Field Trip? No Sweat!
Five planning tips to help you experience a smooth and pleasant field trip day.
By Mollie Moore
Do field trips cause you some anxiety? Keeping track and control of twenty-some-odd (perhaps even more) excited children in a new environment, considering their potential volume level en route to the destination, facilitating some kind of active learning during the trip, and coordinating parent helpers can all understandably contribute to added stress on field trip day. The kids look forward to these days all year. Even the parents who volunteer to come along tend to be enthusiastic! Allow me to offer a few simple suggestions to ensure you will be just as delighted as everyone else come the morning of your next field trip.
1. Require a uniform
It need not be fancy or even too specific. Simply choose something that will allow you and your chaperones to quickly identify your class in a crowd and/or open space. A bright color will do the trick. A school T-shirt may also work if every child already owns one or if you are able to lend them out to those who do not own one.
2. Provide car/bus ride activities
Depending on the travel time involved, anything to keep students happily engaged with their neighbors and not feeling the urge to communicate with their friends five rows back will behoove both you and the driver(s). One idea is to provide pamphlets from your field trip location and have children search for certain pictures or pieces of information. A list of silly questions for seat-mates to ask one another may allow them to learn fun new information about each other.
3. Make the “assignment” aspect simple
Whether you have your class draw and label the wildlife they observe on an outdoor field trip, or ask questions and record the answers of their tour guide at a museum, make your own life easier by minimizing grading to be done later. Keep the potential for confusion over the assignment low so that chaperones do not need to be responsible for fielding questions. And finally, allow children as much freedom as possible to experience the awe and wonder of the classroom outside of the four walls on this special occasion.
4. For your sake, make parent helpers’ roles simple and straightforward
Assign each chaperone a group of kids. Allow their own child to be with them (both child and parent will be sorely disappointed if this does not happen). That’s it.
5. Make it fun!
Have each group come up with a silly name and cheer. Make it a game every time you do a head count. Sing songs on the bus. Whatever works for you and the personality of your class, do it! Just make the day one to remember for the kids, the chaperones, and for you!