Oh the Places You’ll Go, Without Leaving the Classroom!

‘You’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!’

Dr. Seuss’s ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ speaks of venturing out into the world, exploring new opportunities, and seeing far-away places. As educators, we know the benefits of getting our students out of the brick and mortar and into the real world, yet in reality we know that there might be limits (like ‘one field-trip per school year’) and even traditions (such as ‘1st Grade always goes to the local nature center’) in place that prevent us from taking our students everywhere that we might want to. This is where the beauty of technology comes in! Without the additional work of collecting permission slips and entrance fees, recruiting chaperones, booking and paying for transportation and so on, the options are virtually (no pun intended) endless when it comes to virtual trips! As educators, taking advantage of these resources to offer our students a well-rounded education that extends beyond the walls of a classroom.

o Virtual field trips are an innovative way to build background knowledge.
Instead of just reading a textbook, students can see and experience the places they are learning about. For example, if your class is studying ancient Rome, you can take your students on a virtual tour of the Colosseum. This will give them a better sense of what it looks like and how it was used during ancient times. By seeing and experiencing things firsthand, students will have a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

o Promoting Natural Curiosity
Another benefit of virtual field trips is that they promote natural curiosity. When students are engaged in immersive experiences, they tend to ask more questions and explore more deeply. This in turn leads to a desire to know more. Teachers can then use the natural curiosity of their students to create inquiry-based activities. For example, after watching a virtual tour of the Grand Canyon, students can create a list of questions they have and then work in groups to research the answers.

o Language Development
Virtual field trips promote language development! Teachers can use them to help students learn new vocabulary and to practice reading & writing skills. For example, after watching a virtual tour of Paris, students can write descriptive paragraphs about their favorite landmark. Teachers can provide scaffolds such as graphic organizers or sentence starters to help students organize their thoughts and write effectively.

o Accessible for All
Virtual field trips are accessible for all students, regardless of their physical abilities or economic status. Students who might not have the opportunity to travel can still experience different parts of the world through virtual field trips. Teachers can use these resources to ensure that all of their students have access to high-quality learning experiences.

o Integration with Classroom Instruction
Virtual field trips can be integrated into classroom instruction in a variety of ways. Teachers can use them as a precursor to a lesson to build background knowledge, or as a culminating activity to bring together the concepts they have learned. They can also be used as a way to differentiate instruction, by assigning different virtual field trips to groups of students based on their interests or skill levels.

We encourage you to investigate and take advantage of the many virtual field-trip offerings that are out there… they’re just a click away!

Within the GrapeSEED curriculum, one of our beloved characters is the adorable Jonny Bear. In a manner that is quite similar to virtual trips, Jonny Bear opens the door to new and exciting adventures for English Language Learner students. Within each unit of instruction, Jonny explores places like the zoo, the fishing pond, the farm, the aquarium and more. GrapeSEED students benefit greatly from the immediately useful language expressions, vocabulary, and age-appropriate joy found in the Jonny Bear stories, which are built right into our teacher-led lessons as well as our student app.

Want to learn more about Jonny Bear and GrapeSEED?
Click here!