Monday, June 17, 2013

Chalk Talk

I found a new linky to join!

So, of course, I did.

This linky is a once a month kind of linky.  My fav.  When they are once a week, I'm behind by about week 2.  But give me 30 or so days, and I can totally keep on top of it!

Anyway, Julie over at The Teaching Bug hosts this great linky; each month the prompt changes.  Here's this month's question:

IMHO, the last week of school is the MOST DIFFICULT of the year!   Kids are done.  It's too hot.  I just want the year to end and get out of there for the summer.  And it's too stinkin' hot!  Add in a principal who wants grades done and honors awarded before the year actually ends, and the stress can make a girl nutty!

My solution:


As a kid - heck even as an adult - my favorite genre has always been mysteries.  Kids don't always appreciate the complexities and many even say they can't stand to read mysteries.  *Gasp*  "It's the not knowing.  I hate that I don't know who did it and have to wait to find out," one of my darling readers told me this year.

This is the book I used.
I inundate my kids with mystery week.  It's starts at the door with a password.  These vary from year to year, but this year I wrote word puzzles called Plexers on scraps of paper.  Students had to draw from a box and solve the riddle before they could enter.  I let the kids go ask other older kids in our hallway if they needed help.  The kids moaned and groaned - and loved every minute of it!

We spend the week talking about how detectives solve crimes.  We experiment with fingerprints, chromatography, and forensics.  AT the end of the week, I invite the DARE officer back for a visit to talk about these things.  It's very, very cool!

You know those books of mini mysteries that have picture clues?  Years ago I made copies of  the pictures and made little booklets for the kids to use during mystery week.  I read the mysteries, they have to solve it using the picture.  You would not believe how hard it is for kids to use the pictures.  They just make stuff up!  Great learning going on!

I have secret codes the kids have to solve when I need a minute of quiet and hands off time.  Some of them are math codes, some are reading or grammar codes.  The codes are used to 'unlock' the next activity.  By wording it that way, my students go crazy for them.

My favorite activity are One-Hour Mysteries:

These books by Mary Ann Carr are so much fun!  Some of them are fairly easy, but this year's class was definitely up for the challenge:  They solved one that was super challenging!  Some of the detectives left the room when I was giving the answers because they hadn't finished yet! They were so proud of themselves when they finally cracked it!

I love this question because I LOVE my end of the year plans!  One of the hardest things I go through is resisting the urge to pull out this stuff in February when it's dark and cold and everyone's crabby - even me!

Thanks to Julie at The Teaching Bug for a great linky!


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