Saturday, March 7, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites, but Field Trips Sure Do!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Well, this is the PERFECT week to write about field trips, which coincidentally is the next chapter in our book study, Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites.

What teacher doesn't love a good field trip? Well, okay, maybe not the hour each way on the school bus, but even that can be fun if you get your kids singing. Even just watching their excited faces can be fun, don't you think?

In my opinion, the learning potential of a field trip is unbeatable.


bookstudy


The author Marcia Tate has a very inclusive list of the ways that field trips help our students learn.
Each chapter in this book includes a section of quotes, "The Theoretical Framework". My favorite in this chapter:

"Enhancing higher-order thinking skills, refining observation and questioning skills, and increasing the confidence and attitude of students are all benefits of field trips." (Davis, 2002)

That's a good one to keep in your back pocket the next time an administrator asks you to justify the expense of a field trip!



Here's why this is the perfect week for me to write this post.  I'd like to share with you today some of the ways "field trips" have floated through my life in the past week, and how they relate to what I read in this chapter.

My husband and I had the opportunity to hear a presentation by a local historian this week. A lifelong resident, his presentation included a picture of the one-room schoolhouse he attended. Then he showed us a picture of the farm that used to be across the street from it. "We went there on a field trip," he said. "It was the only field trip I ever went on. We walked across the street. I still remember it." This man is nearly eighty years old and still fondly remembers this field trip. 


Field trips create lasting memories. They are significant events in a student's life.




The second way field trips touched my life this week was through a mini-vacation we took with our daughter, son-in-law, and their three children. Our grandchildren are 3, 5, and 7, and are homeschooled. We spent three days in Lancaster, PA. One of the big highlights for the kids, of course, was swimming in the hotel pool every day, but each day we also went some place interesting, little homeschool field trips, you might say.

One day, we went to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. A phenomenal learning experience, this museum is like a huge terminal (over 100,000 square feet inside and out) where you can wander around among more than 100 locomotives and cars. There are docents positioned in and near some of the equipment, but you can also self-tour via the info kiosks or QR codes. Look at these photos - so much potential for math learning!





Can't get to this museum for your field trip? Your students can see more here, and the site is loaded with lots more info for your students.


Our second "field trip" was to the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory in Lititz. The children had some schema for this, since they're big fans of Mr. Rogers and one of his wonderful trips was to a pretzel factory. (Just as an aside, you can take your class on some of his classic trips here at PBS kids. There's even a visit with Eric Carle!)  Picture their faces when, after a few moments of looking around, they realized that this was THE pretzel factory where the one-and-only Mr. Rogers had filmed the episode!


Field trips take on new meaning when you provide your students with prior knowledge.



The pretzel factory was a hands-on experience...





Field trips, like lessons in class, become more meaningful when active learning is part of the experience.



If you read my post a week or two ago, you know that E, who's five years old, is a huge fan of Legos.
So here's what happened after the pretzel facory.





Your students will continue to apply their learning after a field trip.



Whether your field trip is to the Smithsonian or your school yard, here's a way for you to help your little learners consolidate their learning afterwards. If you can find a few minutes for your students to complete these when you get back to the classroom, this is a handy tool to send to your families to help them continue the conversation when their child gets home. Click here to download.





Thanks to DeeDee Wills, who's hosting the linky for this chapter. Visit her blog to connect with lots of other bloggers who are sharing their *Aha!* moments about field trips! Please share here, too! What's the best field trip you've ever taken your class on?







Happy Teaching!




16 comments:

  1. Oh I absolutely LOVE that sheet where the students fill out what they did on the field trip. I am going to download that now. Thank you SO much! I usually write about it in an email and give the parents talking points - but I like this WAY better!!!!!!

    Holly
    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

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    1. Thanks for your sweet comment, Holly! I love finding ways to continue the learning at home. Your email is a great idea. I hope this works well for you, too!
      Linda

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  2. I love the worksheet idea... keeps the learning and discussion going long after the field trip is over!

