Country Commercials & Mysteries Kick-Off

I am linking up with Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Spark Student Motivation Linky!  Click the pic to join in the fun!  She has some cute scratch-off cards for incentives!

saturday spark linky

I did two things this past week that were EXTREMELY motivating and FUN!!  Students wrote “commercials” for their countries they have been studying and we had a real-life mystery to solve as a way to kick-off our Mystery Unit in Reading!

Country Commercials

We had ANOTHER 2 days off this week because of the bitter cold.  Due to the missed days, I tried to cram the end of our Country Study Unit into 3 days!  Each group has been reading all about a certain country and to share their information, they had to write a commercial!  To do this, they had to determine the most important information and think about how to persuade people to visit their country!  Here they are hard at work!

Country Commercials

County Commercials

Now keep in mind that because of the missed school days, they did not get much time to practice!  Had we actually had school, I probably would have given them a little more guidance and help editing…but oh well…they are truly authentic!!

You can listen to each group’s commercial below – they are so cute (and almost all are under 1 minute)!  If you are thinking of doing something similar, you could use these as examples of what to do (or what not do to!).

There is even a blooper commercial at the bottom for your enjoyment!






Japan (different group):


Mexico (different group):


Okay – so this commercial is considered a blooper!!  Click to listen and when you get about 45 seconds in, you’ll hear the blooper!

Mystery Unit Kick-Off

The next exciting part of our week was our Mystery Unit Kick-Off!  We actually had a real-life mystery to solve!

Mrs. McDonald’s powdered sugar donuts went missing!!!


We had a hot case on our hands….The Case of the Missing Donuts!  To help solve the mystery, we made detective journals.  I left it completely up to them how to organize their information!  First, we made a list on the board of things we should probably keep track of (clues, suspects, motive, alibis, etc.).  This was a great time to discuss some Mystery vocab!  Then they went to town setting up their journals!

Throughout the day, we gathered more and more clues (all very strategically planned by me), eliminated some suspects, added some suspects, questioned the suspects, and noticed any suspicious behavior!  They carried their journals with them all day!

Detective Journals

Here is how someone organized the inside:

Detective Journals
And here is the back of someone’s journal:

Detective Journals
Throughout the day, we kept noticing more and more staff had remnants of powdered sugar on them!  After we questioned everyone, all evidence pointed to the teacher’s lounge!

Sure enough, when we went down to investigate, we found more powdered sugar on the table!  After the detectives questioned me further, they learned that I had gone into the lounge with my donuts while they were at specialists earlier in the morning.

The clue that cracked the case was the secretary’s announcement over the intercom (she really just beeped into my room but made it sound like it was to the whole staff) reminding the staff that it was treat day in the lounge and the lounge needed to be cleaned up.  Of course, after that announcement, the kids asked, “what’s treat day?”  I explained it’s when staff members leave treats in the lounge for all to share…and then the lightbulbs when off!

They solved the mystery….I had left my donuts in the lounge earlier in the day and that is why so many staff members had traces of powdered sugar on them!  People thought they were part of the treats for treat day!

I think this was THE MOST fun we’ve had in awhile and it was the perfect start to our Mystery Unit in Reader’s Workshop!!

Finally, I am linking up with Gina over at Third Grade Tidbits for Slim Down Saturdays!  Click the pic to join the fun!



This week was meh…it was wonky again because of the 2 “cold” days so my sleep schedule is just horrible!  Husband and I also went out to eat Friday night and pigged out….hence the large gain Saturday morning.  On the bright side, I played 2 broomball games today and burned 1500 calories!  Today is the start of a new week!

Have a good one ya’ll!

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Comments (2)

  1. My cold days totally messed me up last week too! I’m having such a hard time getting back into the swing of things!

  2. Kate,
    I absolutely love the idea of the Country commercials and the donut mystery. What great motivators! Very impressive. I really like that you got the staff involved.
    Rockin’ and Lovin’ Learnin’

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