Uncloaking the Clues: Details, Daggers, and Detection

byDeborah D. Dabbs

As it has become increasingly obvious over the years, educators do not operate in a vacuum. We are, to a degree, dependent upon the efforts and cooperation of our colleagues. Therefore, this curriculum unit seeks to use the study of the detective genre to develop and hone students' problem solving skills. By using the conventions and tenets associated with detective fiction, the students will write stories in this genre. Because this course of study calls for the students to encode as they write, their use of the tenets of detective fiction will aid them in learning to decode in other areas, specifically academic areas which require the use of problem solving skills. This will occur because the study of this genre highlights the fact that the key to acquiring all of the necessary ingredients to solve a detective mystery is an attention to detail. Therefore, through their writing of stories which require that their detectives use this skill as they endeavor to solve crimes, the students will hone their own abilities to detect details and uncover clues which allow them to glean the understanding necessary to solve problems presented. Their mastery of the skills necessary to write detective fiction will enable them to develop and use critical thinking skills, thus fostering higher order learning.

(Recommended for English and Creative Writing, grades 9-12.)


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