Field Trip Notes
Part of planning for a school trip is writing a field trip note to family members. A well written note will not only reassure family members, but it will also reduce the number of questions that a teacher will get from family members.
Start your field trip note with a greeting that is inclusive. There are many types of families. In the past, many teachers used the greeting, “Dear parents and guardians”. However, using the greeting, “Dear family members” is much more inclusive. Not only are you including the adults in the family unit, you are also including students.
After the greeting, consider starting your field trip note on a friendly note. Here are some examples:
- I am so excited to inform you that we are going on a field trip!
- Great news! Our class is going on a field trip!
Next, write a sentence that tells the family members where and when you are going on the field trip. Here are some examples:
- We will be going to the Indianapolis Zoo on Monday, October 25, 2021.
- The third grade will be going to Prairie State College to see the play, “Harriet Tubman” on February 16, 2021.
It is important to let family members know why you are going on the field trip. Your field trip should tie-in with a learning unit and state standards. Many teachers choose to write the state standards as I can statements to make it more accessible to family members. Take a look at these examples:
- As you are aware, our class has been studying the history of Chicago. Visiting the Chicago History Museum will allow students to gather research for their final project. This trip will cover the following state standards…
- The second grade has been busy learning about life cycles. A visit to the Hilbert Conservatory at the Indianapolis Zoo will allow students to view the life cycle of butterflies. This trip will address the following NGSS standards…
Next, provide the family members with details about the trip. Make sure that you include the time you are leaving school and the time you expect to return to the building. Include information on how you are getting to the field trip site. Will you be walking, taking a school bus, carpooling, or taking a train? Provide more details about what students will be doing during the field trip. Will students be participating in a hands-on program? Will the class be participating in a self-guided tour?
Your note should also include information about snacks and lunches. If you decide that a snack is needed make sure that you let family members know about any snack restrictions. Many teachers ask caregivers to not send nut-free snacks due to food allergies. They may also ask caregivers to refrain from snacks that require a spoon or fork. Lunch details are also necessary. Make sure that you include where you are eating lunch. Will lunch be outside at a picnic area? Will lunch occur in a lunchroom at the field trip site? Will students eat lunch when they return to school? If students are bringing a sack lunch on the trip, many teachers request that reusable containers not be packed as they often get misplaced on the trip. If students will be eating at a site restaurant or stopping at a restaurant for lunch, make sure to include the location and the price of the meal. It is also important to describe the meal as many students have dietary restrictions.
The field trip note should also include information on how to dress for the field trip. If students will be outside for the field trip make sure to let family members know that proper shoes and clothing will be needed. It’s always a good idea to ask students to bring a raincoat or windbreaker in case of rain. If students are attending a play or musical, you may want to include a dress code.
If there is a cost associated with the field trip, include this in your note. Make sure to let family members know when the money is due to the school. Many field trip venues require the money in advance. Also note if you are only accepting cash or if you are accepting checks or an electronic payment such as Mobile Permissions.
A field trip note should also include information about needs to be brought on the trip and any items that are not to be brought on the trip. Will students need to bring cell phones or should they be left at school? Do you want students visiting a gift shop to purchase a souvenir or do you want to avoid shopping? Clear state your expectations in the note.
Let family members know if you require chaperones for the trip. Outline the responsibilities for the chaperones. Will chaperones be in charge of a group? How many students will be in the group? Will chaperones be required to travel with the students to the field trip or can they meet the class at the site? Make sure that you indicate how many chaperones you will need and how you will be choosing the chaperones. Many teachers pick names out of a hat, while others use a first come basis.
Consider creating a table that includes the most important information about the field trip.
Consider creating a table that includes the most important information about the field trip. This allows family members to easily see the information at a glance. Check out this letter.
Finally, attach the permission slip to the letter. Better yet, eliminate the need to make multiple copies of the permission slip by providing a link to https://www.mobilepermissions.com/. Mobilepermissions.com allows teachers to send permission slips electronically to a family member’s cell phone. Parents can sign the permission slip electronically and return it to the teacher using their cell phone. The best part is that service is free!
Electronic signatures would make things easier for all parties involved, especially the school secretaries and teachers who have to constantly keep a checklist of all the various papers and tasks.
Apps are a great way to allow students to develop their hybrid mind. They connect nature and technology. Our world is highly technological but our basic necessities all come from the earth.
Field trips may seem to be out of reach due to a variety of reasons. In recent years, many school districts have not been able to afford transportation to field trip sites.