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ginger07's Message:

Hi. I am trying to prepare lessons for next fall. I am thinking of using the Westing Game by Ellen Raskin for a novel theme during Halloween. My students are all boys in the eighth grade. Is this book popular and fun for junior high students? Thank You

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
mytwocents 07-13-2007 08:18 PM


Some of my more immature 5th graders had a hard time 'getting' some parts of this book. We took it slow, had a lot of discussion, and had to point out some of the 'connections' in the book. I think most average 3rd graders would have a hard time with this book.

kristeacher 07-09-2007 07:35 AM

I used the Westing Game in sixth grade and the kids and I absolutely loved it. THis was part of the mystery genre study. We listened to Sherlock Holmes on audio, read Poe, did quick who done its, and wrote mysteries. We created clue books, the students listed the clues and made deductions about who did it. Since there are so many characters, I assigned one character to each child and they were responsible for listing traits and actions of their characters to the class. We made a giant board with all of their characters listed and illustrated. We continued to add things as we found out about each person. The predictions made using this book are great and we charted these on a bulletin board. After reading this, we watched Murder on the Orient Express and created venn diagrams on the two. The students then wrote Compare / contrast essays on the two.
I forget the other things we did. I now teach second. I am thinking of doing a mystery unit this year.

Good luck and enjoy.

connorsmom020 07-04-2007 07:19 PM

This is one of my favorite books. What are your thoughts on using with 3rd grade as a whole group book? I am doing the theme of board games in my room and thought it would fit well.

mytwocents 07-02-2007 12:18 PM

We read this when I taught 5th grade. I broke the class up into detective 'groups'. They read together and discussed. I worked with those lower readers; the advanced readers were more on their own except for group discussion times. Each group kept 'detective files' where they took notes about each character. This helped them remember a lot! We also made cards with all the 'clue words' we found as we read. It was fun to watch the groups lay all the word cards out and try to figure out what it said...took a while, but finally groups started putting the words together in the song. I tied a lot into the book. To go along with the 'chess theme' I recruited another teacher in the building to play us in a game of chess...the students didn't know who the 'mystery player' was. We made a move a day. They really got into it. It was fun to have a 'revealing' at the end of the game. As a technology link, we made a graphic organizer web on the computer...Sam Westing was in the middle. THey had to link each character to him with a description of how that character 'related' to him.

It was really a fun book. The kids all loved it. We also watched the movie. It is corny and not nearly as good as the book, but it was a great springboard to compare/contrast. We made Venn diagrams comparing the movie to the book. The kids were very surprised how different they were.

I think 8th graders would love the book. The nice thing about it is that not many of the kids seemed to have read it before!

Tink898 06-10-2007 04:01 PM

I used the Westing Game in an advanced reading class in middle scool a few years ago. We started out by playing the game clue and then they had to create their own murder mysteries. We then read the book and as the other teacher described we each picked a character at the start of the story to to make our own. Throughout the story they had to really get to know their character. When we finished the story we had a celebration where we each dressed as our character and gave clues as to who we were (usually the dress gave it away, but they were very creative in their clues and the kids had fun guessing who each one was.) We did other activities, but they are not coming to me right now- if I think if them, I'll let you know. Oh, we also watched the movie- it was horrible, the kids hated it (and they really enjoyed the book)

Chris G 05-28-2007 01:29 PM

with The Westing Game in my fifth grade class...about half of them "got it", but the other half had to be spoon fed. Each student became an heir, and were paired up the same as the book. This was done randomly, and really worked. Friday everyone dressed up as their character and we had a party. I still have middle schoolers come back and ask if I'm still doing the Westing Game with my class, and many of those are boys. I wouldn't hesitate doing it with 8th graders.

You'll come up with all sorts of ideas as you read and reread the story....

Have fun!

ginger07 05-24-2007 06:56 AM

Hi. I am trying to prepare lessons for next fall. I am thinking of using the Westing Game by Ellen Raskin for a novel theme during Halloween. My students are all boys in the eighth grade. Is this book popular and fun for junior high students? Thank You

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