to Prepare for Class Trips
school has its own protocol regarding the paperwork for trips. You
may need to complete forms requesting approval or notifying the
cafeteria staff. You need to find out what specific requirements
exist at your school.
When planning a trip you need to consider the educational purpose
for the trip. You should not just be taking a trip for the sake
of getting out of the building for the day. You should easily be
able to incorporate the trip into a lesson plan. It could be a culminating
event or an initiating event for a course of study. For example,
a trip to a planetarium could follow a learning experience on the
solar system. Knowing your goal will help you prepare your students
for the trip. It will assist in the preparation of a trip-related
activity, such as a scavenger hunt or note-taking.
You should actually visit the site before going with your students.
You should become familiar with the design and locations of different
exhibits. For example, if you are visiting the natural history museum
after studying dinosaurs, then you should know where to find Tyrannosaurus
Before you arrange for a trip you should consider the costs. Find
out the admission fees. Some places have reduced prices for schools.
Be aware that there is often a lower price for Title I schools.
You may need to pay for a bus. Many teachers “buddy-up”
in order to defray this cost. You need to consider tolls, parking
fees, and tips.
You must make arrangements with the place you plan to visit. Call
in advance to make a reservation. You will need to provide the date,
number of students, name, address and telephone number of your school
and the name of a contact person (the person who arranges for the
trip). A confirmation notice is usually sent to that person.
Some teachers “buddy - up” with another teacher and
class for a trip. This can help cut the cost of the bus. It also
provides support during the trip. If you plan to do this, then you
need to find out the group size limitation of the bus and the place
you intend to visit.
I keep a large envelope file just for trips. In it I keep copies
of all paperwork required for trips. I then make “trip packets”
for each trip I have planned. In each packet I have copies of the
paperwork I filed with the school, lunch requests, confirmation
notices, bus contracts, a class list and permission slips. I keep
the packets in chronological order.
You will also need to arrange for transportation. If you are using
public transportation (bus or subway) you need to fill out a request
form. You will need to know the address of your destination and
the stops you will be using. Do this in advance. You will need to
receive approval and a form that you must present to the token clerk
or bus driver.
Every school is allotted a certain number of free buses. Speak with
your school trip coordinator to find out about the availability
of a bus for your trip. If you are using a free bus then you need
to get the bus first and then arrange the trip for that date.
If you are renting your own bus you need to call the bus company
and request a bus for a specific date. You will need to provide
the name and address of the destination (i.e. Museum of Natural
History at Central Park West and West 81st Street). You will also
need to know the number of students attending the trip (class register)
and the number of buses you require. You must also request seat
Permission slips should be distributed well in advance of the trip.
It is unfair and inconsiderate to give out a permission slip a couple
of days before the trip when you have known about the trip for months.
I always try to allow two weeks time for the permission slip to
be returned. I generally request that the permission slip be returned
by the Friday before the trip. This allows me the opportunity to
send a “Reminder” note with those students who have
not returned the slip in time.
accordance with the Chancellor's Regulation A-670 a Parent
Notification/Consent Form Day Trip document must be on file
for each student attending a trip. This is basically a permission
slip, but it's a long permission slip. It is two pages. I usually
copy it onto one sheet of paper (front and back). You need to complete
the top portion of this form with specific information regarding
your school and trip. I usually complete one form, copy copies for
my entire class and then fill in their names at the top. The parents
must complete the remainder of the form and sign it. In addition,
I usually attach a simple sheet
to each form that details the who, what, where, when, and how much
it will cost .
the students bring in the permission slips, and any money required,
I immediately place everything in my trip envelope file. When I
have time, I go through the envelope and check the names of the
students who returned the slips on the class list. I staple all
the permission slips together with the class list and I save them
until after the trip.
Make sure that you have parents to join you on the trip. One parent
for every five students is a good ratio. Make sure that the parents
and students understand that the parents are there to assist you
and the entire class.
I also keep a “trip box.” In this box I store nametags,
band-aids, tissues, baby wipes, paper towels (individual sheets
torn off the role), rubber gloves, and plastic bags which I keep
in individually sealed plastic bags. I have a class list of students
and emergency contact numbers. I also store a disposable camera.
On the morning of the trip I take the contents of this box and place
them directly into my backpack. I also put the confirmation notice,
bus contract and money in the backpack. In addition, I bring my
identification, cell phone, note pad and a pen.
Every student must have a nametag. I avoid anything that hangs around
the neck or can rip easily. I cover my nametags in clear contact
and attach them with safety pins. The school name, address and telephone
number are on the front of the tag. The student name is on the back.
I pin the nametags on my students before we even leave the classroom.
My school requires that a notice be placed on the classroom door
stating that we are on a trip, the destination, the names of absent
students and students not attending the trip and their placement
(i.e. “Bobby Jones placed in class 1-214”). A duplicate
notice is submitted to the secretary in the main office. I always
include my cell phone number on this paper. This way the school
can contact me in the event of an emergency.
When you board the bus make sure that the students’ seat belts
are secure. Make a note of the bus number. This is written on the
outside of the bus and on the inside by the door. This will help
you when you are looking for your bus to return to school. One yellow
school bus looks much like another.
Word of Warning:
You should want your students to have a variety of experiences.
You should want them to have fun. However, first and foremost you
should want them to be safe. If you do not have control of your
group reconsider taking any trips.