So y’all have heard of Mystery Walkers right? While lined up to leave the classroom and walk in the hallway. A teacher picks a Mystery Walker– (one student) before leaving the room, but that student’s identity is not revealed until they get back to the classroom (or wherever they are going if your class can’t wait long). Kids love it! I of course make announcements as to whether or not my Mystery Walker is doing a good job- or I say things like “If Katie is my Mystery Walker she’s doing it right.” Even BIG kids love it! (3-5 kiddos) Of course big kids have to be the one to pick the Mystery Walker and watch them like a hawk down the hall to announce if they were walking “right” or not!
I used a Marble Jar in my classroom and we worked as a class to fill the jar with marbles. If the Mystery Walker did their job in the hallway- I would announce who they were- and if they earned any marbles. When they came back to the classroom and put a marble (or sometimes more if I thought they had done a really good job) in the jar.
Now I just randomly picked kids, but I’ve since seen that teacher put names on sticks, or even on colored disks. Whatever works for you. This pic is from What Happens in First Grade’s blog.
So what do we know about this as teachers? If it works- make it work for MORE THINGS! So I created Mystery Piece of Paper. You know you have to keep your custodians loving you- and when you teach elementary school, especially K-2, there’s always a bunch of “junk” on the floor at the end of the day and custodians really get grumpy about that sort of thing! So- I pick a random piece of paper- and then my students crawl around like human vacuum cleaners- whoever picks UP the Mystery Piece of Paper puts a marble in the jar- and typically because it was already the end of the day- went home with a piece of candy! It’s amazing what kids will do for a Jolly Rancher! 🙂
Wait- it was still working- they were still loving this Mystery Thing which is why when a teacher told me about her Mystery Reader idea last week- I knew it would also work!
Sometimes (especially at this time of year) kids are a little squirmy during Independent Reading. So, before that station or that time of day begins, the teacher picks a Mystery Reader (again- mystery- you don’t tell WHO it is until the end of reading time). Did they read right? Yes? Then boom- marble in the jar. Did they not? Too bad- so sad! No marble for you!
What other Mystery ideas to you have?