I work extremely hard with my teachers to provide some innovative Educational Travel Programs (ETP) reflecting their teaching plans, curricula, objectives, and some personal interests or requests. And all this effort would go to waste if their students were not prepared for the ETP.
Some of my teachers are faced with students traveling on the trip who had not been in their classes. Some schools combine two grades so the trip acts as both an introduction and reinforcement. Some school combine with another school (like my Alaska and Missouri schools) in order to be able to afford the program. (In this case the teachers need to be on the same page and communicate. I also like to suggest email /pen pals so the students can get to know one another before the ETP.)
To aid my teachers, I arrange to have curriculum materials forwarded to them by the educational sites we plan to visit. Almost all educational departments of museums and historic venues have curriculum materials free of charge for school groups who will be visiting. Occasionally, curriculum-based teaching plans as well as background information can be downloaded from the respective websites. Sometimes a teacher can be fortunate enough to receive a CD-ROM or a DVD. Posters are also popular.
One teacher that I had worked with for over ten years retired and her replacement had a totally different approach to the ETP. When I asked the new teacher what her objectives were, she indicated that she would like to include Annapolis since she was born in Maryland! During the discussion I learned that she also loved Edgar Allen Poe! We've decided to replace Williamsburg and Jamestown (a bold move) with Annapolis and Baltimore (of course, visiting Washington, DC) then head up to an Underground Railroad experience and culminating with a tour of Gettysburg battlefield. To make things more interesting, I have arranged an Edgar Allen Poe night tour to visit his grave and then have an historic character interpreter of Poe step out from behind the grave to recite, The Raven and have a Q&A with those students who are still alive.
Although this is not part of her school or state curriculum, she will be doing her part to introduce the students to Poe through his writings and biography, as well as some study concerning the history of Maryland, the U.S. Naval Academy, Washington, DC, and the Underground Railroad. She is also preparing a workbook/journal. (The necessity of journals and/or workbooks will be discussed in another posting in February.)
Another California public school is embarking on an all New York State ETP! Well, not all New York State as we have to fly into Cleveland, OH, because the flight logistics to Buffalo were too difficult. En route to our original starting place, Niagara Falls, we (yes, I'm on this one) will be breaking up our drive with a visit to the Erie Maritime Museum in Pennsylvania. I'm actually looking forward to my first visit to this museum as they have a recreation of Perry's USS Niagara and present the War of 1812 in depth.
Obviously, New York State history is not part of the California SOL's, but through New York State we can include everything from Native Americans; European explorers; French and Indian War; US War of Independence; War of 1812; Industrial Revolution; the Erie Canal; Water Power/electricity; Geology; the Civil War, yes, the Civil War; the Underground Railroad; Women's Rights; Labor Movement; Immigration; USMA at West Point, and all the usual New York City tour stuff including Mary Poppins on Broadway! The Principal of the school and another administrator or school board member normally accompany this group.
And the personal requests for this group? Cooperstown and a NY deli lunch at Katz's! The ETP Genie was able to grant all his wishes! (Cooperstown was the deal-maker!).
This particular teacher has also adopted the concept of the, 'Travel Club', and is currently busy creating workbooks for the students. he is overwhelmed by the quality of the curriculum materials he has received!
The Educational Tour Marm