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      • A Teacher's Perspective: Our Class Field Trip

Down by the Bay: Our Class Field Trip 

by Isauro Michael Escamilla

The following story is an excerpt from Connections partner educator Isauro Michael Escamilla’s long-form reflection on his April 2014 Connections visit with his students.

A few days before our field trip to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, where the children would have the opportunity to go down to the beach near the Golden Gate Bridge, they made a collage with tissue paper in various shades of blue to represent the water they expected to see.

For our field trip, the children had anticipated the weather to be hot and sunny. When we got there, the water in the bay was rather grey, in sharp contrast with the turquoise blue collage the children had created the week before. 

Elvis exclaimed, “Hey! The Golden Gate Bridge is in the clouds!” And Daniel asked, “Where is the bridge? Where is the top of the bridge? I only see clouds…” The children had seen the bridge up close a few times before but this time it looked different. 

Zoe and Nasley, our Museum guides, read a story to our class. This story opened the children’s minds to the animals they could come across on our field trip. We asked the children to predict the animals they could find on our walk. We made a list of creatures they thought they would see, and at the end of the exploration we revised the list to tally the animals we actually saw. When our exploration ended we returned to our school in the City. Since the Golden Gate Bridge is the last thing we saw, it left a big impression on the children. 

 

When we returned to school the children reviewed the photographs [they had taken] to refresh their memory and make representations of what they considered important. They painted a bridge as an extension activity of such an exciting field trip. Although the Golden Gate Bridge was not initially envisioned by teachers as part of the water investigation, the children’s interest and their motivation somehow made it fit in. After all, according to Manuel, “Si no hay agua no se necesita el puente” meaning "If there’s no water, there’s no need for the bridge."

When the bridge was finally done, Elvis and Manuel realized that the bridge was missing something very important-cars-so they started sketching again and created a new bridge, this time with traffic in the form of car cutouts.

From my perspective, the children’s drawing is more than a graphic representation of the Golden Gate Bridge. To me, it is a symbolic representation of the connections between the busy city street of the Mission district of San Francisco and the lush hills of Sausalito, between the teachers of Las Americas Early Education School and the dedicated staff of the Bay Area Discovery Museum. It represents the connections being made between teachers and parents, and between parents and children in a shared common experience. 

 

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Isauro Michael Escamilla is a respected partner and teacher at Las Americas Early Education School for the San Francisco Unified School District where he leads a teacher research group and parent workshops on child development and violence prevention. Isauro earned his MA in education from San Francisco State University. He presents at local and national conferences and contributes to academic publications.

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