I promised I would keep you updated on the "enrichment" class I've been leading. Unfortunately, life has gotten much busier since spring has sprung! I started this *ages* ago and haven't finished. So I'll post what I have now and continue with more later.


Originally, I had 11 fourth and fifth grade students, but several were bored by it and dropped out. I now have 6 to 8, depending on their other activities on those mornings. I was given a half-hour once every week.

I began by explaining the concept of the book and the treasure hunt, and what the class was for. Then I read a portion of the book, to catch their interest. At that time, we had only 3 books for 11 students, and one child bought her own book. So the ones who were absolutely intrigued by the hunt were sharing books. I also gave them my "Companion book" to use.

I wrote an explanation letter for the parents, complete with my telephone number in case they had questions. I understand how communications can get confused between student and school, so I wanted to be sure everyone understood that I was NOT going to drive around the US with their child, looking for tokens.

I encouraged them to share ideas with each other, and provided a blank page with "STRANGE THINGS I FOUND" written at the top. Of course, they found the same things we did at first… all the interesting clues in the pictures.

I introduced them to a mini-history of codes and encryption, according to what I felt was their level of understanding and their attention span. Then we started with Morse code and anagrams.

I created a page of Morse code with two sentences, and provided a page of "International Morse code" (being careful to be sure it included the symbol that is shown on page 31.). One was a question about what they enjoyed about the story, and the second was a clue to find an insect.

For anagrams, I had them anagram the name of our school into words, and encouraged them to do the same with their own names.

I introduced the concept of the "Map Cipher" and had them search for possible letters in the pictures.

As they found more and more clues in the pictures, we discussed them, and eventually I helped them to discover most of the insects.

I was disappointed to discover that they wanted me to "feed" them clues. I was happy to expand upon the things they found and were curious about, but I tried to explain to them that they would get more out of the entire experience if THEY were finding clues and figuring things out.

I was NOT picking *their* brains. Most of them are not excited enough about it to work on it very much. And they have sports, music, homework, etc.

I will write more as I can. It's been fun, so far.