Field Trips are designed to give the student a chance to learn in a different location outside of the 4 walls of the classroom. For many students this may be their only way of having different experiences. Here are five field trip tips for teachers to help in organizing/planning.
There is a lot of planning for field trips for any grade level. Decision on the location and how it relates to the standards, what academic goals are you meeting when taking a group of students outside the school building?
The Planning of a Field Trip.
As a grade level, the decision to select where to go is based off of the curriculum that is taught for the particular grade. I have found that most trips relate to science or social studies, however other disciplines have been trips too, music or art are also content areas for field trips.
There is paper work to be filled out and approval from administration. This includes coordinating dates with the school calendar, the buses, and the location. I have included 5 field trip tips for teachers that will help you plan your trip.
Field Trip Tip # 1
Start as early as possible. I have planned a fall field trip to the farm in the spring of the prior year. I usually start selecting dates in April/May for a trip in October. The earlier you can plan the better off you have getting the date you want, especially if the location is extremely popular. This is not to say that a last minute trip can’t be planned, done that too; but that can cause a lot of stress and waiting to hear back from buses and administration and all the other things too.
Tip 1 for field trips: plan as early as you can!
Field Trip Tip #2
Ok, you have approval, the buses are ordered, and the location has agreed to host your grade level from your school. Now what? Permission slips and a cover letter explaining your trip to the parents. This will include all the details of the trip, why, when, where and how much the trip will cost. As the classroom teacher, you are responsible for collecting permission slips and the fees associated with the trip. Every school will do this slightly different, make sure to ask how your school handles money collections.
I use a class list with headings at the top indicating permission slip received, paid, chaperone, chaperone paid, lunch~from home or school, and how many notices have been sent.
I personally like to have the field trip information out a month prior to the trip. This gives parents time to take off of work to volunteer to chaperone the trip. As well as any last minutes situations that may arise.
Tip 2 for field trips: have a system for the collection permission slips and money.
Field Trip Tip #3
Chaperones! Let’s face it, we need the help. I always take as many parents as possible. The more the merrier. I like to have a 1 to 4 ratio on a trip. One parent per 4 kids, usually is a good amount, however if you can have 1 to 3 or 1 to 2 ratio, even better!
And please teachers, when making the groups, please allow the students be with their friends. I was a chaperone for my daughter’s 3rd grade class and she was not with her friends. She was sad the whole day. Let’s be real, we know who gets along with who, we know who their friends are. Let the students enjoy the trip with their friends, they will remember this their whole lives. I always take this into consideration because you want the students to have a memorable trip. And if you are not sure, ask the students privately to pick 5 or 6 friends for the trip, that way you know who to put into a group.
Create a chaperone bag. I got some bags from Michael’s on sale one year, mine are a pencil case bag. I include, tissues, band aids, handi- wipes, map of the location, meeting place, the itinerary of the trip, student’s name for the chaperone, and a google voice number. If you feel comfortable with giving our your personal cell number to parents, however, you can get a google voice number for free and give that out to parents too.
Tip 3 for field trips: take as many chaperones as needed or allowed per administration.
Field Trip Tip #4
The day of the trip, wear comfortable clothing. Serious, wear tennis shoes and yoga pants. You want to be comfy on the very loud bus ride. Depending on the location, you may want to have school shirts, where everyone including chaperones are wearing matching t shirts. Pick a bright color to easily spot students and your chaperones.
And take a back pack. It will make carrying all your things so much easier. Not only do you need to have all the permission slips on you(parent contact is typically on the forms)you will need to have role call. List all your students as well as chaperones on the role call sheet, take twice, once before you leave school and once before you leave your location.
Take water, snacks and a lunch for your self. Remember an umbrella, sunglasses, hat, sunblock, and a phone charger. You will may also want to bring an extra set of kid size sweat pants, in case of a restroom accident. Yes, that does happen on trips too!
Tip 4 for field trips: dress comfy and bring extra supplies.
Field Trip Tip #5
Remember to have fun. Take pictures to share with parents who are not able to attend. Homeroom app is a great way to share photos of students with parents.
Be over prepared for the trip, plan and plan some more. Take notes on what occurred what can be done to improve the next field trip.
Tip 5 for field trips: enjoy the trip with your students!
Once you have a field trip planned and completed, make sure to relax once you get home! And celebrate a successful field trip.