Over the course of the last few weeks, my students and I have been working with the Mystery Genre. Since my students don’t really show as much enthusiasm in our ELA blocks as they do our SS blocks, I wanted to spice the unit up a bit. Our first text was an informational text on Crime Scene Investigation. Now, although everything in me wanted to run a Law and Order: SVU marathon, I knew I couldn’t do that with my 5th graders! So to spark interest, I told them they needed to bring in some tools to help us with our next text. I kept the title of the text a complete secret and asked them to bring in a flashlight! I then bought some CAUTION tape to put around the room and some plastic gloves. I told students that throughout this unit, they would be acting as detectives trying to find clues to answer our comprehension questions. We read the text in the dark with our flashlights and gloves!IMG_1237IMG_1213.JPG

Before we read the first text in the unit, we discussed what we know about Crime Scene IMG_1245Investigation (and to my surprise , many learned what they know by watching Law and Order!) and put our answers on a two column Prediction chart. After we read, we went back and filled in the chart using our detective skills to sequence the steps!





After we read the informational text on Crime Scene Investigation, we started the “real” fun! For our next two texts, students had to bring in flashlights and magnifying glasses. To spark interest, I also borrowed the Game of Clue from a friend. We discussed what the elements of mystery are using the game board and created an anchor chart :

I also found this chart I will be recreating as a review for our upcoming MidTerm exams:


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But that’s not all! Our texts were based off the Adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, so I just had to dress the part!


How do you engage your students with the different genre of texts? How have you presented the mystery genre to your scholars? Do you want to know more about my lessons? Email me at joysinteachingtutoring@gmail.com