Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Miss Nelson is Missing!

Mrs. Ruark and Mrs. Timmons have done an outstanding job with this month's kindergarten bulletin board.  They used the book Miss Nelson is Missing to introduce this narrative unit.  The story is about a teacher who decides to teach her disruptive children a lesson by pretending that she is a mean substitute named, Mrs. Viola Swamp.  She comes dressed as the mean sub and gives the children work until they are thrilled to see their real teacher again.  After reading and discussing the book, the teachers invited the children to use the characters in the book and write their own story.  They encouraged the children to write their fictional narrative using themselves and real people that they know mixed in with the fictional characters.  This bulletin board shows three different levels of kindergarten writing. 

The teachers began by having the children help them write an alternate story.  They discussed variations and decided as a class how the story would go. Then they modeled each step over several days.  That story is shown on top of the bulletin board.

The first piece of student writing was done in a guided writing group with the teacher and a small group of students.  The teacher and student went page by page, first talking about what the group thought should go on each page and then each student writing his own sentence.  The teacher supported each child by helping him stretch words so he could write his own individual thoughts.  This group had difficulty veering away from the original story and basically did a retelling of the original story.
The Kids Are Crazy

by Mikaela
There is paper on the floor.  There was a knock at the door. It was Viola Swamp. 
She said, “Do your homework!”  They did their work.  The kids did not like Viola Swamp.  She gave lots of homework.  Mrs. Nelson came back.  The kids were happy.

Each child did a picture of Miss Nelson and Viola Swamp which the teachers used as a border on the board.

The second student piece on the board, which was done independently, is a short story using the writer's teachers along with Mrs.Viola Swamp as the main characters. The teacher supported the student by having her first envision what she wanted to write on each page and then rehearsing it orally.  As the student told the teacher what she wanted to write, the teacher drew a line for each word to help the student remember the sequence.
by Jaylene
             Paper all around.
            The children are being bad.                  
            The children made a mess in the classroom.
             They are coloring on the carpet.  Miss Viola Swamp came in the door.
             There will be homework today.  When school is over we see Mrs. Timmons
              and Mrs. Ruark at the beach.  Mrs. Raurk and Mrs. Timmons are back!

The final piece of student work is amazing.  The fluency of the piece for such a young writer is striking and shows natural talent beyond that taught in the classroom.  This kindergartner is able to write the story totally independently and to control for much of the spelling. She wrote a delightful, imaginative story over a series of days.

by Morgan
Crayons are all over the place.  The bookshelf is tipped over and all of the kids clips are on red!  Mrs. Timmons and Mrs. Ruark decide that something must be done.  The very next day Mrs. Timmons and Mrs. Ruark were missing and the children said, “All right now, let’s really act up!”  They started to throw all the clips in the trashcan.  They started to color all over the white board and the worst thing that you could ever imagine, they were flipping the tables over and they made a piñata.  Then they hung it up somewhere in the classroom.  Then they turned off all of the lights in the classroom.  Then they found a bat in the classroom.  Then they swung the bat to see if they could make the piñata break and they also had a blindfold.  Then one of the boys in the classroom (his name was Ryan) swung the bat and he broke it.  Then lots and lots and lots of candy came out of it.  Then all of the children gobbled the sweets up and they said that it was so so yummy.  Then all of a sudden Miss Viola Swamp ran in the classroom door and screamed, “Stop playing around.  I have lots of homework for you today!”  and the children started to listen to Miss Viola Swamp.  After that Miss Viola Swamp started treating the children sweeter.  Then Miss Viola Swamp read them a story.  It was called Miss Nelson is Missing.  Finally Miss Viola Swamp left, but the children were not very excited because they wanted her to stay, but the children also missed Mrs. Timmons and Mrs. Ruark.  Finally Mrs. Timmons and Mrs. Ruark CAME BACK!  And the children did a silent celebration.

Each piece of work on the board includes a chart that shows a teaching rubric and then discusses the child's work as compared to the standards.  Morgan's commentary is included below.
Orientation and Context
·         Demonstrates an emerging grasp of context
Morgan brings the reader into the narrative and engages by opening with a description of what is going on in the classroom.  From that initial grounding she begins to describe events.
Plot Development and Organization
·         Creates a “story” or recount made up of several incidents or actions, some of which may be loosely linked
·        Controls for chronological order
Morgan’s story is an interesting sequence of events including the teachers leaving, several incidences involving the children’s misadventures and Miss Swamp entering the picture.  Then she includes several more events with Miss Swamp before she closes.  The story has a natural, easy sequence that is in chronological order.
·         Provides a sense of closure
After establishing the problem in her story  (the children misbehaving while the teachers are missing), Morgan brings the teachers back as her closing.  She even adds, “And they did a silent celebration.”


·         Uses detail to describe incidents and people

Morgan’s uses details throughout her story.  She begins with details describing the opening scene, “Crayons are all over the place.  The bookshelf is tipped over and all of the kids’ clips are on red!” 
·         May attempt dialogue
Morgan uses dialogue naturally when she says, “…and the children said, ‘All right now, let’s really act up!’” and also when she wrote “Miss Viola Swamp ran in the classroom door and screamed, ‘Stop playing around.  I have lots of homework for you today!’” 
·         May use simple transition words
·         May use drawings to expand or illustrate the text

The transition word then pops up often in Morgan’s writing.  She also uses after that and finally. 

She does not depend on her drawings for meaning as she spends all of her time in the Writers' Workshop on her writing.  Morgan also uses capitals to provide emphasis when she writes CAME BACK, a fairly sophisticated strategy for a kindergartner!


Suzanne said...

Wow! Morgan's work is amazing and really shows how a child's natural talent can blossom under the thoughtful assignment of a teacher. I hope your class doesn't actually have a Ryan. LOL!

I also love that the teacher was doing a guided writing group. For students who struggle to put pen to paper, its exactly what's needed to bring out their stories.

Nicely done!

Maria Mallon & Cheryl Dillard said...

What a lovely board with great thought and work behind it!! MM