Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bringing Travel into Your Classroom!

Summer is almost over and the new school year will be underway before you know it! If you're like me, you probably did some traveling this summer. I LOVE vacations and would seriously go somewhere every week or so if I could!  Of course, as I travel  I ALWAYS look for interesting things I could use in my classroom. Many of my students have never even been out of town, much less on a vacation. Since, we live in a small town there aren't very many opportunities for field trips either. But, I really want my students to experience the world anyway they can. 

When I teach social studies, one thing I do is several virtual field trips. In fourth grade, we study the U.S. regions so we "travel" to each region to  "tour" the area. I do this with videos, power points, role play etc.  My students LOVE it and they really get into the role playing. They remember so much more of our lessons this way than they do by reading out of a social studies book!  Last year as we pretended to be on a whale watching cruise in Maine (I had the video playing) as the whales jumped in and out of the water on the screen I secretly sprayed the students with a water bottle so they could pretend to feel the water. They had a blast!

For my virtual field trips I order or pick up brochures from various places to use in my classroom. This gives the students a visual to help with understanding.  Many visitor centers will send you a few free brochures if you email and ask for them. I've scored several goodies including bookmarks, stickers and pamphlets.

 Given my love for using "make believe" in the classroom, it is no surprise that I look for ways to bring my own travels to my students.  This summer my family went to Branson, Missouri for our vacation. The Titanic museum was awesome! Unfortunately, audio, video, and pictures are prohibited so I wasn't allowed to take any pictures or video for my students.  I did purchase a copy of Polar the Titanic Bear. This book has an interesting history behind it and will be a great addition to my classroom library. It was written by an actual Titanic survivor Daisy Spedden.  You can read more about that here!


At the insistence of my twelve year old son, we also visited Ripley's Belive it or Not!  I was allowed to take pictures there (I asked). There were many oddities which would certainly interest my students, but I decided to take a few pictures of some of the brain teasers which were hanging on the wall. I think I'll use a few of these for the first week of school as icebreakers. 

Hologram of Ripley (The kids will love this!)

I think the students will enjoy these brain teasers. I'll make it into a group contest as we practice working in cooperative groups. The students will love it!

 If you are interested in having your students take virtual field trips, there are websites which offer free trips.

Virtual Field Trips

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