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How to Bring Your Summer Vacation Trip Back to School

Traveling near or far this summer? 5 ways to turn your trips into teachable moments!

Whether you're road-tripping to the farmer's market or jet-setting to Tokyo, your summer travels can provide a lot of valuable learning experiences for your students when everyone is back to school. Here are 5 great ways to bring your trips back to class!
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1) Use a map. Like, an actual map

Believe it or not, roadmaps and maps of various locations and attractions ARE still available. Leave Waze or Google Maps behind for a little while and record your travels on a printed map, making note of things like route, direction of travel, interesting topographical features, and more. Pair your markings and points on the map with your own pictures or images from Google Earth to help students build map and geography skills when you return to class.

2)  Use "person on the street" video interviews to capture local perspectives

If you're visiting a foreign country or a faraway state, help your students build awareness of cultural diversity by doing short "person on the street" interviews with locals. Record answers to simple questions about location, daily life, differences in cultures, etc. and edit them into a short video or slideshow.

3)  Keep a detailed log of your trip in journal or travelogue form

Model effective journaling and reflective writing for your students by keeping a running log of your trip and incorporating the various narrative styles and structures you'll be teaching in the Fall. For added reinforcement, create a simple handout of one of the entries, marked up with examples, pointers, and guidance.

4)  Create a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" bulletin board

Use photographs, souvenirs, receipts, menus, etc., to create your own corner of a summer vacation bulletin board. Then, during the first week of school, have your students bring in similar mementos from their summer break to complete the board! This activity can be paired with a simple writing activity, as well, or can be the basis of a Getting to Know You icebreaker.

5)  Turn your trip into a scavenger hunt

This is another easy and fun way to turn your travels into a back-to-school icebreaker - record various details, facts, locations, historical events, attractions, etc., during your travels, and then create a scavenger hunt game that challenges students to figure out where you went! A great group activity for kicking off the new school year with a focus on teamwork, problem-solving, and other 21st Century skills.

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