I’m not a teacher, but last night I dreamt I was. I was teaching in a one-room, any age, school house called the Creative Learning School. I covered the zoology and history sections and others covered math, physical sciences, esoteric sciences, culture, etemology, and fitness classes (different sorts of dancing, yoga, karate, gymnastics, swimming, and sports – free elective).
I was having a bug fest with my class. We began the two week Bug Festival learning section with a film montage of bugs in the sci-fi/fantasy movies, talked about what they thought was true about these bugs as portrayed in the movies, and then passed around a hat for each kid to pick the name of particular bug type from: bee, ant, hornet, butterfly, water beetle, scarab, potato bug, aphid, flea, spider, preying mantis, grasshopper, cricket, cockroach, etc. This bug was what they’d write about for the next two weeks, taking notes, writing stories and poems about, outlining a report that would cover the bug’s life cycle, social network, and and how it related to other species, including us, and any cultural or historical connations it might have.
The next day we went to the bug and butterfly exhibit at the Science Center where they could learn something about their bugs. After that, they could bring pet bugs in terrariums into the classroom and I’d bring some in to cover gaps the student’s themselves couldn’t cover.
We’d go on bug hunts in the woods, mostly just observing bugs in their natural environment.
We’d talk about and sometimes handle the bugs a little each day and there was fun stuff besides this.
We’d build bug models out of styrofoam balls, roundheaded straight pins (for the multifacetted eyes), construction paper, pipe cleaners, paint, glitter, and glue guns.
We played Kooties.
At the end of the section, each student made a class presentation in costume (provided from a closet in the back of the classroom) about the bug they chose.
The other learning sections were similarly presented: always hands on with the skills of note taking, writing (to include proper grammar and spelling), etemology, and math being utilized in conjunction, not separately.
It was fun and every child was fully engaged and enthused. I wish school had been like that when I was a kid.