Halloween Logic Puzzle: Light as a Feather

Halloween Logic Puzzle: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

 

Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board is the my first logic puzzle. While thinking of some fun Halloween-themed activities, the party game Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board came to me naturally. What’s more creepy or mysterious than a game where you sit in the dark, tell the story of someone’s death, and then lift them with only your finger? However, rather than a normal clue by clue mystery game, this one evolved into a Halloween Logic Puzzle. It seemed only natural as I imagined the scenario. Everyone is in costume. It’s pitch-black. The police need to figure out who is who before they can say who the mystery is.

What’s a Logic Puzzle?

A logic puzzle, or logic grid puzzle, is a kind of critical thinking activity where students must use clues to match people with facts about them. In this Halloween logic puzzle, students must figure out which costume each person was wearing and where they are sitting. Often it helps to draw a grid to solve this kind of logic puzzle, and I’ve included one with this fun classroom activity.

Why do a Logic Puzzle?

Although this isn’t a typical clue by clue mystery, the benefits still hold. As with all clue by clue mysteries, students are given the situation to analyze. They are then given the clue cards, one at a time. In pairs or small groups, students analyze each clue to try to decide if it’s relevant or irrelevant. They also analyze it to figure out how it helps solve the mystery. It’s a great way for students to practice critical thinking skills. Solving a mystery means evaluating evidence, synthesizing information from different clues, and telling truth from lie and fact from opinion. (Check out my post on Why short mysteries make awesome critical thinking activities for more and a list of all my clue by clue activities). Continue reading “Halloween Logic Puzzle: Light as a Feather”

Halloween Mystery Activity: The Candy Thief

The Halloween Mystery Activity: The Candy Thief is the first clue by clue I wrote with a holiday theme, namely Halloween. It’s also the first one  targeted to younger learners. While trick or treating, a boy is knocked over and his candy stolen. His three friends were wearing costumes so they didn’t see much. But, one of them is lying about what they know.  Can your students find the lie and figure out which one was an accomplice to the robbery?

While the mystery may be aimed at younger learners, the benefits of a clue by clue are clear. As with all clue by clue mysteries, students are given the situation to analyze. They are then given the clue cards, one at a time. In pairs or small groups, students analyze each clue to try to decide if it’s relevant or irrelevant. They also analyze it to figure out how it helps solve the mystery. It’s a great way for students to practice critical thinking skills. Solving a mystery means evaluating evidence, synthesizing information from different clues, and telling truth from lie and fact from opinion. (Check out my post on Why short mysteries make awesome critical thinking activities for more and a list of all my clue by clue activities). Continue reading “Halloween Mystery Activity: The Candy Thief”

TpT Sale and Giftcard Giveaway

If you haven’t entered my giftcard giveaway yet, quick! Comment on this post with your favorite Back to School resource on Teachers Pay Teachers. You’ve got until 8:30pm EST Sunday, August 21st.

Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting a big first week of school sale. But it’s only for one day: tomorrow, Monday the 22nd. Everything on the site will be 10% off if you use the promo code OneDay when you check out. On top of that, I’m automatically taking 20% off of everything in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store , including all of my back to school resources. You don’t need a promo code to get that extra 20%. Together both sales come out to a total of 28% off everything in my store.

50 Activities for the First Day of School by Walton Burns worldmapThis is a great time to pick up my Flag World Map that I use for one of my all time favorite go-to icebreakers. As an ESL teacher, I always want my students to know where all their classmates come from. And the getting-to-know-you exercise I describe on the product page never fails to get students curious about their fellow students and the world.  Plus having a map in class is never a bad thing.

You can also learn about Single Point Grading Rubrics and why they will be your best friend this year. Instead of having to create giant rubrics with 5 or 6 columns of grades that your students will never read, save time. These rubrics require only one column. Focus students on success rather than failure! Tell them what you want them to do, rather than describing all the ways they can do wrong, or all the superhuman things they may never accomplish.

And pick up my new book at the lowest price possible. 50 Activities for the First Day of School is my collection of icebreakers, warmers, getting-to-know-you activities and other fun and engaging activities that take care of first day of school business. Learn their names, build a trusting classroom community, set the tone and expectations for the year, and assess your students’ learning goals and needs. There’s an activity for everyone here. And remember that rapport-building doesn’t stop on the first day or the first week. These activities can be used year-round to keep your classroom a friendly, safe, respectful community dedicated to learning. I don’t have the ebook up on TpT yet, so you can pick that up at Amazon . You can also buy it direct from Alphabet Publishing or almost anywhere else you get books.

But wait. There’s more…..

$10 Giftcard giveaway on Sunday night!sale_1200_628

The good people at Teachers Pay Teachers have  sent me a $10 gift card to help promote this sale. And I want to spread the love around to all the great teacher-sellers on the site. I also want to make sure the winner has the chance to use it during the sale.

So in order to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a link to the best Back to School resource on Teachers Pay Teachers.

It might be something you plan to buy.

It might be a resource you already bought and love.

It can be something you want to promote.

It doesn’t have to be one of mine 🙂

I just want to see as many great back to school resources shine as possible.

I’ll pick one of the names with a qualified comment using http://www.randomresult.com/ at 8:30PM EST on Sunday, August 21st.

