Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nonfiction Detective Task Cards

When I run contests in my classes, it motivates even those kids who are less likely to participate in class activities, to become involved.

Who doesn't love a contest? 

When I was 10 years old, my parents entered me in a "Singing Dog" contest that was being sponsored by a local television station. I was a shy child, and usually had butterflies in my stomach when I had to participate in class discussions so the thought of me appearing on television to participate in a contest was frightening!

When I practiced my clarinet, my dachshund, Gretchen, would HOWL. The high notes hurt her poor ears! The song she hated the most was "When the Saints Go Marching In", a song we were practicing in school. Gretchen would throw her head back, close her eyes and howl, howl, howl in all different notes! Was it singing? No. The poor dog was telling us that she hated it.

The day of the contest...

When we got to the t.v studio, I was shaking so much my teeth were chattering. My dog leaned against my leg, so I figured she felt like I did. Our competitors were all kids and their dogs. Most of the dogs were smaller and looked like scared rabbits and had their tails between their legs. I remember looking to my left and standing there was the biggest German Shepherd I've ever seen. He was introduced as TANK. A perfect name for a huge dog!

I was assigned the number four to be on stage. TANK was last. I put my clarinet together and gripped Gretchen's leash as I walked to the middle of the stage and began playing the song. Gretchen threw her head back, howled and shook her floppy ears. She looked at me with soulful eyes that begged me to stop playing.  

I'll never forget the rounds of applause when we walked off stage. I was sure Gretchen would win!

When it was TANK'S turn, his deep voice resonated throughout the studio as his "master" played a jazzy type of song on his trumpet. Cheers went up! TANK was a huge hit with the audience.

TANK won and Gretchen came in second. Our prize? A camping PUP tent. It didn't matter that we didn't win. What mattered is that I had gained some self confidence and from that point on, I wasn't as afraid to be part of class discussions. 

When I started teaching, I decided to run contests for my students. They don't win huge prizes but it's the spirit of healthy competition that might also encourage shy or less motivated kids to participate. 

These are my Nonfiction Detective Task cards.  The packet includes how to use the three sets of cards as well as complete instructions about the contest!  Detective Jar labels are included in color and black and white.

Have fun!

Click on the cover ...

photo of Nonfiction Detective Task Cards PDF File task cards Ruth S. Teacher Park


  1. Hi! I just found your blog. I am your newest follower. I would love to have you stop by my blog sometime.


  2. Hi April! Thanks for following me. I'll stop by your blog too! I like your blog's name!

  3. These are PERFECT for my annual Mystery Week! Thanks for sharing!

    Inside this Book

    1. Hi Lynn! I'm so glad you found my Detective Cards! The kids LOVE them!! Hope you post your Mystery week activities on your blog! I'd love to see them. :)