Field Trips Can Inspire Students to Write Creatively
Fieldtrips can lead to a variety of writing experiences for students.
By Deborah Reynolds
Field trips can be a great way to finish a unit. After studying a particular topic for a month or more, students can be given the opportunity to experience what they have been learning about firsthand. Students that studied colonial times might visit a historic site, like Williamsburg, to see how the colonists lived. Classes studying animals might visit the zoo, an aquarium, or a farm. Third graders learning how to count money might take a fieldtrip to a store where they can practice shopping and counting money.
Class trips can be extremely motivating and exciting. Not only do students learn the basic curriculum, they also can be inspired to write about their experiences. For example, students studying the Civil War might visit a battle site, take digital photographs, and create a brochure to persuade others to visit the site. They could also write letters to family members or friends describing the experience. You could put students in groups and have them create a play based on what they know about the war. The battlefield could be the setting for the play. Or students could write a journal entry describing a day in the life of a soldier, a slave, or a famous figure during the Civil War period. They could write from the point of view of a famous person, such as Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, or Jefferson Davis. When students return to class, they could use the photographs and notes they took during the trip to create a digital scrapbook.
In this way, fieldtrips not only give students the opportunity to see a place or things that have been studied in class, they provide a springboard for generating a variety of writing ideas. Student work serves as a souvenir of the experience, and provides a way to assess the student’s understanding of the unit. So, when getting ready for your trip, be sure to bring along a clipboard and a digital camera. Then, get ready to watch the creativity bloom, and take note.
Field Trips and Writing:
After learning about Colonial America, students take a field trip to a historic site to experience the day in the life of a colonist. The class then creates a newspaper article about the experience. Individually, they write a diary entry as if they lived in the year 1745.
This lesson explores researching a state’s government. Students take a field trip to the state’s capital. Then, the class creates a tour book representing the government.
Students that have been learning about animals go on a fieldtrip to a local farm. They have the opportunity to interview a farmer, so they come up with questions that they would like to ask. After conducting interviews and returning to school, students create a scrapbook about the entire experience.