Author-Genre Study Overview


Whodunnit?

Mystery Reading/Writing Unit

 

Unit Overview

Part 1 Brief Description & Rationale

·      This unit will be focusing on mysteries.  As a class, students will be reading Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.  Students will also be reading a mystery of their choosing and presenting a book trailer about it.  Students will be writing a short mystery narrative.  Students will be preparing evidence for and then discussing as a class who they think the murderer is in Murder on the Orient Express (this discussion will be held before they complete the book).

·      Les Lancaster, professor of transpersonal psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, said, “A sense of mystery is intrinsic to the human mind.”  Humans love mysteries.  We love figuring out “whodunit.”  This unit will focus on teaching students what a mystery story is by reading two mysteries and writing their own.  Because students get to choose the second mystery, they can read a book from any number of mystery subgenres, picking one that is relevant and engaging for them personally.

Part 2 Common Core State Standards

·      Reading:

CSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.1

Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.3

Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).

 

·      Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3.A

Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3.B

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

 

·      Speaking/Listening:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.1.A

Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.3

Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.4

Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.5

Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.

 

·       Language:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.1

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

 

Part 3 Summative Assessments

·      Book Trailer – Students will map out the five mystery elements in their chosen mystery book.  They will use that information to create a multimedia book trailer presentation of their book for the class (e.g. poster, power point, movie)

·      You Be the Detective – Students will create plot maps for Murder on the Orient Express, following actions and conversations that could show the murderer’s identity.  They are each assigned a character and they find text evidence against that character.  They then present that evidence in a class discussion.  Students try to prove to the classmates that their assigned character is the murderer.  Students will reflect on their preparation and participation in the discussion as well as cast a vote for who they think the murderer is.  N.B.  This discussion has to happen near the end of the book but before students have read the ending!

·      Writing Project: Mystery Short Story – Students will write a short mystery story.  Students will incorporate both the five mystery elements and the plot map in planning out the ideas and organization of their short story.  Students will peer review the stories before turning in the final draft.

 


Differentiation Plan

 

Teaching strategies and tools I will use to support students who struggle with reading/writing/listening/speaking (at least one strong example per assessment; multiple to master).

 

Book Trailer

·       Student is allowed to read a mystery short story instead of a novel.

·       Student can listen to audiobook instead of reading.

·       Student does not have to reflect in writing, but can use bullet points, schedule a one on one with the teacher, or even make a vlog of their reflection. 

 

You Be the Detective!

·       Student does not have to reflect in writing, but can use bullet points, schedule a one on one with the teacher, or even make a vlog of their reflection. 

·       Make handout for specific characters with page numbers for potential pieces of evidence against them.  Student can use this handout to scaffold choosing their own pieces of evidence.

 

Write a Mystery Short Story

·       Students will be given blank plot maps and five elements handouts (or google docs) to help frame their story.

·       Provide multiple scaffolds (checklists, sample student mystery stories) for students who struggle.

·       Give the option to create mystery graphic novel (using technology to create the pictures).

 

 

Teaching strategies and tools I will use to support students who may need an extra challenge (at least one strong example per assessment; multiple to master).

 

Book Trailer

·       Students are able to choose the difficulty of their novel.  For strong readers, I will suggest novels that are of a higher lexile level.

·       Include in the book trailer a pivotal event or line of dialogue that moves the plot forward.

 

You Be the Detective!

·       Students can choose to find evidence for more than one character. 

·       If a student is really motivated, he/she can be Poirot and find evidence for all of the characters!

 

Write a Mystery Short Story

·       Students can challenge themselves to write in a specific mystery subgenre style.

·       Focused mini-lesson on point of view for high flyers in the group.  Challenge students to choose a unique point of view for their short story.

 

Describe how this unit provides opportunities for choice in content, process, and product.

 

How this unit provides choice in content

-       Students are able to choose their second mystery novel.  This choice applies both to mystery subgenre and to difficulty. (BT)

-       Students are able to choose the character they will investigate. (YBTD)

 

How this unit provides choice in process

-       Students can choose to listen to an audiobook rather than read. (YBTD, BT)

-       Students are able to choose what their mystery short story will be about.  As long as it has all five elements of a mystery, the specifics are up to them! (WMSS)

 

How this unit provides choice in product

-       Students are able to choose how they will present their book trailer. (BT)

-       Students are able to choose the five elements of their mystery story.

 

 

 
























































                                   Lesson Plan Layout

Summative Assessment

CCSS being assessed

Minilessons

Formative Assessments

Book Trailer

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.3

Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.5

Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.4

Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

 

Five Essential Elements

 

 

 

 

Using multimedia to set the mood (show completed trailer on Murder on the Orient Express)

 

 

 

Presentation Day

Students fill in Five Elements of Mystery doc for a murder story or movie.

 

 

Exit ticket – what types of multimedia are you going to use to create your book trailer

 

 

Exit ticket – student self-reflection on their trailer presentation

You Be the Detective!

CSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.1

Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.1.A

Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.3

Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Mapping Plot using the text

 

 

 

 

 

Detective Work using the text

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accusations and Votes!

Students turn in completed plot map with page numbers added to each blank.

 

 

 

Exit Ticket – students write two pieces of text evidence against their assigned character

 

 

 

 

Post discussion reflection on preparation, participation, and a vote on who the killer is, based on evidence presented in discussion.

Write a Mystery Short Story

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3.A

Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3.B

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.1

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

How to develop a strong idea for a narrative piece (writing trait: ideas)

 

 

 

 

Review of Plot Map, How to map out a narrative (writing trait: organization)

 

 

 

 

How to use dialogue in a narrative

 

 

 

Review of Writing Conventions (writing trait: conventions)

 

 

Exit Ticket – fill out Five Elements doc with ideas for a narrative

 

 

 

Exit Ticket – fill out plot map for their mystery narrative

 

 

 

 

 

Exit Ticket – copy and paste one section of dialogue you edited or added to your narrative during class time.  How does that dialogue add to your mystery?

 

Peer Review of partner’s short story

 

 


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