Saturday, March 10, 2012

Slice of life ten - Field Trips

 Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. For the month of March we are challenging ourself to write a Slice A Day. Here we go! 

I find that teachers fall into one of two camps – they either love or hate field trips. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. Unfortunately I am in the “hate” camp. I understand that they have a purpose, and that kids adore them, but I’d rather be teaching. It’s a lot of work, I have to find chaperones, ensure the buses don’t get lost, plan out the day, etc. And today, as luck would have it, was field trip day. Whoopee!

Alma Mater
We live thirty minutes from Champaign-Urbana, home to the University of Illinois. (Which also made news today for firing our head basketball coach, but I digress.) Today the fifth grade was headed to U of I to attend the Naturally Illinois Expo celebrating natural resources in our state. I created groups for my class with the chaperones leaving myself with seven of my boys to trek around the building together from 9-2. And you know what? We had a blast.

We began in one of the buildings on U of I’s campus and toured rooms and tents with many hands-on exhibits set up. The boys learned about state minerals, recycling, archeology digs, and more. By ten they were hungry. I held them off. By noon they were ready to revolt. 

Boys in my grad classroom.
They took turns sitting in "my seat."

We left the building and they agreed that we should walk over to the Main Quad; they hadn’t seen it before, and have lunch there. As we walked I gave them some history of the campus. I told them how it had changed since I graduated from undergrad in ’96. We talked about the Undergrad Library and I showed them how it was built underground. Arriving on the quad we had a picnic and they asked about the students passing us and what a day in their schedule would look like. I showed them Illini Union where my wedding reception was. I dragged them to the Alma Mater to take their picture. We toured the Union and they listened to a student play his guitar. They donated to a sorority’s fundraiser to prevent child abuse. We met our student teacher from the fall that was on her way to class. I brought them to the building I have grad school in, had them sit in the classroom while I took their picture and they imagined being college students.
We found Ms. Kucick!
Our student teacher.

It was such a full day, but more than what they learned curriculum wise, I was struck by the other undercurrent of the day. They got to reminisce with me about my own college experience (past and present). They had the opportunity to visualize themselves as college students. They had the experience of interacting with several students and see them in their environment having a great time. The boys told me it was an experience they would never forget. And I am forever grateful to them for making me have a wonderful field trip on a day that I had such low expectations for.