Congratulations to the winners of our Early Childhood Winning Ideas Monthly Contest! Each of these entrants - teachers just like you - won $50 in Scholastic products for sharing their ideas. Thanks to everyone who submitted to the contest. And remember to check the latest contest topic for more chances to win!
Community Field Trip
By Melissa Haile
Every school year I pre-plan several field trips around the community to connect children to the real world and get the community involved in helping to educate our youth. All trips tie into our core curriculum touching topics related to reading, math, science and social studies. Parents are encouraged to chaperone these trips and are informed of our field trip schedule at the beginning of the year so they may request time off of their own jobs to participate on our field trip days. One of the very best field trips I have taken my kindergarten class has been our trip to Cold Stone Creamery, a local ice cream shop in the community. My students had been studying the letter Ii and our shared reading unit included literature about food, cooking, following recipes, 2-3 step directions, healthy bodies, and washing hand/germs. Prior to our field trip, we read the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (The store manager used this story as reference when the students learned about making ice cream). On the day of the trip I took several parents, students, and I walked three blocks to Cold Stone Creamery. Students were escorted to the rear of the shop (kitchen area) and were given a tour of the facility, directions on how to make real cream ice cream, we made our own ice cream in the machines, went to the front of the shop and created our very own ice cream sundaes. When we returned to our school students wrote a story using the writing frame of first, next, and last to describe their experience. By the end of the week we had written and sent 25 thank-you notes to the manager of the store to thank her for her time and effort. The entire cost of our trip was $1.60 per child. Some tips to remember when planning are: Find trips in your community that connect the learning experience in the classroom, plan in advance, discuss with your field trip host(s) what exactly you want your children to experience and know what to expect, ask for group discounts, always take chaperones (especially parents), collect any fees at least 1 week prior to the trip, put name tags on all children and chaperones with their first name and school, and send thank you letters to your field trip host(s), parents/chaperones, and bus driver. Other great sites to visit in your community: grocery stores, local farms, dentist office, hospital tours, city/county library, Red Lobster and other restaurants.
By Kelly Brown
One of my favorite field trips cost about 2.00 per child! It was when my class got to meet their Pen Pals from another school at a county park. Each student was paired with another first grade student from a different school in my county. This field trip was a great; my students got to actually meet the person they had been writing letters back and forth to throughout the school year. It was honestly one of the BEST motivators for letter writing because there was a purpose and they knew someone was going to read it. When they would get a letter from their pen pal, they were always so excited to get that brown envelope that was sent to our class. It was amazing how hard they would work to do their BEST writing. They wanted their pen pal to be able to read what they had written. My kids loved having pen pals! Although the main purpose for this trip was to meet their pen pal, they also loved playing at the park and having a picnic. I make scrapbooks for each of my students for the end of the year so I would always take a picture with their pen pal to add to the book. Having parents to go on this trip was really easy. They wanted to be able to meet their child's pen pal as well. Since I did have parent volunteers join us on this trip, I would break up the class and assign them to an adult to be in charge of them. It was such a neat trip!
Our Community- Past to Present
The best field trip I ever did was when I was teaching Pre-K for a private school. We had spent the month studying our community and I really wanted the children to get a sense of the community from its origination to present day. We began our trip at a local park where we enjoyed snack at the picnic tables then fed the ducks in the duck pond. Every child was allowed to select one rock from the water's edge to take with us back to school.
From the park, we went to our local history museum. There was a display at the time showing toys from settlement days. The children enjoyed seeing what children from long ago played with and then got to practice "panning for gold" using original tools that miners in the area used at one time. They loved both experiences! We then stepped out of the past into present day by visiting our local Chili's restaurant. They provided an amazing tour of the facilities that was age appropriate and then all of the children and chaperones were treated to lunch! After returning to school, the children made a lovely thank-you card for Chili's and painted their rocks as a remembrance of the wonderful day! We had a great time and it only cost the children $5 each! The children continued to discuss the differences between the past and present long into the future!
By Erika Choate
Our kindergarten class has big buddies (High School Child Development Students) that do activities with the same group of children one day every other week all school year. The Child Development class goes with us on our field trip to the zoo at the end of the year and is in charge of their group of children for the field trip that day. We take a few extra adults (depending on the size of the group) with us and have them supervise the groups as well, but having the high school students with us really helps with supervision and gives the children a chance to see a bit more at the zoo.
From Kindergarten to College
By Katie Ensell
The end of the year rolls around and my kindergarten class has done so well! How ever will I be able to award all their hard work and effort, while promoting a love and value of education?? COLLEGE!! Each year I take my kindergarten class to The Ohio State University for an informal tour. I attended OSU, so I know the ins and outs of the Campus. We visit the "rock" museum and see a VERY old fossil. We walk through the Oval [and even got free cotton candy!....which I kept for them to take home]. We eat lunch at the tiniest pizza shop ever where the patrons have a good time talking with my students. [One time, a customer even bought our $11 extra-large pizza] We visit the bookstore and talk about reading with the patrons there, and even buy pencils! We walk by the 'Shoe where the Bucks play football. On the way back to school.....they sleep...... I smile. I have effectively promoted a love for college without ever having to lecture, demand, persuade, or beg. Those kids LOVE College because they have SEEN it. College is a real thing to them now. [Come on, Constructivists, this is engaging, hands-on learning that they're internalizing!] This is the greatest thing that I think a teacher can do to ultimately promote higher education at any level. College isn't just a name any more that they hear about.... it's a place they've been, and a place they want to go.
[[[ Attached is a picture of Orton Hall, home of the "rock museum"]]]
OSU Trip (17) 2.JPG (178 kb)