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

Springfield Trip 2015

My first year at Wiley, we talked about doing a field trip to Springfield, but it never materialised.

My second year at Wiley, I was determined to make sure it happened, so I took charge of planning, scheduling, and organising. I decided to shoot for right after Spring Break. We had an awesome trip visiting the Illinois State Capitol, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office, and the Illinois State Museum. (We had scheduled the Old State Capitol but ran out of time and had to skip it.) The only downside was that we had planned to each lunch outside at a picnic area and the temperature was in the fifties and it was rainy. But we survived!

My third year at Wiley, I was teaching with someone new (again) and knew that I would have to take charge (again) to get the trip done. Based on the suggestions of many colleagues, we visited the Illinois State Museum, the Illinois State Capitol, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. We planned this trip to be right after Spring Break (again). All was well except for one issue: it was cold and rainy (again).

This is my fourth year at Wiley. I am once again teaching with someone new and once again took charge of planning. I was hoping to avoid some of the problems of the past by planning the trip to be in early May instead of April. I submitted five different dates to the Springfield Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. The last date I request was April 1 (right after Spring Break).

And, of course, that was the date we got. I also planned for the same three locations we went to last year: the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Illinois State Capitol, and the Illinois State Museum. So even though we were going to the same places during the same time of year, one thing was different: it was sunny and warm today!

We left the school at 8:00 am after the students all had a chance to eat breakfast (if needed) and use the bathroom (required). We got the ALPLM first and divided into our groups. For the next two hours, the 40 fourth graders in our group explored the museum with their chaperones, learning about the life and times of our 16th president.

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We then had a delightful, albeit quick, lunch right across the street before heading to the State Capitol where the students learned about the history of the building, saw the chambers for both the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the old Supreme Court chambers. We also got to see the amazing Capitol dome and rotunda.

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Our last stop was the Illinois State Museum. The students spent an hour exploring with their groups, learning about the natural history of our state and the arts and culture of its people. The museum staff were a bit worried when we first arrived when they saw the size of our group, but within minutes they relaxed and told me that our group was incredibly well-behaved and obviously used to being in museums!

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All too soon, our day was done and we boarded the buses and headed for home. I mentioned to some students and parents that I fully expected the students to fall asleep on the bus. The students insisted that wasn’t going to happen.

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Such a wonderful day of learning for my fourth graders! We are going to spend some time tomorrow reflecting on this trip and writing letters to our pen pals who are going on a similar trip in about a month.

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