Student Friendly Field Trip Follow-Ups

I am taking each and every one of my 315 students to the Des Moines Art Center this week on 6 individual field trips. While the week ahead will be exhausting, it is also thrilling! I love seeing the look on the faces of my students when they are mere feet away from a piece of art we have studied. I’m always interested in carrying that verve and momentum into the classroom for a meaningful and engaging reflection activity.

One of my favorites asks students to become a curator or collection manager.

For this lesson, students are given a high-interest scenario: they are to write a letter to the art center asking to be lent a piece of art for a school gallery (I give them thumbnails with a bit of information to choose from). They use a letter-writing frame to properly format their request, which is of course granted! Since it is vital for organizations to keep detailed records, students must then fill out an information sheet on the piece for the collection catalog.

Field Trip Reflection

I like this type of field trip follow-up because it goes beyond the “what did you like?” question that bores students and elicits boring answers.

The most successful reflection activities, whether it be about a visit to a museum or their own artwork, asks students interesting questions in interesting ways. This same activity can be done in a dozen different ways in response to any number of art experiences…and ties in writing. Boom! What more could a teacher ask for!?

Download and view copy of these reflection forms by clicking on the image above, or right here. They will download in Word for you to edit and use in your own classroom.

How do you follow up field trip experiences?

What are your favorite ways to get students to reflect thoughtfully?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Sarah Dougherty

Sarah Dougherty, a visual arts curriculum coordinator, is a former AOEU Writer and elementary school art educator. She loves working with diverse populations to bring art into students’ homes, communities, and everyday lives.

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