I found this skill chart from The Resource(ful) Room and have seen several versions of Mystery Box activities on Pinterest, and decided to turn it all into an exciting inferencing activity...an activity who's main character is a trouble-maker who wreaks havoc in our classroom!
I took a box and added some clip art to create a Mystery Box.
One morning, while my students were out for recess, I set the Mystery Box on my chair.
After recess, my students came in, sat at the carpet...and the questions started:
"What's THAT?" "Who is it for?" "What's inside?"
When they were all seated, we looked at the box more closely.
We have been learning about punctuation marks, and my students noticed that there were both exclamation marks and question marks all over the box. We determined that its contents must be both exciting and mysterious.
I 'noticed' a page of clues taped to the top of the box, and read the clues aloud to the class:
Excuse my typo...'had' should be 'has'.
My class got very excited, and began to make their predictions. I had them fill in a page where they drew a picture of what they thought was inside the box, based on the clues provided.
When they finished filling in their paper, they were to take it back to the carpet, so we could discuss our ideas and compare our guesses.
You know you've got them hooked when you see this:
This group of boys, who ALWAYS sit at the back of the carpet sat FRONT ROW CENTER so they wouldn't miss a thing!
Most students guessed it was a penguin. I had a few guesses of killer whale, and one zebra!?!
Then came the BIG reveal:
I set the penguin aside, and my students thought the activity was over...until they I turned the chart stand around and we saw this:
What happened to our Chit Chat chart?
Pesty the Penguin stole some letters. What a pest! My students had to help put the message back together again by thinking of what sound/letter belongs in the words.
I made sure to include a sentence ending with a period, exclamation mark, and question mark. This allowed for practice with punctuation and reading with expression.
Every so often Pesty returns to our classroom to mess with our Chit Chat chart. He provides us with a fun way to incorporate various reading skills into our morning routine, including practice with phonics, initial sounds, final sounds, punctuation, and reading with expression.
What a pest!
Want to play too?