A real “who-dunnit” sub plan….

ACTFL was so much fun but it also took a lot of planning to leave a sub ready for 3 days in a Spanish classroom. There is no one in the district who speaks enough Spanish to handle a lesson so I have to leave “virtual me” when I am gone if I want to keep moving forward.

In Spanish I I left lessons I created on the iPad with educreations and 30Hands. We are working on climates here and everywhere as part of our stories so I started with a review and then a short story… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pCHU-pr8f8&list=UUQnG4I7ho6xAI6nqrN6ZpmA
In Spanish 3 and 4, I left a murder mystery. I pretended that Virtual Me was going to teach the class but as the video began, a masked stranger entered and we suddenly had a murder to solve! Here is what students saw on Day 1… It includes some “hallway gossip” between our English teachers and even the librarian as they try to figure out who might have committed the crime!? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBIOBoVMpNg&list=UUQnG4I7ho6xAI6nqrN6ZpmA My friend, Martina Bex, created an AMAZING looking worksheet (from my plain old word docs) that students completed as they collected evidence over the three day project! (If you make something similar, watch out, a couple of times I unconsciously used informal when I had been interviewing with Ud)Murder worksheets

Day 2: Using witness testimonies on video and transcripts made by Martina, students listened to the two prime suspects’ description of what happened. They made notes on their worksheets as they gathered evidence to solve the crime.

The other Spanish teacher’s testimony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T2oSnctFFs&list=UUQnG4I7ho6xAI6nqrN6ZpmA
The English teacher’s testimony: (Kids liked watching their other teachers struggle with using Spanish!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRiUcs5BrGc&list=UUQnG4I7ho6xAI6nqrN6ZpmA&index=3

Day 3: Students received an evidence folder with pictures of the evidence EvidencePhotos
and a video of the officer who collected it. (Me in my neighbor’s outfit and an uncle Sy beard) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLIW2wDNmCg&list=UUQnG4I7ho6xAI6nqrN6ZpmA
They also saw this expert testimony from the chemistry teacher and handwriting analyst, Mrs. Lingley. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by_5ciD2RQ4&list=UUQnG4I7ho6xAI6nqrN6ZpmA&index=4

The murder mystery filled the 3 44 minute class periods and the kids did a lot of great writing as they theorized who might have done it and why. One negative is that they didn’t pick up on the biggest piece of evidence and so they were pretty evenly divided about who they thought the killer was… It was interesting to see them support their choice and I think they had some great points! I wish I had made it more obvious that there was one person whose timeline didn’t match everyone else’s! Another negative is that it took a LONG time to make and edit the videos! But the positives SO outweighed the negatives. They got lots of great input and did lots of great written output as they solved the crime!

Adapt as needed for your classroom!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at gmail.com.

One thought

  1. I love this idea. My Gr12 class does a murder mystery every year. Some of the class play the suspects/dead guy (yes they get to interview the dead guy) and others are teamed as detectives. In their prep session they are preparing to interview the suspects, get to preview the autopsy etc. On the oral day they have a 60 min oral session where they interview the suspects (they rotate through) as well as talk to their Chief (me) about what they are thinking. All info they write down is in English. The only bit they don’t get is ‘when’ the murder happened. The next day they write – and I tell them the ‘when’ – they have to say who did it and why. Suspects have to say who they think did it and why (“not me!”) and even the dead guy gets to have his piece. It’s about 2 classes to set up – 1 for the oral and then 1 for the write – they love it and they are really committed to the writing process when it ‘s time to solve the mystery.
    Loved your “Bullseye” session at ACTFL – thanks for sharing
    Colleen

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