Planning a Field Trip

Planning a field trip can be challenging to even an experienced teacher. This rather generic list comes from many years of field trip planning. Use it whenever you plan a trip for your class.

  1. Decide several months ahead of time the dates when you hope to be teaching your target unit. This is Plan A. Allow room for an alternative date so that if something happens to upset your plans you can always regroup. This is Plan B.
  2. Within the framework of the unit, select at least two or three days when a field trip would be appropriate.
  3. Do whatever paperwork your school requires for you to obtain permission to take the class on a field trip. (This is not the same as the permission slip.) At the same time, recruit an administrator or other certificated person to accompany you.
  4. Call or write the reservations secretary to determine if the dates you would like are available. If so, sign up; if not, go to Plan B.
  5. Arrange for transportation. If school buses are a problem, consider contracting with a private carrier instead. Their prices are competitive and their phone numbers are in the telephone book.
  6. Send home the permission slips, including total cost and educational objectives for the trip. Include a blank for parents to volunteer.
  7. If a fee or donation is forthcoming, have the check cut as the monies arrive. Also request a check for the bus fees. Remember to turn in all money to the front office!
  8. Go over any special rules or regulations applicable to the trip with the students. Emphasize what to bring and what not to bring.
  9. Prepare multiple copies of class lists. Give one copy to each adult and keep one for yourself. On the day of the trip, take attendance every time the class moves from one location to another, e.g., gets on the bus, leaves a building.
  10. After the trip, write thank you notes to the volunteers, then put all your planning materials in a folder to be resurrected next year.

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