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September Snapshot: The Importance of Discussion

There’s been a murder!

Students are given groups, clues, scratch paper, and twenty-five minutes. They have everything they need to figure out who murdered Mr. Kelley.

I started doing this activity a few years ago when I found that my students either didn’t like to participate in group discussions or struggled to have conversations with peers that weren’t their friends. I started searching around, and I found a murder-mystery discussion activity.

I adapted it to suit my needs, piloted it, and it is now part of my opening week lessons.

When placing the students in their groups for the period, I try to pair them up with people I haven’t seen them interact with as much. I want to build community within our classroom. Students are dealt clues, and they are the only ones allowed to read their clues out loud. This is an easy way to make sure everyone within the group participates and that no person dominates the conversation.

Students work together, organize information, and collaborate and communicate with one another. Once the murder is solved, we discuss the importance of sharing ideas with one another, working together, and thinking critically. The students really enjoy the activity and it does a great job of highlighting the idea that everyone can make valuable contributions to a discussion.

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