Book tour - Get on Ms. Frizzle's Bus!

Many moons ago, when I was a fifth grade student, I wrote my autobiography as part of a school assignment. I ran across it during a recent move, and I chuckled at my life goals: to become a teacher and a writer. Well, in a sense, I've accomplished both. I've written numerous words for publication, though not (yet) the young adult novel I'd always imagined. And, for those of you who don't know, my kids are educated at home. So, I am, in essence their "teacher". In neither case am I doing these things as I had originally intended, but it was fun to see that, in an odd way, I came kind of close!

Perhaps it's this long ago dream to be a teacher that draws me to Ms. Frizzle. I ran across her blog quite by accident, but I keep returning because I find her posts so interesting - it's a nice look at the life of a teacher from an insider. Just as my grown-up self could have guessed, a teacher's life is not easy. The day to day lessons in the classroom, the guidance of a supportive teacher – the part that parents and students see – is only one piece of the puzzle. What we seldom see is the work put into dealing with state requirements and general bureaucracy. But, even with her honest opinions of some difficult or disappointing situations, it's easy to see just how committed she is to doing a fabulous job.

I've been particularly interested in the regular posts about her robotics class – my kids are Lego fanatics and they've been curious about the First Lego League; I've wondered about helping them to get involved with this program. Reading about Ms. Frizzle's experience feels familiar – she deals with many of the same problems that I've seen with my Destination Imagination teams – but it also lets me take a peek at how she is using the program with her students, and how I might be able to participate in FLL with my own kids.

Ms. Frizzle was kind enough to let me get on the bus – the blog book tour bus, that is. I'm so pleased to have her participate; it's great to hear just how Team Challenges is working in a classroom setting (and of course hearing that it's working well, is even nicer!). Here's a snippet from her blog:

What I like about the author and the book is that they promote flexibility on the part of the coach or teacher; how many books of activities have you seen that include a section dedicated to suggesting substitutions for materials? I have made many small modifications to the challenges as I have used them, to make them work better in my specific situation.

I also like the range of activities included. The book starts out with verbal games that can be done sitting down with no materials and very short time-limit building challenges. Later, it moves on to more complicated building challenges that take more space and have longer time limits. I find the shorter, simpler challenges appropriate for robotics opening activities and for homeroom, but the longer, more complicated challenges would be perfect for summer camps or for clubs like "Pasta Challenge" where the challenge is the whole point.

Finally, I love the sheer number of ideas included in the book; there is no way we are ever going to "use up" this book.

What a nice, nice review to read! You can read the entire post here.

No comments: