Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mystery Helper

I use to have jobs in my classroom, you know....line leader, caboose, paper passer, etc.. And, each week I changed the jobs, and to be quite honest, I hated doing jobs!! Then for a while, I did no jobs. Well, I hated that too. So, I came up with Mystery Helper!!! Just one student helper. Their jobs include; line leader, door holder, they put the juice/milk bin away, and anything else I need. They get to sit on a frog mat on a special chair and they really enjoy it!

We usually do Mystery Helper first thing in the morning. It is similar to a game of Hangman. The best things about this activity are
1- Students learn to identify each others names relatively quickly.
2- They learn the vowels and consonants right away.

Here is a picture of the board. I took this picture in January, so we were on Round 4 (see descriptions below).

We start Mystery Helper on the first day of school. Prior to their arrival, I make a list of our names for students to reference to.

I begin by saying each vowel and both of it's corresponding sounds (singing it...A makes to sounds /short a sound/ and /long a sound/, and have the students repeat them. We then do the same with the consonants. I then write a line for each letter of the chosen ones name. We count the lines and check the chart. Students then raise their hands and ask, "Does the Mystery Helper have the vowel/consonant ___?" I have them say this day one, so they learn it quick. When all the letters are revealed, I say Give me a ___ and they chant it back. Then I say "What does that spell?"

We have a few rounds...
1-3 is just the basics as described above. I write the letters in order.
4-6 I write the letters out of order and then ask a volunteer to come up and put the letters in order.
7-8 We go to last names.


  1. I LOVE your blog, Shannon!! I really like your penguin activities and the Mitten character study. If we ever get back to school (five snow days)I'm adding the character study to my Mitten plans. Thank you!


  2. This is such a great idea! I want to use this next year at the beginning of the year! Thanks for the wonderful idea!

  3. Great idea!! I am doing SOTD now, but I need something quick and simple for after we get through all the names. I just found your blog and I can't read enough. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  4. I'm liking the mystery helper...I always feel bad because while my 19 little friends choose a job each week, some jobs don't get done very often :( You've given me something to chew on. :)