A Teacher's Day

The day in the life of an inner city large urban school district teacher after the high stakes testing ends and there is still three more months left before summer vacation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

I have taught school for over thirty years always in the inner city and for the most part always upper grade students. I have two children and I have been married for twenty years.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Experiencia and Exchange City: A Great Field Trip

We had one of the all time greatest field trips in the entire Chicagoland—perhaps Illinois—world.

We went to this new place called Experiencia. We brought with us over eighty fifth and sixth grade students, joined twenty-four students from the Revere School and, with the help of both my school and Revere’s parents, volunteers, and faculty helped the students run a place called Exchange City.

What a blast! Watching children at the computer creating a newspaper, creating web designs, and producing digital and video was one of the greatest experiences of my teaching life. The sign shop was a hustle of hard workers, the nature shop was an industrious factory of creativity and innovation, the snack factory was fantastic, and the bank was just perfect. Everything was run by the students.

I mean everything. Oh, the adults assisted. But really, everything was run by the students.

The popcorn from the snack factory tasted great, the way the Revere students and my students cooperated was equally fantastic, and the entire experience was, well, experiencia!

On the way home, one of my mathematically disabled students said, “Hey, I learned how to make a paycheck.” Then he went on and on about how great it was to run a business. Everyone around him added their own two cents. Every statement was positive.

Even the students we thought would embarrass us got into their roles and enjoyed themselves shopping, creating, and discovering the world of economics.

OK, so what’s the catch?

We had to go through professional development, teach our students an in-depth lesson on economics, we had a great lunch, great materials, and so, I guess the answer to “What’s the catch?” is there was no catch. This is win win. All of the adults—even the parent volunteers—were trained with excellent professional development. Need I say more?

I’ve so excited that even a day later I have to let all of the teachers out there who want a fantastic experience for their students to receive the following contact information. Contact Experiencia through their webpage: http://www.experiencia-world.com/ and you can contact them at elaine.mondschein@experiencia-world.com. Let me know about your fantastic experiencia trip when you arrive back to school.


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