Thursday, April 12, 2012

Field Trip Heaven

I contemplated not writing about our zoo field trip because I didn't want to put in writing how well it went. Nothing is suppose to go right on a field trip. Writing about just how good it was might be jinxing myself into a lifetime of horrid field trips. Then again, I've had my fair share of horrid field trips. Like the year I had a child run out of the small museum into a field of poison ivy screaming, "I don't want to be around the bad boys and bad girls." So maybe I earned this. Regardless, the field trip was just about as perfect as you could get. The biggest downside was that only four of my seven children came. Both Brown Bear and Magical were absent. I would have given anything to be at the zoo with both of those boys. It would have been amazing. Yet with only four children how can any field trip go wrong? And did I mention we had 3 adults- me and the two aides? I know, I can feel your glares through the computer. Remember child running through poison ivy screaming. That was the same trip when there was puke after a rough bus ride. Or the field trip when we saw lice in a child's hair while we watched her lean against her friend. Yes, I know bad field trips. So- we have four kids and three teachers and to make matters even better, we got to take a special education bus for my student in a wheel chair. This bus was the cadillac of buses. Every seat had a seatbelt. Yes. I know. The children were belted in. Safetly. Unlike last year when PJ crawled under the seats of the bus screaming his head off while we were on the beltway. Not this trip. I did not have to spend my time reminding children to sit on their bottoms, look forward, sit down, keep their hands in the windows, not to sit on the floor or stand up. While the children were strapped in tightly they quietly chatted to each other, studied the zoo maps I'd given them, and rocked out to the Michael Jackson the bus driver was blaring. For the first time ever I wished the ride would never end. Normally after five minutes on a school bus I'm praying to be magically transported somewhere far, far away without screaming, climbing children. The zoo itself was awesome. All four of my kids had maps so they could decide where we should go next and chart our progress on the map. There is no way I could recreate the map skills lessons we learned that day in the classroom. The maps empowered them to find their way around the zoo. It meant that when Rock Star yelled, "Monkeys!!" she had to be able to show us the monkeys on the map and show us how to get there. I heard more language out of two of my typcally very quiet children than I normally hear. Rock Star loudly counted all the animals- correctly everytime. In the classroom she is usually only 75% correct when she counts. They skipped and hopped around the zoo, pointing to animals on the map and then tracing their fingers to see where we needed to go. (Another benefit of the map was that when they all cried because we couldn't go to the petting farm I could matter of factly show them on the map how far away the farm was instead of grouchily snapping, "NO, because I said so!" as I have done in the past. Even after we'd arrived back at school the language skills continued as they looked at our pictures on the smartboard and chatted away about who they saw and what the animals were doing. Of course, despite our ridiculous student/teacher ratio and the peaceful bus ride I was still exhausted by the end of the day. Although I complain about it, sometimes I think it is a blessing that we are only allowed to go on 2 field trips a year...

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