Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Strategy 3 Fieldtrips

My experience with field trips has varied over the years.

Once upon a time, I worked as a Museum Educator for a historic house museum.  It was my job to create programs and events for children that would give them a first hand account of life long ago in southern California.  Our most popular program involved third and fourth grade students dressing up as vacqueros of the 1840s or flappers of the 1920s as they reenacted a short skit from that decade.

Then, I became a teacher.


My first field trip as a teacher involved walking to the LA Fair grounds on Opening Day.  Our entire school went.  Can you say stressful?  Yet, fun.

A few years later, the district would taken away our fields trips because they were deemed noneducational and since we were a low performing school they were not allowed as it was a waste of instructional time.  NO JOKE.

I currently work at a school where field trips our valued and our Parent Group works very hard to raise funds to support these educational experiences.  We usually go on two to three bus field trips and one or two walking trips within our neighborhood.

For the past few years, we have taken our kindergarten classes to see a play performed by youth from the community.  The weeks leading up to the play, I love to read the book and create as many extension activities as possible.  It always such a joy to see them make connections from the book to the play.

Front row seats for Peter Pan


It has become an annual tradition for us to go to Sea World.  Although, many of our students live nearby, for many it is their first visit to the amusement park.  We have had this visit be an introduction to our unit of study of ocean animals as well as the culminating event.



This year, we visited a working farm.  It was a first for all of us.
Students got to see how the food they eat grows.  What was amazing about this trip was watching the moms in awe of their children eating foods that they would never eat at home because they got to pick it from the field.  

This year, we are also trying something a little different.  In lieu of going on a field trip, we are having Mad Science come to us and to show us some hands-on science.  We decided that this is an area that we need to improve on in teaching and that having experts come out would encourage us to take more time in teaching science to prepare our students.  We plan on having two science filled days where we learn about bugs and how simple machines work.  

What this chapter reaffirmed was that children need experiences outside of the classroom.  Education should not be confined to just school.  This chapter also has me thinking about how to bring more of the world within the classroom.  I am thinking about Skype, virtual field trips and even connecting with others via snail mail.  

I am loving and learning a lot from this book study.  Thank you, Deedee for hosting.

Happy Teaching!

4 comments

  1. Clearly you have shown in this post how educational field trips can be! It's hard to imagine a school would think they were not valuable. It looks like you have planned a great variety of fun experiences for your kiddos! I love those in-school field trips through organizations like Mad Science. I completely forgot that we used to invite them in. Thanks for the reminder! I am going to check out their site to see if there are programs in our area too.

    Creative Lesson Cafe

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  2. Our bus trips are limited as well; only the ones the district chooses for us. I think going to a farm would be a great experience for kiddos! I have gotten around it somewhat by inviting families to join me places on the weekend. Sometimes the kiddos that "need it" most aren't able to attend these events outside of school. I'll have to look more at bringing organizations in too. I've never heard of Mad Science. Thanks!

    Amanda
    A Very Curious Class

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  3. Thanks for the great blog post! Which farm did you go to in San Diego? I would love to know how the mad science in-school field trip goes after you guy have done it!

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    Replies
    1. We went to Suzie's Farm. It was a great visit. The kids were amazed to see how plants grow.

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