Saturday, March 7, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites Chapter 3

Good Morning!
I'm really enjoying the book as I read more and more.  How about you?  It's funny though, I recognize a lot of the names she uses when stating the research behind the strategies from grad school.  Sousa, Jensen, Davis, Brooks, etc...  I remember reading a lot of them.  But back on topic. 

Field trips!  I love field trips!  In my first school district where I taught for 8 years we were allowed 2 field trips per year.  We took the kids on some fabulous ones since we were in Northern Virginia. Here are the most memorable ones:
*Tour of the monuments in Washington D.C.
*Tour of the White House
*Mt. Vernon (George Washington's home)
*Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
*The Kennedy Center to see a play

When I moved to the Seattle area the district I taught in allowed one field trip per year.  My favorite field trip was the one to the Everett train station and then to the Children's Museum.  We had the school bus drop us off at the train station.  We were given a tour of the train station by a volunteer from the Children's Museum.  We learned about community transportation since city buses, greyhound buses, and trains left from there.  Then we rode a city bus over to the Children's Museum.  For many of our kids, it was their first time at the Children's Museum.  They loved all the hands-on experiences.

Now that I'm a stay-at-home momma I get to go on field trips with my daughter's class as a parent volunteer.  I went with them on one of their field trips to the Petrified Forest.  It was a really great field trip.  The guide gave us a tour through a forest that made me feel like I was back home in Washington again.  I never knew something like it existed in the Bahamas!  Here's the entrance to the forest...

The kids liked getting to crawl through this cave...

As I read this chapter I was reminded of another book I read.  It's The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places by Gary Paul Nabhan and Steven Trimble.  It also explains the necessity of getting children out into their natural environment and giving them time to explore the outdoors.  This field trip was perfect for that.

At the first school I taught at there was a third grade teacher who would bring her class out to recess and make them sit or lie on the ground for a few minutes before letting them go play.  I honestly thought that was a little strange.  She would tell them to "let the Earth heal them" when they were having a rough morning.  Turns out she was on to something.  In the book it states "Allowing students to experience the positive effects of sunlight and the beauty of nature calms students' brains and puts the mind in a good state for learning."

But many of us are in districts where budgets limit us to one field trip or even no field trips.  Did you know that you can sign up for virtual field trips through Google plus?
I found a clip and it showed the Seattle Aquarium.  Let me know if you try it or have tried it.  I'd love to know if it works.

Happy Saturday!



  1. Don't you just wish we could take more field trips? A well organized field trip, put on seamlessly by those we're visiting, can REALLY bring learning to life; can't it!?!? That's great about the teacher that would have them lay there and just chillax! Not so crazy, after all! HA!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  2. Hi, Joya! Oh my! I read a couple of things from your post that I will definitely try! Thanks for the insight about getting the kids out to experience the sun to better help their thinking....that is so true! Where I live, there is expected to be rain all I hope to get them out before it starts!! I also appreciate the link for the virtual field trips. We are limited to 2 field trips as well, so we really try to make them meaningful for the kids without spending a lot of money. Thanks for posting!! (

  3. Hi Joya, Love the idea of a virtual field trip via google plus. I had no idea this was available. Thanks for the idea... I can't wait to see what they offer!

  4. Thanks for the google link for virtual field trips! Must do some checking into that!
    I love the picture of the children crawling into the cave. Now THERE'S something they'll always remember! Thanks for sharing!
    Primary Inspiration

  5. Virtual field trips are such a great way to go on a field trip when you can't actually make it to that place!! I also like to take pictures when I'm on vacation to show students if I know it is something we will be learning about. That way I can almost make my own virtual field trip for my students! That field trip in the Bahamas looks amazing!! We traveled to the Bahamas a few years ago and had a great time! Thanks for sharing all of your ideas!


  6. How wonderful to have been close enough to take your students to all of those historical places! I'd like to return to D.C. someday. There is so much to see. My favorite was the Smithsonian. I bet your daughter will always remember that cave experience! NEAT! Thank you for sharing these super ideas! I am hoping for some sunshine soon to cure us from our winter blues!

    Creative Lesson Cafe

  7. Thanks for a great post Joya!
    I'm interested in checking out the book you mentioned. I've heard before (not sure where...maybe from someone who read a similar book) that the lack of outdoor discover and time in "wild places" is a factor in why many students (particularity boys) struggle in school.
    I feel like teachers need a recess time to just "lay in the sun". For a big part of the year, I drive to and from school in the dark. It's amazing what a little sunlight can do to boost your mood!

  8. I love the virtual field trip tip. I also enjoyed seeing the adventures your students get to enjoy!


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