This year I worked with an amazing colleague, Ms. Shah, to plan a field trip for almost 200 6th graders to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom! It was SO much work, but through teamwork and awesome tech, we made it a memorable experience for everyone involved. Mission field trip: accomplished.
Scroll all the way down to download your freebies!
1. Google Sheets
One word description: lifesaver. I wouldn’t recommend planning a field trip alone but whether you plan solo or with another colleague, YOU MUST GET GOOGLE SHEETS! All credit goes to Ms. Shah on this one. She got one going right away.
- Sign up for a Google account or log in to a previous one.
- Click on the rubik's cube looking icon that should say “Apps”
- Click on Google Sheets and create a new document. Voila! You’ve done it!
Favorite features along with a snippet on how we used them:
- Work on the same document at the same time as someone else
- Students had the option to turn in slips to myself or Ms. Shah. As we received them, we would enter them to the Google Doc at the same time.
- You can see what anyone else edits and keep a history of changes made
- I messed up a couple times and it helped to be able to trace back my steps and “undo” the mistake (if only life could be that way lol)
- Easily share the document
- Came in handy when I had to send the roster to admin and to the attendance office
- Multiple sheets
- We kept everything in the same document and just added sheets for things like Chaperone List, Chaperone Contact Info, Student Roster, etc.
- Easy access
- As long as I had a device with internet, I could access the field trip information. I didn’t need to save it to my computer and carry a USB or email a document back and forth. It was so simple.
- Names were highlighted according to a key we created. Health issues, missing permission slips, behavior concerns...you name it! We kept an organized record of everything.
The chaperones LOVED this! Although I made an itinerary for the day, people are not staring at the paper or their watches when the whole point of the field trip was to have fun. So instead, I set up Remind the night before the trip so that I can send mass text messages throughout the day of reminders. Things like bus pick-up, lunch time, etc.
Create a Remind account (you can use your Google account btw!) or sign in
Click the blue plus sign in the upper left area of the screen where it says “Create a class”
Enter the class name (I put 6th grade field trip) and feel free to change the icon
Enter a class code. I usually put my last name and whatever the event is (i.e. PerezDisneyFT)
Then you will be prompted to add people. You have some options here:
- You can have people add themselves by text or email. This get’s complicated and not everyone is as techy as you are. I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Recommended: You can add them yourself using the contact info the chaperones/teachers should’ve provided in a chaperone application form.
- I already had that info in the Google Sheet so I copy/pasted.
- Don’t do it at 12am because it sends them a welcome message as soon as you add them.
- Once you’ve added everyone, send out some info on what Remind is. Some parents freak out so you’ve got to reassure them that it’s not spam.
- Here’s what I said: "We are using Remind for important updates tomorrow. You can get reminders throughout the field trip! Please be at the school by 9am :)"
- Add owners to your account if another colleague is planning it with you. You can both send out info if needed.
- Schedule texts ahead of time so you can enjoy the field trip without stressing about when to send reminders
- Chaperones can contact you through the app without getting your contact info
- Find missing kids ASAP:
- Now we always pray this doesn’t happen BUT if it does, send out the name of the kid and where he was last seen. Someone can respond with his/her whereabouts
3. SchoolPay (NOT FREE)
Normally I don’t even mention websites that teachers have to pay for in my blog, but in this case, I have to give credit where it’s due. SchoolPay is only available for districts, nonprofits and private vendors. It is an ecommerce solution where payments can be made online by the students’ families, data can be exported and then they cut a check to the school.
- You don’t deal with cash, writing receipts or lost records.
- Export everything on an excel spreadsheet that you can easily copy/paste onto your Google Sheet.
- Ask for any information you’d like:
- We asked for student ID, student name, shirt size, parent name, etc.
- Group Roster/Emergency Info Page for Chaperones
- Print it out on colored paper according to Bus #
- Student Information Page and Checklist
- Print it out on colored paper and have students staple it into their planners the day before the trip
- Sample Itinerary
- Print it out with FAQ on the backside.
- Sample Frequently Asked Questions
Feel free to modify the documents to your needs. Enjoy!