Some Tips for Successful Pre-Planning:
- Identify and clearly state your learning targets. This will help you get comfortable with your own class’ needs and get you thinking about what background knowledge would be helpful to your students. Check with the Program Coordinator at Coyote Trails for additional pre-assessment tools and introductory materials.
- Work with the Program Coordinator at CT and discuss possible pre-survey/pre-test questions that will get students wondering about the topic and questioning their own understanding of the background knowledge.
- Consider having students draft 2-5 questions they already have about the topic before the day of the trip/visit. Challenge them to have the answers to all their questions before leaving the site.
- Discuss your expectations of behavior and learning before the trip. Consider having students come up with the conduct guidelines. If the trip will have a related project afterward, give the students the rubric before the trip to get them thinking.
- Remind students to wear appropriate clothing! Outdoor Education means outdoors. We will be out in the field in rain, shine, or snow. Nature is great to experience when it’s sunny, but there is an incredible amount to learn from rainy and chilly weather too!
- Also provide students with a packing list. Water bottles, lunches & snacks, extra shoes, school store (aka the Coyote Den) money, journal, pencils, and worksheets are all common things students could need and might forget.
- Prepare chaperones for their role. While they should engage in the activities, chaperones should be prepared to assist in transitioning students, helping facilitate restroom and lunch breaks, doing head counts, and being overall responsible for the well-being of their groups. Let them know your needs as a teacher before the trip.
Be able to identify all of the following for yourself and to your administration:
- Learning outcomes for the trip
- Standards alignment
- Essential concepts underlying the content and structure of the trip
- Key vocabulary that will be a part of the trip
- Who are the chaperones?
- Cost of trip and how it is funded
Talking to your contact at Coyote Trails
Prior to your in-class visit or field trip to Coyote Trails, you will work with our Program Coordinator. This person will serve as your communication channel into CT for your trip planning and post-trip time.
- Use vocabulary, terms, academic language, and ideas from your learning targets so that we can use them when talking with students. Mention them directly if they are essential.
- Make sure your contact knows that you are aiming to meet standards, and provide them early in the planning of your class.
- Give and receive detailed time information: length of program, bus schedule, departure and arrival times, etc.
- We may also request that students fill out a pre-assessment sheet with questions that will help us get an idea of each individual student’s usual interactions with the outdoors or the specific skill(s) we will be instructing. Getting these back to us ahead of time will help instructors tailor the already differentiated programs for your class(es).
- If you think there is anything from your discussion with your students you’d like to share with us or any concerns about accessibility, please send that along too.
We suggest also having your students spend some quiet time outside. Consider having students survey their backyards, fields nearby, or the trees outside your classroom window. Just sitting alone outside can prepare students for their visit with Coyote Trails.
Contact us with any questions you may have or to get started on your trip planning!