Monday, 1 September 2014

Teaching like Miss. Frizzle

As summer is coming to a close and many of us educators are planning for the next school year, we try to find new tools, innovative practices and technologies we can integrate into our classrooms.  With the current job action climate in British Columbia, I spent most of this summer working multiple odd-end jobs to make ends meet, but it also gave me a lot of time to reminiscence of what my childhood was like.  After a long day, I came home and watched an old episode of "The Magic School Bus" and while watching it, it became apparent that Miss Frizzle was a teacher beyond her years.  Her classroom and the student engagement is something that many teachers would die for.  Miss Frizzle has amazing qualities that affect her students success on a daily basis:

1: Facilitator- Miss. Frizzle was the queen of facilitation. She was always there to guide students and interjected to re-affirm their understandings and findings.  
2: Engagement- The kids in her class were engaged on so many levels.  Her personality was so open, fun and crazy, but also caring, encouraging, empathetic and knowledgeable  She asked students probing questions and gave them amazing field experiences that allowed them to learn.  She was also spontaneous and chaotic which meant class was never boring or at a stand-still-- the students always knew that something was going to happen or be different.
3: Risk-taking- Miss. Frizzle modeled risk-taking!  She encouraged her students to make mistakes, take chances and try new things all the time.  She wanted her students to move beyond their comfort zone because she knew that true learning initiates with their tensions, questions, and ideas.
4: Student-centered:  She made sure her students were at the center of the lesson and the focal point of the learning.  Sometimes they even became the field trip--poor Arnold!
5: Field Trips- Now I know we all wish we had a magic school bus (or maybe we do- technology) that could takes us anywhere in a heartbeat, but community walks and local field trips could lead to more engagement.
6: Community leader: Miss. Frizzle always made her students aware of themselves and the community.  Field-trips showed the importance of the community and all its components from bakeries, to ants, to the blades of grass on a soccer field.
7: Multiple Intelligence's: The students learned from different learning styles all the time.  Almost every field trip had a kin aesthetic and other forms of learning styles in it.
8. Assessment For Learning:  Through her use of probing and questioning, Miss Frizzle was able to assess and scaffold her students answers and even give then timely feedback.
9. Empathetic- Always understanding of kids and what their fears were.  But also modeled how to change the way the look at every situation.
10. Love for Learning: Miss. Frizzle never stopped being a student herself.  She realized that if she loved learning and modeled it, her students would as well.

There are many other educational connections one could make with the "Frizz", but truly she is an inspiring educator.  These qualities are important to creating a safe and engaging learning space for your students to grow. Even though she had the coolest technological tool (Magic School Bus), it was a tool that took students to their learning.  The real learning took place out in the field and through experience.  My goal this year as an educator, is to hopefully "Teach like Miss. Frizzle".  So to my fellow educators around the world please: "take chances, make mistakes and get messy".


  1. Yes, she definitely is a risk taker! How many teachers would take their students through someone's digestive system?... I would not!