Students in Bill France’s Language Arts classroom at Logan High School were recently treated to a lesson of a different kind.
“Opinions do not matter today,” he told his 9th grade Language Arts students, “you must be able to back it up with proof.”
Students found their classroom transformed into a crime scene, complete with caution tape, clues and the outline of a body.
Several of his students found informational sheets in their journals and were asked to play suspects in the case. They knew ahead of time what to say when questioned.
France, who was dressed head to toe as a police officer when students arrived in class, questioned each witness one at a time. He then instructed the students to write an essay, supported with facts and evidence as to who they thought committed the crime.
France says his students enjoy out of the ordinary lessons.
“It’s worth the effort on my part to see students who normally write very little staying past the bell to solve the crime,” he said. “The lesson hits several common core standards but the kids are not even aware of it.”
“Did you do it, Mr. France?” one student interrogated the teacher.
“According to the clues, Mr. France wasn’t even here. You can check the cameras in the front office,” France, playing the role of the officer, replied.
In addition to his teaching certificate, France holds degrees in Theatre and Communications.
“Role play and costumes can really dress up a lesson, adding entertainment to instruction,” France said, “It’s a win/win situation for my students.”