The author begins this chapter by giving an example of special "field trips" she would take with her own child. I found myself smiling along with this intro. You see, during summer vacation, when my own child was growing up, not a day went by that I didn't plan some special outing or activity for us to do. EVERY DAY was a field trip!
I thank my lucky stars*** that I had the time and resources to give him those experiences. I am hopeful that these have helped to make him a well-rounded young man and prepare him for the REAL WORLD he is about to enter after graduation next year.
Some days our outing was a simple thing like exploring nature at the local park. Other days, we went to a museum or activity center. How else would we ever get to pan for gold? Too bad we didn't get some genuine gold nuggets to pay for that college education! HA!
It is so sad to think that there are many students who never have these opportunities for a variety of reasons. For those kiddos especially, the out of school field trip is VERY important!
I love this excerpt from the book:
If students are to link their learning to prior knowledge, they must see the personal connection between what is being taught in the curriculum and their life experiences. (Lieberman & Miller, 2000)
Let's aim to give students all the life experiences that we can in the year we have with them!
Different Types of Field Trips
1. Obviously, planning an out of school trip around your curriculum or unit is one idea. Then the class has some shared experiences and background knowledge to build upon for the rest of the lessons.
On average, our second graders go on three field trips a year. It costs about ten dollars per student for each trip and that adds up! We try to plan some educational and CULTURAL outings. Some of our favorite out of school trips have been to science centers, the community library, the apple orchard, local farms, Sanders Chocolate Factory, a fun run at the middle school track, a historical museum and old-fashioned school house, cosmic bowling, the movie theater, local plays and the Henry Ford Museum.
So much fun!
There is something to be said for a field trip as a bonding experience for building relationships. That is learning too, right?
2. The Inside-School Field Trip: Another recommendation in the book is regularly taking your students out of the room to explore the school building (with a purpose). One example is to go on a scavenger hunt for shapes or to take photos for a project.
We go on a daily in-school field trip at the start of the year to practice our positive behavior in different settings like the library and lunchroom.
We even cram 28 kiddos into the small classroom restroom to talk about the expectations and hygiene in there!
That is considered a field trip! :)
3. Outdoor Field Trip: This one does not require a bus ride any place. This could be as easy as letting the students go outside to collect leaves, do a messy experiment, observe the clouds or something simple like that. Maybe there is a neat destination that is even within walking distance. How fun would that be?
4. The Virtual Field Trip: Finding an amazing site to show your students is the next best thing to visiting. Unless we really have a Magic School Bus, some places will always be out of reach!
When learning about the history of St. Patrick's Day, I show my class photos of what it looks like in Ireland with a virtual 360 tour!
Here are two super sites for interactive video tours you might try out:
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Polar Husky- The Iditarod
You can also ask your school if they have equipment that supports Interactive Video Field Trips or Distance Learning!
Set a Professional Goal!
Most of us are pretty good at scheduling the fun out-of-school field trips, but how well do you work in the other types?
I know I have room for improvement there.
Maybe try planning an in-school hunt or outside activity soon!
As always, feel free to leave your own thoughts about the importance of "field trips" in the comments below!
Then, stop on over for the rest of the link-up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten!