New For You: Fresh Field Trips Launching this Spring!

Field Trip Factory is proud to announce new Field Trip opportunities both in the US and Canada. Featuring lessons ranging from digital media literacy to the importance of natural, sustainable, green choices, we look forward to rolling out trips that inspire new levels of hands-on learning. For a list of all the programs in your area, click here

Piggly-Wiggly-Logo_110_78In addition to brand-new programs, we are launching the latest Explore the Store Field Trip at Piggly Wiggly in Kinston, North Carolina. In the area? Learn more details about this fun, engaging trip


Take a look at what’s new.
 

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Microsoft Tech TalksMedia Literacy lessons come to life when students are given a rare opportunity to explore the latest digital technology in a playful, creative way. The program also highlights important lessons of online safety and privacy in a relatable and engaging setting. 

Students are given the freedom to explore interactive storytelling with the aid of Microsoft’s in-store theatre, various technologies and interactive stations. It’s high-speed learning in a world where educational technology is constantly evolving. 

Brought to you by the Microsoft team, this field trip currently takes place only in Canada

Digital literacy is set to make an impact in a big way in the next few years. This past February, it was announced that Adobe and Prezi are set to donate $400 million dollars to the effort of improving technology education in America.

If you would like to see this program in your area, contact us and let’s get the conversation started! Email or give us a call at 800.987.6409.

Think Globally, Eat Locally Field Trip at
Mrs. Greens

Starting this April, Mrs. Green’s Natural Market is excited to provide free guided field trips at select locations in Chicago, New York, Virginia and Connecticut. 

Fresh Veggies Mrs. Green's

Photo via Mrs. Green’s

The mission of the Think Global. Eat Local. field trip is sharing with students just how their actions and food choices shape their world for the better. Simple steps for “going green” and what exactly that means are the (whole-grain) bread and butter of this simply nutritious hands-on adventure.

“Green” living is all about eating well, but it’s also about giving back. Exploring recycling, sourcing from local farmers and organic food jump starts a connection between students and the impact they have on their community. 

For more information on this field trip, sign up here.

Now that we’ve shared what’s coming this spring, we turn to you for inspiration. What sort of field trip would inspire your students? Teachers, community members — we want to know how we can create new programs benefiting you.

Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Teacher Perspective: Finding the Right Field Trip

This guest post comes to us from Amanda Pauley, the teacher and voice behind the blog Mrs. Pauley’s Kindergarten

Field Trip Kids

Finding the Right Field Trip

I am a kindergarten teacher in Illinois.  I have been teaching for seven years.  Each year I planned at least one field trip for both my grade level partner and myself. 

I know from experience that sometimes teachers choose field trips based on nothing other than convenience.  You see a flyer in the teacher’s lounge and think, “Hmmm……we haven’t been on a field trip yet this year.  This looks good!”  I don’t know about you, but I like to choose meaningful, fun, and educational field trips for my students.  Doing this though can sometimes seem like a daunting and challenging task.  I am here to give you some pointers to make this task a little easier for you. 

Field Trip Fun!
Field Trip Picture

1.  Choose a field trip that enhances your students’ learning on a topic.

I always look at the units of study that I teach each year and see if there is a field trip I can take that will enhance their learning.  For example, if you cover farm animals within your curriculum, you may want to take a field trip to a farm.  

I know this seems like a simple idea, but sometimes it can be hard to do.  Field Trip Factory has made this task easier for you.  When you access their site, you will see the first question they ask is “What do you want to teach?”  There is a simple pull down menu of topics for you to choose from. 

Field Trips Provide Hands-On Experiences
Free Field Trips

2.  Plan ahead.

Some teachers only have the opportunity to go on field trips at certain times of the year.  If this pertains to you, then you will need to plan ahead to see what field trips are available for the time of year.  For example, we always take a field trip in May.  Unfortunately, not every field trip we want to take is available that month.  We plan all of this ahead of time.  Sometimes, we even plan for this at the beginning of the year as we create our timeline for the year.  (Granted, this is a loose timeline as things can easily change).

If you do not plan ahead, you might miss out on an exciting educational experience for your students.  As a young teacher, I have made that mistake and waited to plan a field trip.  Then I sadly realized that there was no more space available for my class to take the field trip.  It left me feeling defeated.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Think about what field trips you want to take and plan ahead for them! 

Explore Behind-the-Scenes
Free Field Trips

3.  Check with your administration.

Every school and district has different requirements for scheduling field trips, but it is important that you check with your administration before scheduling your field trip.  I like to research which field trips I would like to take my class on and then present the information to my principal.  He has to approve the field trip as well as someone from our central office.  Sometimes this can take awhile so I always make sure I plan ahead!

4.  What is the cost?

Does your school pay for the entire field trip?  Will your students have to pay for a portion of the field trip?  Can you only go on free field trips?

These are very important questions to think about.  My school does not pay for field trips so either my students have to pay for their field trip or we go on free field trips.  In my district, we cannot ask students to pay more than $5.00 per field trip.  This can restrict our options greatly, but I don’t let that get me down.  I have many conversations with the field trip coordinators to see if they would be willing to lower their rates so my students could attend their field trip. 

