Friday, August 8, 2014

[Summer English Camp] Royal Mystery: Week 2 - Detectives

After finishing a week of castle-related activities for the first half of my summer elementary English camp, this week we moved on to the other half of my "Royal Mystery" theme: detectives.

Again, here I'll share each day's original plan, followed by comments describing how the activities actually worked out. If you'd like the full lesson plans, PPTs, handouts—all of it—I'm selling it for a steal!




Summer English Camp: Royal Mystery

Week 2: Detective Camp
Grades: 3-6 (One class of 3/4 and one class of 5/6
Class length: 90 minutes


Day 1: Detective IDs, 5W's


Warm up: I spy - The younger class played I spy with colors (and lots of pointing when they guessed), whereas the older class played I spy with colors and then letters. ("I spy with my little eye something that starts with the letter ~."

Outline shoe: I took a few minutes for students to outline one of their shoes on a piece of paper. When they turned them in, I secretly recorded whose shoe was whose. They don't know this yet, but on Friday they'll get a random shoe and have to figure out who it belongs to.

Detective Camp Footprint Shoeprint
Nice that the floors are so dusty, eh?

Learn: Who/what/when/where/why, detective items, first half of detective song (by Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen)

Detective training: Make detective ID

(After we made these, one boy slipped his ID into his name tag. I thought that was a great idea, so I had all of the students do it.)

Private Detective ID for kids

Detective Handbook: Make first "page" of detective handbook

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Day 1 comments: Again, there were way too many words in this song to teach an entire half today, as I'd originally planned to do. I couldn't find any simpler songs related to detectives/mysteries back in my planning stages, so we just learned a few lines of the chorus today.

Both classes got started over 10 minutes late due to various reasons, so we actually didn't have time to glue all of the pieces inside the detective handbook. We'll start with that tomorrow, and just keep pushing things back as needed.

Day 2: Detective Training - Touch, Substitution Cipher


Warm up: Hidden pictures - This is a different template from last week's hidden pictures game. Students say a color. I click on tiles of those colors and they disappear. The pictures were all new detective words they learned yesterday. I had all of the words up on the board too, as they're super difficult for the younger kids, especially since they can't read them.

Secret handshake: Students made "Detective Agency" names (group/team names), and then had to come up with a secret handshake (after we watched a few clips of other secret handshakes from YouTube, Parent Trap and Sponge Bob).

Learn: Second half of song, substitution cipher

Activity: Substitution cipher worksheet. Then students create their own substitution cipher and code a word/sentence. Trade ciphers and coded phrases with another student and de-code the secret message. Then, make a second page of the handbook to glue in the substitution cipher resource.

Substitution Cipher - Detective Camp

Detective Training: Mystery Touch - Students reach into mystery bags and feel the secret objects, then guess what's inside.

Game: Button, button, who's got the button?

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Day 2 comments: After our warm-up, we glued on the detective handbook pieces that I'd planned to do yesterday.


This took the younger ones longer than I expected, especially with writing the four words. A girl came to class super late, just bawling her eyes out. I had no idea why she was crying, and did my best to calm her down without speaking a common language. This set us even further back, so we didn't even get to the Detective Training or Button Button game today. We did take a look at the substitution cipher, but there was no time to make a second page for their detective handbooks and glue in the cipher.

Day 3: Grid Cipher/Hidden Message, Detective Training - Memory, Who Stole the Cookies?


Warm up: "Circle Stare Game" - We stand in a circle and everyone looks down. On the count of three, everyone looks up at just one other person. You have to be looking at one person. If two people are looking at each other, they're both out and must sit down. Repeat until there are either two people left, or just one.

Learn: Grid cipher and hidden message.

Detective Handbooks: Glue grid cipher and hidden message resources into detective handbooks

Detective Training: Memory - Students have one minute to look at a tray of objects. When the time is up, cover the tray. Students then write (or draw, for the younger students) as many objects as they remember.

Activity: Read the book Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?. Learn the rhyme and play the game in a circle. Lastly, eat cookies and drink juice.

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Day 3 comments: My 3rd/4th graders really liked the warm up game today - we kept playing for over 15 minutes because they wanted to. (I also think it lasted longer because I'd often see their eyes moving to avoid being out...) Since we hadn't made the second page of their detective handbooks yesterday, we did that right after the warm up. Then they glued in the substitution cipher page. I wrote a short message on the board using the substitution code, which they copied into their handbooks and solved.





