Monday, April 23, 2012


Spring is here!  Often times, this is the ideal time for teachers to take students on field trips, but with the economy still being quite soft, field trips are minimal at best.  So teachers need to bring the wonders of the world to the classroom.  How?  The internet of course!

Many ELLs rarely have the opportunity to explore national museums, state parks, aquariums, etc. due to monetary constraints.   To build some background knowledge in these areas, teachers should create virtual field trips.  From a classroom, teachers can take students to every corner of the world with a mouse click.

For ELLs especially to truly reap major benefits from these virtual excursions, teachers will need to preview the sites first and then design activities that will not only peak interests, but also be accessible to every level of English language proficiency.  In other words, a beginner might follow a checklist of every item he saw and then write 5 sentences (using sentence frames) on one display that impressed him the most.  An early intermediate student may have a checklist of key displays and then would need to write 2 or 3 sentences on the exhibits he studied.    An intermediate might have to do a presentation on an exhibit that fascinated him.  This would include pictures, note cards for his speech, etc.  He could also do a power point.  Early advanced and advanced are closer to English only so they would not need as much support or scaffolding from the teacher.

5 BEST VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS  This link has some absolutely incredible websites here.  The Smithsonian actually allows a student the opportunity to "walk around" the entire museum.  Also, where ever there is a small camera icon, students can zoom in on artifacts.

GOOGLE EARTH AND MORE  From this site you can see the world!  I just finished exploring the Giza Pyramid!  See Google's description of all of its features below:

  • Discover the Earth: Fly to any location in the world, learn about a city and it's geographic features, find local businesses, and create tours.
  • Explore the Sky: Enjoy the wonders of the heavens and learn about our solar system.
  • Dive in the Ocean: Go beneath the surface and visit the depths of the ocean and explore the planet's deepest underwater canyons. Learn about ocean observations, climate change, and endangered species. You can even discover new places to surf, dive and fish.
  • Walk on the Moon: Take tours of landing sites narrated by Apollo astronauts and view 3D models of landed spacecraft.
  • Visit Mars: Travel the Red Planet and explore NASA's latest imagery of our galactic neighbor.  (from Google EARTH website)
Imagine student excitement in exploring the depths of the oceans or the wonders of the universe---all from this site!  This site could be used in history, science, and geography classes with ease.

As an instructional coach, I selected sites that my teachers would be able to use immediately.  You may like the other 3 sites and see a way to use them in your classrooms:)



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