Mexico City Bus Tour

Who doesn’t like to take field trips?? Out of the country is even better:)   And like most teachers… budget cuts are having a significant impact on our field trips. 

But with TCI… you can take field trips in your classroom to places all over the world.  It’s even better when you make your classroom into a bus, or a plane or a train.  I know… who has time for that?  However, I guarantee if you take that little extra time, and get pumped up about your trip, the kids will remember the lesson forever.  Isn’t that what we all want?  To make such an impact that the kids remember you and this lesson forever?  That’s how I want to be remembered, anyway. 

Beth Newingham (awesome master teacher) has written about how she uses Social Studies Alive in her 3rd grade classroom. You can check out that post here.  She does a whole United States Tour… so cool.

In 6th grade, we went to Mexico City to check out the culture, history, neighborhoods and environment of today.   I pushed all the tables to the walls and set the chairs in groups of 3 with an aisle down the middle.  Who they sat next to on the bus, was their group when they went to the bus station.   Definitely looked like a bus and the kids were pretty stoked about the classroom looking different.  

Are you on the bus?
The bus… and 2 bus stations.  The students worked in groups of 2-3 at each bus station.

So in order to get on the bus, the kids needed a ticket.  So I made them and handed the tickets to them as they came through the door that you see opened in the picture above.  TCI had a worksheet (no ticket or postcards) but it looked pretty boring.  I had some time one night so I got to creating… Just made the ticket and postcards in word using the TCI printout as a guide. 
Students used the reading and their ticket to help them write their postcards

Students had parts of their tickets that needed to be filled out while they were on the tour.  After each tour, we would get off the bus and go to the “bus station” where there was a reading pertaining to that specific tour (history, culture, environment and neighborhoods).

Reading on Mexico City culture.

After students read the information at the bus stop, they would fill out their ticket, and write a postcard to someone about what they learned about Mexico City’s____________ (culture, history, environment, neighborhood).  Every station had the same reading, it just allowed me to make smaller groups.  By the end of the tour, each student wrote 4 postcards. 

The kids did an amazing job on writing their postcards.  I could hear their voice and they were able to be creative.  The language arts teacher and I collaborated and she was able to take a grade on their sentence structure and letter writing techniques.  I graded for content. 

A finished postcard on Mexico City’s culture… dont you love how he wrote to a “Dear member of family”  SMH…

Another culture postcard

It was pretty amazing and best of all, the students remember what they learned even after the unit.  I actually was reviewed by my principal during this lesson, and although he didn’t want any “dramatics” or anything out of the ordinary, the lesson would have been so much weaker if I kept my classroom the way it was with the tables.  It’s always worth it to make learning come alive.
Soon to come…. A Rainforest Conference in Brazil.  (Yeah… the kids become newscasters…. another great reason to watch CNN Student News)

Happy Traveling!

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