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The Year of Miss Agnes Activities

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

'The Year of Miss Agnes' by Kirkpatrick Hill is a cleverly written book about a school teacher at a one-room school in Alaska. Use the activities in this asset to help students understand and connect with this story.

The Year of Miss Agnes

The Year of Miss Agnes is about a teacher visiting a one-room school house in Alaska and all of the things she does to give her students confidence. Many teachers have come and gone at this school, and most of the experiences have been quite negative. The students have a hard time believing that Miss Agnes might be different. Miss Agnes, however, does a fantastic job of proving them wrong and winning them over. The activities below, developed for middle to upper elementary learners, can be used as culminating activities after the book has been read in class. Use these activities to help students solidify their understanding of the story and make connections to the characters and content.

Chapter Review Skits

Materials: writing paper, pencils

  • Put students in five groups.
  • Assign each group a series of chapters from the book.
    • Chapters 1-3
    • Chapters 4-6
    • Chapters 7-9
    • Chapters 10-13
    • Chapters 14-17
  • Explain the activity.
    • Each group is to look back over the chapters they have been assigned and choose a favorite part (or scene).
    • Once a scene has been chosen, each group is to develop that scene into a skit or reader's theater to be presented before the class.
  • Allow time for the groups to develop their skits or reader's theaters.
  • Have each group present to the class.

Map of Alaska

Materials: blank maps of Alaska, computers for reference (or actual maps of Alaska), colored pencils or markers

  • Put students into groups of 2-3.
  • Give each group a blank map of Alaska as well as a completed map (either printed or online).
  • Also give each group markers or colored pencils.
  • Have each group create their own maps of Alaska. Ask them to identify and label:
    • Major cities
    • Major water sources (rivers, lakes, oceans, etc.)
    • Mountains and mountain ranges
    • The Koyukuk River (where the story takes place)
    • Anything else of interest
  • Encourage use of color and have students create a key to help identify different elements.
  • Let each group share their work with the class when finished.

Design the Classroom

Materials: drawing paper, colored pencils or markers

  • Begin with a discussion about the classroom in the story. Ask students to share their mental pictures of what that the classroom looks like. Allow time for students to discuss.
  • Put students into groups of 2-3.
  • Give each group drawing paper and colored pencils or markers.
  • Instruct each group to work together and develop a map or picture of the classroom in the story. As they work, encourage them to identify and include:
    • Furniture in the classroom
    • Where each of the major characters sits (their names should be included in the picture)
    • Where the teacher stands/sits
    • Windows, doors, etc.
    • Anything else they envision being in that classroom
  • When finished, have each group share and discuss their classroom pictures with the class.

Journal Activity

Materials: writing paper and pencils (or access to a computer for writing)

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