While on a recent trip to Northampton, Massachusetts, I began to think about how people use literacy everyday. My husband and I love visiting local “hot spots” while traveling. While this trip was quite short in duration, it wasn’t short of enjoyment. Before traveling, my husband and I found information related to the town, restaurants and local entertainment. Understanding how to use practical travel literature is an important task, and can be a valuable lesson in the classroom.
- Field Trips
Prior to going on a class field trip, try to provide information about the location and activities they will experience during the trip. Many locations offer brochures or have websites that describe the site. Just as adults seek this type of information when planning trips, students should have the same experience. Or, when the class returns from the trip, the students could create their own travel brochures highlighting the important information and activities that they gained during the experience.
- Google Lit. Trips
While reading literature to students, try visiting http://www.googlelittrips.org/ to help connect the location of the story to a real location on earth using Google Earth. This site is FREE and contains a variety of text to choose from. The site contains a video tutorial for novice users, and encourages teachers and classrooms to create their own “lit trip” to contribute to the site. This technology has created a way for teachers to bring the outside world into their classrooms by making connections to great books.
Making literacy practical and pertinent to everyday life creates a strong argument that it is extremely important. Regardless if your class is leaving the school on a trip or not, traveling literacy should hold a place in your classroom and your students should experience the world around them!