Great for the week before a break, use these resources to stress and/or review reading strategies. The murder mystery is a story that has sound effects to go along with the reading as well as a detective journal for students to make notes and keep track of information throughout the murder mystery.
Begin the unit with the powerpoint asking questions about their prior knowledge as well as using video clips from popular shows using detectives. (Whodunnit, Scooby Doo, Criminal Minds, etc.) Once they understand their role of the story, have the students take notes throughout the reading paying attention to character descriptions so they are able to find a murderer at the end.
Once you finish the story, allow the students to choose who they believe the murder is. Go back through the powerpoint showing pictures so they have images to pair up to the characters. Once they choose their murderer, they will become the defense attorney. Although they believe they are guilty, it is their job to find and use as much textual evidence as possible to prove their innocence. Allow them time to work on their defense and open court for them to openly debate.
It was a very fun unit and gets everyone thinking and it is fun to hear their reasoning behind who did it and why. The best part? It is an open ended story, it can go any which way. Just like the ending of Clue. I showed the multiple endings of Clue to show them how stories can all be different but you have to pay close attention to the details to know for sure exactly what happens.