I teach grade 8. We like to try to give our students a chance to stretch their wings... try out their independence in safe ways throughout the year. Of course that applies to things like finding an organizational system and developing study habits that work well for them as individuals (and simultaneously don't make their parents too crazy!) It also applies to some learning activities that take place outside of the school, like field trips.

So this month, I have a tip for those intermediate and senior teachers who accompany or organize learning excursions. If your field trip includes a "free time" option as ours often do (within clearly defined and chaperone-monitored boundaries), here are a couple of things you can do to make sure things run smoothly. We already use a buddy system, informing students that they are under no circumstances allowed to be travelling alone within the area established, and establishing an acceptable group size based on what we know about the area, merchants' attitudes towards students in that area, student needs, and other information.

I thought a great addition to this now that our school has parents sign a media release form would be to quickly snap photos of groups the morning of the trip with the teacher's phone.  That way, any kids who might tend to get ostracized are less likely to be ditched by their group members, as there's a little more accountability built into the "commitment" the students are making for the day.
Also, heaven forbid, if a student (or group) were to be unaccounted for at any point, you've got a recent photo... including what the teen set out wearing that day!

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