Clue by Clue Mystery Bundle

The Clue by Clue Mystery Bundle contains 7 of my Clue by Clue Mystery Activities. What is a Clue by Clue Mystery? It’s a great warm-up, filler, or time killer for early finishers. Students are given a mystery to solve–whodunit or how did they do it or why. They have to figure it out by reading a series of clues, one at a time. As they receive each clue, they speculate on its significance and what it tells them about the situation.

Once they have received all the clues, they should have enough information to figure it out!

Clue by Clues make great warm-up activities, fillers, or time killers for those last minutes of class and early finishers. They can be critical reading activities that teach students to read closely for details, synthesize information from different sources, apply prior knowledge about the world, and to recognize the logic of a claim and evaluate its validity.

They are also a lot of fun!

While students are solving the mysteries they are also developing their spoken language skills, such as:
* Modal verbs of speculation: She must have forgotten her keys, It could have been the butler
* Opinion language: I think…., I’m positive…, I’m not sure…
* Hedging: It’s possible, probably, maybe, it’s not impossible.
* Conclusions: That means that…
* Emphasis: There’s no way that…
* Hypotheticals: What if he didn’t do it; If he was at the movies, he couldn’t have done it.

Teacher Notes are included with hints and the solution along with a students sheet that contains the clues for you to copy and cut-up.

The activities included (with previews for each one) are:
The Break-In

The Elevator Routine Riddle

Imprisoned!

An Unrelated Murder

Murder of a Millionaire

Empty Bank

The Perfect Crime

The Break In

And the Mystery Story Reading Graphic Organizer

Buy the full bundle here. And check out my ever-growing section of mystery activities and lesson plans for other classroom resources!

Mystery Lesson Plan for ESL

I am a big fan of mysteries, so I’ve done a complete mystery lesson plan using a fun mystery story as the basis for a vocabulary and grammar lesson. There’s also practice in close reading and critical thinking as students try to solve the mystery and a graphic organizer to guide students to write their own mystery story. I designed this for my ESL classroom but I know it’s been used in ELA classrooms across the country.

The Mystery Lesson Plan Includes

  • Mystery vocabulary such as alibi and motive.
  • Using modal verbs of speculation to guess the significance of clues
  • A mystery story as along reading
  • Reading strategies such as reading for key information and evaluating information
  • Graphic organizer in the form of a mystery reading worksheet
  • Mystery writing worksheet to help students write their own stories.

There’s complete teacher notes, ideas for alternative or extension activities and an answer key.

Why Use Mysteries

I love using mysteries. Here’s a few reasons why.

  • They encourage extensive reading. Most people like puzzles and mysteries so it can encourage students to read outside of class.
  • When you read a detective story, you tend to read for whodunit, for the outlines of the plot and then for the details. So students learn extensive and intensive reading skills.
  • Specifically mysteries teach analytical reading comprehension skills like skimming, scanning, and evaluating important material (i.e. clues)Mysteries are fun. Students love puzzles and riddles. They also love the CSI and Law and Order shows.
  • They teach reading and writing to a genre, in this case the Whodunit.
  • They give students practice making guesses and speculations
  • Provide the perfect jumping off point for creative writing , with good planning as mysteries require a lot of pre-writing outlining.

Preview and Buy the lesson plan?

You can purchase and download the full unit from Teachers Pay Teachers: Whodunit Unit

Inappropriate Christmas Lessons

Just an idea that was brewing in my mind. Spending so much time trying to adapt materials to different levels and pull pedagogical use out of them sometimes makes you a bit crazy. Or at least you realize that it would be just as easy to come up with terrible and offensive questions and activities as it would to come up with appropriate and useful ones. So here are a few Christmas lessons you probably shouldn’t use with your students.

  • Listening: The Kinks “Father Christmas” Discuss: Have you ever beaten up a department store Santa Claus? Would you like a machine gun for Christmas? Why or Why Not? Who would you shoot? Does your Dad have a job? If not, what is wrong with him?
  • Reading: “Why Santa Claus Definitely Does Not Exist” for young learners only. Discuss why children are too stupid to realize that Santa couldn’t possibly be real. Discuss how lying to children about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny is really a form of psychological child abuse. Elicit that parents who promote these myths should be put in prison. Homework: Have students video tape their parents putting the presents under the tree.
  • Listening: The Who “Christmas” Discuss the true meaning of Christmas. Elicit that Jesus was born to save our souls. Discuss: Will disabled people go to hell? Will people who don’t go to church or read the Bible also go to hell? Note that if you have a class with students from different cultures and religions you may have to emphasize that their beliefs are definitely wrong. Could be used as part of a longer unit on bullying cousins, pedophile uncles and using drugs to forget your problems.
  • Content-based ESL: Economics Have students look up the market price of reindeer meat in at least 3 different places. Hand out worksheet, “How Much is Ruldolph Worth Dead?” Have students calculate the weight of Santa’s reindeer and the total market value of their meat. Discuss: Wouldn’t Santa make a better profit if he ran a reindeer meat farm?
  • Listening: “Winter Wonderland” Discuss: Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend? Why or Why not? If you are alone, is it depressing to be alone over the holidays? Focus students’ attention on the line “He’ll say, ‘Are you married?’ We’ll say, ‘No, man.'” Are people who are dating outside of wedlock bad? Should society take a more active role in shaming people who date but aren’t married? How could you pressure people to get married?For homework students should plan their revenge on the children who knocked down the snowman.

Any other contributions?