How to Plan a Class Field Trip

If your students deserve a fun but educational break from the everyday class routine, plan a field trip. This article will show you how.

Steps

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    Determine the educational goals for this trip. How will this trip enhance your classroom program? What will the students do on the trip? What will they learn?
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    Select a location and find out when they accept school groups. Also find out the admission costs, the availability of transportation, the cost of chartering buses. Make sure you have the legal number volunteer adult supervisors for the number of students going. Don't mention the trip to your students until you sort out these details.
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    Obtain your school board's standardized letters for parental permission as well as the standard trip planning package. Fill out the planning package to get permission from the superintendent.
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    Talk to the principal and get permission to go. Be prepared to meet their criteria. Explain the educational value and the relationship to the curriculum of the grade level(s) that will attend.
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    Contact the trip site and make or finalize your reservations for the group. Make sure to confirm your arrangements shortly before the trip.
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    Integrate the trip into the classroom program. Plan instruction and activities in class to prepare for the trip. Discuss what will happen at the trip site, and your expectations of them.
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    Review safety and bus etiquette. Establish a buddy system and seating plan, and groups with adult supervisors.
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    Send a letter home listing the following:
    • The educational purpose of the trip;
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    • The destination, with a physical description of the site;
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    • The planned activities;
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    • Any special preparations the parents and students need to make for that day, such as special clothing, boots, lunches, money, sunscreen, gloves, backpacks, etc.;
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    • The cost per child for the trip, and the date by which the parents need to send the money to the school;
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    • A request for contact information for the parents, for the day of the trip, medical and insurance information for the child; and
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    • The return and pick up time for the children, after the trip, if different from the regular school day.
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    Keep careful records according to your school's requirements.
    • Signed permission forms;
    • Student medical and insurance information;
    • Parent/guardian emergency contact information for that day;
    • Money brought into the school;
    • Phoning parents of children who do not bring in the forms or the money.
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    Make alternate arrangements for the students who do not go on the trip. No child should miss the trip due to family financial situation. Ideally, all children in the class should attend the trip, as it is part of the instructional day and part of the program.
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    Recruit parent volunteers, family members, and friends to meet the pupil-teacher requirements of the Board of Education for out of class activities.
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    Take careful attendance on the day of the trip. Then, prepare several lists:
    • For the office, list the children attending the trip, the children absent, the children who will remain in the school and their location, and the cell phone number where they can reach you.
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    • For the parent volunteers, provides a class list of the groups and the the parent supervisors for each group.
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    • For the teachers, keep a master list of all the groups, all the buddy partnerships, the parent contact information, the student health and insurance information, and the school phone number.
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    Remind the students of the expectations for the trip, and for their behavior. Reinforce safety and etiquette rules. The behavior of the students should be as good as it would be in the classroom.

Tips

  • Have a flexible but thorough plan and don't be overbearing. If you're at a museum with kids in fifth grade or over, for example, you can trust them to look on their own rather than keeping them together on a guided tour.
  • Have a cell phone with you, in case of emergency.
  • Ask a volunteer to drive to the site so that there is a car on site in case of emergency.
  • Plan thoroughly, including provisions for bad weather.
  • Schedule events in order of importance so you can cut the trip short if necessary.

Warnings

  • Count the children as they get on and off the bus. Never leave the site if a child is missing. Have the children and the adult supervisors remain on the bus while you speak with the student buddy, and ask site staff to help locate the child. Locate the child even if the bus driver needs to get back for another run, and do not be pressured.

Article Info

Categories: Teacher Resources | School Field Trips