ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.
Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.
Teacher Resources by Grade
|1st - 2nd||3rd - 4th|
|5th - 6th||7th - 8th|
|9th - 10th||11th - 12th|
What's in a Mystery? Exploring and Identifying Mystery Elements
|Grades||3 – 5|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Eight 45- to 60-minute sessions|
Shaker Heights, Ohio
MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY
- Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (Yearling Books, 1977)
- Chart paper
- Overhead projector
- Mystery Elements
- Mystery Words
- Mystery Elements Writing Guide
- Mystery Graphic Organizer
- Super Sleuth Peer Editing Sheet
- Mystery Writing Rubric
- Super Sleuth Story Template
|1.||Obtain and familiarize yourself with a mystery like Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. This book works well because students can easily identify the mystery to be solved, the clues used to solve it, and the detective's role. You may choose a different mystery that is appropriate for your class from the Mystery Picture Books website as well. Prepare to use a think-aloud strategy when you read this book to students. This will give you the opportunity to point out the key characteristics of a mystery and will also let you model questioning, predicting, and using prior knowledge.
When selecting places to stop, be sure not to interrupt the flow of the story too much. Suggestions for think-alouds include:
|2.||Gather mysteries to have available for independent reading and read-alouds during this project. The Mystery Picture Books website should be a good resource for this as well.
|3.||Make sure that students have permission to use the Internet, following your school policy. If you need to, reserve sessions in your school's computer lab. These do not need to be on consecutive days (see Sessions 1 and 6).
|4.||Visit and familiarize yourself with MysteryNet's Kids Mysteries: The Case of the Ruined Roses and ThinkQuest: You're the Detective. Bookmark these websites on your classroom or lab computers.
|5.||Make copies of the Mystery Graphic Organizer, the Mystery Writing Rubric, and the Super Sleuth Peer Editing Sheet for each student. Make two copies of the Mystery Elements Writing Guide for each student.
|6.||Copy the Mystery Words and Mystery Elements lists onto chart paper and make a transparency of the Mystery Graphic Organizer.