What does it take to get children to pay attention to the guide? to take notes? to ask great questions? to respect the environment they are visiting? to stop making such a din? to share their seats and food? to throw the rubbish in the bin?
Well here are some things that could really work so that it is not the...
1. Before the trip, sit with the children and set some essential agreements.
Who sits with who on the bus? (Use ice cream sticks to decide). How do they sort themselves into groups to support one another? What volume of voice level should they use?
2. A few days before the trip, talk about where you are going and ask them to research about it. In order to get excited about something, some background knowledge is essential.
3. Ask them what they think they would like to learn from the trip. You will be surprised with some of the genuine questions they come up with before and during the trip. Note them down as they are a great teaching moments in the classroom.
A student of mine, asked me a great question on one such recent the trips to Haller Park to study the ecosystem. He is usually indifferent to almost everything unless it involves football or cars!
" Why do some of the trees have leaves while others do not?" In PYP , this would be a causation question. Why is something the way it is? A big concept which we sometimes tend to ignore.
4. Take lots of pictures and videos and use them in to make a virtual poster (Glogster) or a Prezi, or even a simple slide show (try Kizoa). Post them on the class blog and let the kids talk about them with their parents. Listen to the oohs and ahhhs from the parents the next day!
5. Give students (in a group) a particular task during the trip. The Journalist, the Photographer, the Artist and the Recorder. They feel important and much can be captured through this method. A great way to teach them all about collaboration.
6. Let them create a brochure about Haller Park and showcase them in the school library for all to see.
7. When the kids come back from the trip, you might say "All right relax... take a break." A 10 minute interval with water break is enough.Give them a very quiet reflective activity. Believe me, when the information is fresh in their minds, they write amazing stuff.
A great opportunity for descriptive writing and some children naturally learn to include their 'voice' in the writing. Here is an example:
The crocodile had its jaws wide open. Suddenly, is a flurry, it thrashed around and snapped them shut and with incredible speed glided up the bank of the pond. Was I glad the boundary walls were there!
The kids get a chance to be reflective and also recall essentail elements connected to their unit of enquiry.
8. Again, using the icecream stick, select a few kids to read their work. Invite the others to comment. This way, children can learn from their peers and they also get the chance ask questions to clarify their understandings.
9. Very important. Go over the essentail agreements at the end of the trip and see whether they met all the success criteria. Review the ones they did not meet and figure out as a class why they did not, could not meet them. What could they do better next time so that the trip is a super success?
10. Lastly, praise the children on any behaviour that was positive.
If you have tried some or all of these things on your class trip and feel they have worked, please do let me know. Any morre suggestions are welcome!