Taking a field trip can be a great way to celebrate the culmination of a unit or to inspire students about something new.  Field trips provide great experiences for your students and allow them opportunities to learn beyond the classroom.

Who doesn’t like field trips?  Sure, sometimes we are more tired after a day out of the classroom than in it, but there’s something special about taking a day off from the norm.

If you have the opportunity to take your students to see a concert, visit a museum or attend a play, there are some things you can do to get the most out of the experience.  In order to do that, teachers really need to spend the time preparing their students.  Let’s look at what you can do before, during and after the experience.  And of course there are ways to connect that experience to your curriculum. 

Here, we’ll look at how this works if you are attending a concert, play or museum, but keep in mind that the following applies to all kinds of field trips.

Take a field trip!

Before

GET A PROGRAM 

If you call the theater or concert hall where the performance will take place, you can usually get a program in advance.  In some cases, for school groups especially, there will be a packet of information and/or activities for teachers to use before the class attends the performance.  These activities may be something you can collaborate on with another teacher! 

A program can be useful in gathering basic knowledge about the performance you will attend.  Not only does it give the names of the pieces and composers, but often a program will have story summaries, historical background information or even reflections from the artists.  This kind of information can be helpful in integration.  Maybe the music or story was written in a time of history you are studying, maybe the music is a good accompaniment to your unit on poetry, or maybe the music comes from a country you are studying.

Similarly, a brochure from a museum may provide good background information that will get students excited for the field trip!

LISTEN AHEAD OF TIME

Listening to and familiarizing your students with the music you will hear is a great way to prepare your students for a performance.  Having a familiarity with the music will make a concert much more enjoyable.  For a play, you can watch or read stories that are related to the storyline.  Students may also enjoy Googling the art and artists you will see at a museum or performance.

PREPARE YOUR AUDIENCE

Your students should be familiar with what to expect if they are attending a performance or walking the halls of a museum.  For many students, this may be the first (and only) time they get to do something like this!

A good member of the audience is polite, respectful of the performers and other audience members, claps loudly at the appropriate times and dresses accordingly.  By being polite and respectful, your students are allowing others to enjoy the performance.  This means they need to be quiet throughout.  Once seated, all audience members should remain in their seats for the duration of the concert.

Taking the time to go over expectations is well worth it!

During

ENJOY

Make sure the experience is enjoyed.  I guarantee that if you have prepared your students, they will enjoy it. 

Students love listening to music they recognize and seeing plays they are familiar with.

Having some knowledge about any art or artist can really make the experience much more enriching!

at a museum

After

REFLECT

Reflection time is important and students should be able to reflect on the whole experience!  

Their reflections can be as simple or elaborate as you want.  Here are some ideas:

  • A simple conversation or journal entry: What was your favorite part and why? 
  • Write a recount of the events of the day. 
  • Write a social story that includes all the events of the day and how they reacted to them.
  • Have the students write a poem about the experience. 
  • Write a short story based on their experience at the concert hall. 
  • Write a procedure on what to do when attending a concert.
  • Students can create a how to video (attend a concert, act at a museum, etc.) for future classes.

 

Be sure to utilize the excitement of a field trip in your classroom before and after the big day “off” of school.  

 

This article is adapted from the original Field Trip Time! by Elizabeth M. Peterson Copyright © 2004 which was part of the Music For Every Classroom series.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (for teachers)