This fun and engaging “Whodunnit” read aloud is the perfect Valentine’s activity for your students! In this activity, students will learn to become detectives and then use their sleuthing skills to figure out how some delicious-looking cupcakes wound up on the students’ desks! With lots of suspects and circumstantial evidence, the students will have to take good notes, make lots of inferences, and think like a real detective in order to solve the mystery! This product was created with 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in mind, but it can definitely be scaled to work with other grade levels as well. So how does it work?
The students will take part in a 3-act reader’s theater. There are 24 characters which can be shared or doubled up in order to give every student a part. As the story unfolds, so do the clues. After each act, the students will stop, take notes, and discuss any suspicious activities. The final act reveals whether each character was responsible for the surprise.
How long will this activity take?
Plan on at least a couple hours. Reading the script will take at least an hour or so depending on the fluency of your readers and how well they are paying attention for their lines. Using the additional resources that are included will lengthen the amount of time. The more discussion and detective work the students do, the more fun the activity will be. This activity was designed to take up an entire ELA block of time, however, it can be spread out over a week’s time by completing one act a day. It’s great for the week of Valentine’s Day.
- Reader’s Theater script in 3 versions (printable, PowerPoint, or Google Slides)
- Lesson in motive, means, opportunity, and circumstantial evidence
- 20 vocabulary words are sprinkled throughout the script
- Sheets to take notes and narrow down the suspects (plus a Google Slides Version)
- Pictures of evidence that can help solve the mystery
- Writing activity to create the perfect ending to the story
Why Should You Use This?
I was inspired to create my first mystery product after hosting a murder mystery party for my own 16 year old daughter, who is very much into theater. It was said to be the best party ever! I wondered how I could create something similar for students! I modified the format of the clue delivery system to ensure that every clue was revealed to every student, and voila, Who Stole the Turkey was born. Since then, Who Stole Santa’s List, and Who Left Us Cupcakes have joined our list of fun classroom Whodunnits.
Having the Reader’s Theater is the perfect platform for integrating real academic skills. This activity will feel like a fun day, but not a moment of the day will be wasted!
This product is great because:
~ It’s super engaging
~ It targets real skills to help students grow in reading and writing
~ It helps students get into the holiday spirit
~ There’s very little prep!
~ If you choose the digital script, along with your projector, you do not have to make a copy for each student. The font is very large so that students can read their lines from across the room.
“My students absolutely loved this activity. Even my reluctant readers are begging to do another one soon. This is a great activity for finding text evidence and making predictions. One thing I particularly liked was that I could differentiate by assigning parts to lower readers- my lowest reader was able to participate and feel successful without any idea that he had been assigned an easier part. My kids do not enjoy reading independently or aloud (themselves)- getting them to do it is like pulling teeth. With this resource, we read aloud for TWO hours with no complaints- and multiple requests to keep going or do another. THANK YOU! If you create a St. Patrick’s day resource, I will be first in line to buy it!” – Jaime G.
Happily brought to you by Rachel Lynette and Cassi Noack of Minds in Bloom.
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