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A Mullen Mystery Solved by Student Sleuths

Investigating Soft murmuring could be heard in the hall by the principal’s office. “What is going on in there?” “Is Mr. Halgash okay?” A Monday morning in December around 11:30 a.m. the principal of Mullen Elementary was kidnapped! (Not really!) Students in Kimberlee Fox’s third-grade class gladly took on the role of being secret agents to figure out who kidnapped their principal.

Miss Fox and Nicole Vicki, ENL co-teacher, wanted a creative, interactive lesson to help reinforce the reading strategy of drawing conclusions. This strategy has students use clues that an author provides and what they already know from their own experiences to draw a conclusion. Often students struggle with this strategy. Miss Fox and Mrs. Vicki put their heads together, used the Internet, and created a lesson that the students would really enjoy.
The students were told that Mr. Halgash was kidnapped and they had to figuring out who kidnapped him. Each student was given a Secret Agent badge that would allow him/her to enter the office crime scene.

Sleuths Students also had Top Secret paperwork to write down information they needed to collect while viewing the crime scene. Crime scene tape covered the office door. Evidence, marked with numbers, was also found throughout his office. There were five pieces of evidence that the suspect left behind; a Tim Horton’s coffee, a red pen with papers that needed to be corrected, tennis ball and racket, gym bag, and a book. A chair had also been knocked over. Students wrote a description of the office and took notes on the evidence and what it could mean about the suspect (drawing conclusions). For example, the Tim Horton’s coffee means that the suspect likes to drink coffee.

Solved! After the students went through the crime scene, the class was broken into three groups. Miss Fox, Mrs. Vicki and Pauline Kuun each took a group to discuss the crime scene, their notes and to read the interviews that were conducted on the five possible suspects. After each group had time to review, discuss and draw a conclusion on who they felt was the possible suspect they came back together as a whole class. It was unanimous; second-grade teacher Debbie Ciancio was the kidnapper.

The students were very happy with the outcome and that Mr. Halgash was safely returned to his office. Some students proudly wore their secret agent badges home that day.  Miss Fox, Mrs. Vicki, and Mrs. Kuun proudly wore smiles home that day as the mission of the lesson was a success. Not only did the students draw awesome conclusions, they did it having fun. Now on to the next case.