If you are looking to learn how to plan a field trip, then you found the right place! Field trips can be so stressful, but they don’t have to be. My first ever field trip was an absolute disaster! It began with me making over 20 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my kitchen the night before because I didn’t know teachers in my school district were supposed to order bagged lunches for each student and ended with me frantically trying to find a missing group at Sea World in Orlando (not a location I recommend taking for your first-ever field trip as a brand new teacher). The good news is that over the years I have perfected the art of the field trip and have combined all of those tips for you into an easy-to-read field trip guide. Read below to learn how to plan a field trip!
5 Steps for How to Plan a Field Trip
Below are 5 steps for how to plan a field trip as an elementary teacher.
1. Download the Field Trip Guide for Elementary Teachers
This field trip guide includes tips and ideas for teachers to take the stress out of planning and taking a field trip as well as a printable pages to use with your students before, during and after the excursion. It will provide elementary teachers (and camp staff) everything needed to take the stress and chaos out of taking your students on adventures. You’ll be amazed at what a smooth and positive experience you’ll have.
It includes lots of printables for you to use when planning and prepping for the trip as well as lots of great activities for the kids to do before and after the trip to make it a purposeful event. It also includes lots of fun printables to use on the bus to keep the kids engaged. The chaperones and bus driver will thank you!
This 50+ field trip guide resource includes the following:
- Teacher Tip Guide (lots of ideas for planning and taking a stress free trip)
- Printable Planning Organizers
- Permission Slips
- Permission Slip / Money Checklist Organizer
- Chaperone Organizers and Printables
- Bus seating Chart
- Reminder Bracelets for Students
- Behavior Expectation Activities
- KWL to set a purpose for the trip
- Virtual Field Trip Research Activity
- Printable Activity Pages for the Bus Ride (They’ll be so quiet and engaged!)
- Class Book Cover
- Writing Pages / Stationary
- Chaperone Thank You Notes
2. Download the Supplements if They Apply
You may also be interested in my two supplements for the field trip guide:
3. Read the Planning Guide
Read the 16 page field trip guide for everything you need to know about doing a field trip. It will walk you through planning the trip (how to select a location, choose a date, prepare for your visit, plan for chaperones, manage permission slips, communicate with families, prepare your students for the trip, plan ahead for lunch, etc.). You’ll also get tips for the day of the trip and after the trip.
4. Select, Print, and Make Copies of the Printables You’ll Use
The field trip guide includes tons of printables to choose from. Select which ones fit your needs and print them. Make copies as needed. Be sure to make extra copies for when families need a replacement.
5. Complete the Steps Outlined in the Field Trip Guide
The field trip guide includes everything you need to do and know for how to plan a field trip. You’ll rest easy knowing that you haven’t missed a thing and your field trip will go off without a hitch! You can breathe a huge sigh of relief!
How to Organize Forms, Permission Slips, and Money
Elementary teachers have a lot to manage when it comes to planning and attending field trips: Collecting and organizing forms, permission slips, and money, finding chaperones, setting up groups, bringing inhalers and other medical devices your students need, keeping track of your class while on the bus and field trip, and more! There is a lot of responsibility that goes with going on a field trip. If money is not accounted for, guess whose pocket it comes out of… You guessed it! Yours! If an emergency occurs during the field trip and you need to get in touch with parents and you don’t have the necessary forms at hand, guess who’s liable… You guessed it again! You! It is very important to protect yourself and your students by having all of the forms, permissions slips, and money organized and in a safe place, but how do we manage all of that seamlessly? Check out the recommendations on organization and management tools and strategies below!
3 Tips for Organizing and Managing Forms
1. Collect and Store Everything in a Safe Place
Be sure to have a secure place to store the money you are collecting. If it goes missing from your classroom you will most likely be responsible for it.
Small Envelopes or Ziploc Bags
If I am collecting money, I attach an envelope or zipper baggy that is also labeled with the students’ names or numbers. This really helps to prevent the need to do detective work to match a rogue $5.00 bill with a permission slip.
Use a large envelope to collect forms and money. Preprint a class list along with the items you are expecting the students to return and attach it to the cover. As they begin bringing them back to school you can highlight their name on the cover and store it inside.
While most permission slips require an actual pen and paper signature, there are many forms that can be completed digitally. This is especially true if you send home monthly book orders. Taking advantage of their online ordering process has many benefits, including more free books for the classroom and not needing to actually handle the money or order forms. Whenever possible, replace an actual paper form with a digital option.
2. Use Student Numbers
Prior to sending home the forms, I take a minute to write each student’s number in the upper right hand corner. This serves two purposes: it allows me to easily order the papers to see who is missing one and proactively takes care of any forms that may come in without a student name and a squiggle of a parent signature that would require a handwriting expert to decipher.
3. Collaborate with Colleagues
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your colleagues if you have questions that are specific to your school district and its policies. Oftentimes, they are happy to help and are doing the same tasks in real time because they are going on the same field trip even if it’s a different day.
On a related note, if you do send home book club forms, you might want to consider doing so as a grade level. The bonus points tend to increase based on the amount of sales you have which will get you more books for the classrooms. Also, you can alternate the responsibility of handling the orders which can be quite time consuming.