Saturday, March 7, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Chapter 3 {Field Trips}

Hi All,

I'm linking up with Mrs. Will's Kindergarten for our blogger book study!



It's time for chapter 3 of Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites!!!


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Strategy 3:
Field Trips

"The purpose of the brain is not to make good grades or to score high on standardized tests.  The brain has one purpose - survival in the real world."

Can somebody, anybody PLEASE get this through the thick skulls of our legislators?  I'm seeing more and more teachers feeling more and more compelled to teach to the test - focusing their efforts on test prep rather than STELLAR teaching.  I'm not at all, not even a little bit, saying I blame them. I completely understand their plight - I recently purchased a test prep pack myself and I would have NEVER thought I'd feel compelled to do that.  

What do I always say?  BALANCE & MODERATION people...that's where it's at!

Marcia Tate goes on to say..."Is it any wonder that the places that you travel to in the real world are long remembered? This would make the strategy of field trips one to be remembered."

We are finishing up our learning of plants in science.  We culminate this unit by going to a local metropark where the students get to see everything we've been learning in its natural setting.  It's no surprise that I have third and fourth graders and even high school students come back to me and ask if I remember the time we tapped maple trees and made pancakes back at school?  Of course I remember, it was snowing and FREEZING...HA!



Aside from remembering the experience they remember the content.  Isn't that what this whole book is about?  Providing as many experiences as we can for our students to cultivate those dendrites...we want them to make connections to their learning in such a way that they won't easily forget their meaning.  

What I think I appreciate most about this chapter is that Marcia Tate acknowledges the fact that we might not all be able to take field trips - they can be costly.  That shouldn't stop you from giving your students a change of scenery.  I know sometimes I get stuck inside the confines of the four walls of my classroom  - but once I remember to think outside of that physical box my imagination can create experiences for my students that closely resemble that of an actual field trip.


Some other ways you can change the scenery:

*Take a walk around the inside of the school - clipboard in hand - looking for writing ideas
*Visit another classroom in your school - buddies
*Skype/FaceTime with other classrooms around your district, country, world

Some Virtual Websites to Consider:

While you and I knew their importance and significance in a child's learning - isn't it nice to have research to back it?

"Field trips, including those that are virtual, enable teachers to create as many authentic, experiential experiences as possible.  These spatial memories are embedded in the brain and need no rehearsal." {Fogarty, 2001}

How do you incorporate field trips into your instruction?  
Do you go on more than one field trip each year?
If you aren't able to go on field trips - what are some ideas you've done instead?



16 comments:

  1. I love your idea of taking clipboards outside to look for writing ideas! Could be very helpful to those kiddos that struggle to come up with topics. Writing outside could really get the senses involved and could help the kids add details to their writing!

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    1. I find that how often we go to our outdoor classroom varies from year to year - some years, it's just too distracting for my learners...other years, they can handle it better. I guess, with anything, the more you do it - the less distracted they'll be. That's my goal for this year - once the weather breaks, I'm going to try to do it at least once a week!

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  2. Thank you for sharing different ideas for teachers that aren't able to take field trips. I know that we are not the "norm" when it comes to be able to take them and other teachers will really appreciate that!

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    1. I'm happy to be reminded of the various ways I can give my students experiences that travel beyond the walls of our classroom!

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  3. I just commented on another blog saying that I love how this chapter reminded us that a field trip doesn't have to be getting on a bus to go somewhere. How fun for the kids would it be to tell them, "Get your clipboards, we are going on a field trip!" I think they would just be so excited about learning! I love doing buddy activities with other classes in the school. My kindergarten kids love working with the older kids! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

    recipeforteaching

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    1. That reminds me of when my own kiddos were smaller - we would call our family outings to the museum, zoo or even the mall a "field trip" and they loved it! I'll have to say that the next time I take my students on an "adventure" around our school!

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  4. My class loves any chance to go outside to read too. We don't have an outdoor classroom quite like yours but there are plenty of benches and picnic tables we can use. I think it would be fun to buddy up with a blogging buddy's classroom and Skype with them! I never even considered that! Thanks for the great idea Holly!

    Creative Lesson Cafe

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    1. Any chance we can help our students think about the world outside of our own little community is a great opportunity for some awesome learning!

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    2. I would love to use skype for a classroom virtual field trip! I have played around with the idea of connecting with other classrooms in different parts of the country before but have never taken the plunge. Thank you for putting that idea back in my mind as something that would be beneficial to my students! I have to check out some of those links to virtual field trips that you shared, thank you for the great ideas!

      Enjoy your weekend!

      Jayme
      Teach Talk Inspire

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    3. Hi Jayme - you could even Skype with another classroom in your school or district - baby steps sometimes helps a person take the bigger ones!

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  5. I am so enjoying reading your thoughts during this book study. I am learning so much from you. I agree sometimes the best trips are just right outside our classroom. During my weather unit, I love for us just to go outside, lay on the ground and watch the clouds. It's amazing what the world looks like when you change the perspective.

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    1. Isn't that the truth? Just sitting and letting your imagination go wild - something, I bet, many children don't take the time to do because they didn't realize it was something they COULD do! Thanks for your kind words!

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  6. Holly,

    I agree with you so much from so many aspects! You are exactly right! We have to make it our mission to give meaningful experiences. That means we have to be creative. Thank you for your passion in education.

    Kara
    http://purposefulteachingandlearning.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Kara!

      And sometimes being creative is tiring - right? That's why I love this book so much. It hasn't really said anything that I didn't already know {yet}, but it definitely confirms what we do and what we know and reminds us that it's important to hold tight to what we know is best for our students!!!!

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  7. Holly,
    I loved reading your reflection on this chapter. I agree 100 percent about testing little guys. My school is piloting the PARCC test and it is CRAZY what third grades are expected to do with on an I PAD!!! We just started keyboarding in kindergarten because of that! Happy Sunday! Melissa

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    1. Thanks a bunch! It really is insane what we are asking of out little ones - you just have to take the "do the best you can" approach...keyboarding in kindergarten? Yikes - can their little fingers even handle that!?!?

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