Five Tips For Field Trips

Core scripture: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)

Message: Two words this time of year can epitomize exuberance, stress, dissention, joy, frustration, elation, laughter, and chaos all rolled into one.  Those two words?


Oh, yes, you know what I am talking about.  The planning.  The grouping of kids.  Parent volunteers.  Who is going to supervise who?  I think maybe going to an NFL draft forum might be interesting.  “With the first pick in the draft, Mr. Daniels selects … Johnny Star Student!”  I would probably be wheeling and dealing, trading up and asking for future field trip draft picks as well. 

If you haven’t guessed, we are getting ready for our big field trip to the Mahaffie Farmstead on Friday.  I already think I am in over my head considering my good friend Mr. Billings looked pleasantly surprised when I chose his supposedly rowdy class to supervise.  As we finalize our plans soon, let’s explore a few tips for field trips.

  • Tip 1: Provide incentives.  This one is a no brainer.  Mrs. Svatos has already made the declaration that you will not be going on the field trip if your grade is in poor shape.  One of hew lower kids spiked from a lowly 8% to nearly passing in the blink of an eye.  Did someone say dangling a carrot doesn’t work this time of year?  Pshh!
  • Tip 2: Plan ahead.  Proverbs 21:5 states, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”  Be proactive and think worst case scenario.  Your problems could be solved before they even arise.  In the end, just ensure that you keep your students safe and enjoy hands on learning. 
  • Tip 3: Provide structure.  Kids need boundaries.  Amen?  Inform the kids ahead of time about the expectations, rules, and regulations.  And then hold to it when you get there.  This will keep them safe and secure.  For example, set limits on what they can do while eating a sack lunch.  Don’t just allow them to eat wherever and do whatever they want.
  • Tip 4: Let your guard down a bit.  Have intentional conversations with your kids on the bus ride over.  Find out a little about what makes your students tick.  Ask questions.  Give godly counsel back to them.  Smile a bit.  Tell them a story from your own experiences in life.  Those connections will be priceless in your students’ hearts, and you will have opportunities for enriching relationships.  Kids remember that stuff!
  • Tip 5: Be Christ to others.  We will be sure to come across plenty of Mahaffie volunteers and employees.  Show them your faith through your actions.  Be joyful.  Say thank you.  Get to know them if you have the chance.  Be an unashamed Christian and provide witness through your interactions.  It is said best in James 2:18 when James says, “I will show you my faith by my works.”  So powerful.

Some of my favorite moments from teaching and from my own school experience have come on field trips.  School Day at the “K” was a blast to attend a few weeks ago with my son.  I will never forget the trip to the Kansas State Capitol way back in 2007.  And of course, from my childhood, who could forget the magic of Wildwood?  Each trip followed the above regulations to the tee, and those moments are precious in my heart.

It is time to make some memories!  Take lots of pictures.  Immortalize them in a scrapbook when you get home.  Reward good behavior.  It might even be enjoyable to wind down with a lowkey movie when you return.  Just to decompress from the day.  The Lord is sure to bless your time if you tackle the day His way. 

Challenge: Are you heading off on an end of the year field trip soon?  Pay heed to the tips above.  Even if your budget is low and your building cannot afford a field trip, the creativity of a teacher never fails.  You could take a “field trip” to the pond across the way to write a poem.  Or you could engage kids in learning with a fun activity down in the cafeteria when lunch is not being served.  You never know what enjoyment might spring from mixing up the location of class.

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Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …

  • Praise the Lord for the opportunities He provides in learning outside the classroom!
  • Pray for good behavior, safe travels, and enjoyment on field trips. 
  • Pray for the weather to cooperate!  😊

Just for fun: I have taught 7th grade for nearly 20 years, and there has been one consistency through the years as I teach The Outsiders: my students have no clue how to spell Johnny.  I mean, it is a simple name.  John with an “ny” attached to the end.  I have seen Jhonny quite a bit.  Jonny at times or even Jonnie.  And to capitalize his name is quite the added bonus.  Of course, it doesn’t help matters that Johnny’s name is repeated about 100 times in the book, written clearly as JOHNNY, and my students have had access to that book 24/7.  Maybe that could be the challenge word for the Scripps National Spelling Bee?

Prayer: Father, thank you so much for the opportunity to grow our students learning through field trips.  May these days be cherished and do everything to glorify Your name!  Amen. 

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