Thursday, March 7, 2019

Sharing the Ultimate Field Trip

Shout out to the team at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the 11th annual
Slice of Life Story Challenge. Magic happens when teachers who teach writing,
write themselves. Joins us. Link up every day in March or on Tuesdays throughout the year.

"What kind of horn is that?"
"Who brought the machetes?"
"It's not a rhino horn!"
"That good!"
"Let's practice the dance, you guys."

Here we are  in Ol Pejeta with one of the last two Northern White Rhinos in the world.
It was after six o'clock. Parents were scheduled to arrive just before seven. Juniors and seniors buzzed around the room setting up swaths of Kenyan cloth, brewing Kenyan coffee, popping popcorn, setting out ebony carvings, admiring Kenyan paintings and blowing up balloons.

Last night we showcased students' experiences and learning from our interim trip to Kenya. High school students at Singapore American School have interim semester each year. Interim takes students off campus out into the wider world to learn. Our school runs more than sixty trips, some here in Singapore and others in far-flung places like Bhutan, Nepal and Kenya. Two chaperones accompany twenty students on each trip. Each trip runs a bit differently. Some trips require student presentations, others ask students to journal and reflect on what they learn.
Anna, who is from South Africa, shared her key learning in her journal. 

I chaperoned the trip to Kenya with legendary teacher, Mr. Ian Coppell. His British wit and attention to detail kept us laughing and engaged.  We enjoyed an incredible itinerary:

Day 1: Adventure activities in the Rift Valley Adventure camp to get acclimated: biking, hiking, climbing, and archery.

Day 2: Conservation tours at Ol Pejeta, Northern White Rhino education sessions and the Chimpanzee rescue project experience; end the day with cycling through the conservancy.

Day 3 & 4: Service at Mitero Primary School: cabinet building, classroom painting projects, relationship-building with kids.

Day 5: Massai Cultural experience: Meet Massai women and experience village activities: welcome rituals (dance), water carrying, wood gathering, mud building, craft marketing.

Last night we shared that with parents. Mr. Coppell and I also celebrated students by giving them trip titles: The Night Snorer, The Artist, The Gabby, etc. Coppell is a master storyteller. He talked about each student on our trip for a few minutes. He shared the funny moments and lines we'd noted along the way. I loved watching the students and parents' reactions: so much love and laughter in the room last night.

Kids had jobs on the trip: photographer, videographer, parent night hosts and hostesses, and the like. The kids got it all set up yesterday. They practice the dance they'd rehearsed. They listened to the Kenyan music they brought and shared trip memories.  I'm still thinking of the lessons we learned and the golden lines I gleaned from the kids' journals. 


  1. What a fascinating trip. It looks like you are enjoying your new school experience.

  2. What a fun way for parents to hear how the trip was!