Fall Field Trip Ideas to Try in 2021

Field trips have the potential to be the highlight of a school year for all ages. Both educational and exciting, these day trips allow students to get out of the classroom and stretch their legs (and minds). In the long run, these excursions are often more memorable than any given individual lesson. That being said, field trip ideas often vary by the season and might be easier to schedule in the warmer, end-of-school-year months rather than a few weeks or months into a new semester.

We’re here today to share some school field trip ideas to try out this fall, and maybe you’ll walk away with newfound ideas for each fall to come! 

Fall Food Festivities

Fall is the time for pumpkin patches, apple orchards, farmer’s markets, and more. The great thing about these types of field trips is that you can discuss many topics, especially around autumnal crops. For instance, it’s the perfect opportunity to teach about nutrition, production, food waste, and composting or recycling.

Alternatively, you can teach about supporting local farmers and businesses through these sorts of events. Sure, there may be some seasonal hubbub like corn mazes, hayrides, and small carnival activities at some of these spots, but the learning opportunity is just as great as the potential for fun. Plus, you won’t have to worry about what to eat on a food-oriented field trip, so you can cross off field trip lunch ideas from your list.

Aquariums, Museums, or Planetariums

These field trip ideas come with built-in learning opportunities for all ages and a variety of subjects. Depending on what your class is studying, you could explore an aquarium that’s rich with aquatic animals and plant life as well as water-related data and history. Perhaps a museum would better suit your class; you could visit a museum that specializes in any of these things:

  • art,
  • nature,
  • science and technology, or
  • U.S. history

Finally, planetariums – which offer all things air and space – can provide learning experiences about anything from astrology and astronomy to cosmology. Your students can explore:

  • black holes, 
  • comets,
  • galaxies,
  • meteor showers,
  • moons,
  • nebulae, 
  • planets,
  • space crafts,
  • space stations,
  • space travel, and
  • stars

These are perfect field trip ideas that blend education and entertainment seamlessly. These establishments are also typically indoors (unlike zoos!), which makes them viable even when the seasons change from temperate to chilly. 

Embrace the Season of Giving with Service Trips

What better way to get some real-world experience and embrace empathy than with a community-service opportunity? Your school could use this field trip idea year-round, but during the nearing holiday season, things like donation centers, food drives, meal deliveries, gift drives, working in a soup kitchen, or gathering military care packages are great examples of service. If you want to get outside before it’s too cold, you could also have your class rake leaves, clean up fallen branches, or shovel snow off sidewalks when winter approaches. 

Fall is the perfect time to teach students to think about more than just themselves before the festivities of winter arrive. 

Field Trips Are as Important as School Spirit Itself

These days, field trips seem to be few and far between, especially after the pandemic made things take a virtual turn. That’s why thinking outside the box, literally and figuratively, has become almost second nature to facilitate pre-pandemic normalcy and post-pandemic innovation. That doesn’t make field trips any less important. They’ve been an integral part of growing up for generations. They’re a break from the mundane classroom, a chance to learn in the real world, and fun for all – teachers, students, and chaperones alike. Plus, you and your students will remember field trips for years to come!

Sure, matching shirts might be the last thing on your mind when planning the year’s fall field trip, but they shouldn’t be! Soak in school memories by wearing school spiritwear – whether you’re at a sports game, club night, field trip, or in a regular class. When you wear your special shirt, you’ll always think of fond memories on your fall field trip.

Make memories with 1st Place Spiritwear

Prepping to Go Back to School: Reminders for Teachers

Teachers, this one is for you! Summer has really gone by in a flash, hasn’t it? Now you probably see back-to-school planograms everywhere you go, from the supermarket to the department stores advertising different deals and storewide sales. This usually elicits one of two responses: panic because time has run out or relief because you want to get back to it. 

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7 Tips for Substitute Teachers

Sure, you have your teaching certificate, you’ve done student teaching, and you’ve secured a job as a substitute teacher for your local district. That’s great! Hard work paid off. 

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6 of the Best Ideas for School Spirit Day

We all know it – there are good school spirit days, and there are lame dress-up days. Students either go all out or don’t go out at all if they don’t like a theme. Whether you’re in charge of this year’s themes or you’re a student looking for some ideas on what to wear for your favorite school spirit day, stick around.

What Are School Spirit Days? 

Spirit Week is typically an annual event in which students (and staff) dress up schoolwide according to different themes, usually lining up with a big event like homecoming or a state championship of some sort. These week-long events are epic photo ops for the yearbook and school newsletters, so the more involved people get, the better. That’s why it’s important to pick good themes for school spirit days.

