This week I entertained some Year 6s from nearby primaries. I have the group for the afternoon sessions with the objective being to train them somewhat into becoming journalists before we all put together a newsletter for a forthcoming Community Day.
Simply, the afternoon had the following format:
The group arrived and I introduced myself and the Year 10s who are helping out. We were due to speak to a fellow English teacher about her experiences in journalism, but when we got down to her classroom the site was not what we expected!
In the middle of the room lay the body of Miss Ellis! The look on the faces of the pupils was fantastic. There followed some discussion about how, as journalists, we should report this matter and what kind of things a journalist does. It was quickly established that we would need to work with the facts and speak to people to answer the four basic questions: who was she? What happened? Where did it happen? How did it happen?
I’d cued up some staff to help. The class broke into three teams. One returned to the crime scene to think about what photos are required; one team visited a friend of the victim who wanted to gossip but also had some valuable information about who she was; and the final team visited a co-worker who saw someone acting suspiciously before the crime. The teams went off to find this information before returning to the classroom to discuss the facts so far.
Another member of staff was cued to enter as the class were preparing their articles and considering what information was still required. This staff member delivered some information from the police and the class shared what they knew in return. They still were desperate to speculate, but had to keep reminding themselves that this was not their job.
The session ended with them selecting some good photographs and writing up their articles in teams. A short session such as this one worked, but already we are talking about how we can expand on this basic idea in the future and bring the Science department in for some forensics work.
I know staff in other schools who have done similar crime projects in the past, but this was my first time. It was surprisingly simple, yet completely engaging for the pupils and I look forward to expanding it further across a range of lessons in the future!
PS It was the chocolate killer wot did it.