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Field Trip Tips

TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FIELD TRIP

The world can be your classroom, but ensuring that your field trip is a productive learning experience for students takes planning. Here are a few suggested tips to help.


Planning phase:

Decide on a field trip location and time of year
Objectives of field trip - How does this field trip support the curriculum?
Pre-visit site - If this is a new field trip location for you , take the trip yourself beforehand. Decide what specific items at that location fit your students and make your trip schedule based on that information. Check to make sure it meets your criteria for a successful experience. Take pictures to build background knowledge with students prior to trip. Note locations of bathrooms, parking, places for children to have lunch or snacks, and any safety concerns. Don't forget to confirm directions for drivers.

Detail Phase:

Get administration approval
Make bus arrangements - call and re-confirm the bus a few days ahead of scheduled trip
Make meals arrangements
How is the trip and busing being paid for?
Create a schedule for the whole day
Create name tags for the students - Make sure name tags are sturdy and won't fall off. (Pinning them to the back of children's shirts or coats works well. They're easy for adults to read, and children aren't tempted to remove them.) Include the school's name, teacher's name and phone number
Have extra clothing on hand for those students that don't come prepared (jackets, proper shoes, etc)
Create and send home parent permission slips
Create emergency contact list for students
Medicines - Talk to the school nurse and procure any and all medications that your students usually take during the day. While on the field trip, make sure you administer the medications accordingly. If you have students will allergies, you may need to get trained on how to use an Epipen. If so, the student involved will need to stay with you at all times.
Choose adult chaperones wisely - Make sure to give your chosen chaperones a "cheat sheet" with the information they need to monitor their group, the schedule and information on how to contact you in an emergency.
Make sure all teaching staff and adult chaperones have cell phones and exchange numbers.
Plan how you will group your students to ensure the best behavior by all
Let other teachers affected by the absence of your class know
Code of conduct - Explicitly discuss field trip behavior and bus behavior with your students.
Start preparing students for the upcoming trip - Get them excited and engaged in the upcoming activity. Give the students an idea of some of the questions they should be able to answer after the field trip. Brainstorm questions and ideas they have.
Decide what kind of trip format and after trip debriefing you are wanting - scavenger hunt, drawing and pictures of what they see, oral presentation, written presentation, picture board, etc.

Trip Day:

Arrive early - students will be very excited
Be organized - be ready for adult chaperones and have coolers for lunches ready, etc
Go over conduct code one more time
Count heads
Don't forget to bring along emergency information: a list of parents' phone numbers, allergy concerns, and children's special physical needs. Make sure you have a first-aid kit and, if necessary, sunscreen.

Post Field Trip:

Debriefing - Have students share what they learned.
Thank you's - Have students write thank you notes to drivers, chaperones, presenters, funding providers, etc.
Reflect/evaluate - was the trip of educational value, did the timing and schedule work, was student supervision effective, what improvements are needed.
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