Writers: Crime Fiction

Creative writing lesson plans for grades 2 - 12. 

Lesson Plans

“Crime and Punishment”

Grades 2-4
This lesson plan gives students the chance to write a dialogue using information they have gathered from different sources, plus their imagination.  Students should be aware that the police look after the community 'around the clock' and make sure everything is okay at all times.  Students will use their knowledge about the incidents that take place during the night’s rounds to write the dialogue between two policemen/policewomen.

“Detective Fiction: Focus On Critical Thinking”
Grades 3-5
Students will use the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and sharing) to create their own detective story using their knowledge of the basic elements of detective fiction.

“What's in a Mystery? Exploring and Identifying Mystery Elements”

Grades 3-5
This lesson teaches students about plot structure, character, and setting. Students identify the characteristics of mystery writing in class discussions, outline a mystery story using a graphic organizer, write and revise a mystery story on their own, and edit each other's work. Students are then given opportunities to share their mysteries and to evaluate how clues are laid out to come to conclusions.

“A Directed Listening–Thinking Activity for The Tell-Tale Heart”
Grades 4-6
Students will improve their listening comprehension and prediction skills by participating in a Directed Listening–Thinking Activity (DLTA), will respond to literature read in class by either writing an acrostic poem or creating a comic strip and practice strong and effective writing as assessed by the 6 + 1 Trait® Writing model. 

“Writing a Mystery Story from a Newspaper Article”

Grades 4-6
In the lesson students will create a story from a newspaper article and utilize comprehension skills to sequence events and determine fact versus opinion.

“Teaching Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills with ‘Whodunits’”

Grades 4-6
This lesson plan will help students develop a knowledge of terms used in detective stories, develop reading comprehension skills and will allow the student to use the knowledge gained in reading and analyzing a number of detective stories to write their own mystery story. 

"Mystery Writing“
Grades 4-6
In this lesson, students are given a mystery photo and will follow the mystery writing format to develop their own original mysteries.

“Writing Police Reports”
Grades 5-8
Students practice writing historical reports such as is done by emergency medical technicians and police officers.

“Expository Escapade—Detective’s Handbook”
Grades 6-8
This lesson combines the reading of detective fiction with written expository analysis in the form of a Detective’s Handbook. Students create a Detective's Handbook based on the mystery they read, adding a new entry every two days. Handbook entries include expository writing about the sleuth, the mystery, and the sidekick; descriptive writing about the crime scene; a wanted poster of the villain; a detective's log; a "how-to" paragraph describing how the mystery was solved; and a persuasive letter to the local Chief of Police. Finally, students record an overview of the book they read, making a case for its inclusion in the detective mystery genre.

“Plot, Character and Setting: A Study of Mystery and Detective Fiction”
Grades 6-8
This lesson studies mystery and detective fiction with students and then helps them improve writing skills using the fiction as a motivation force. Elements of good writing will be strengthened, from the conception of the idea, through initial organization and writing, through proofreading, editing, and re-writing, and through peer support and guidance as the final product is produced.

"Not  As It Seems: Learning with Mysteries”
Grades 6-8
Students will follow mystery format, and write their own mysteries.

“Comparing Two Poe Classics”
Grades 6-12
Students will apply previously taught literary terms to new stories, use a Venn diagram to assist them in comparing and contrasting two pieces of literature and students will be writing an essay in which they compare and contrast the two Poe stories. 

“Who Done It? Sleuthing & Self-discovery for 7th & 8th Grade Creative Writing Students”
Grades 7-8
Students will explore thematic concepts of integrity and justice as they were presented in the movie, “The Star Chamber,” and the story of Oedipus. They will design collage poems and write vignettes (prose or poetry) on these concepts.                                                                                       

"Democracy Speaks Through Criminal Law?”
Grades 7-8
The unit will enhance students reading ability comprehension skills, and provide enrichment reading. It will also provide knowledge with regard to our justice system, how it works and the effect that it will have upon students as they become adult members of this fast paced ever changing technological society.

Grades 7-12
This lesson will allow students to experience brainstorming and open-ended questioning strategies and research to develop a better understanding of the justice system.  Students will have an opportunity to discuss both strengths and weaknesses of the court system in providing equal justice for all and to identify factors that cause these weaknesses and recommend solutions. 

“Juvenile Justice/The Real Deal” 
Grades 7-12
In this lesson plan, students will learn the rights of individuals under the Constitution and learn what the Bills of Rights are and what they protect.  Students will be aware of the specific rights of juveniles in the U.S. Judicial System, become more knowledgeable in the steps of juvenile proceedings and will have the opportunity to review landmark juvenile cases.

“Sherlock Holmes: Teaching English Through Detective Fiction”
Grades 7-12
Students will read selected short stories of Arthur Conan Doyle featuring Sherlock Holmes. From these stories they will study vocabulary, reading comprehension, drawing conclusions, remembering details and inferential thinking skills. They will write creatively during two projects in which they will be required to create a fictional detective with character traits and a crime to solve. 

“Scripting a Crime Drama”
Grades 9-11
In this lesson, students will tackle the scripting of a television crime drama by looking at the plot formulas and structures that underpin this genre. Students begin by studying a script from an actual television series and then they script and produce their own crime dramas.

“Tales of Edgar Allen Poe”
Grades 9-12
This lesson plan requires young adults to read and evaluate one of Poe’s short stories and to then write their own short story using the same emotion portrayed in the story.

“Activity Template - Creative Crime Writing Challenge”
Grades 9-12
This activity enables the student to transfer the skills acquired during the lesson (or group of lessons) and use them for a different purpose i.e. Business Meeting to Crime Fiction.

“Juvenile Delinquency: Cause and Effect”
Grades 9-12
n this lesson plan, students will be presented with two true stories about two young people who were taken to juvenile courts in New York and California. Students will read each person’s story. Then try to decide what they think state and local government agencies should do about such young people.
In this lesson plan, students must match vocabulary words with their meaning.
In this lesson plan students are presented with varying situations and must decide whether the person should be tried as a juvenile or transferred to criminal court and tried as an adult. Students will explain their decisions.

“Evaluating Crimes”
Grades 9-12
This activity serves as an introduction on a unit of Criminal Law.  Students will learn that a crime is something one does or fails to do in violation of a law; or it can also be behavior for which government sets a penalty.  Decisions as to what constitutes a crime are made by legislatures. They try to protect the public based on what most people believe is right and necessary for the orderly conduct of our society.  The purpose of this activity is to make students aware there is no concrete consensus as to what is a crime, the seriousness of crimes, or variances of actions that change "noncriminal" behavior to "criminal" behavior.