Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Do you like a good mystery?

It was another boring review. We were all playing Jeopardy, and I was taking notes on which child needed what skill. I decided I needed to spice things up a bit. So, I took out this handy dandy activity from Laura Candler called the Mystery Vocabulary Detectives. 

I called witnesses to the guided reading table, and they were dragging their feet. Thinking that it’s just another book to read. Little did they know that this guided reading lesson was going to be different. I was going to be my own detective. I needed to find out if this was an activity that the kids could use more often to help with building and retaining their own vocabulary. 

Clue 1: Witnesses’ faces lit up when they realized we were going to play a game at the guided reading table.
Clue 2: Witnesses were eager to get to the table quicker.

The witness gathered around the table begging for the directions to be read. One suspect read the directions while another passed out the materials. I chose for them to use the geography and genre cards for them to guess. 

Clue 3: Witnesses asked if they could use the resources to help them create clues. 

They began to make predictions on who would be the winner, calling that person the suspicious suspect. (We did just learn about alliterations… maybe that’s another clue?) 

Clue 4: Witnesses actually used the resources to re-identify with the words that they had learned earlier in the year.
Clue 5: They laughed until there were tears coming down their faces.
Clue 6: Other witnesses began to hang around so they could learn how to play! Soon they began to help give hints to the others.

After it was time to clean up, I looked back over the clues to find out whether or not this product could handle what I needed in my room. The answer is “Absolutely, Yes!” 

Let me step out of detective mode and explain why.
This game is kind of like Taboo. Your objective is to not say part of the word while trying to describe it. Some hilarious quotes that came out of this were:

  • Clue: It’s an ancestor of a dinosaur. Answer: I know it’s not a dinosaur. Other Student: It’s gotta be a T-Rex. First Student: It’s an ancestor of, not one of the dinosaurs! 
  • Clue: I’m a very tedious person. Answer: Let’s look up tedious.  All nod in agreement. 
  • When earning his first card, one student quoted Lord of the Rings, “My Preciousssssss!”

The word lists are amazing in themselves. There is a sheet for every subject area, plus some for you to make your own. (Weekly Vocab words, Testing Vocabulary, etc…) There are directions for team play or for whole class play, which is great for an alternate way of testing. I can see who really knows what the words mean, and who needs a little extra practice. 

The kids decided to make some of their own rules too. They wanted to play it like the slap game. The first person to slap their suspect card on the table would be able to make a guess. I think next time, they'll have to write down their clues and make more of an educated guess! (Live and Learn!)

Everything in her packet is pretty simple to set up. I recommend printing everything on card stock though. Maybe even doing the categories on different colors so that it’s easy to sort them.  If you do it on regular paper, you can see through the cards and they get bent very easily. 

I think once you play the game several times, this can even go into a center as a review from the previous week’s words so that kiddos don’t lose it. You know how that saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!”

Do you want to get your own copy of this AWESOME packet? Check it out here.

Thanks to Laura Candler for allowing my class to use it. We were very happy to try it out for her!

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