The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Last Exit to Springfield

Today was a fantastic, amazing, wonderful, little-bit-chilly, little-bit-windy, little-bit-rainy, awesome, incredible day for the fourth graders at Wiley Elementary School!

Why was this day so fabulous? Because I, along with four other teachers and five wonderful room mothers, took 47 of our 50 students on an all-day field trip to Springfield, Illinois. The purpose of the trip was to expand students understanding of Illinois history (both natural and geopolitical) and to allow them to visit places they may not normally have the opportunity to visit.

Our day started at 7:30 am, when the students arrived at school half an hour earlier than usual and gathered in the gym to prepare for our trip. By 7:45, we were all ready and headed to the  bus. Then we hit the road for the two-hour trip to Springfield!

Our first stop was actually in Decatur, though. A student had to use the restroom and the only place our wonderful bus driver found that could be used was the Perkin’s Restaurant! We pulled into the parking lot and asked the workers in the restaurant if we could use their restrooms. They were gracious and pleasant as they allowed nearly half our group to invade their store! I sent an email to the restaurant’s corporate office to tell them how very grateful we were for their willingness to accommodate us, even though we weren’t staying to eat. (But if we had, they would have found a place for our group of 57!)

Then we were back on the road and finally arrived at the Illinois State Museum. After disembarking, entering, and being briefed by museum staff, the students were set free (with their chaperones, of course) to explore the museum and learn about the history of our state.











As the students explored, I was able to wander around, taking pictures, helping out, and chatting with the museum staff, who told me that our group was one of the best, most polite, most well-behaved groups they have ever seen! They didn’t have to ask a single student to walk (not run) or to not touch the displays! I was very pleased with their positive report!

Our time in the Illinois State Museum zipped by. I think I could spend a week exploring the museum and still not find everything they have to offer! But it was time to gather the groups and walk over to the Illinois State Capitol. Here the students got to go through a metal detector (a novel experience for some) as they entered the seat of our state government. We were given a tour that include the Senate and House chambers, the old Supreme Court, and the Rotunda. The students were greatly impressed with everything!






Before leaving the Capitol grounds, all the students gathered on the steps of the building for a group picture.


Our next stop was actually lunch, which ended up taking longer than anticipated to get started. As a result, we had to cancel one of our locations (the Old State Capitol), but we were able to make it to the Lincoln Herndon Law Office, where the boys and girls learned about what Abraham Lincoln did as an attorney, how the federal court operated, and also how the post office worked.

Unfortunately, my phone battery died during lunch, so I wasn’t able to take any pictures in the law office or of the Old State Capitol, which we walked by on our way back to the bus. By 2:40 we were ready to head back home and, due to light traffic, we were able to get back to school by 4:23, seven minutes ahead of schedule! The students gathered their things and then headed for home!

This was a long day, but it was worth it! The students had fun and learned a lot! Heaps thanks to the teachers and parents who joined us and kept up the positive energy all day! Everyone deserves the three-day break we have before we enter the final home stretch of the year! (Teachers have an elementary inservice meeting tomorrow, so no school for students.)


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