Teacher friends we all know the stress of planning and organizing your first field trip!
I did mine last year and I can honestly say that without the amazing help of the first grade teacher that I work with I would have been absolutely lost and forgotten about 100 things!
So I’ve come up with some tips and tricks on how to cut the stress for planning your first field trip!
1. Make A List
Okay now that we have our “To-do” list, let me tell you a little bit about why I put each item on my list.
1.Pick Several Destinations
This is on my list because you never know if the place you have in mind might be booked. Also if you’re taking multiple classes it’s good to rotate your field trips. That’s what we’re doing. Last year we went to a place called The Works and then this year we are going to The Ohio Historical Center, next year back to The Works. See what I mean? Since we take two classes no class will attend the same field trip twice.
2.Do Research on the Destinations
When trying to decide on a destination for your field trip it’s important to do your research. Do they have special offers for field trips? What are their hours? How far away is it from the school? Is there a place for you to each lunch? Do you need to pack a lunch? (The answer for that one at least for us is always yes it’s just easier that way!) How much is it going to cost? (so you can figure the cost per student) Are teachers free? What about chaperones?
See what I mean? It’s insane! There are so many little things that you don’t always think about! I know when I planned my first field trip (last year!) I didn’t think of half of these things! I’m glad I had some help!
3.Pick Several Dates
Granted most of the places you’re going to take your students will already suggest this but it helps to do it ahead of time.
4. Coordinate Transportation
This is one of the most important parts! I believe I did this backwards when I planned our field trip. Coordinate the transportation FIRST. Get ahold of the bus company (if that’s what you’re going to use as transportation) and make sure that they have the date that you want (or any of the possible dates that you might want) available. It doesn’t hurt to do it after you’ve talked with the places you want to visit but it might make your life easier to do it before just so you know that a bus will be available the date that you want to take your field trip.
5. Fill Out Permission Slip
Of course you already know that you need to do this and why you need to do this so we’re just going to move it right along!
6. Create Student Groups
I like to do this ahead of time so that I have plenty of time to move students around if I need to. Especially if a parents ends up deciding to chaperone or what not I’m not frantically trying to figure out groups right before we go on the trip. I like to do it as I’m planning. It just makes it easier in my opinion.
7. List of Possible Chaperones
For me this is super important because Since I work at a private Catholic school parents have to go through certain steps in order to be a chaperone or to help out with the students. If they don’t have certain things and meet the requirements then they cannot go on field trips with us, so the office is super helpful about getting us a list of those parents that are able to chaperone. This gives me an idea of how many students I can put in each group and gives me a chance to make sure we can get enough chaperones as well.
8. Decide on Lunch and Attire
For us we always have our kiddos pack a lunch but sometimes we let them dress down. Most of the time we just have them wear their uniforms just because it’s easier to keep track of students and they have a gym uniform they can wear that’s still comfortable.
The first grade teacher that I work with and I were talking and we decided that it would be a neat idea if we stuck with two different field trip destinations and flipped them each year. So last year was our first year doing this, we went to The Works and we took the first and second grade class. So in order for the second grade class to get a different field trip that’s why we decided to do a rotation. This year we are going to The Ohio Historical Society. For me, I have to be organized and I like to have everything ready to go so I created a “Field Trip Organizer” and printed it out and placed it into a binder. (If you click the link you can see the PDF of what I did). I literally just made it in PowerPoint and added some cute clip art to make it festive!
What are your tips and tricks for planning and organizing field trips successfully? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to know!