Christmas Close Reading Mystery Inference Activity - Who Stole Santa's Gifts?

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Christmas Close Reading Mystery Inference Activity – Who Stole Santa’s Gifts? : This Christmas close reading activity 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.
On the night before Christmas, Santa’s sleigh sets off with the first round of presents. He heads down the first chimney to indulge in some milk and cookies before beginning his deliveries, and when he returns he has a shocking revelation: the gifts have vanished! Whether taken from the North Pole or during his cookie snack break, students must solve the mystery of the stolen presents to save Christmas!

Included In This Christmas Close Reading Activity:

➡️ PowerPoint Presentation: This 15-slide PowerPoint presentation guides the mystery with the backstory, evidence, the culprit reveal, and detailed explanations for why each suspect is innocent and why the culprit is guilty.

➡️ “Who Stole the Gifts from Santa’s Sleigh?” Classroom Poster: Put this poster up on your classroom door or somewhere visible so that when students come in, they are hooked into the activity.

➡️ Original Narrative Backstory: Use this short story to set up and initiate the mystery, with clues hidden within the text!

➡️ A Variety of Clues and Evidence: These require students to close read and use their inference skills. There is an email, a text message, a naughty or nice list, a letter, a Santa’s Workshop incident report, a note from a child, a petition, and a social media message conversation.

➡️ “Who Destroyed The Snowman” Graphic Organizer: Students can use this to keep track of their findings that support or refute different suspects in the mystery.

➡️ Teacher Answer Key: This is made available in print format and within the presentation slideshow to make reviewing students’ work a breeze.

How The Christmas Close Reading Activity Works:
  • 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 the mystery.

  • Use the presentation slides to guide you through each element of the activity. 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.

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