Before my 7th grade ELA students take the final assessment on Literary Devices, we play this dramatic review game that engages them well. I have a bit of a dramatic flair, so the day before we begin, I lay on the floor over the doorway and have someone outline my body in duct tape in a contorted position. Then, I arrive in class the next day in a simple angel costume from a party store. I inform the students that I have been murdered and that I am returning from the grave to ask their help.
I review this product, the assignment page, with them, and explain that they must seek out the murders, answer a question, e.g. "What literary device is a complete exaggeration of where I was at the time of the murder?" and if they answer correctly, they will receive a clue card that will eliminate one the suspects, one of the murder weapons, or one the murder locations.
(A student will invariably point out that I murdered in the doorway, at which time I sweetly say that that is where my body was found, but not where I died.)
I make cards out pictures of the murderers (teachers, building secretary, custodian, lunch worker, principal), murder weapons (fire extinguisher, stapler, etc.), and the murder locations (library, 8th grade wing girls bathroom, Mr. Smith's science lab). This past year, I actually doctored a Clue Game board with these pictures as well (glue down the murder weapons or they walk away!) so the kids could refer to a visual cue.
The first five students in each class to correctly identify my murderer gets a prize.
You'll need quite a few other teachers' cooperation to make this game successful. In advance, I give the teachers each an envelope containing clue cards, as well as their "Question" and "Answer." If a student approaches the teacher, the teacher will ask them the "Question." If the student answers correctly, he or she is given a clue card. Students are warned carefully to approach teachers only during classes, and before and after lunch. If a teacher is interrupted or is spoken to rudely, that student is disqualified. (We haven't had that problem yet.) Also, you'll need at least two weeks for the students to search for the murderer before you end the game.
This product contains the Murder Mystery Assignment, the Tracking Information Sheet for kids to eliminate suspects, weapons and locations, the Thank You/Assignment sheets showing teachers their Literary Device questions and answers, as well as the Clue cards that I copy into envelopes for the teacher to hand out. It makes an engaging and active review before the assessment.
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