs on a worksheet, and I ask each team a few questions before they can enter the classroom and begin sleuthing. They record the number of each station they visit on their worksheet--which makes it easy for me to know if they followed a correct sequence.

It is possible to get off track about three different ways, but hopefully the vast majority will solve the crime. If you lose the scent completely, you are directed to card #18, where you start again.

This is the same activity I wrote about here, although I obviously had to create a new mystery since the second graders did it last year. There was a little vocabulary I needed to cover, so I took a few minutes of the previous class to prep them--words like blackmail and blotter paper and charwoman.

It's kind of a pain to set up, it took about three hours of my Friday afternoon, and lots of advance planning. But I like the challenge, and the students seem to like the challenge it presents to them--even the ones who don't totally solve the mystery think it's funny, which is Konglish for fun.

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