Field trips connect classroom learning to the real world. They bring your words alive. The benefits to a field trip are it makes learning hands on, it provides variety to your curriculum, they may expose your students to new experiences they may never have had, they can provide community service acceptance or contributing and it’s real world application that should lend to questioning and using prior and new knowledge to make connections. In order for your students to have the best experience, your important job is preparation! Here’s a basic checklist to prepare for your next field trip.
____Check the location out yourself before you ever mention anything to kids or parents. Will it meet the interests of your students? Does it meet your students appropriate age level? Will it meet the needs of your course standards? Curriculum? Meet with management to plan the W’s- who, what, when, where, why and how? Check costs.Check safety for all your students and if there are handicap needs to be met if it is a need for a student or parent of yours. Check for restrooms and how food needs to provided for your students if or if not at the location. Special dress attire for the event? Do a run through physically to test for smooth running. Anticipate something going wrong so you can be prepared for anything. Line up your bus schedule and get any permission and procedures from your school district.
___All children should have permission slips signed by a parent or guardian that includes all the information of the W’s. Insist on emergency information to be sent back with the signature. Ask for volunteer chaperones with directions and procedures.
___Decide on who will be going with you for student/adult ratio. For younger kids, create an identification method like headbands, tags, arm bands, t shirts, etc…for older kids, being in groups is sufficient.
___Tie your teaching to the activities you will participate on the trip, design an interactive activity for your students to participate if one is not included from the location to keep them engaged. Plan an assessment/evaluation for the students to check their connections, interests, and applications of what your objectives were.
___Discuss expectations, rules and responsibilities with students and chaperones.
Pack first aide, student list, emergency numbers, cell phone, trash bag, paper towels, bottled water, basic meds, personal student needs, snacks, tickets, lunch coolers, etc…
___Assign students to pairs or small groups for the entire trip with the rules you set.
Plan a back up plan just in case weather cancels your trip.
___Double check everything, call location as a confirmation. Send a reminder note home to parents.
___Review important information with travelers on the day of the trip. Explain the activity if you have one planned instead of the location.
___Supervise as well as engage with your students and enjoy your trip. You are making memories together that they will remember for a lifetime. Bring a camera.
___Subscribe to this article to follow the series of location ideas for future field trips your students will love! Coming soon: Bishop Hill, IL, more than museums, living history opportunities.