1-2-3 Come Do Some Viola Swamp and Miss Nelson Activities With Me!
“The kids in Room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzed through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school.”
Thus begins the story of Miss Nelson is Missing, one of my all-time favorite back-to-school books. This cute classic was first published in 1977, but is still relevant today, as a lighthearted reminder of how important it is to show our appreciation of others.
When I read the story to my students, I wore a reversible "cape". (A lovely pastel floral print was on one side, when I became the sweet Miss Nelson. When I "transformed" into the terrible Miss Viola Swamp. ("...the meanest substitute teacher in the whole world!") I easily flipped it to the solid black, ugly side.
I've also donned a plastic witch nose, along with a few long black fingernails for my left hand, while pretending to be Viola. She is the crazy substitute teacher in three children's books by Harry Allard (illustrated by James Marshall). The books are entitled Miss Nelson is Missing!, Miss Nelson is Back, and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day. The latter is by far my personal favorite.
At the start of the story, Miss Nelson’s students are very disrespectful and naughty. They constantly take advantage of her good- natured personality, and haven’t a clue of what a wonderful and sweet teacher they really have, ’til she doesn’t show up one day and is replaced by the horendous substitute, Miss Viola Swamp.
Days pass and FINALLY, to the utter joy of her students, Miss Nelson returns to class with a "little secret" as to her disappearence. By this time, the children have become wonderful and very appreciative students. I highly recommend this great read aloud, and always kept a copy in my sub folder.
Because the book is so popular, I thought teachers would enjoy some activities to go with it. You can do some of them with your students and/or tuck others into your sub folder, to be plugged in as emergency lessons. The Miss Nelson is Missing packet, includes a variety of writing, language arts and reading activites. Plus some adorable "craftivities" to review even more standards.
Here are a few of the FREEBIES.
There are 76 word cards, plus a blank set to program with your own. Great for vocabulary building. You can also use these as an opportunity to teach synonyms, antonyms, and adjectives, while reinforcing their importance in writing.
One way to use the cards is as an assessment game. Students make a Popsicle stick puppet with Miss Nelson on one side and Viola Swamp on the other. I enjoyed sketching these memorable characters, particularly Viola.
Hold up a word card and read it. Children decide which character they think that word describes and flip their Popsicle to the appropriate face.
For added pizzazz, I glued the facial circles to pink and green construction paper and then glued them back-to-back.
The teacher then shows the correct answer and asks students if they know what the word means. If not (s)he defines it.
Because Miss Nelson and Miss Swamp are certainly "opposites" you can have a teachable moment, and ask students if Viola's qualities are antonyms for Miss Nelson's.
I've also included several other adjective activities as well, including a sort of graphic organizer, where they jot down words that describe their teacher, Miss Nelson, and Viola Swamp.
The packet has 7 writing activities, including 2 class-made books. One book is entitled The Case Of The Missing Students.
Children write about what happened to their entire class when their teacher came to school one day, but no one else did!
The other is entitled Our Teacher Is Missing. As with the original story, students try and figure out what happened to their teacher, and write about one of their conclusions.
Other writing prompts have students explaining why they wouldn't want Miss Swamp to be their teacher, what qualities they feel a really good teacher pocesses, and 5 things they think their teacher might be doing if (s)he disappeared.
For good measure I threw in 2 "Is, Can, Was" worksheets for both Viola and Miss Nelson.
Students will undoubtedly compare Miss Nelson and Viola to their own teacher. To review this concept, have students choose one of 3 Venn diagrams. Students compare and contrast the characters to their own teacher, as well as the book to a similar story.
On the craftier side, there are 2 WANTED posters (for male as well as female teachers), for students to fill in, as well as 4 MISSING person posters. I'm sure what your students fill in about you, will be quite amusing.
My personal favorite activity in the packet is Swamp's Stocking Statements. It's a cute way to review concepts of print.
Completed projects make a wonderful back-to-school bulletin board or hallway display.
To round things out, I included a page of discussion questions, a synopsis of the story and 2 "retell the story" bookmarks.
Finally, after you read Miss Nelson is Missing to your students, you may want them to see an absolutely "awwww-dorable" 13-minute youtube video.
Mr. Arturo Avina's kindergarten class, from LAUSD's Olympic Primary Center, did a tremendous job acting out their adaptation of “Miss Nelson is Missing”. He’s done an outstanding job recording it, as well as incorporating music from some popular songs.
What a fabulous learning experience for these students. They are certainly fortunate to have such a creative teacher. I hope you and yours enjoy it as much as I did. My students, no matter what grade I taught, LOVED doing reader’s theater; I highly recommend trying it.
Click on the link to view/download the Miss Nelson Is Missing packet.
This packet will be FREE for an entire year. After which time it will be up-dated & included in my 203-page jumbo Miss Nelson is Missing Literacy & Math packet in my TpT shop. Click on the link to pop on over.
It is one of my most useful & all-time favorite packets. I'm confident that your kiddos will LOVE these activities!
Oh, and if you'd like a poster that's appropriate, click on the link. It's not in this packet, but would be a cute writing prompt or discussion: "What do you think this poster means?" and... "How does it fit in with the story Miss Nelson is Missing?"
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"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you." -Dr. Seuss