We went to Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco on Friday, Feb 24th. We watched an educational orchestra. They broke down the four groups of the orchestra and played various pieces based on each group. I was looking really forward to it, but I didn't know what to expect in terms of the difficulty of managing the students.
We had to take the BART (i.e. the subway) there. When it came to walking from place to place, the issues I had with them were with them lagging behind, not staying with their assigned chaperone, or not walking strictly on the sidewalk. Some of the kids were talking during the concert, which annoyed the hell out of me, but they're kids. So, perhaps that's to be expected. However, there were other aspects of the trip that I wish I had been better prepared for.
The most difficult parts of the trip were standing in line at the symphony hall, walking to and from the BART, and being with the kids in the BART itself. While standing in line at the symphony hall, the hardest part was that they just couldn't stay in line. They wanted to run around and climb ledges (I was chaperoning about 6 3rd grade boys at the time). Finally, I take out my cellphone and I start playing music and I tell them to guess each song. I seem to have ensnared them after I had done that. That lasted a good 10 to 15 minutes.
For every 3 or 4 students, there was one chaperone. So, all students were supposed to stay with their respective chaperone. That didn't always happen because some students had friends in other groups. So, they would move too far ahead or lag behind based on where their friends were. If they had been occupied with something, I don't think they would have lagged behind and moved ahead quite so much. I remember something that my mentor, Ms. Mimi for kindergarten would do. When we had to go on a long walk, she would sing chants and she would have the class follow along. I bet if I did that, our students would have been more occupied.
While we were waiting in the BART, I was having trouble with students not holding on to the bar so that they don't fall while the train is moving, sitting in a chair, or pushing other students. I got to a point where I was getting desperate and I just wanted them to chill out. So, I ask the students that I'm chaperoning if they want to play slappers. That occupied them for about 5 minutes. But, after that, they went back to being really rowdy and noisy.
What's the morale that you could take from all this? When you go on a field trip with your students, come prepared with lots of songs and games to play along the way. That will keep them occupied and more in your control.