May 5, 2008 -- "Reading, Writing and Mudbugs"

In front of the blackboard Lou Monic plays the guitar. Others play spoons, washboard and tambourine. Students clap and sing along. Does this look like an eighth grade history class to you? Well, it is. Just ask teacher Amana Lambert. You'll have to wait a bit. She's the one singing "Jolie Blonde."

Downstairs other students create Louisiana art on the sidewalk.

Inside the gym keen competition is afoot. "Ready, set, go!" hollers Amanda.

It's crawfish races. Competitors urge on their crustaceans while shouting encouragement and advice to others.

"Hold him down! Hold him down! Hold him down! Hold him down!"

The field is narrowed to two finalists. After an early lead, the one called Fred flips out, literally landing on his back, his legs and claws wriggling in the air.

"Cooter is the winner!" declares Amanda.

And what happens to the losers of the Great Crawfish Race? Well, lunchtime is almost at hand, and there are going to be a bunch of hungry kids out on the lawn. The "Losers' Circle" turns out to be a huge pot of boiling water--as if you didn't see that coming!

And the students are ready for mudbugs, jambalaya and cracklin's. Volunteers, many of them parents of the students, serve up the food.

Amanda says, "All of these kids are so excited about all this food. They've been waiting all week, we've been prepping them up for it, so they're ready to eat them."

It's Louisiana Day at Galvez Middle School--fun, food, and, yes, some real learning, too.

"Well, in class we've been talking about Louisiana culture, food from my ethnic groups," says Amanda, "so now they get a little taste of it and get to have a little hands-on experience with it."

Hands-on learning--with a side of red beans.