Do you have a great Ft. Worth field trip idea? Want to do something nice for your students and give them a trip they’ll never forget? That’s admirable, but it doesn’t change the fact that field trips aren’t easy to organize, especially for newer teachers.
And yet, they’re a great way to bond with your students and change your usual classroom dynamic. So, even planning months in advance is worth it. That’s why we’re here with a neat guide for planning your first field trip! Follow these steps, but adjust them to your school’s specific policies.
You’ll first decide where you’re taking your students — and why. This depends on the class you’re teaching. After all, a history teacher probably won’t visit the same locations as someone who teaches biology. Or, at least, you’d put your own spin on the field trip regardless of the location.
If you’re stuck and out of great ideas, asking the other teachers is always a good option. And, of course, ask the students where they’d like to go, though their suggestions might be more focused on fun and less on teaching.
Once you’ve decided on the field trip destination, you’ll need permission from your principal or another administrator. They’ll also give you some restrictions and instructions to follow. Make sure you do and complete all the required request forms for the trip.
Now, we’re arriving at one of the most critical aspects of any school trip — organizing the transportation. In the case of a school field trip, it’s likely a school bus. Typically, that’s the easiest and cheapest way to go, especially if the destination is nearby.
Once again, you’ll need to fill out and submit all the forms for requesting a school bus on time, so you can give the transportation staff enough time to deal with the logistics. However, there are other alternatives depending on factors like the destination and the number of kids you’ll be taking with you. You could have parents chaperone or drive kids if they want to, or you could use staff vehicles. It all depends on what’s the easiest way to go.
Making a food plan is even more important if you’re teaching a particularly young class. Growing children need proper nutrition, and as their teacher that’s organizing a field trip, you need to ensure they get it.
In some cases, there are on-site cafeterias at your destination. That makes things a lot easier because kids only need to bring some food money with them. However, if you’re taking them to a less urban locale and there’s no place to buy food, they’ll have to pack their own lunches. Make sure the parents know this as they prepare the kids for the trip.
Also, it’s always smart to take some extra food yourself; you’ll need it if some of your students forget their packed lunch, as they usually do. Plus, you may have a hungry, cranky student to deal with if they’re still hungry after lunch.
So, you’ve dealt with most logistics — now it’s time to think about time. More specifically, you need to know basic things like:
While scheduling everything in detail is important, remember to leave some gaps — a field trip isn’t easy to pull off without a couple of unexpected surprises, and it’s best to plan for them rather than scrambling to find the time when they happen.
If you’re organizing a field trip for older students, you probably won’t need much extra supervision, especially if they’re responsible and well-behaved. However, that’s not the case with younger kids. They’ll probably need a level of supervision you can’t provide alone.
With that in mind, asking your administrator to let a teacher’s aide come with you — or even two is a good idea. Alternatively, some parents might be interested in volunteering to chaperone. Of course, you’re probably wondering — how do I know how many chaperones I need?
A general rule of thumb is that you want one adult present for every 10 children. However, this isn’t a strict rule, and it depends on the behavior, maturity, and age of the students in question.
The best way to prepare your students for the field trip is to create curriculum lessons tied to the location you’ll be visiting, especially in the few days before the trip. That way, students will be incentivized to read about the location and prepare to experience it in the best way possible.
Related reading: How To Turn Your Family Road Trip Into An Educational Experience
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