Then I taught the grid cipher, passed it out to be glued into their handbooks, and gave them a word to decode right in their handbooks. For the kids that finished first, I had them code their names using the grid cipher (also directly in their handbooks)

Detective handbooks are now two "pages" long

I wanted to be sure we had time for the cookies, so I jumped to that activity next and skipped the detective training again. I read them the book using the doc cam, and then passed out cookies and juice (they were so surprised!). We watched the "Moving Pictures Book" of the same story online while kids ate.


We only had about 15-20 minutes left at this point. To transition to the "game" associated with this book/rhyme, I showed the following clip. For the 3rd/4th graders I stopped it at 0:26, but I let the 5th/6th graders watch the whole thing. They got a big kick out of it, and asked to watch it again. See why:


I randomly found the video when I was originally searching for an e-book of the story. Then we sat in a circle and tried to play. I whispered the lines "Who me?" and "Couldn't be" to each of the accused, so the rhyme went much slower than a native speaker would do it - but that's expected. It worked out perfectly that just when I was going to end the 5th/6th grade game, someone chose me as the "accused," so I stopped clapping and said all seriously, "What? You think I stole a cookie?!" like in the video. They laughed. And then we cleaned up/swept the room.

So in summary, we are one written code (hidden message) and two detective training activities (touch and memory) behind schedule. I think they'll have more fun with the detective training than codes, so tomorrow I'll try to fit in at least two of them.


Day 4: Mirror Message/Pigpen Cipher, Detective Training - Sounds, Code Maker/Breaker Game


Warm up: Baby Shark

Learn: Mirror message, pigpen cipher

Detective Handbooks: Make a third page and add the mirror message/pigpen cipher resources to the handbook.

Detective training: Sounds - Students close their eyes and listen to some mystery sounds that I make using classroom items, and then guess what they heard. I also have some mystery items between two paper cups taped together. Students shake the cups and guess what's inside. Finally, we'll play Magic School Bus Sound Game for the 3rd/4th graders, and the xxx for 5th/6th graders.

Game: Code Maker/Code Solver - Sit in a circle. One student is selected as the "code solver/detective". He/she closes his/her eyes. Another student is silently selected as the "code maker". This student begins clapping/slapping a rhythm. Everyone in the circle follows along. The "code solver/detective" tries to guess who the code maker is.

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Day 4 comments:

Many of the older kids wouldn't do the motions to the "Baby Shark" song - another instance of where age plays a factor into activities.

We did the "hidden message" and mirror message codes today - I'll push the pigpen cipher back to tomorrow.


As planned yesterday, I was sure to save time for some of the detective training activities we hadn't had time for on Tuesday and Wednesday. The kids really liked "Mystery Touch," where they reached their hand into bags and guessed what was inside. 


My second class wanted to play again with new items, but I had us move on to "Mystery Sounds" due to time. After doing a Magic School Bus online sound game (match the sound to the picture), my second glass shook paper cups and guessed what was inside (based on the sound). Inside one "cup shaker" I put 5 paper clips. In another I had put an eraser, and in the third one I put small pieces of paper.


Day 5: Solve Two Mystery Stories, Identify Shoe Owners, Treasure Hunt, Spy Handshake Game


Warm up: Zip Zap Zop

Activity: Read two PPT story mysteries and try to solve them

Detective Training: Whose shoe? Each student will be given a shoe print (that we made on Monday), and try to figure out who it belongs to.

Activity: Treasure Hunt! Students will use their detective handbooks to decode clues and go on a treasure hunt. The prize consists of chocolate, the extra cookies from Wednesday (and juice if there's enough), and official-looking camp completion certificates signed by yours truly.

Game: Spy Handshake Game - One student is secretly selected by the teacher. Students go around and shake each other's hands. The selected student "tickles" someone's hand when they shake with another student. If you get "tickled", wait 10 seconds and then "die". Try to figure out who was selected before everyone is out.

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Day 5 comments:

I was surprised that the kids really liked zip zap zop. Although their pronunciation wasn't quite there, I could tell which word they meant.

Then we finished our detective handbooks with the pigpen cipher, my favorite!

Next I handed out those shoe prints from Monday, along with a few tape measures. Students had to figure out whose shoe print they had.



And lastly we did a treasure hunt around school, following clues that were written in different codes. The students all brought their detective handbooks along to decode the messages, as well as one whiteboard to help with the decoding. They were excited, and at the end they found camp certificates for each student, along with cookies, chocolate, and juice!


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