Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Planning for Nature's Classroom

Hi All,

I am back from April Break and enjoyed a week off, relaxing and hanging out...which was just what the doctor ordered.  My student teacher is still in full take-over this I am keeping busy prepping for our annual trip to Nature's Classroom.  Do any of you take this trip with your students?
We take about 140 6th graders away from three days and two nights to a site in Ivoryton, CT where they get to interact with nature, and with some earthy-crunchy-granola passionate teachers who are really cool.  They go one field group hikes, where they learn all sorts of cool things about nature, animals, plants, etc. They also get to take classes hosted by those same teachers covering topics from dissection of animals like sharks or frogs to using items found in nature to making your own spa products.  They make rope bridges and hunt for different kinds of rocks.  It is always usually a great trip.

Since I have a problem letting other people be in control and a problem saying no when asked to do something, I have been heading up this trip for the last three years.  Right now I am in the thick of planning, determining dorms, room numbers, and where students go in each dorm.  Then there are field groups and table assignments to arrange, not to mention a variety of medical issues to cover.  Thank goodness for excel and all of its cool tricks!

The hardest part of the trip for me is the chaperones - finding enough teachers to cover the trip is always a challenge, especially since the majority of my sixth grade team mates have young children at home.  Plus - with 80+ boys and only 1 male teacher on staff...we usually end up hiring chaperones from NC - which can be a challenge.

It is a lot to keep in my brain, all of the elements of this trip, but the looks on the students' faces make it worthwhile.  Students that struggle in the traditional classroom setting, tend to excel at Nature's Classroom - keeping active all day and getting their hands dirty (literally and figuratively).  While we teachers are exhausted at the end of the three days - I believe the trip is worth every bit of worry and stress.

This is the only field trip we go on in sixth grade.  Do you all have any great field trips you take your class on?  I would love to hear some great ideas!

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