Ds Scholarship

Who stole the gingerbread cookies?

By Rick Balsgrove
Groveport Editor

Photo submitted by Jennifer Minton
Groveport Police Officer Ernie Bell helps second graders Jennifer Minton at Glinding Elementary solve the case.

Someone stole gingerbread cookies from the chef at Glendening Elementary School and the students are hot on the case!

Glinding teacher Jane Minton’s second-grade class received a helping hand from Groveport Police to solve the mystery, which included advice and help from Minton’s father, Groveport Police Officer Ernie Bell, as well as officers Shelley Reimer, Kristen Dyddick, and Kyle Smith.

“I was so excited to be partnering with my parents and Groveport Police once again on another project,” Minton said.

Bell said he enjoys being a part of projects like this at school.

“It’s a good way to establish a positive relationship between the kids and the police,” Bell said.

This is the second collaboration between Menton students and Groveport Police.

“This is the second time we have done this type of project together,” Minton said. “The first was in 2018, when kids helped solve who stole Santa’s toy bag.”

the case
For this year’s detective work, Minton said the students had read the case file indicating that Mrs. Sherry’s gingerbread (the school’s chef) had been stolen.

“The students are then provided with suspicious photos, which are photos I took of our employees,” Minton said. But everyone looks suspicious and some have specific clues. They also have items in the background that can be considered clues, such as snacks, large bags to hide cookies, etc. “

According to Minton, based on the photos and the case file, students predict who they think is guilty.

Then, every day, police officers read the evidence that would help eliminate the suspect, and the students read the written evidence, and they used the photos to help eliminate the suspect, Minton said. “After the third clue, the students look at their initial predictions, and then, like good readers, they can adapt by choosing a new one, especially if the initial suspect has been ruled out, or they can confirm that their predictions are still in doubt.”

Once students have the final proof, they write their report and send it to Bell.

“In this report, they explain who stole the missing cookies and provide an explanation of their deductive skills about the clues they used to identify the correct suspect,” Minton said.

The project enables students to learn the skill of inference – going beyond the author’s words to understand what is not being said in the text.

“We teach second graders how to use all parts of a story — text and images — as well as their background information to get information,” Minton said.

In the end the students concluded that it was the school guidance counselor who stole the gingerbread cookies.

“Once the students resolved the case, we brought her into class and asked her why she was doing it,” Minton said. “I explained to the students that she was in the blue/red zone (feeling sad/anger) because she had a fight with her brother and then got into trouble, all the things my students can relate to.”

Once the students hear the suspect’s reasons, they help her brainstorm for dealing with those feelings and solving her problem.

“A lot of students tend to react to situations impulsively without thinking about the consequences, either positive or negative,” Minton said. “I hope we can provide students with strategies and tools to help them think about these situations the next time they might arise.”

Blended learning is rewarding
When Minton was asked how she came up with this year’s case topic, she said, “My dad (Bill) and I wanted to create a new case to keep ideas fresh for the students. Also, because the “suspects” were real adults in school, I realized we couldn’t practice the reasoning skills that were The lesson is designed just for her, but we can add Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) which is a big focus in our area.”

According to Minton, SEL is the process in which students acquire and apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and group goals, feel and demonstrate empathy for others, create and maintain supportive relationships, and take responsibility and caring decisions. “

She said the children are enjoying the project because they feel they are helping the Groveport Police.

“It makes them feel part of the Groveport Police team,” Minton said. “Visiting officers are great at play. They show up at our classroom door with great energy and are ready to interact with the students.”

She said students also enjoy projects like this because they see the real-world applications of what they learn in school.

“Students tend to put in more effort and be more engaged, when they know the ‘why’ behind their learning,” Minton said. “It’s the age-old question, ‘Why should I learn this or that?'” “By partnering with the police, students see how adults, outside of a school setting, use the same skills they learn in their daily lives: reading, writing, handwriting, math, etc.”

Minton said that Bell plays a large role in the project.

“This year he ‘authorised’ the kids and gave the police badge stickers, notebooks and pencils,” Minton said. “Once we solve the case, he is the officer opposite us, we tell him we have solved the case. Then he comes back on the last day to thank them for helping to solve the case and work with them. Then they trade their sticky badges, for the little Groveport Police Honorary Badge Pins.”


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