Field Studies During a Pandemic
Every Friday, students at The Sycamore School go into the community for Field Study Fridays. Outings include field trips related to their coursework, community service activities, and some fun team building adventures. Faced with a stay at home order, these Fridays have looked a little different.
Thanks to collaboration, creativity, and student choice, The Sycamore School has been able to continue with its Field Study Fridays.
TSS formed a virtual Friday staff committee to think outside the box and craft Friday activities that would offer students a variety of choices designed to connect their learning to our larger world, continue our community service Friday focus, and give our core teachers some critical planning time. Although students couldn’t venture out of their homes, they were given a variety of options, enabling students to pursue interests of choice. Our virtual Fridays started with an all school meeting, where students could touch base and share about their week. Then, came the activities, which included virtual field trips, movement activities, art activities, community service tasks, and ending with an independent study class.
Virtual Field Trips
Student virtual field trips included exploring the Big Volcano in Hawaii, following a scientist studying panda bears in the forests of China, and observing art at The Louvre. Students were also given a choice of movement activities, such as creating a Tik Tok video or participating in an online yoga or dance class. Community service activities included creating gratitude rocks, writing letters to seniors, or positive messaging with sidewalk chalk. Art choices included creating a no-sewing tote bag, making your own paper, or crafting a home cardboard loom.
Students also chose an independent study focus for the quarter. Options included coding, cooking, a foreign language, knitting, gardening, and dog training. Students identified an area of interest and were guided by teachers to explore their choice independently.
Some Fridays we switched it up and hosted special events, such as a virtual Career Day, where speakers shared their work experience with students and spoke about how they came to their current position. We also held a talent show, a Sexuality and Gender Issues workshop, and an all-school Jeopardy game.
Keeping our Field Study Fridays sacred during this strange time was important for our students. Distance learning all week is not easy. Providing students with an outlet on Fridays where they can choose activities and/or virtual trips that they find interesting and rewarding has been key to help alleviate stress and extend learning.