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Learning about famous artwork has always been interesting to me, but this interests peaks when I get to see the artwork in real life! The same will ring true for your students. Seeing artwork online and in art history books is great but viewing these masterpieces in real life gives you a totally different take. You are able to experience the actually size of it! This is a whole new experience compared to seeing it in a book. The details and textures come to life.
My art club has gone on several field trips from the Weisman Art Museum in Minnesota, to the Des Moines Art Center, and even the wonderful Waterloo Center for the Arts. Here are a few tips to on how to make this experience a success.
1. Fundraise to help cover the cost – Throughout the year you can use various fundraisers including Art on a Cart: A Money Maker not a Program Breaker to help bring in money to support this wonderful field trip! After adding up how much money you raised then check out where you can go for that amount! Need more fundraising ideas check out The Top 5 Ways to Fundraise for Your Art Program.
2. Reserve Your Ride Well in Advance –Use school vehicles, like suburbans, to allow more students to fit into one vehicle. This also helps to keep your group together and eases parent drivers. Make sure you fill out the correct paperwork to reserve these, or the tennis team might sweep them out from under you. This happened to me last year.
3. Check out what events you can get for Free! – Often admittance to museums is free. Check out sculpture gardens around the area for another great idea at no cost to you! The Pappa John Sculpture Garden in Des Moines was wonderful.
4. Form a Schedule for the Day But make sure you give yourself an extra 30 minutes as each stop! Everything takes longer when traveling with a group of students. Allow this extra cushion of time so there are no worries when someone needs to make a restroom stop. This will allow you to know that you are right on track and that you will have students back to school when you let parents know you would.
5. Make sure you know your route! Print maps if you must –Nothing beats getting lost with students and parents along. Print extra maps for parents or print a sheet with each stop including the address so parents can put it into their own smartphone or GPS guide.
6. Include a Parent Permission Slip and Letter –Even though students might already be covered by a more general field trip release form, it is always a great idea to have parents see the day’s agenda and sign release for their student to go on the field trip. This will allow both you and parents to feel at ease because the lines of communication are kept open! Here is the letter that I sent out to parents about our most recent field trip. Click on the image below to download my letter to get ideas as you make your own.
7. Grab a few Chaperons to help – Parents love to be included in special events, and some will even drive their own vehicle if needed! Just make sure they go through the right steps through your business office to be sure they can safely transport students.
8. Preview the museum websites and artwork with the students before you go – Students will truly enjoy the artwork more if they know a bit of background on the pieces. It is what makes seeing famous artwork even more exciting.
9. Take lots of pictures – Taking students to see artwork and museums is something that most students will remember for a very long time! You are creating memories that will last a lifetime. Create a short movie to share with parents about your day. Also be sure to share photos with the students.
I hope this helps you to organize your next art field trip. It is a great way to build advocacy for the arts and your art program!
What other tips do you have for organizing special trips with your students?
Share your experiences.