Miss_Nelson_is_Missing

Twenty-five years ago, Unitarian minister Robert Fulghum published a collection of essays and reflections, including one that became the title of his first book: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I was reminded of it recently when I read something about some young students at Olympic Primary Center.

Olympic Primary Center is a public school for kindergartners only, in the Los Angeles Unified School District. According to the school's information page on the district website (there is no school website) they serve just over 200 students. Their student population for the last school year was 98% Latino, 81% English Language Learners (ELL), and 100% economically disadvantaged.

During the 2011-12 school year, the most recent for which data is available, their school met only one of four performance targets, meaning that it did not "make AYP" (meet Adequate Yearly Progress goals).*

But here's something they did do: they made this, a videotaped retelling of the beloved children's story Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall.

Miss Nelson is Missing is the story of…. Well, just take a look at their video.

I would love to watch this with older students, from upper elementary to college, and well as with teachers, and discuss what they think these kindergartners learned while making this video. In an era of standards-driven teaching and learning and high-stakes standardized assessment, was this worth the time and effort they put into it? Then I would ask them what THEY learned from watching this video and ask them to consider Fulghum's assertion that perhaps all you really need to know you might have already learned, in kindergarten.

*Note: Primary schools that don't include state- or federally-mandated testing grades receive their rankings based on the test performance of their former students.