IMG_4142Within days of posting my blog about how I didn’t “miss” public school teaching, I got an invitation to come present a special “guest lesson” to Suzanne Knutzen’s 4th grade class at Ocean Park Elementary.

And I have to admit, I jumped at the chance!

Fourth graders are some of my favorite people. I love teaching about Washington State, a cornerstone of their social studies curriculum, and my “legacy” in that subject is something I call “The County Song.”IMG_4151

I taught 4th grade for a total of 13 of my 30 years. For all that time, which ended in 1997, instead of giving a paper and pencil “test” to see if my students could name the 39 counties of Washington, I had the kids sing them—in alphabetical order!

The mere fIMG_4144act that 18 years later there is still a classroom educator who remembers that, and invites me to come in and teach the song, validates the lesson. It’s a “memorable” activity, and the catchy little tune stays with you. (I stole the tune from an old Irish jig that dances right along.)IMG_4153

Brain functions fascinate me, and decades ago, I learned that the part responsible for song lyrics are one of the strongest areas of recall. Naturally, I decided to capitalize on that fact, and turned many routine lessons into fun choral activities.

“There’s Adams, Asotin, and Benton, Chelan, and Clallam and Clark, Columbia and Cowlitz…” And so forth and so on…

It’s been stuck in my head for days; be glad you weren’t there!