As it is for most teachers…the first several weeks of school are not always the easiest. Planning a field trip on top of that…yeah right! Now add 19 four and five year olds to the mix and a field trip is pretty much out of the question!
That’s why Skype in the classroom can be such a huge resource! This year, with our Developmental Kindergarten students, instead of going to Schwallier’s Country Basket (during the third week of school), we just Skyped with Farmer Phil! Phil Schwallier, fourth generation apple farmer, walked us through the process of growing apples, what kinds of animals are pests to apple trees and answered some of our own apple questions! The best part about it – we were able to practice what that would look like! In what field trip can you actually practice expectations? Before our Skype call to Farmer Phil, we talked about the expectations and respectful behavior (of course), but then we were able to Skype with a local third grade class and practice those expectations (and equipment function).
This is seriously the easiest thing to do! So here is what we did: Our building library has an AV – plug in camera and we downloaded Skype! Easy as pie! Even finding virtual field trips isn’t that difficult. Farmer Phil had never done a Skype call before – but when we contacted him, he was more than willing to sit down and talk with us for a 15-minute field trip!
Skype and Virtual Field Trips can add an abundance of learning to any classroom, there are websites like https://education.microsoft.com/skype-in-the-classroom/virtual-field-trips that are full of businesses and places that you can sign up for a time, but reaching out into your local community and just asking. What’s the worse they can say…right?