Last year I brought up one of my favorite Jim Henson creations, Fraggle Rock, with my students and to my shock and dismay they had no clue what I was talking about. I really should not have been shocked, though. The show was only on for around 4 years and I was watching it mostly because my older sisters did (I was only 3 when it first came out, after all).
Due to the wonders of the internet, I am able to re-watch the episodes and have noticed some key reasons I think I fell in love with this show so many years ago. In fact, I think they are the same key components that will help me in my classroom when I start next month.
1. "Play the day away" - The purpose of Fraggles is to play, explore, dance, sing and have fun. I want my classroom to be that kind of environment where students happen to learn a lot of substance while having fun. Fraggles learn their lessons through discovery during play and of a slew of musical numbers. My favorite days teaching are the ones where students groan and moan in protest to cleaning up because we are having "too much fun." When we start up in September, here's hoping we have more days like that than not.
2. "Architecture is meant to be enjoyed" - My favorite group in the show are the Doozers. They work and work, day after day, creating elaborate structures only to have them eaten by the Fraggles. That is their purpose. They create so others can enjoy what they have made. In Art class, I hope to teach my students to create Art for themselves to satisfy their need to say something with visuals. I also hope to teach them that is important to share Art with the world and that it takes guts to put what you make out there for others to enjoy. Some of it will be good, some maybe not so much, but the point it that it is meant to be enjoyed. If you don't ever put yourself out there, then you will never know. I hope through our displays online and in person, students will find much enjoyment in sharing their work with others.
3. "Get friends - friends help" - Even if the advice comes from an unlikely source, like a giant trash heap, it is something that no one should ever be scared of doing. It is okay to say you need help with something, especially if you are not sure how to tackle an issue. I think this is something I have become better at as a result of working with my online PLN. I hope to create a secure enough environment in my classroom for students to turn to each other in times they don't understand and ask for help (as well as me, too).
Without going on too much more about how Fraggle Rock emulates a classroom, I will point out one more thing. Sometimes you have to be a Doozer and sometimes a Fraggle. Doozers are all about working and getting things done and doing them because that is what is supposed to happen. They are structured and thrive off of work and purpose. Fraggles on the other hand play and sing, dance and explore - they discover their world through adventures both in and outside of Fraggle Rock. In both cases, things are better when they work with others and collaborate to create. Sometimes we have to plow through the tests and assessments and skills delegated by the State and National standards and sometimes we get to the real joy of discovery and exploration that learning can bring. Just like anything else in life, I guess it is all about balance.
In case you are like my students and have no clue what Fraggle Rock is, I included their first episode below. It is a treat and I hope you enjoy it!