Unique School Spirit Day Ideas

Lookalike Day – Students can dress as each other (think: twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.) or like a character or celebrity. The options are pretty flexible here (and adhere to most of the reasonable dress codes) and don’t demand having a large friend group to pull it off. So, even our introverted students and faculty can figure something out with this theme, making it a different school spirit day than normal. 

Hobby Day – This can also take on many forms. You can rep your hobby through accessories, like carrying a ball or a prop around all day, or in the form of a band or theater production shirt to show your interest in those fields. It allows for variety since everyone has different hobbies. This can also be a unique conversation starter among students and faculty, promoting social interactions that may not happen if they aren’t wearing their hobby on their sleeve. Instead of doing “Clubs Day” as a school spirit day, we recommend using this idea to cater to more niche hobbies that may not get a school-sanctioned club. 

Classic School Spirit Day Ideas

Let’s go over some fan favorites, shall we? These are the themes that stand the test of time, as they are typically well liked across the board. 

Lazy Day – Often called “PJ Day,” this day gives everyone a chance to wear their cozies. Since that seems to be the norm nowadays, this should be easy for everyone. Slippers, sweats, eye masks, stuffed animals, and fluffy robes will fill your campus on this day because students of all ages enjoy a day where they don’t really have to get ready. Expect a lot of ‘is it nap time?’ questions, though. This is easily the most popular school spirit day because everyone can participate without feeling a need to go out and find something new. 

Crazy Day – Here’s another day that’s up for interpretation. Lots of schools limit this day to “Crazy Hair Day,” but we think the sky’s the limit when you call it “Crazy Day.” You’ll see funky, temporary colors and distracting styles that are typically discouraged, but it’s a pretty low-stress, low-budget, and universally liked day as far as school spirit days go. 

College & Career Day – It’s as simple as it sounds. Have students dress up in gear for their dream school or job! We think it’s best to provide options since nowadays, the undergrad path isn’t for everyone! Technical colleges and certification programs exist, which is where career wear comes into play. It’s best to do this school spirit day theme in the fall since acceptances and rejections arrive in the spring. This could potentially be a touchy subject among students, especially if attending their dream school doesn’t play out as they wished.

School Spirit Day The namesake of the affair is a classic for a reason. More often than not, everyone has come across a club, game day, or simple school spirit shirt during their time in your district. (If not, what a fun way to launch a new school spirit shirt design, right? Make it a schoolwide affair!). You can wear school colors, dress like your mascot, embrace the fun accessories – you name it! This is usually the last day of spirit week, so set it off with a bang, ESPECIALLY if you’re going straight to the game or match after school… 

Make 1st Place Spiritwear Your Go-To for School Spirit Day

Heck, it’s in our name! If you’re a school looking for a quick and easy school fundraiser, selling personalized spiritwear is a great way to go. Spirit week has the potential to bring people together and improve mid-semester slumps, let alone the surge of energy felt throughout the school, campus, or district during events like this. 

Interested in what we have to offer? Search your school to see our original designs made with your school in mind, or head on over to our fundraising page to learn more about our direct and easy, virtual fundraisers. 

Ways to Make In-Person Learning Both Safe & Enjoyable

2020 was an unprecedented year for the education system as a whole but especially for teachers and students – especially for the younger age groups. Not only is it imperative to learn amongst your peers at any age, but having to switch to remote learning only caters to certain learning styles. If you’re a tactile or hands-on learner, the lessons and activities have unintentionally favored auditory or visual learners by nature of video classes, virtual assignments, and so forth. We overlook kinetic activities, such as science experiments or art projects, and table them for later. 

Well, “later” is on the horizon with schools implementing hybrid classes or fully going back to in-person learning, but it’ll still take some time before that feels normal. Today we want to go over making in-person learning feel not only “normal” but safe and enjoyable for all involved. Parents should feel safe sending their children back to school, children should feel safe in the classroom amongst their peers, and teachers should feel safe being on the frontlines. We don’t think anyone has looked forward to school (as we knew it) as much as our students are right now, having completed several semesters virtually. 

School Safety First

Infographic from the American Academy of Pediatrics covering appropriate measures for school safety

Upon the return to school, we must take CDC precautions and guidelines seriously, even after the vaccine is well distributed. 

Social Distancing

Sometimes it’s hard to stay exactly six feet away, especially when arranging the tables and desks in the classroom, but we’ve all seen how fast illnesses pass through a school during cold and flu season; why would anyone think COVID-19 is any different? Some schools have tried spacing out desks by three feet if their students are vigilant about mask-wearing, sanitizing, and staying home upon symptoms or potential contraction of the virus, but that’s a difficult pill to swallow for certain age groups, so we suggest sticking as close to six feet as possible. 

