How can I turn my classroom into a fun, interactive learning environment that my students will never forget? How can I create engaging lessons that still align with curriculum, with state standards, etc.? Well, folks, it’s possible! Today I am excited to share with you exactly how I turned my classroom into an experience that my students will never forget. Let’s grab our disguises and solve a mystery!
“Provide an uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude.” – Dave Burgess
How do I get started?
Well, it’s pretty simple, but first you need to come up with a plan. What mystery are your students going to solve and how are they going to solve it? In my classroom I have a real popcorn machine. No, the popcorn machine is not to make popcorn, but it is to help my students learn their kindergarten sight words (or what I call popcorn words). I thought it would be a great idea to have my popcorn machine go “missing” the day before our spy headquarters transformation. I talked with my principal and she graciously said she would love to be part of this mystery! I hid our popcorn machine in her office and started creating invitations to send home to my students the night before.
The next step was creating an invitation to each of my students inviting them to our spy headquarters the next day. I created these personalized envelopes with a secret message inside. However, in order to find out what the secret message said, my students needed to put together a puzzle with the secret message on it! I used Ellison dies to cut my secret message into four puzzle pieces. To find out how I made the invitations, head on over to the Ellison Education blog!
The invitation said:
I need your help! You have been chosen to be a part of a top secret mission. Our popcorn machine has gone missing, and I need your help to find it!
In order to solve our mystery, you will need to complete a number of tasks. If you accept his mission, please report to your classroom at 8:20 A.M. sharp. If possible, please wear black as a disguise.
I hope to see you there!
– Agent Boender”
Classroom setup is fairly simple! However, when setting up your classroom, you can go as crazy or as simple as you want. Here is what you will need:
- White yarn
- Black light fixtures
- Black paper – to cover up windows
- Dollar store push lights
- Spy cutouts (Optional)
- “Investigation in Progress” Tape (Optional)
- Footprint Floor Decals – leading to the room (Optional)
- Kindergarten Spy Center Activities from Male Kindergarten Teacher
Check out this classroom transformation! Simply place a series of black lights around the classroom. Tie white yarn from the ceiling to objects such as tables, chairs, etc. Now that our classroom is transformed, this calls for some costumes/disguises!
I also purchased these personalized trophies from OrientalTrading for each student. This is a great way to reward my students for solving the mystery of the missing popcorn machine!
My students also received a bag of Skinny Pop Popcorn!
Check out my Spy Headquarters unit in My TeachersPayTeachers Store!
This unit includes:
(Up to 20)
Identification (Tally marks, base ten blocks, fingers, and ten frames)
concepts in both reading and mathematics.
a puzzle piece. After receiving each puzzle piece, the students were one step
closer to finding out the culprit of the missing popcorn machine!
At the end of all six centers, my students received six puzzle pieces to put together. They worked together in groups to solve the mystery and found out who the culprit was. Their favorite part was taking a visit down to the principal’s office to question the culprit! Why did our principal take our popcorn machine? She wanted to learn our popcorn words (sight words), of course!