Top Secret Letters- This idea has grown through brainstorming sessions with my former team teacher, Maureen Isenegger. I've always wanted to send my students mail during the summer, before having them in the fall. This summer, they will be receiving 'Top Secret' mail. Each letter will be written in a different code, with the key enclosed. I bough Top Secret computer paper for $1 on the Scholastic Teacher's Store site (type 'Top Secret' in the search engine). When the students decode the message, they will see a riddle that needs to be solved. If they wish, they can go to a web site we've created, type in the answer to the riddle and see a 'secret' website (directions below). When they come back to school, we will spend the first week in Detective mode, with our classroom name being Mrs. Uppman's Undercover Agents. I'll post the letters, directions for the web sites and the first week activities here. Keep checking back for additions, as we've only gotten started with our ideas!
Scholastic Teacher's Store- Type in Top Secret and snatch up some great deals!
Letters to be sent out (coming soon)
Directions for the website (coming soon)
First Week Activities
Case of the Snack Shack- Great for introducing reading comprehension. Copy enough strips of each story section for the number of groups in your class. I would copy each part on a different color piece of paper for clarity. Have students hunt for all four parts to the story, place in order and then solve the mystery. Emphasize order (first, next, then, last), comprehension skills and searching for clues within the text. Ask students to illustrate a visual representation of the crime.
Fairy Tale Mystery Theatre Presents Goldilocks and the Three Bears- Cute radio broadcast script of the popular fairy tale, with a mystery twist. Found at The Teacher's Place.
Acting Can Be Murder- A murder mystery game for older students.
Mystery plays for older students- act out a play, and then ask students to solve the mystery!
Carry it through for the entire year!
Create a fun name for your classroom. Maureen's students will be Isenegger's Investigators. Brainstorm words that have to with mysteries-detectives, crime scene investigators, undercover agents, agents, officers, examiners, etc. Let us know what you're going to call your class!
I purchased the Top Secret bulletin boarder from Scholastic's site and plan on using it for our Mastery Club (I'm toying with Detective's Club, but may change it). Students will have to hunt down the answers to Mrs. Renz's awesome questions.