We also recommend utilizing whatever large spaces and outdoor areas (depending on the season) you have access to. While going outside used to be a treat (with younger kids associating outside time with recess), it can be worked into a safe space for learning. It won’t always be perfect, but for free reading, group work, and certain lessons/lectures, it’s better than spending all your time in one stuffy classroom.

Hygiene & More

Going back to the basics, proper handwashing is key. Few people wash their hands properly (excluding food industry workers and medical workers from this generalization) with the right water temperature and for the correct amount of time, and children learn by example. Teachers, you must teach proper handwashing and provide hand sanitizer and cleaning procedures to lead by example. Parents, you do the same, so that your kids will know proper cleanliness and hygiene when returning to school. 

Mask-wearing is another habit we should all know by now, but let’s take a closer look. Too often we see people at grocery stores wearing their masks under their noses. The school-going age is our next generation, which means again, we need to lead by example. Children are some of the best at wearing their masks because they don’t want their friends and family to get sick, which should be the way teachers and parents frame the behavior. 

These two points are specific to pandemic behavior, but of course, schools should implement more depending on the region or circumstances. Schools should provide options for high-risk teachers and students, implement routines that reduce the potential for spread (like having teachers change classroom seating rather than the hoards of students), and maintain proper disinfecting procedures on high-traffic areas like door handles, faucets, etc. 

How to Enjoy In-Person Learning

Now for the brighter side of things. Anyone – inside and outside the classroom – has something to share and something to learn. That’s why teachers and administrators should include their students (where possible) because it adds like-mindedness that other students might take to. 

For instance, allow students to make some choices about how they’re learning. Adding choice into their learning environment can encourage students to engage with what’s happening more so than simply being told what to do left and right. Younger children, especially, don’t get much say in what goes on, so teaching them responsibility through their own, small choices at any age is a great thing to implement when you return to school. For example, you could let them choose what book the class reads, what activities coincide with the lesson, or perhaps how to navigate group work. 

Breaking things up is another way to make in-person learning more enjoyable. Don’t “power through” lessons as much as we did before; instead, opt for some brain breaks, moments to stretch and walk around, or even time to get fresh air. Mixing things up can allow students to feel rejuvenated and think on their own about the subject for a moment. Allowing them to think and discuss on their own, even for brief amounts of time, can be far more beneficial than an instructional video or lengthy lecture. If students know a brain break or opportunity to move around is coming, they may also be more willing to engage in lessons.

Think of it this way: the last 10 minutes of a class are the least productive because people are ready to go, especially in lecture-based classes with no breaks. Instead, if you give a break or two throughout the hour+ lesson, the students may feel like class goes by faster (always a plus in students’ eyes). Similarly, don’t be afraid to end class early when we return to school normally, as it will give students time to chat, work on projects for other subjects, or read on their own.

1st Place Spiritwear Understands What Educators Are Going Through

The world was thrown for a loop when the virus breached shores across the globe. Not only were businesses affected, but education suffered, too. Since we’re a business related to education, we feel empathetic on both sides. Teachers, parents, and students have gone through much to continue learning rather than putting a pause on everything. Some students – college and high school, particularly – missed out on graduation ceremonies and celebrations while other grades missed out on extracurriculars and athletics. 

With unique circumstances come unique opportunities, which is where we come in. 1st Place Spiritwear has put together a blog filled with education-related topics for students, parents, teachers, and administrators alike. Not only that, but we’ve perfected online fundraising if that’s something your school or organization needs. At the end of the day, we want to focus on school spirit through our unique spiritwear designs (we have over 200 per school!), because we could all use a little light and spirit during this difficult time.  

Whether you’re doing remote or in-person learning, do so in style with a 1st Place Spiritwear shirt designed with your school in mind, from its name and logo to the colors and mascot. 

Great School Activities Your Students Can Get Involved in

Whether you’re reading this in 2021 while attending full-time school and/or semi-virtual school or you’re reading this in a more normal world, we want to share a few ways to increase student involvement with different activities at any level. 

How Can Students Get More Involved in School Activities? 

When it comes to school activities, there are a few things that almost always come to mind: football, orchestra, tennis, choir, etc. Yet, we want to look at some alternatives that students may not be aware of. For instance, some schools allow students to be in charge of the morning announcements and lead the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom. Other schools have something similar but in video form, teaching the students how to work camera equipment, script, edit, and so forth. Some schools also allow students to be office or teacher aides, helping around the classroom – or the whole school – and learning both how to be responsible and what it’s like to work in a professional environment, even for only a few hours a week. 

