Monday, March 25, 2013

Virtual Field Trips - Bring the World to Your Classroom

Yesterday we returned from a five-day field trip to Washington, D.C and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  For California kids, this trip provides an opportunity to learn first-hand about the heroes and events that shaped our country.  To see and hear the stories from the sources intrigued the students the most.  Being in D.C. and Gettysburg allowed them to literally touch their past in a way no book can. 

When trips like this are not an option, virtual field trips can be an invaluable resource.   Most are cross-curricular and offer strategies for differentiation.   Check out these options, you may find something fun for your classroom!

  • California Learning Resource Network: Search for ‘virtual field trip’.  You will find a collection that includes science, history and ELA. 
  • Google Lit Trips:  Jerome Burg’s site takes students on a Google Earth adventure as they travel along with the characters in a number of well-known books. 
  • One Survivor Remembers:  From Teaching Tolerance, this is a first-hand account of a young girl determined to survive the horrors of the Holocaust.  I use this kit to both prepare my students for their visit to the U.S. Holocaust Museum, but also to teach about the costs of bigotry, injustice and hatred in their world.
  • The Jason Project:  Connects students to real science and exploration with the goal of inspiring students to study and pursue careers in STEM fields.
  • Reach the World: Students can connect with world travelers to develop face-to-face interaction and build world geography knowledge.  
  • The Smithsonian’s Museum of American History: Their Decoding History tour takes us along with Lewis and Clark, Lincoln and the Star-Spangled Banner. 
  • Immigration:  Use Scholastic’s tour of Ellis Island as part of your lessons on immigration.  
CC Connection: Virtual trips can help students attain 21st century skills as well as meet CCSS - Reading: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas anchor standards 7 – 9; Writing: Research to Build and Present Knowledge 7 – 9; as well as other curriculum standards. 

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