Lessons & Units :: Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief 6th Grade Unit

Genre Lesson: What is a Mystery?

Lesson Plan

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief | 840L

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief
Learning Goal
Identify the elements of a mystery.
Approximately 1 Day; Independent Practice-Ongoing
Necessary Materials
Provided: Guess the Genre Worksheet, “All about Mysteries” Reading Passage, Super Sleuth Checklist 1, Super Sleuth Checklist 2, Mystery Elements Worksheet (Student Packet, pp. 2-3), Characters Worksheet (Student Packet, pp. 4-5), Odd Happenings Worksheet (Student Packet, pp. 6-7)
Not Provided: Chart paper, markers, Two-Minute Mysteries by Donald J. Sobol
  • Activation & Motivation

    Pass out the Guess the Genre Worksheet to each student. Tell students that their task is to unscramble all of the words on the worksheet. After they have correctly identified the words, ask students to examine the words to figure out which genre they will be reading next. Reveal the answer: "We will be reading a Mystery book." Explain to students that just like they used their critical thinking skills to figure out the scrambled words, they’ll use similar thinking to figure out a mystery.

  • Teacher Modeling

    will explain that the scrambled words on the Guess the Genre Worksheet described elements of a mystery. I will tell students that we will be reading a book in the mystery genre. I will tell students that mysteries are like the scrambled words on the Guess the Genre Worksheet. Readers have to unscramble details and clues and put them together to come up with a solution. I will define “mystery” as a fictional story that has a puzzle or crime that needs to be solved. Note: Save the Super Sleuth Checklist 1 for use with Lesson 2.

    I will read aloud from the “All about Mysteries” Reading Passage to learn more about mysteries. (Have students follow along on their copy of the passage as you read.) As I read, I will note the bolded words in the passage. These words are also listed on my Super Sleuth Checklist 1. I will figure out the meaning of those words by reading the sentences surrounding the unfamiliar words. I will write a definition for each word on my Super Sleuth Checklist 1. This will help me remember the elements of a mystery story so that I can look for these elements as I read.

    Next, I will read aloud the first three paragraphs of “The Case of the Sticky Brush” from Two-Minute Mysteries by Donald J. Sobol. I will record information about each element on my Super Sleuth Checklist 2.

  • Think Check

    Ask: "How do I know that I am reading a mystery and not another kind of fiction?" Students should respond that mysteries contain a crime, problem, or puzzling situation. Mystery stories have clues, a suspect, a victim, a witness, and an investigator who solves the crime.

  • Guided Practice

    will continue reading aloud “The Case of the Sticky Brush” from Two-Minute Mysteries by Donald J. Sobol to find examples of mystery elements. As we read, we will identify as many mystery elements on our Super Sleuth Checklist 2 as we can find in the story. For instance, when we learn the detective’s name, we will record it on the correct line. If we can’t find an element, we will note it. Time permitting, we will choose another mystery from Two-Minute Mysteries to read and identify the literary elements. Note: Do not use “The Case of the Open Door,” as it may be used in subsequent lessons in this unit.

  • Independent Practice

    will receive a Student Packet to use as you read your mystery book. You will complete the Mystery Elements Worksheet in your Student Packet to identify the various mystery elements and clues you find during your reading. Your Mystery Elements Worksheet will come in handy as you solve the mystery. (See pages 2-3 in the Student Packet.)

    As you read your book, think about all of the elements that make up a mystery and try to identify them as you come across them in the text. When you find a mystery element, you will write it down on the appropriate Mystery Elements Worksheet. Cite the page number from the text where the information was found. For example, if you find specific information about a suspect, write the character’s name down and record the page number that first stated the Suspect’s name. If you find a detail that looks like a clue, write that detail and cite the text page number, and so on.

    As you read you will also complete a Characters Worksheet. (See pages 4-5 in the Student Packet.) On this worksheet, you will list and describe any character that appears in the story as you read. You will cite the page number where you found this information. You will use this worksheet as you read to help you solve the mystery.

    Finally, you will complete an Odd Happenings Worksheet as you read. (See pages 6-7 in the Student Packet.) On this worksheet, you will note any strange or usual actions, thoughts, or ideas you come across as you read. You will save this worksheet to refer to help you solve the mystery.

  • Reflective Practice

    will come together to share our Mystery Elements Worksheet and discuss the mystery elements as they are relevant to the book.

Build Student Vocabulary bristles

Tier 2 Word: bristles
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story When Joe May and Dr. Haledjian find Al Pohl’s body, “The famous sleuth fingered the bristles of the paint brush near Al’s right hand. ‘Sticky,’ he muttered.”
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) A bristle is something that is made of hair or looks like hair. When Dr. Haledjian fingered the bristles of the paint brush near Al’s hand, he was touching the part of the brush that is made from hair.
Students repeat the word Say the word bristles with me: bristles
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts My hair brush has plastic bristles. My paint brush had smooth bristles.
Students provide examples Why was it important that Dr. Haledjian touched the bristles on the brush near Al’s body? Start by saying, “It was important that Dr. Haledjian touched the bristles because ______________________."
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? bristles
Additional Vocabulary Words porch, halt

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

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