Back to School Team Building Activity - Close Reading Inference Mystery

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This back to school inference mystery is a fun way to engage your students and challenge them to look for text evidence, infer information, and read more closely. The resource includes everything you need to facilitate the activity in your classroom. This works especially well as a back to school team building activity, but it can also be used at any time of the year. 

While adding more books from her personal collection to her popular classroom library, Ms. Ramirez is surprised to discover that six of her beloved books are mysteriously missing from the shelves. It's up to your students to use their close reading and inference skills to figure out who stole them! 

Included in this Back to School Inference Mystery:

  • A teacher presentation that guides the mystery with the backstory, evidence, the answer, and detailed explanations for why each suspect is innocent and why the person is guilty of taking the letter.
  • A classroom poster that reads “Who stole the teacher’s books?” that you can put up on the door to hook students into the activity.
  • An original narrative backstory that sets up and initiates the mystery.
  • A variety of clues that require students to close read and use their inference skills. There is a book drive fundraiser poster, a library late notice, a letter, an email, a book club sign-up sheet, a text message, and a teacher social media group.
  • A graphic organizer where students can keep track of their findings that support or refute different suspects in the mystery.
  • A detailed teacher answer key in print format and within the presentation slideshow. 

How to use this Back to School Team Building Activity in your classroom:

  • Start by putting up the poster on your door to build anticipation when students enter the room. When students enter, put them in small groups, so they can work together to try to solve this back to school inference mystery.
  • Use the presentation slides to guide you through each element of the lesson. The slides will help you introduce the story and evidence to each of the groups.
  • Hand out all the evidence to students and allow them time to make their predictions and inferences and solve the mystery.
  • Once each group has made their final prediction, use the presentation slides to reveal the culprit and go through each of the suspects to show the evidence of their innocence or guilt.

Looking for the digital version? Click here.

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