Young minds are like sponges, and teachers often relish in the fact that just about any activity can be a learning experience for little ones. However, just how far should you, as a teacher, go in broadening your class’s horizons . . . especially if that means leading a group of rambunctious elementary schoolers outside of the safe realm of the school property? Are elementary class field trips a good idea? Here are some tips that should keep you (and your students) on the right track:
You will need plenty of chaperones. A good rule of thumb is one adult per every five children, but your school board may have very specific rules in place regarding adult to student ratio. Whatever you do, plan ahead to ensure that, come field trip day, you have all the helping hands you will need. If you can’t get sufficient parental involvement, then you may need to recruit your teaching assistant, or even substitute teachers.
It is important that your students get as much as they possibly can out of the field trips you do embark on. The best way to ensure this happens is to provide ample background knowledge, and in plenty of time before the big day. You can do this is a number of ways, from reading books to watching videos about the upcoming trip. That way, once your group arrives at the field trip destination, the little ones will be less likely to drift off and more prone to engagement, because they will actually know what’s going on when they see it!
Create a Game.
As you know, it is inevitable that some (if not all) of your students will get a bit antsy during the trip. Children don’t always react well to changes in schedule and pattern. One great way you can keep everyone on the same page is to create a game that you can all play during the more trying times of the field trip (walking long distances and standing in line, for example). Engage your students in a game of “I Spy,” or give them paper and pencils and have them draw what they see while they wait. Then conduct a discussion about what you learned through your game. This is not only a great way to distract children and pass time, but it’s also a great way to reinforce the education they glean through the field trip.
When it comes to field trips, elementary schoolers are perfectly capable of benefiting from the experience. However, it’s important that you, the teacher, prepare both yourself and your students properly in order to ensure the best possible outcome. These tips should help. Good luck!
Not sure your kids are ready for field trips? Some need more tutoring than they do time out of the classroom. You can find more information about local tutoring at www.varsitytutors.com, and you may even find some tutors willing to help as chaperones on your next outing!
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