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- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
The end of the year always brings excitement and one of those traditions for many schools is the class field trip. Hearing those two simple words can bring delight or fear to the heart of a teacher. If you are planning a field trip, follow a few simple steps and it will start your journey on a positive note to help you have an enjoyable day.
- Set Your Day Up for Success--Make sure you have open communication with the location or locations you will be visiting. Ask about back up plans for weather, how many students and parents they can comfortably accommodate, and how long each activity will last. If you are matching the trip to your learning goals or standards be clear about that. Ask what information students will learn or share what you are learning so natural connections and examples can be shared. Having a clear plan with a balance of activity and breaks will help students manage the day. Be sure you think about restroom breaks (we all know if students see a bathroom they have to explore the bathroom), drinks (busy bodies are thirsty bodies) and noise level. There are many locations that are designed just for busy groups of students. But be sure to ask these important questions before you set up your day so you are getting what you need for your class.
- Be clear on your expectations--Send a letter home to families or post something on your blog about the behaviors your students will use on field trips. Give a bus safety and rules review for those students who do not ride the bus (and the riders we know need a gentle reminder). Be specific on how and when you need parents to help. Give guidelines for lunch and if extra money needs to be brought or will be spent on the trip. Our school uses a code of conduct that all parent volunteers sign. This lists our expectations for adults to everyone is starting on the same page before the trip begins.
- Timing is Everything--Make an itinerary before you go. For students that need structure, having this little schedule will help with their day. It also provides an outline for parent volunteers so they can answer questions and assist students throughout the day. Be sure to explain how and when drink, restroom and lunch breaks will occur. It is sometimes the little comforts that can make a day successful or stressful.
- Go Back to the First Day--Just as you set up expectations the first week of school, this is the first trip off school grounds. Tell students what you expect for voice level and activity on the bus, during the field trip, at lunch, and with parent volunteers. Remind students they are representing your classroom and your school. Go over some safety rules about staying with the group and what to do if they are separated. If there are situational rules for the specific location you are going be sure to cover those too. This is just like a classroom activity, set the expectations so everyone has success.
Field trips are a chance to learn, observe and connect your classroom to the world. These exhausting days can be wonderful memories if you take the time to do some work before you get on the bus. Just as in planning a family vacation, pay attention to the details to set your students up for a fun and exciting day in the world.