I was inspired to write this blog post after listening to my 3 podcast buddies tell about their Field Trip Follies: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, on our podcast, We Teach So Hard. I, too have stories to tell. So pull up a chair, sip some wine and read on…
Many moons ago when I was a new and impressionable young teacher, I took my special needs class camping for a weekend. Now, before you shudder in horror, we had the best time ever. There were only 6 or 7 kids in the class, and we had plenty of parent volunteers. We met early Saturday morning in front of the school, back then, if you had enough insurance, you could drive the kids in your car. So we packed up all our gear, including hotdogs, hamburgers, drinks, junk food, sleeping bags, first aid kits, etc. and went to Lake Cockaponset State Forest in CT.
We arrived and set up camp, ate lunch consisting of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then we decided to go on a little hike, one kid slipped and went into the pond, good thing it was June and the weather was warm. We all had a good laugh over that, luckily she had a good sense of humor. At least no one got poison ivy.
We returned to camp, ate hotdogs and hamburgers, roasted marshmallows, and told spooky stories around the campfire. When it was time for sleep, some of the kids huddled together, with me, in a little hut. They were just about ready to doze off when the melodies of nature began. The hooting owls, the croaking frogs, and the singing crickets startled them as they’d never heard these sounds before. I alleviated their fears by telling them that it was the music of nature. Before long they drifted off to sleep.
The next morning some of the kids went fishing, the only mishap we had was when a little guy got a fish hook stuck in his finger and we had to take him to the emergency room to get it removed, luckily his mom was with us. Spent the rest of the day playing games and having fun. We returned to school around 6:00 that evening, and the kids wearily, but happily went home with their parents.
Into the future….I was teaching middle school and somehow I got the job of collecting money for the entire the 6th grade to see the Nutcracker at Southern Connecticut State University’s Lyman Auditorium, my alma mater, by the way. I figured out the cost for everyone, collected all the monies, come to find out, I didn’t collect enough. Talk about embarrassment. Good thing my principal had a sense of humor and was understanding. Long story short, there was money in the school budget to pay the rest. To say I was relieved and thankful is an understatement.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 was what went through our minds when we took our 6th graders to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Hayden Planetariums in New York City, which we did every spring. We had enough parents to make groups of 8. Of course I dragged my husband into this, so that his group and my group could roam the museum together. He has so much knowledge about art, and is so willing to share. But I digress, all we did was count the kids to make sure no one got lost, and luckily they didn’t. Oh and I can’t forget to mention the epi pens and the first aid kit that I was in charge of for some of our excursions, my partner and I shared the job.
The forays to the city were my favorites, we drove on a comfortable bus, with small screens where you could show DVDs. Since we were going to a museum that had a fantastic Egyptian exhibit, we showed them the film, The Egyptian. I almost forgot, the bus also had lavatory facilities which the kids had to try out of course.
When we arrived in New York, we ate lunch on the hillside next to the museum. Then we got into our groups, and toured the Met. I loved hearing the “Oohs and ahs”, when they walked through the Egyptian display. It was so lifelike.
You guessed it, the last stop was the gift shop, and we pretty much let them wander. When it was time to leave, we stood by the door and you once again you could hear..1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Phew every one was accounted for.
The Hayden Planetarium was an unforgettable excursion, same bus, different film. The history of the earth was brought to life right before our eyes as we walked the path that led from the big bang to the present day. Of course we were all in awe when we looked at the stars, constellations, and so much more in the night sky.
Finally, I want to share a cute anecdote about our yearly trip to the library. Each year, We took a field trip to the library to learn how to use it, though most of the children already knew. The town library was truly amazing with all the latest technology. The librarian took us in and out of the aisles, told the kids all about the Dewey Decimal System, and then asked if anyone had a question. Our little special needs guy waved his hand right in front of her so she called on him. His question, “Do you have dog?” Needless to say we had all we could do to hold back the laughter. To this day, we still chuckle when we think about that trip.
Here’s a link to the podcast which you can listen to on iTunes.
Here are a couple of my winter resources that may be of interest to you.
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Michelle Webb says
I love your post about such wonderful and rich field trip, and travel experiences for your students. I laughed out loud about your counting procedures. Each time I take students out of the building I count them and recount them obsessively!
I’m laughing now Michelle, at you counting whenever you’re out of the building. It would be so awful to lose one of the kids. Thanks for your comment.
Purposeful Plans says
Field trip days are fun, but so tiring! You shared some funny stories!
Margo Gentile says
Deann! I’m so excited to find out you’re from CT. I am too! Loved reading about all of your field trips…especially the camping. You are one brave soul!
So many field trip options. It’s so challenging these days to plan because the cost of covering transportation deters many teachers. You have a lot of great options in CT! Thanks for the fun post.
Margo..I had no idea you’re in CT. Small world.
Kathie Yonemura says
I love field trips, too, Deann! It’s so important to get students away from their typical surroundings, to expose them to so much more! What wonderful field trips you’ve take your students on, especially camping and into NYC!