School Club Opportunities

If your students want to get involved in a club, specifically, most schools offer different student clubs and organizations such as student council or government, honors society, Key Club, DECA, a yearbook team, etc. Some schools have invite-only “Princi-Pal” teams (based on merit, GPA, or academic involvement) that meet with the principals monthly or quarterly to share ideas on how to improve certain aspects of the school. 

These clubs and organizations typically allow for student involvement with fundraising and events associated with the group. Here, students can work toward specific goals and earn rewards for accomplishing said goals. These groups allow students to practice working in teams (in a more meaningful way than in-class group work), which prepares them for college or the workforce – whatever comes next for them. 

Students can also get involved by organizing and executing assemblies or pep rallies, volunteering as ushers at sports events or theatrical productions, assisting with events like Spirit Week, class parties, and younger grades can help with the senior celebration at your school – whatever that looks like! It’s safe to say students can get involved in pretty much anything; it simply takes a little thinking outside of the box. Let teams of students contribute to fundraising ideas, food drive operations, contests, shirt designs, schoolwide initiatives, and so forth. If the purpose of schooling is to prepare these students for the future, we should provide ample opportunity for them to prepare for adulthood, no matter their age. 

Why Is It Important for Students to Get More Involved?

We touched on it briefly, but these opportunities are imperative for students preparing for their futures – whether the future looks like additional education, entering the workforce, or finding themselves in a gap year full of volunteering and experiential learning.

Involvement with certain activities can set off a lightbulb in a student’s mind when contemplating their future. Did they love creating flyers and talking about school events? That’s a marketing student. Good with filing, organizing, and making appointments? You’re ready to work in an office. Did a student love throwing a class party or a school assembly? Event planning protege. Were they on the nose with accounting for the school’s fundraiser? Maybe you’ve got a future business student on your hands. 

The same applies to school clubs. Those who thrived in student government may pursue something related to civics, be that government, a nonprofit, or something similar. Those who thrived in debate clubs may pursue a law or a career utilizing negotiations. Those in drama or music clubs may find ways to get involved with similar productions because of their ability to excel in public speaking and presentations. 

Communication skills, networking skills, fine-tune interests, and life skills are simply additional perks of student involvement. Getting involved may also improve your students’ perception of school (thereby potentially relieving academic pressure through extracurriculars), easing the transition from primary school to whatever comes next. 

Prepare Your Students for the Future

If you’ve been wondering how students can get involved with school activities, refer to this, but also, think outside of the box. Once your student finds “their thing,” they’ll know. It does more good than harm to give students some responsibility. 

Education is the backbone of the world, which is why we have a 1st Place Spiritwear blog dedicated to teachers, administrators, and students alike. Check it out!

Easy Virtual Classroom Activities to Try This Year

2020 has thrown everything for a loop, especially schools and universities. The classroom simply looks different with schools offering blends of online and in-person interactions. That can make interpersonal connections difficult, to say the least. Students are quick to log off when the lesson is over rather than hang around and chat with their friends, which they may have done in the physical classroom. Students also seem less inclined to reach out to their professor for assistance or a listening ear, as who knows what the privacy situation is like in their at-home learning environment?

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Tips to Help Teachers Survive the School Year [Part 4 – Health Tips]

Staying healthy and well when you’re a teacher can be challenging at times. From the daily interaction (and potential spread of germs) and the taxing feeling of being on the clock 24/7 to everything in between, being a teacher is a bit of a sacrifice, to say the least. It’s easy for a teacher to overwork themselves for the sake of their classroom, to push themselves to grade a day after a project is due, to respond to emails within ten minutes of receiving them, etc. 

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Tips to Help Teachers Survive the School Year [Part 3 – Stress Relief Tips]

Teaching is a stressful profession at any level. Whether it’s your first year on the job or you’re on the brink of retiring, you know the unique stress teachers feel 24/7. Part of it comes with the job, constantly having unofficial deadlines grading assignments so that the students don’t feel stressed, but part of it comes from empathizing with the students, having to plan for the future, and balancing work and life all while trying to maintain optimal mental health to be a “perfect” role model for your classroom. 

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Tips to Help Teachers Survive the School Year [Part 2 – Time-Saving Tips]

It seems teachers are jacks-of-all-trades being mentors, educators, caretakers, and friends to their students. Teachers do everything from creating the lessons (and accompanying quizzes, tests, reviews, activities, assignments, etc.) to grading, giving feedback, doing one-on-one conferences, and outlining new material. And that’s just for the students; don’t forget about faculty responsibilities! Plus, that doesn’t account for parent-teacher conferences, one-on-one interventions with problematic students/parents, responding to parent emails, and anything else that isn’t classroom specific. 

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