Are you looking for an easy way to offer enrichment to your students? Super Sleuth is one way to provide daily challenge for students. I have used (and perfected) this system in my classroom for years. My favorite thing about Super Sleuth is that after the initial setup, it practically runs itself! It is really easy to implement and requires minimal class time.
Super Sleuth has added a bit of mystery and excitement to my classroom. I originally used it as an option for my higher-level students who needed a little something beyond the regular curriculum. I quickly discovered that it worked well to spark interest and develop intellectual curiosity among students of all levels. Students are eager to read and research the new clues. Plus, as an added bonus, families get involved in talking about the challenge at home. That’s a win-win in my opinion! Now, here’s the details on how I set up and manage Super Sleuth in my classroom.
As part of the Super Sleuth Challenge, students receive a new clue each day about a mystery person, place or thing. They research the clues and then submit an answer by the end of the week. The answer is then displayed on the following Monday. In order for Super Sleuth to operate smoothly, you will need to set up an interactive display in your classroom.
I select a place in my classroom that is very visible when students first walk in the room and is also easy for students to reach. My bulletin board space is limited, so I usually use cabinet doors or the side of a filing cabinet.
Over the years, I have experimented with various ways to hang the clue cards. Thumb tacks and staples work fine on a bulletin board, but I really prefer hooks or clips that students can safely operate. I used these Command Spring Clips last year and they were great! Please note that this is an Amazon affiliate link for a product that I use and love which means that I will receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link.
My goal has always been to run the Super Sleuth program with very little effort on my part. Here is how I delegate the daily operation to students.
Each week, at the beginning of a new challenge, I put a student in charge of the daily clues. This student earns the title “Sleuthinator” and has the special privilege of hanging a new clue for the class to read each day of that week. I place the clue cards inside a special container that fits right inside the Sleuthinator’s desk. This system works well because, without fail, students always remind the Sleuthinator to hang the clue if he or she forgets.
Then, I set up a station for students to submit their Super Sleuth answers. At this station, I have placed a container that is filled with blank answer slips. I cut a slit in the top of a small oatmeal canister for the final answers.
I allow (and encourage) my students to ask for help at home, research on the computer, find a book in the library, etc. My only rule is that they may not share the answers with each other. A class meeting works well for setting up the expectations. Sometimes we revisit the ground rules if necessary.
Super Sleuth is an optional activity in my classroom, but most students choose to get caught up in the excitement. I have built in an incentive system that seals the deal for students who need some extra encouragement to get involved. After the answer is displayed on Monday, I go through the canister and announce winners from the previous week. Each student with a correct answer receives one “Sleuth Buck”. They save up the Sleuth Bucks and later cash them in for classroom incentives that are worth different values.
Here’s a sneak peek at how I organize my clue sets. These organizational portfolios from the dollar store are each divided into seven sections that group and store the cards perfectly. They are the longer, 10″ x 6″ portfolios. I have six of them to store my cards for the whole year.
If you would like to get started with Super Sleuth in your own classroom, I have packaged the whole kit and caboodle into one resource that contains 40 weeks of clue sets for an entire school year. Each clue set includes 5 clue cards, plus an answer card with a picture and a card with an informational paragraph about the mystery person, place, or thing. The topics represent a variety of people, places, and things from history and modern times that have been thoroughly researched and summarized. The full resource also includes all of the signs and labels you will need for your display, plus editable incentive coupons and name display. You will just need to print it out, set it up, and say, “Go!”
Not quite ready for the full resource? You can even try a FREE three week Super Sleuth sample here! Enjoy!