Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Month of Mysteries- Part 3 Writing

My teaching partner Racquel came up with the idea of giving the kids pictures from the Chris Van Allsburg's book, "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" and having them write their own mysteries.  I did some research and came across a great unit on Teachers Pay Teachers from Rundees Room.  (only $3.00, I have purchased many items from her shop)  I followed her lessons to get the children motivated to write their own mysteries.

I used "The Portfolio Edition of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" which are large prints from the book. I laminated them, so they would be sturdy for my long term use.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (Portfolio Edition)

Day 1- I used Rundee's idea and had the children bring in flashlights.  I read the introduction from "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" and how the book came to be.  The children walked around the room and looked at the prints with flashlights.  The room was dark and silent.  They came back to the rug and made inferences about the prints.  Then, I had the children walk around once more and stand by an illustration that really interested them.  My direction was no more than three by a print.  They had to talk about their print  and come up with a very short story and share it with the class orally. 

Day 2- The next day I spread the prints around the room and had them walk around and select  a print they wanted to use for their written short stories.  It did not have to be the same picture as Day 1.  Once again, it could be no more than three in a group.  I emphasized picking prints and not friends.  The children then brainstormed ideas for their stories.
Day 3- We generated a Mystery Anchor Chart.  (I have added ways to include more suspense to my chart since this photo was taken.)  We began writing our short stories.  I use four-square graphic organizers for all of our writing.The kids were so motivated and had no problem getting started!

Drafting, Revising and Editing- The children worked for several days on these steps.

Publishing and Sharing and Other Extensions- Children have been sharing their stories as they finish. 

I have one group that is creating a script and making their story into a play...auditions are on Monday!  (I love creative kids!) 

I designed a PowerPoint slide show of their illustrations and recording the groups reading their stories onto their slides. 

Chris Van Allsburg has recently published a collection of tales written by popular authors including Lemony Snickett, Kate DiCamilo and Stephen King!  I purchased the audio book from Itunes and the children are listening to their story written by the published author.

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales / With an Introduction by Lemony Snicket


  1. That looks so fun!

    Tag!! You're It! Head over to check it out!

    Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

  2. Tag! Come on over and check it out. You can get details at

  3. Thanks for tagging me...maybe I can play this week-end. Long staff meetings, parent conferences, after school is really getting in the way of my blogging fun!!!!

  4. Very Neat!

    I'm giving you the Leibster Award. Come on over to my blog to grab it.