April 9, 2012

Field Trips - Follow Up on the Fun!

Field trips can be so much fun for kids, and they provide unique opportunities for children to discover new places and experience real world learning.

But have you ever felt that your students had so much fun that they missed out on the learning? It's discouraging when you try to discuss the trip later and your students can't answer the simplest questions about their experiences. I don't believe in loading kids down with assignments when they are on field trips, but I do think they should be expected to learn something new that day.

Field Trip Follow-up Freebie
My solution to this problem was to create a Field Trip  Follow Up Report to help my students reflect on what they learned on our adventures. Here's how I used the report:
  1. Before the trip, I showed it to them and told them to be on the lookout for new ideas and information that they could write on this report later. I did not ask them to fill it out out during the trip because I knew they wouldn't have time. 
  2. The next day, I gave them each a copy of the form. We spent a few minutes discussing the trip and letting students share with the class what they enjoyed and what they learned. 
  3. Finally, I provided some quiet independent work time to give everyone the opportunity to draw a memorable scene from the trip and write about all that they had learned. If they were not able to finish during class, I allowed them to finish it for homework.   
I have to admit that after the excitement of the trip, I really enjoyed that bit of quiet reflection time! The completed reports make a great bulletin board, too. You could easily turn this into a digital project by asking students to create a storyboard in PowerPoint or using a suitable app.

I created two variations of the Field Trip Follow-up Report, so choose the one that's best for your students. The main differences are the clip art and the amount of space between the lines. Both forms are available in color and black and white. Click the link to download this freebie from my TpT store.

If you're interested in learning how to tie-dye t-shirts for field trips, read Boost Class Spirit with Tie-Dyed T-Shirts. Your students will love this project, and it will make for a really memorable and easy field trip!

What are some of your tips for a successful field trip? Please share!

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