Don’t lick the bus, and say no to drugs

As I’m sure you figured out from the title of this post, we went on a field trip yesterday… :)

Yes, these are just two of the nuggets of wisdom I was able to dole out today.  These kiddos sure are lucky to have such an insightful teacher.

Our field trip was to a park preserve 45 minutes from school.  In past years, we’ve gone to a park that is 4-5 blocks away from school and had naturalists lead us in a pond study during our freshwater unit.  This year, due to extenuating park circumstances (read: a long story not worth explaining here) we ended up at an alternate location.  With lots of nature (some might say too much nature… more on that later) and no nature guides.

As the bus rolled in to the park, I turned around just in time to see a kid take a big slobbery lick of the seat in front of him.  The bus driver had small amounts of disbelief in her eyes when she heard me give the instruction, “don’t lick the bus!”

Then when we were in line for the bathrooms pre-adventures, Student A said Student B told him that she drank beer at home. I of course said, “No she didn’t.  You have to be 21 to drink beer.”  (although in all reality, who knows what has happened in her home) and Student A followed up with, “How old are you?”  I answered, and he said, “so you drink beer.”  At this point, I am thinking, “Why are we talking about this??? Make it stop!”  but said aloud, “No, I don’t like the way it tastes.  I would rather drink water, or juice, or diet coke.”  Naturally he informed all his friends that I like to drink water and juice and not beer.  (Seriously – get me out of this conversation!)  I steered them away from this topic after having them practice saying, “No Thank You” if someone offers them beer.  Perhaps I should become a DARE officer??

Moving right along with our field trip, I put on my metaphorical naturalist hat, and taught the children really insightful things about nature, including gems like: look at the different sizes of leaves on these plants.  Isn’t that interesting??”  And, “maybe if we walk really quietly, we will see a squirrel in the woods.  Do squirrels need freshwater to live?”  “Let’s write in our journals about all the living and non-living things we see in the lake!”

We also handed out paper cups and told them we were going to pretend that we lived in a country where they did not have very much clean freshwater, and that we needed to walk really far to get water to drink.  I was a bit melodramatic when discussing the level of thirst I was experiencing on our search for freshwater.  I offered them the opportunity to scoop up some nastified puddle water instead, but none took me up on it.  (don’t worry – I wouldn’t have actually let them drink it)

One highlight is when I see a boy flailing and shrieking and did I mention flailing??  Turns out he walked into a spider’s web and couldn’t get it off.  Gross.  Being Nature Girl for the day, I told him to stop, look in my eyes, and I told him he’d be fine.  And showed him how to calmly brush it off, while I stood at a safe distance.  Then, like a cheerleader, I excitedly thanked him because we were looking for a spider web for our scavenger hunt, and now we could mark it off!  HOORAY!  (I don’t think he bought it, but the other kids caught my wave of enthusiasm)

The non-highlight is the sheer magnitude of ticks that we picked off children’s clothes, skin, and hair.  YIKES!  Dad, you would be proud of me.  Your bug-phobic daughter calmly picked off ticks from children.  I know – you can hardly believe it.  I must be growing up.  (let’s be honest though – if they were bees, I would have been out of there…)

All in all – I’d count it a success.

Especially because I had on my running shoes so I could chase down the child about to wander away into a parking lot, “but I had to go to the bathroom, and Mrs. T told me to wait…” he says.