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Calling all literary detectives

September 10, 2012

Add some drama to the classroom with this activity from A Teacher’s Treasure. Before starting a new book, this clever teacher has the author “send” the class a package with items about the book. Students can take turns holding the mystery package and using their senses  (listen to the sounds it makes when you shake it…) to infer what the items are before the contents are revealed.

The items provide an introduction of sorts to the setting, time period, characters, and so on and certainly must motivate more than a few reluctant readers. I also love that the objects could be used by students with disabilities who struggle with abstract concepts/ideas. After the kit has been introduced, the pieces could be used in retellings, as story prompts, and even as augmentative and alternative communication supports (e.g., “Who is your favorite character? Can you show me?”).

How about using the mystery box for other subjects, like introducing a new unit on food chains, the Great Depression, fractions, or landforms?

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