I love mystery novels. I love everything about them! I dive in and try to solve the mystery and I love it when the author throws me a curve ball and makes me question my theory. A few years back, I was a long term supply teacher in a classroom for about 6 weeks. The teacher had just started a mystery unit with these 5 boys, ranging from grades 5 to 8.
Together, the boys and I read the novel The Karate Class Mystery by Elizabeth Levy together. I always model the task first, so after each chapter, we wrote our Case Notes, also known as chapter summaries, and kept them in our file folders. As we read, we did a detective character study and wrote a description of the crime scene. We also made lists of victims, possible suspects, clues, and red herrings. When we finished the novel, we wrote a short explanation of the mystery and marked off which ones of our suspects had been eliminated.
Students then picked a mystery novel that interested them and created their own case file. Some were very creative and even included bags of evidence with their presentations! This is a project that I absolutely love doing with my students!