Back to School Reading Mystery: Once Upon a Crime, Teacher Toads!
Back to School Reading Mystery: Once Upon A Crime, Teacher Toads
(Teaching Resource - Worksheets pdf + Video Hook)
Grade Suitability: 2nd, 3rd, 4th
(This varies depending on the reading ability of students. Some guidance may be required for younger students.)
Your students will have fun solving this school themed mystery while learning skills in reading, comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning!
Distance Learning Update: I've added a Word Document within the folder that contains a Google Doc link to share this resource with your students via Google Classroom or Drive.
- Students must highlight the evidence in the reading to prove their answers.
- The discovery format requires a fill in the missing letter process to unlock clues. (Differentiation Option included, B-Edition Structure, which requires full answers, but teacher to check. Word Banks provided to make the word puzzles easier.)
- Reading is required to be able to solve the missing letters in words, sentences, and statements or to answer the questions/solve the vocabulary puzzles.
- Each clue requires students to critically think and use deductive reasoning to decide which suspects they can eliminate from their suspect list. The last suspect remaining is the culprit!
All of the reading passages are included in this original story that features your 'student detective' as the star throughout.
Video Hook included for optional use to set the stage to engage!
This is a print and solve activity. Everything that you need for this activity is in the download, including the reading passages. Just print, copy for your students and set up the (optional) video hook for viewing at the start! The video hook is designed to make students think 'what's going on?' This was done on purpose to encourage them to read.
Depending on your students' reading abilities, the ease of this activity may vary. To keep everyone at the same pace, you could read the passages together as a class and then follow up with the activities to fill in the missing letters that will help unlock a clue. For independent work, set a timer for reading only, and then allow them time to answer the questions and re-read the text if they need. If your students find this too easy, I'd recommend the 'Private Eye CSI - Literacy Mysteries' range instead, which requires inferring and more skill to solve the mystery.
If your students are trying to attempt the activity section without reading the passages, instruct them to highlight the evidence in the reading text to show you where they found the answers.
How long will this activity take?
This varies depending on the age and reading level of your students. If you would like to keep your class at the same point, I recommend pacing the clues one by one.
The same 'self-checking feature' included in this design as in my math mystery range.
What are Once Upon a Crime Reading Mysteries?
Learn more about what to expect in this blog post.
There are FIVE clues to crack!
- Nouns, and Adjectives
- Definitions and vocabulary
- Character Traits
- Critical Thinking
- Writing (optional on the mystery declaration sheet)
OPTIONAL: After finishing the five clue sheets, an optional mystery declaration sheet can be used to state the culprit. On this declaration page, students report WHO they think turned the teachers into toads, plus outline the clues discovered along with their elimination reasoning for each.
The end of the story is wrapped up in a one-page article certificate. (Shhh.... keep these a secret as they reveal the mystery answer in the newspaper article your little star detective features in.)
You will also receive instructions, answer sheets and an elimination guide.
Differentiation Options included with this Resource
- A 'B-Edition' Alternative Structure is included for differentiation purposes. This alternative copy of Teacher Toads removes the missing letter filling structure and requires full answers. If you choose to use the B-Edition copy, you will need to prep the clue cards into envelopes or boxes (or keep hidden) and students will need to check-in with you to gain access to each clue.
- Word Banks are included within a single file found in the alternate options. These are useful if you need to make this activity easier for some of your students.
- Check out the 'Read me' file included in the folder download first.