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    1. You're welcome ... but maybe we shouldn't call it a worksheet, if you get my drift - haha! Interactive student learning record, aka ISLR? Discussion foundational piece, aka DFP?
      I'm sure someone can come up with a crazy acronym for it! ;)

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Thanks for the sheet to download, Linda! That will be great to use! This past year, our kindergarten group took our kinder cubs to a farm that was about a 30 minute drive away. It was fabulous. When we can find local places like that where the kids can experience so many hands on activities, and when it is so organized, it is usually a keeper for a few years to come. This one even had a REAL pumpkin patch where the children could get their own pumpkin. I really want to take my granddaughter up to Pennsylvania to see a lot of things, and now after reading your post, the pretzel factory is on my list.
    In November, we took a trip to the Smoky Mountains in TN. On the way home, we stopped by the Mayfield Ice Cream Factory (which is really called: Mayfield Dairy Farm) that was in a small town in AL. I love those kinds of little "stop offs" along the way. This little field trip wasn't just about how ice cream (and milk I should say) is made, but how it is all packaged. She loved it and so did I! We even got free ice cream before we left.
    Thanks for sharing your insights about Chapter 3 and some of your experiences!! Linda g. (lindaslearningloot.com)

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    1. The pretzel factory was wonderful and especially so because it was a quiet day so we had our own private tour! I would recommend it for either little guys or for those studying late nineteenth century or the Industrial Revolution. For actively working snack factories also in PA, try Herr's in Nottingham or Utz in Hanover. We love factory tours. Most are so interesting! There's also a dairy farm tour in PA that's a drive through - we'd love to do that one some day!
      Do you know about the free app Field Trip? If you do road trips, it's a fun one to have. It follows you along your route and leads you to everything from historical markers to local museums to great diners.
      Thanks for your comment, Linda, and have fun on your travels!
      Linda

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  4. Love your response paper for the kids to do after taking a field trip! I want to go on a field trip to the pretzel factory!!! haha! The Lego picture is so cute!! Really shows how much impact real world experiences can have on little ones!! Thanks for sharing your great ideas!!

    recipeforteaching

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    1. Pretzel factory tour = smells great, tastes great, too! :) Can we call that multisensory learning? :)
      Thanks for your comment!
      Linda

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  5. Mr. Rogers! Oh I loved that show as a child! Right now I'm having a major flashback moment. My students probably have NEVER heard of him! I am checking out some of the videos at PBS Kids. Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas Linda! How fun it must have been to make those pretzels :)

    Creative Lesson Cafe

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    1. People used to make fun of Mr. Rogers, but I always liked how he talked directly to children and with great respect. Besides, not every child can process info at the speed of light, like it hits them on many shows and videos. As he used to sing, "I like to take my time and do it right." I think Mr. Rogers' videos are timeless, and I hope you'll find some that you can use ... or even just enjoy them again yourself. Ah, nostalgia! :)

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  6. Thanks for the reflective writing page - LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!
    Sounds like some amazing learning happened on your trip.
    My favorite field trip with my class is definitely the zoo each May. We invite our dads along since we have a Mother's Tea for our moms. I think the dads have just as much fun as the kids!

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    1. I'm not going on class trips anymore, but the Cape May Zoo, where I took my firsties every year, will probably always be one of my favorite places. So many fun memories - for the kids, and for me, too!
      Thanks for leaving a comment!

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  7. Hi Linda,
    What a fun day of fieldtrips with your grandchildren! I have 2 kids who would love that day! That's one of the drawbacks to living here in the Bahamas. The only things to do are go to the pool, go to the beach, or go out to eat. There is a zoo but it's small and we've been 4 times already. :) Looking forward to returning to the states so we can do things like this. Great post!
    Joya :)

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  8. Replies
    1. Hi, Joya! For most of us, the pool, beach, and out to eat sound just fine, thank you - sign me up please! :) But you're so right - little ones need lots of variety! I've read your blog and know how clever you are, so I'm sure you're coming up with great ideas, the cave trip on your recent post being just one example. So cool!!
      Thanks for your comment!
      Linda

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