CLOSE READING INFERENCE MYSTERY: WHO DECORATED THE TREES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON?

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This holiday lights close reading 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.

It’s early December, and the residents of the small town of Radiance congregate in a park to drink hot chocolate, build snowmen, and walk the waterfront trail. As day turns to evening, a beautiful display of colorful holiday lights mysteriously illuminates in the trees. Your students need to determine who put up the holiday lights!

This works well as a Christmas reading mystery; however, there is no direct reference to Christmas, so it can be used at any point in the year.


Included in your purchase:

  • A teacher presentation that 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.
  • A classroom poster that reads “Who put up the holiday lights?” 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 job application, a mayoral campaign poster, a letter from the local fire chief, a text message, a mayoral campaign budget, a power outage list, a blog post, a rock-climbing instruction poster, and a fire station community event poster.
  • 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 it 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 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.
     

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