Scaredy Kat Whodunnit?
The kids came in and listened to the scenario, in this case, a girl named Kat is getting threats from someone who is going to hurt her cat. Cheesy, but it is for kids, and they were eating it up. Then each of the suspects (6 middle/high school kids) were introduced, and the kids were told what possible motives each suspect might have for committing the crime.
Once the kids heard the motives they were split into four groups, each with a guide, and sent through 4 settings to collect clues.
Our first stop was a question and answer section with the suspects. The kids in my group (4 girls-all in 3rd grade, 2 boys-one 2nd grader, one 4th grader) were a little shy, not wanting to ask questions, so I pried the suspects for information, acting very concerned and suspicious at all the appropriate times. The librarians had not told me who was guilty, so I was just as in the dark as to whom the criminal was, as the kids were.
From our Q & A with the suspects, we headed to the "Lockeroom," actually the staff break room (which does have lockers), to look through the lockers labeled with the suspects' names for clues. I was completely amazed at how astute my little detectives were. They searched everything in the lockers: notebooks (finding notes left by the suspects), through refuse, coat pockets, leaving nothing unexamined. The librarians had warned me that if something was too hard for the kids to read, that I might have to help them out, but my kids wouldn't have it. They took turns reading the clues that they found. I was beaming and as proud as if they were my own. After nearly 10 minutes we had to head over to the next room, the "Principles Office," (a.k.a. the Friends of the Library's meeting room).
Again in this room, the kids searched everything thoroughly, asking me to only read a long memo that was found in the principle's briefcase. After examining everything, the kids crowded around the clues, which we had laid out on the table, and began to argue over who was the most likely suspect. It was so funny and wonderful to see how into the case the kids were.
After searching for clues in Kat’s bedroom, we rejoined everyone else to be allowed one more question and answer session with the suspects and to hear who it had been that had committed the crime!
The program was a smash. The kids seemed to have a really good time, and I could not help but tell the other librarians how proud I was of the kids in my group. They were so well behaved and so creative in their theories and questions. Driving home from the mystery program I was positively beaming. It was one of those moments were you feel like your work really means something. Good thoughts to lead me into the weekend!