It always amazes me when I see how the kids react to going on a field trip. The things that really interest them are not always what we expect. For example, while we were waiting outside the school for our bus to pick us up, I was pointing up to a tree where the leaves had turned yellow and I was asking the kids about the changes we have studied in the Fall. While we were talking, an airplane flew high in the sky overhead. The kids started saying that it was a rocket. "Look at the rocket" they kept saying over and over again. Then another kid said, "It's not a rocket, it's a jet." (Thank you smart kid!!!) and they were all like a chorus repeating over and over again "Look at the jet, look at the jet, look at the jet." It was like a broken record.
Then the bus pulled up. For most of the kids, especially new arrivals to the country, the yellow school bus might as well be an amusement park ride. They've seen it on TV, but they've probably never ridden it themselves. They are so excited to climb up onto the bus and sit down with their partner and buckle their seat belt. Then when the bus moves, they clap and squeal and I have to remind them that the driver needs to concentrate.
Finally we arrive at the destination and all they can think about is eating their lunch. For them, bringing a bag lunch is a novelty. I always have to remind them before we leave that we are not eating our lunch on the bus or when we get there. The teacher will tell them when it is time to eat. We see a few exhibits, spend about 10 seconds at each place, and tour large museums and zoos in record time. Then it's time for lunch. That's when I get to see who eats junk and who eats healthy food. It's amazing the direct correlation between Doritos, blue "juice," and low academics. It's always the kids with the sandwich and apple who are more awake and aware at school.
On the bus ride home, about 1/3 or the class falls asleep and I have to gently wake them upon arrival. Then we go into the classroom and resettle into school life. Sometimes we just sit on the rug and listen to songs while I send them all to the bathroom and to drink water. Sometimes we do a project about the trip, it really depends on how worn out we all are. The trip on Friday was pretty tiring so we just relaxed for the last 20 minutes before they had to go to the library prep. and then it was time for dismissal.
On Monday, we'll do some shared writing about the trip and just keep trucking along with literacy. I know that experiences like field trips can make all of the difference for kids in their writing especially. I hope this helps them make those connections that are so necessary to be literate.
P.S. I tipped the driver $10.