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ACTIVITY: Mrs. Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

Learning Objectives: Students will identify the main characters Ms. Neslon and Ms. Swamp and create a scene from the story. Describes characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explains how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

Materials Needed

  • black construction paper

  • white construction paper

  • witch's hat stencil brown/black felt and brown construction paper

  • markers

  • googly eyes

  • cotton balls and other decorating material

Activity Instructions

  • Ask the students to be thinking of what character traits they notice as you are reading the story. - Is the character mean, nice, funny, scary, etc.?

  • Read the story aloud, stopping at key pages to talk about important characters, details.

  • As a whole group, discuss what the students noticed about the character/characters in the book. Ask the students prompting questions. - Who was Ms. Nelson? - Who was Ms. Swamp? - What did notice about these two characters? - Why did Ms. Swamp come to class?

  • Explain to the students they will be making the character Ms. Swamp behind the classroom door.

  • Demonstrate to the students how to create this piece in each step - Use the stencil to trace the witch’s hat, then cut it out. - Use the felt to make the robe and the feet. Use the stencils and trace, and cut out the robe and feet. - Cut out a face with construction paper and use the markers and whatever other decorations to make the face, however they want. They may use the Ms. Swamp stencil to trace and cut out a face. - Glue their witch hat onto the white construction paper leaving room for the door. - Use the brown construction paper to cut out a door that is bigger than Ms. Swamp.

  • Encourage the students to use any other decorations available to decorate around the door, and for Ms. Swamp.

  • Have the students share their Ms. Swamp creations with the class and ask the students to explain who they think Ms. Swamp is.


  • To extend the lesson, during Journal time ask the students to write about how they would handle unruly students if they were teachers.

  • This activity can be switched and can also be used for Ms. Nelson Is Back.

  • Movement Activity (example dialogue): "Let’s misbehave like the kids in Room 207. Stand up and stomp your feet very loudly. Make a pretend paper airplane and throw it. Catch it and throw it again. Do that several times. Now be a paper airplane whizzing through the air. Now let’s whisper, giggle, and squirm. Make as many different faces as you can. Imagine Miss Swamp coming into the room -- what would you do? Now imagine you are Mrs. Swamp. What would you look like? How would you walk? How would you get the kids to do their work? What do you feel like when Miss. Nelson comes back? How do you behave? What do you think happened to Miss Swamp? Now let’s dance about Miss Nelson, Miss Swamp, and the unruly children!" (Use an upbeat musical selection with which they are familiar.)


  • For struggling readers, assist students in identifying who the main characters are.

  • Students have the option to write a response to the story.

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