Last week, our Book Week began. The week started with the video from author Peter Millett, which was shown prior to morning tea. Pete obviously knows how to make videos look good and it was a great way to start things off:
Students were encouraged to come up with their own code names - I made a Random Code Name Generator for if they needed help with that.
Then at lunch, we showed our first "Spy School" video:
After that video, our Year 3-6 teachers hung up a poster about Morse code and another advertising our "Design a Gadget" competition (one of our teachers complained that students left her huge note after lunch, written entirely in Morse code!).
The next day, we showed our "Channel Z News" report:
This showed a clue found at the scene of the crime, written in Morse code. The pattern of getting a clue and then finding out how to answer it by watching one of the Spy School videos, continued until Thursday lunchtime, when the last clue was decoded and GPS coordinates to the location of the missing jewels could be "passed on to police" by the teachers. I deliberately made the location of the jewels outside of Hamilton so no students could be tempted into going and having a look for the treasure themselves!
Friday's videos were another Channel Z News report, describing the apprehension of the thief, and a final video from Peter Millett congratulating the recruits for helping solve a crime and welcoming them as junior J.S.A. agents.
This week, after a viewing for all the spies and getting their permission to share it, the classes had a good laugh watching the Bloopers video:
Illustrator / Poet Visits
I told both our guests for Book Week about our theme and asked if they could incorporate something to do with spies or detectives. Both of them were happy to do so.
Illustrator Daron Parton talked with our Year 3-6 classes. He drew a cool spy wearing a hat. Then he took suggestions from the students and drew different spy gadgets coming out of the top of the hat.
We also had Poet Judi Billcliff come and work with our Year 1-2 classes. She created a new song to do with looking up, down and all around, based on the Hokey Tokey. She also had the kids play the "Hot and cold" game to find a couple of simple clues to work out.
Junior School Book Week Activities
Many of the classes also watched the Spy School videos, but didn't watch the Channel Z News Reports or decipher any clues.
I had some lovely feedback from these teachers. Their students were building spy gadgets out of Mobilo and spying on each other in the playground. One group of Year 2 students had been pulled out of class to work with a visiting maths consultant. Unfortunately, a parent wearing black shades walked by and the students cried out "It's a spy!". When they got back to their class their teacher asked them how it went and their answer was "we saw a spy!".
One teacher got so involved she printed out her own spy ID badges for her class:
Here are all my resources if you would like to run your own Spies and Detectives Book Week:
- The plans I shared with our Year 1-2 teachers and our Year 3-6 teachers.
- The list of items I put into an envelope for our Year 3-6 teachers. A number of them shared out the ID badges at the start of the week instead of the end. If I did it again I would create a different badge for J.S.A. recruits to wear.
- The clues (you'll probably need to change the one that says "fridge" - that was a reference to our Book Fridge. If you choose a location you have control over you can keep track of which classes have solved all the clues).
- The script for the Channel Z News episodes (if you want to do less filming you could just film these two short clips and change the place where the thief has taken something).
- The scripts for the Spy School episodes (I did cut some scenes out of these, and change words that students had trouble with).
- The script for an adult (I asked our Principal to do this so that I wasn't giving vital information about solving the clues to our student actors ahead of time)
- The Certificate of Appreciation was a Word doc and looked like this:
It came from the "New Zealand Crime Fighters Association" as I didn't know the legalities of saying it was from the police!If you do have a go running your own Spies and Detectives Book Week I would love to hear how you get on. And I'm happy to help if you have any questions.
I kept the videos unlisted and this turned out to be a good idea. There were a few students who had a look on Youtube to see if they could see the videos ahead of time. I did get caught out with students looking at the spy books we put on display. It wasn't a good idea to put the ones dealing with codes in the display, there were some very keen students who used them to decode one of the first clues! After that we took those books away.
The timing of the Book Week was really unfortunate. There was a LOT on for the teachers in that particular week and I would definitely try to have it during a less busy time of the year so that the whole school could get completely involved in it.
While some of the Year 3-6 teachers said my plan was easy to understand and follow, others were a bit confused. It would have been better to attend team meetings and explain it verbally.
Overall, everyone seemed to have a great time, and although it was very time-consuming it was a lot of fun for me to put together.