The final countdown has begun. It’s almost time to put the final touches on another school year (and maybe make up a few snow days in the process.) Except for the beginning of the school year, no other time period seems so filled with a sense of urgency: to accomplish one more learning goal; introduce one more spectacular book; give the students one final experience they will remember for a lifetime (or at least until August.)
Time and money are tight for most of us. Field trips are often being scaledback or eliminated entirely. With access to an internet-enabled computer, teachers can take their students on a virtual field trip, tying the experience into the theories being studied or novels being discussed. Check out Web Wonders to find out about some fabulous field trips that you don’t have to leave the school building for!
Visiting Colonial Williamsburg is as simple as clicking ontohttp://www.history.org/history/teaching/eft/index.cfmThis site provides material suitable for students in grades 4 – 8 along with comprehensive teacher guides.
Traveling to the Arctic need not be time consuming or expensive when you go via the Artic Adventure at http://www.polarhusky.com/. Designed for grades K – 12, the programming uses Arctic dogsled expeditions and Arctic research as the vehicle through which students gain an understanding of natural and social sciences while they experience the cultures of the Arctic. Standards-aligned curricula are also available.
Scholastic’s Global Trek, allows elementary level students to choose from a list of countries and are asked to keep a travel journal in order to write about different topics during their online trip. Check out the site at:
Google Lit Trips are free, downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous and popular literature on the surface of Google Earth. At each location along the journey, students in grades kindergarten through high school will find place marks with pop-up windows containing a variety of resources including relevant media, discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about “real world” references made in that particular portion of the story. Google Lit Trips give a 3-D reading experience by placing students ‘inside the story’ traveling alongside the characters( e.g., one can look through the windshield of that old jalopy in The Grapes of Wrath or waddle alongside Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s duckling family in Make Way for Ducklings.
Google Lit Trips aren’t intended to circumvent the need to actually do the reading. They are designed to stimulate higher level thinking skills and to connect the story’s themes and messages to the issues of the real world in which students live. Google Lit Trips is at: http://googlelittrips.com/GoogleLit/Home.html.
Meet Me at the Corner, Virtual Field Trips for Kids takes elementary level students and their teachers on a journey to meet fascinating people and experience rare situations all over the world.
New educational, kid-friendly episodes are uploaded every two weeks. Included are links to fun websites and a learning corner with follow-up questions on the material presented. The Big Apple Book Club provides video book reviews for kids by kids. Meet Me at the Corner is at: http://www.meetmeatthecorner.org/