The Sherlocked Experience

 In Emotional Intelligence in ESL classrooms

2023 and we keep moving onto 21st century classrooms! I was recently shown this videoclip with what-makes-no-sense in modern times educational environments, which I am happy to share with you today. What follows the video clip is a proposal of a 21st-century-skills storytelling activity based on The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.









Escape room and breakout educational activities revisited


When completing these two outstanding teacher training courses (ABH and EscapeNOOC) I couldn’t but write about some resources of high interest that I have been using to create my first digital escape room activity The Sherlocked Experience. The narrative goes that Small locked Holmes into Tower Bridge and Dr Watson needs the students’ help to get Sherlock unlocked. To do so the students will be encountered with three challenges:



  • Puzzle One: The Battle of Agra
  • Puzzle  Two: Is this really True or is it all False?
  • Puzzle Three: The 4-Digit Code


The final challenge for the students to prove they have read The Sign of Four is to pick up one character of their choice and research the text to get to know him / her. Then prepare a short written text describing what s/he looks like, how s/he acts, the type of music s/he might listen to, what painting/s would be hanging in his / her living room, etc. The final task is to deliver a speech about it in podcast format.


From challenge to challenge students will need to prove they have actually read the complete book, understood the events, learnt some details of British history, and registered important data within the story (characters, dates, etc). In small teams of three or four students must then work collaboratively to solve three puzzles and get Sherlock unlocked!



«Reading is an adventure, not an obligation» (@quiquesr)




Let us now consider a few factors when creating storytelling activities:


  • There is the BONDING phase which so guides the students in an initial approach to the story prior to the beginning of the reading. It is intended to awaken interest in the subject matter, the characters and their experiences, and will try to establish an emotional connection between the story and the future readers.


  • There is also the RESEARCH phase involving a guided discovery process that aims to facilitate comprehension, and including the following research products: (a) Recreation of places (creating images through drawings, photographic compositions or other artistic manifestations to the main locations of history) which combines very well with timelines that show the main events; (b) Character analysis (creating a character file that the readers will complete as they get to know the character, or an analysis of the relationships through diagrams); (c) Own learning or of the characters (questions which link the educational content and the content of the story).


  • And there is the CREATION phase which builds on the knowledge generated in the previous phases: personal emotions, the context of the story, places, characters, lessons learned, etc. The proposal is that students can build their own story from all the elements worked on previously. They are not expected to write, but to invent. The didactic sequence consists of: selection, construction, and publication.




Students will eventually be sharing their creation with the world and not only with the teacher or the class-group. The ideal is to give freedom with respect to the media used to capture the story (podcast, comic, story, etc.). Here a great ally appears, which is technology offering us an infinite number of possibilities for this process.




We unsherlocked Holmes!


Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search