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This Amazing Literary Reenactment Will Make You Believe in Public Education

A group of budding thespian Los Angeles kindergarteners give the classic children's book "Miss Nelson Is Missing" a new lease on life.


Think education is dominated by boring drill and kill-style teaching and learning that's all geared toward preparing for the annual high stakes standardized test? Well, this amazing short film reenactment of the classic children's book, Miss Nelson Is Missing, performed by a class of kindergarteners at Olympic Primary Center in Los Angeles, will renew your sense of what's possible and get tears of laughter rolling down your cheeks.

The story tells the tale of a teacher, Miss Nelson, whose students constantly misbehave. One day Miss Nelson doesn't come to work. The kids are thrilled until her replacement, mean Miss Viola Swamp, shows up and terrorizes them.

In the video above, which was short earlier this spring, the kids give some Oscar-worthy performances—they absolutely nail the naughty behavior with comedic results. When Miss Swamp unleashes her strictness on them, one of the kids actually cries on cue while Bjork's "Army of Me" plays in the background. Yes, folks, along with Bjork, this version of Miss Nelson Is Missing also features music by Madonna, Blondie, and Garbage.

As awesome as the video is, it comes at a time when another dominant narrative is that educators are what's wrong with public education, so it's especially worth noting that the video wouldn't have happened if these students didn't have a pretty kick-ass teacher. Mr. Arturo Avina deserves a round of applause for coming up with such a creative approach to engaging his students in literacy. Avina is also smartly teaching them that technology can be used not just to consume media but to create it. The kids in the story have to learn to appreciate "Miss Nelson," but if this is an insight into what's going on in Avina's classroom at Olympic, there's no doubt that his students already treasure him.

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