Student Friendly Field Trip Follow-Ups

I am taking each and every one of my 315 students to the Des Moines Art Center this week on 6 individual field trips. While the week ahead will be exhausting, it is also thrilling! I love seeing the look on the faces of my students when they are mere feet away from a piece of art we have studied. I’m always interested in carrying that verve and momentum into the classroom for a meaningful and engaging reflection activity.

One of my favorites asks students to become a curator or collection manager.  For this lesson, students are given a high-interest scenario: they are to write a letter to the art center asking to be lent a piece of art for a school gallery (I give them thumbnails with a bit of information to choose from). They use a letter-writing frame to properly format their request, which is of course granted! Since it is vital for organizations to keep detailed records, students must then fill out an information sheet on the piece for the collection catalog.

Field Trip Reflection


I like this type of field trip follow-up because it goes beyond the “what did you like?” question that bores students and elicits boring answers. The most successful reflection activities, whether it be about a visit to a museum or their own artwork, asks students interesting questions in interesting ways. This same activity can be done in a dozen different ways in response to any number of art experiences…and ties in writing. Boom! What more could a teacher ask for!?

Download and view copy of these reflection forms by clicking on the image above, or right here. They will download in Word for you to edit and use in your own classroom.

How do you follow up field trip experiences?

What are your favorite ways to get students to reflect thoughtfully?

Sarah Dougherty

My name is Sarah Dougherty, and I teach elementary art in a large urban district in central Iowa. I love working with our diverse population of K-5 students to bring art to their homes, communities, and everyday lives.


  • cfrobeyinc

    This is really a great idea and the questions help guide the students since they are more focused than a broad “what did you think”. Having them be a ” curator” or “collector” reminds me of a Webquest I did once with a TAG group of students. Each student had a role in studying the artist Picasso (biographer, studio apprentice, gallery curator, etc.) The students enjoyed this technology-based activity while learning about Picasso and his artwork and influence on the greater art and creative community. It would be fun to somehow take what you have done and turn it into some sort of Webquest……my creative wheels are already spinning! Thanks so much for sharing! And many kudos to you for taking all of those students to the Art Center! Yes….tons of energy and time but so important for the students.


    • Cathy,this would be a great tie-in for technology. I can hear your creative wheels spinning from here!

  • jenniferscott

    Good and attractive plan for students friendly field trip follow…

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