Some of you may recall the previous post on Eric Carle book recommendations. These tie directly into the field education experience my students participated in this week. A field education experience is different than a field trip in that it has a focused purpose. For children to gain the greatest benefit, field education is not only thoughtfully chosen, but relates to standards, curriculum and the children’s interests. At St. James, meaningful field education is integrated with a current study, theme or classroom project.

Students in my three half-day preschool class just finished an author study of Eric Carle. They read several of his books, including: Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, From Head to Toe, and The Mixed Up Chameleon, which I recommended here. Each child then selected an animal from one of the books we read to research further. During library, students asked the librarian to help them locate non-fiction animal books. Children checked out a book on their animal and then read their research books with parents at home. They filled out a simple information sheet, and each child presented their animal to the class.

I used clues from the Eric Carle Stories, as well as information from the animal reports, to craft clues for the students. They then headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo for their field education experience. The children were divided into 2 teams and each team was given a set of clues. They were asked to figure out the clue, visit that animal and learn something new about it. The group leaders recorded these new facts on the clue cards themselves. On the following day of school, children read through their new facts and used pictures taken on the trip to compile their own non-fiction book of animals.

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