Tips for Planning High School Field Trips

Field trips can be a wonderful way to explore firsthand some of the areas of subject matter covered throughout the course of the curriculum. Field trips offer also a nice reward for the students, who tend to enjoy the odd day outside of school, even if it is a teaching experience.

A successful field trip for high school students can be devastatingly tough to pull off, unless you follow some simple guidelines to ensure the success of the field trip.

The first thing that you must take care of when trying to organize a successful field trip for your high school students is to brainstorm with your students about possible locations for your trip. Giving the students some say in the matter will make it more enjoyable for all, and, as a class, can have something to look forward to.

Once you have established the perfect place to go on your field trip, then perhaps some research can be done on that location to find out what sorts of sights or activities are offered, so that you can plan out an itinerary that works for all involved.

Make sure to encompass the ideas of the collective whole, not just the whims and fancies of a few. Make some compromises along the way, so that every student has something to look forward to while on the field trip.

After a successful bout of research has been done, it is now time to contact that specific location, and try to work out all of small and meticulous details, such as setting up the itinerary in order to maximize activity, all the while being efficient with the following activity.

Keeping things streamlined will allow you to pack more wallop into your day, which will be beneficial, since it is when there is too much free and unstructured time that students tend to lean wayward and encounter trouble, thus inciting disciplinary action. This needs to be avoided for a field trip to be of the utmost success.

Permission slips need to go home to be signed, even if the students are over the age of eighteen. A permission slip can allow the parents to know the whereabouts of their children in the event of an emergency, and it can also leave valuable contact information for both sides. Parents need to know more than just their child’s cell number, there should be a teacher contact number as well.

The permission slip can also seek out some help in the form of chaperones. A successful field trip needs as many eyes that are proactive as possible, making sure that all students are present and accounted for at all times during the trip.

Rules of conduct need to be established prior to the trip, and these should be written up, discussed in an open forum, and signed by each and every student. The rules can be as simple as following a dress code, not using iPods, cell phones, wearing hats, or chewing gum.

The rules should be drafted by the students, with the teacher’s assistance, obviously. The list can be agreed upon before making up a final draft for signatures.

An itinerary should be made, with detailed time-lines, and should be photocopied for each student, chaperone, and parent at home. This will give the field trip a clear and concise focus, and will help to keep discipline problems from occurring.

Accommodations need to be made if the field trip is overnight, but for the most part, trips are a day event. The field trip will require some form of transportation, and this may come in the form of a bus, or parental involvement.

If parents are driving, make sure that they have the correct insurance coverage in the event of an accident, and make sure that each student has the expressed written consent of a parent to travel with a certain individual, which will eliminate any litigious qualms.

The ideal situation for a field trip is to have meal time accounted for, and to be eaten all in one location. Prior to the trip, in conjunction with the trip, a plan should be made for meals, which will eliminate any financial crisis on the behalf of a student who seemingly forgot their money, or any other such concern.

With a large group, a discount will often be made, and you can also make sure to clear up any issues ahead of time in regards to food allergies. Eating together will take the onus off of groups straying to different restaurants, which may throw your schedule off kilter, and there also may be a student or two that are left out of cliques. This is never a good idea, and a successful field trip means that all persons involved had a great time.

The teacher and chaperones should be active participants in the field trip as well. Leadership goes a long way to motivate high school students, and if the adults are in on the fun, partaking in all activities, then the students will be able to lighten up a little bit as well, and have more fun.

The field trip can be used purely as a reward, or it can be a unique teaching experience, whereby the teacher has the students actively learning information to be used at a later date on an assignment or quiz. This is not the ideal situation, but finding some middle ground is effective.

The teacher should use the field trip to complement the course of study, but not have students carry around pen and paper while on a field trip. The following day, perhaps, the students can do some research on a favourite part of the trip, and report to the class their findings. This will be successful from an academic standpoint as well.

A successful field trip for high school students requires patience, time, and energy. It also takes the input of many to ensure a good time is had by all. A teacher can learn from each field trip what works, and what needs tweaking, so that in time, future field trips should be as smooth and easy to plan as possible.