Did you know Netflix is rebooting the classic 90s cartoon The Magic School Bus?
Miss Frizzle’s sister (voiced by Kate McKinnon!) is taking over the teaching role for the new version. Watching the previews has me thinking about all the incredibly useful engagement and interpretation tips I’ve drawn, totally subconsciously, from the fantastic original Frizzle!
This is a field trip for the students, and field trips are exceptional
It’s not every day a student gets to go on a field trip! While my every day visit to the museum may be quite, well, everyday, Miss Frizzle reminds me that a field trip is a time filled with newness for the students. The excitement and adventure of exploring something novel is always embraced by Miss Frizzle.
She’s passionate about what she’s teaching, and it doesn’t even feel like a lesson
Miss Frizzle’s teaching style is a wonderful combination of one parts formal to 1000 parts informal. The way she speaks, the silly, punny jokes she makes, even the way she dresses (more on that later!) shows that she’s happy to be there, keen to just talk about the topic with the students, and interested to see what they have to say. Every person (and lizard!) on the Magic School Bus is an equal part of the learning experience.
She’s not afraid to challenge students
Take chances, make mistakes! That’s what Miss Frizzle says. I let visitors of ALL ages know that in the museum, exploring and sharing your ideas may feel risky, but taking that risk has great rewards. It’s important to your own, and the entire classes’, learning experience to hear the perspectives of different folks. This sharing allows you to build your understanding of a piece of art through teamwork.
She doesn’t let things faze her
No matter how wild things get in the outer edges of the solar system or deep inside the human bloodstream, Miss Frizzle always keeps her cool. Even a plummet to the bottom of a lake is a learning opportunity.
“Where are we? Stuck at the bottom of a stream!” one student exclaims.
“Oh, but what better place to study erosion by water!” Frizzle replies. You never know what those open ended questions will give you on a tour, and you have to be prepared to be flexible and grab the learning opportunities from even the most unexpected material.
She guides her students to learning, and lets them discover it themselves
Miss Frizzle does the work of bringing her students to the environment, and provides them with a few great clues and guiding puns, but the learning always comes out of the students’ shared exploration. They build learning opportunities and experiences themselves; most of the talking isn’t done by Miss Frizzle, it’s done by the students. This approach to facilitated learning is perfectly overlaid on the museum experience.
Fashion is part of the game
Of course, any discussion of Miss Frizzle has to include talk of her outfits! Part of my love of her character is that she, as an adult, is accessible and fun-focused enough to dress and behave totally differently than any other adult. She wore what the ten-year-old me dreamed I would wear as a grown up. While she engages in the eccentric and silly, it never feels as though she’s talking down to the students. Her wild outfits actually emphasize the lesson (and you won’t believe how easy it is to weave discussions of art and fashion together!)
Has Miss Frizzle inspired your engagement style? Do you have a different fictional character you model your for interpretation after? Please share in the comments below!