Many times, we are able to work out something manageable for all involved.  It never hurts to ask especially if you are under monetary restrictions like myself.  In cases that I have not been able to work out something, I have gone to our parent teacher organization and asked them to donate the amount over the $5.00 so our students can go on a field trip.  They are usually gladly willing to help us out.

Create Something New!
Free Field Trips

I hope I have given you some food for thought on field trip planning.  I am a planner by nature so I enjoy working out all the details of field trips, but I know many people dread it.  If that describes you, just follow my four simple tips and your field trip planning should be a snap!

What are your tips for finding the right field trip? Be sure to let us know in the comments.  

4 Reasons to Get Outside the Classroom This Winter

Field Trip FactoryFor some across the country, “winter” can mean sunshine and 70 degree weather. For most of us, especially around Field Trip Factory’s Chicago-based HQ, winter brings freezing temperatures and the need for a little inspiration.

So, what to do with your class or student group when the weather outside is less than ideal? Use this time to shake things up with your kids. Field Trip Factory offers quick, fun and educational tours that get kids out of their normal routine and out into their community.

Getting Outside the Classroom this Winter Will: 

Scrappy Bright Numbers-01 Inspire Critical Thinking

A recent report from Scientific American suggests that critical thinking thrives outside the traditional classroom. A trip outside the everyday classroom environment not only strengthens students’ connection to real-life situations, but it also taps into their ability to prepare for future learning. What does this mean? It means that getting outside the classroom allows students an opportunity to formulate questions and forge a new educational path ahead based on hands-on discovery. 

Scrappy Bright Numbers-02Turn Your School’s Grounds into an Adventure

Learn lessons from the outdoors while teaching outdoor safety. It’s important to learn how to bundle up to stay healthy. If the weather permits, use the trees, plants and other life around the school to be your guide.

For your younger students, it can be as simple as a lesson on “why snow melts”, make bird feeders for the local “wildlife”; there are so many ways to connect with what’s happening out in the world…and what’s right outside your doorstep! If you are looking to take an excursion somewhere close by, save money on busing and take advantage of extra learning time by making the transition a learning moment. Rain, 

Scrappy Bright Numbers-03Engage Dynamic Project-Based Learning

One of the latest “buzz words” in education is Project-Based Learning. But the idea is more than just buzz. In a world of standards, project-based learning places emphasis on learning by doing, and it works. Enhance your PBL efforts with a trip or activity that takes emphasis off what’s happening at their desk in to what’s happening in the world and how, in the future, they will become a part of it. 

Project-Based Learning
Source

Offer a New PerspectiveOffer a New Perspective

Especially in elementary school, you are the center of your students’ universe all day, every day (right? :) ). A field trip or another activity outside the classroom is potentially a chance to hand the reins over…even if just for a little while! If your classroom is suffering from that stir crazy feeling due to woeful winter weather, a hands-on trip is a great way to shake things up in a productive and educational manner.

This is another chance to help reinforce lessons of good behavior, attentiveness, group work and more in a real-world setting. Letting a new, qualified person (guest speaker, tour leader, etc) share their perspective with your students is another reason to change up the routine and get outside the classroom this winter. 

For more information on Field Trip Factory’s free field trips, click here

Do you have a great idea to change up the routine for your class or group this winter? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

Teacher Talk: The Importance of Field Trips

Why Field Trips are Important

“Why are field trips worth it?” Field Trip Factory posed this question to some of our favorite education bloggers around the country. Their responses speak volumes about why field trips are important, and why we strive to connect communities through the power of experiential learning.

We spoke to Allie McDonald, early childhood educator and founder of the education resource blog, No Time for Flash Cards. Here’s what she had to say:
Why Field Trips are Important

Creativity, magic, exploration. An opportunity for children to break free from the everyday and learn something new. FTF is all about learning experiences that inspire. A short trip down the road in your community is an opportunity to change the way a child thinks or feels about an educational concept.

Ashley from K-3 Connection shared this insight:

Why Field Trips Are Important

Jill, the Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, let us know why field trips are important to her:

Why Field Trips are Important

In addition to inspiring creativity and exploration, field trips are proven to increase lesson retention and focus. According to this study conducted by EducationNext.org, 88% of students retained detailed lessons from their hands-on adventure when surveyed a week later. This study also demonstrates a strong connection between field trips and critical thinking.

We know, we know. When we talk about “free field trips” you may think…what about the red tape? What about all of the coordination it takes to get it all together? Field Trip Factory‘s hope is to take the headache out of booking free hands-on excursions for your student or non-school group.

We make it easy to sign up, offer resources that make the approval process a snap, and leave money collection out of the equation, because all of our tours are free. But we want to know from other educators…what makes field trips worth it? Why are they important to you?

We want to know why field trips are worth it to you. Please let us know in the comments below.

Click here to learn more about our free Field Trips.