Saturday, March 7, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites Book Study: Chapter 3

Who doesn't love a good field trip? 

The motto for my school corporation is "Bringing Learning to Life," and to me, there is no better way to do that than through a field trip!

I'll be honest, though. Field trips are also very stressful.

Who forgot their permission slip?
Who hasn't turned in their fee?
Did someone schedule the buses?
Will we be back in time for lunch?
Who forgot to pack their lunch?
How many parents are coming?
Have they all filled out the volunteer application?
Do I have everyone?
Do I still have everyone?
Do I have everyone NOW??

But when we're finally at our destination and experiencing real-life learning, field trips can be magical, meaningful learning experiences for kids.

This was taken at our first grade field trip to a local pumpkin farm this past fall. We had been learning about the lifecycle of a pumpkin and were able to see all of the stages in real life. The kids got to bring home a pumpkin, and they used them to create their pumpkin book characters you saw in my Chapters 1 and 2 post (here). Cross-curricular, hands-on, authentic learning at its finest and well worth all of the work that went into it.

One quote in the Theoretical Framework section of this chapter says, "Field trips, including those that are virtual, enable teachers to create as many authentic, experiential experiences as possible. These spatial memories are embedded in the brain and need no rehearsal (Fogarty, 2001)."

Kids may not be able to tell you anything from your lesson in class yesterday, but they remember every detail from your field trip to the local farm last month (or pumpkin patch in October). Field trips take hands-on learning to the next level.

Another point Tate makes in this chapter is that sometimes a change of scenery is all that is necessary to  "calm students' brains and put the mind in a good state for learning." So your "field trip" can just mean going to a different area of your building or taking a walk outside.

I absolutely cannot wait until it is warm enough to take my class OUTSIDE!! There are picnic tables just down the hill outside our windows that we are dying to use! Being outside also gives them an opportunity to engage in more movement (tactile/kinesthetic learning) than what the classroom allows.

I also took my class on a virtual field trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts via the Scholastic website when we were learning about the First Thanksgiving. Click {here} to check it out. They portray life in a  pilgrim village, their homes, children, Native Americans, the Mayflower, you name it. You and your class can see it all in "real" life without ever having to leave your classroom!

My team and I are planning our next field trip now, and I'm not sure who is more excited - the kids or me!

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for Chapter 4: Games!

And check out all of the other fabulous posts on Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten's blog!

What field trips do you take with your kids?


  1. I agree that field trips can be stressful, Marissa. Sometimes it seems that you spend more time on a trip counting heads to be sure you have everyone than enjoying the great opportunities a field trip offers for teaching and learning! {I loved the last three questions at the beginning of your post! :) } Virtual trips or in-school mini-outings are a whole lot less stressful and still offer the benefits of learning outside the usual location, with some added movement thrown in, too!
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!
    Primary Inspiration

  2. It's funny, a common thread is that field trips are stressful..makes me wonder if our kids truly take from the trip what we wishfully hope they would. I know, so often, the kids move at a frantic pace - overstimulated, hyped up on the newness of the situation. I don't know - I think, in theory they are wonderful - but sometimes, especially with those tricky classes, they can almost be more trouble then what they are worth. I wish parents more able and willing to give their children these experiences - because I think they would take much more from them if they were with their families. Having said that - we still take field trips - but man, do I STAY on top of my kiddos - just to ensure the best LEARNING experience possible for them {not that I don't want them to have fun or anything - because that's part of it too!}. Loved your thoughts and sorry for writing such a long comment...HA!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade