Stopping field trips doesn’t stop learning

By on May 14, 2009

Students experience first-hand without leaving school
by Lynn Meredith
If you can’t go to the Shedd Aquarium, then the Shedd Aquarium can come to you. That’s the creative approach teachers are taking to the financial challenges Kaneland has seen during the second half of the school year.

Teams of educators collaborated to bring outside sources, teacher experts and ingenuity to give students experiential learning opportunities they would otherwise have on a field trip. Three teams presented their projects to the School Board on Monday.

The first grade team from John Shields presented its collaborative ocean project. The team not only brought in experts from the Shedd Aquarium but also used the knowledge of oceanography gleaned from middle school teacher Kevin Boltz and his ocean study trip in the Bahamas.

The middle school team showed slides and explained the expanded Medevial Faire that included a wax museum, jousting tournament and a banquet prepared by the kitchen staff to rival that of Medevial Times.

The high school collaborated with the Fox Valley Career Center to create, illustrate and publish children’s books designed for individual students in the early childhood center.

“The lack of funds allowed us to engage students in hands-on experience. We don’t know that we would have ventured down that path if not for budget concerns,” Sixth-grade teacher Ann Ritchie said.