Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Making Learning Come Alive

When I first began teaching at my current school, I was amazed to find out that many of my students had never visited the cultural heart of their local city.  All of the students' parents work at least one job, often with hectic hours, leaving little time for family trips. For various reasons, their elementary schools either did not schedule field trips or my students were unable to participate.  Despite the cumbersome process of getting a field trip approved (the paperwork amounts to between 25 and 30 pages), I make it my goal to plan at least two field trips a year.

My students come from very dire economic situations, so when I plan my trips I try to keep the price under $10.  In the case of this week's trip to a local history museum, the trip itself was free.  I learned long ago that my school district has money for transportation funding and I have no problem e-mailing the right people and asking for it.  Admission to the museum was free (as are many museums for school groups.  Always read the fine print on the website and don't be afraid to call and negotiate if there is a cost).  In the case of this field trip, I gave the students the option of either bringing a lunch or eating at a local McDonald's.  I'm sure you can imagine which option middle school students chose, which required the students to foot a small additional cost.

Over 100 students participated in the field trip and the reviews were mainly positive.  The students eagerly pointed out connections between the exhibits at the museum and the topics being covered in their social studies class.  Quite a few students took photos to use for their upcoming social studies project.  As usual, I returned from the trip enthusiastic about planning the next trip, which will take place in the spring due upcoming WIDA ACCESS and PARCC testing.

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