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Miss Nelson is Missing

Last updated Friday, September 11, 2015

Author: Harry Allard Jr.
Illustrator: James Marshall
Date of Publication: 1977
ISBN: 0395252962
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2015

Synopsis: The kids in Room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzing through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school. So begins this quirky classic, first published in 1977 and still relevant today as a lighthearted reminder to show our appreciation to those we value. The students don’t proffer a shred of respect for their good-natured teacher Miss Nelson, but when the witchy substitute Miss Viola Swamp appears on the scene, they start to regret their own wicked ways. James Marshall’s scritchy, cartoonish full-color ink and wash illustrations are hilarious. A back-to-school perennial! (Amazon)

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who do you think Miss Nelson is?
•  Where do you think Miss Nelson could be?
•  Do you think the students are happy or sad that Miss Nelson is missing?
•  Where is this classroom? (see picture of Texas on the wall)


•  arithmetic - (from the Greek arithmos, "number") is the oldest[1] and most elementary branch of mathematics. It consists of the study of numbers, especially the properties of the traditional operations between them—addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
•  P.S. - A postscript (P.S.) is an afterthought, thought of occurring after the letter has been written and signed.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you think the students preferred Miss Nelson or Miss Viola Swamp as their teacher?
•  What is Miss Nelson's secret? Do you think her secret was a good idea?
•  What is the secret that the kids did not want to tell Miss Nelson?
•  How should the students act now that Miss Nelson is back?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Miss Nelson & Miss Swamp puppet! Fold a piece of paper in half. Draw Miss Nelson on one side and Miss Swamp on the other side of the paper. Glue a craft stick in the middle & glue the edges of the paper together.
•  Draw small pictures of your classmates & friends acting goofy and serious, like the example on page 9. To begin, fold a piece of paper in 3 hot dog style and then in 3 hamburger style. you should have 9 boxes to color in. Do you prefer the goofy pictures or the serious pictures of the students?

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!