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Oh goodness! I have been Smile-Crimed! 

Ms. Bourque’s class left a note on my table with some Hershey’s Kisses. My job is to figure out which student in her class was the one who left me the Hershey’s Kisses!

What I love about this — other than the special delivery of chocolate — is that the students are learning a great deal through this activity. They are learning about letter writing, asking questions, and giving clues. But, they are also learning about kindness and taking action. Coming off of our Social Justice Week, our students are continuing the theme of #makethingsbetter by bringing joy and mystery into my life! I love seeing the letters on my desk each morning with different clues. And, I love the interactions I have with the class in a much deeper way than a wave in the hallways or a smile in passing. 

Ms. Bourque is using this opportunity to tie social justice and community building into her existing lessons on writing, spelling and sentences. She is watching the growth and joy of her students as they engage in an activity that is meaningful to them. They are also learning the art of patience and waiting for a response as opposed to the immediacy of information because one of the rules is that the students cannot stop me in the hallways or come by my office to get an answer — they have to write a letter and wait for response in a letter! (adults: remember those days?)

Here are the clues they have provided to me. The “smile crime person”: 

  1. Is not an only child
  2. Has friends
  3. Does not have blond hair
  4. Has a sense of style

Ms. Bourque’s students are engaging in the best part of mystery solving. Scholastic (the reading and book organization) outlined some key ways that mysteries are important to student learning:

Mysteries have the ability to get reluctant readers and writers enthusiastic about reading, thinking, and writing. Mysteries often contain intriguing characters and are often able to hold a student’s interest with their suspenseful and dynamic plots. Mysteries are a wonderful vehicle for teaching critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills in an exciting and enjoyable way.

What kinds of mysteries can you shape in your classrooms? How might you change or enhance your current curriculum to teach with inquiry and excitement?

And, the biggest question of all? WHO IS THE SMILE CRIME PERSON?smilecrime

Peace and Park,

(Dr.) Talusan