Tag Archives: educational tours

Educational Student Trip to New York City

 

The very first question that the amazing tour directors at Educational Travel Consultants are asked when they arrive in New York City is, why did New York City decide to name one of its major cities after the state? Well, our guides always have the answer. In 1664, New York was named by the British in honor if the Duke of York and Albany.  He was the brother of the famous King Charles II. After New Amsterdam was taken away from the Dutch, New York City became the name of this major city. One of the most popular areas in New York City is Times Square. There is always time allotted for our groups to discover Times Square in all of Educational Travel Consultants itineraries, for groups that want it. With the flashy billboards and neon lights, there is no better place to be. Educational Travel Consultants also offers a guided tour of the city, and of course, a chance to experience Ellis Island and Liberty Island. Along with these amazing attractions, the group gets to experience a world renowned Broadway Musical! We are happy to customize a trip to your specific needs and wants. Educational Travel Consultants will provide  your students an  experience of a lifetime. We know that that a majority of your children  will only experience this exciting adventure once in their lives! Educational Travel Consultants is here to make your trip plans reality.

Students Travel to Charleston, South Carolina to Learn About Revolutionary War Battle of 1776 and the Siege of 1780

by Howard Clemens

Charleston, South Carolina has a rich history, beginning in the Revolutionary War era and pre-dating it. The Ashley and Cooper Rivers converge to create an inland harbor, making it one of the most prosperous and perfectly formed and located port cities in Early America. Seen as a ‘crown jewel’ city by the British Navy, Charleston was attacked twice in the Revolutionary War: once in 1776, when it was defended by General Moultrie successfully, and again in 1780, when the main peninsula and harbor were commandeered by the British and no ships besides theirs were allowed into port.

Students of history and social studies and even military history can learn much through the active study of Charleston. Since its inception in 1670, Charleston has always been a strategic coastal settlement and bustling port city – and remains so to this day.

While the army of Patriots in the North fought off the British and dealt with traitors (Tories) and espionage, the South was also faced with inconstancy in allegiances. In Georgia, prosperous landowners and businessman aligned with the British, so the state was easily taken over by the British. Some of these sentiments spread to the landowning class in South Carolina. In South Carolina the entire population was not so easily converted to ‘Tories,’ especially in the upstate, the rural areas and the backcountry, where resistance to British rule was strong. So the Revolutionary War resembled a civil war in the South because these open alliances with the British divided families, neighborhoods and towns.

1776: Charleston is Bombarded & Defended During Revolutionary War
The first shots of the American Revolution may have been heard in Massachusetts – but they also resounded in the south in Charleston’s harbor on June 28, 1776. With some foresight, Americans built fortifications at Sullivan’s Island, which sits at the mouth of the harbor. An assault force of nearly 3,000 British soldiers and seaman were repelled by Patriot General Charles Lee in 1776, protecting the city from harm. By engaging the British forces here, the Patriots were able to save Charleston from falling. This important first battle for Charleston encouraged many to join the Patriots and fight for a new united country.

1780: Charleston Under Siege and Occupation
Recalling the battle of 1780, when the British once again attempted to lay siege to Charleston, is a far darker episode in the Revolutionary War. Overwhelmed by the nearly 10,000 British troops in the harbor – the Patriots fought valiantly. The second time the British Naval forces entered the Charleston harbor, they passed Sullivan’s Island and laid siege upon the City. The British successfully captured the Peninsula and the entire city of Charleston fell into British hands on May 12, 1780. Over 5,000 Patriot soldiers were imprisoned and British troops occupied Charleston until the Revolutionary War concluded. Over a year later, the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781 would free Charleston’s occupants from British rule and captivity.

Knowing the history of Charleston’s struggle with Patriotism, it’s no wonder the movie, The Patriot, was filmed in Charleston and in some of its historic homes and estates. Some sites student groups will want to tour include Fort Moultrie, Fort Sumter, the Heyward-Washington House and Middleton Place House Museum. All of these sites date to the Revolutionary War era.

Trip leaders may want to take shorter trips west, into South Carolina, where the Revolutionary War continued. In Camden, South Carolina British troops were met with strong resistance that spread into other battles across Clarendon County. A tour bus can easily take student groups out to selected battlefield destinations. Work with a student travel company to determine which sites work best for Revolutionary War studies and are accessible at the time of year Charleston is visited.

Learn more about a student tour based on Revolutionary War sites in South Carolina. Request a Quote for more information.

Brush up on Spanish Speaking Skills: Cultural & Immersion Tour of Puerto Rico

For many students studying Spanish, the ultimate way to test their speaking skills is to become immersed in a culture where it is the primary language.  These days, student travel groups may be less inclined to visit Mexico, due to news of attacks on American citizens traveling there.  Europe may be overpriced for smaller school trip budgets.  Puerto Rico is a great alternative to other destinations. Best of all – no passport is needed, since it is a U.S. Territory.

If the school group leader requests it – this tour is done completely in Spanish.  Students are challenged to speak Spanish while they travel.  Student travelers will eat locally made Puerto Rican food, learn Salsa dancing from locals, play dominoes and briscas, dine and converse with local guides and residents and swim and lodge where locals enjoy the beach.  Student travel groups will tour San Juan and Ponce, two of the largest cities in Puerto Rico, and also have the opportunity to explore rural areas, like the pristine beaches of Boquerón and Luquillo, the fishing village La Parguera, and El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the United States.

Read on to find out how this tour is structured to teach the Spanish student through an  immersion in Puerto Rican culture.

Dining Out in Puerto Rico
Student travelers will have authentic culinary experiences while touring. Eating locally prepared dishes is one way to learn more about everyday life in Puerto Rico. In San Juan, students will try authentic Afro-Caribbean dishes at Piñones restaurant.  While visiting the small fishing village of La Parquera in western Puerto Rico, students will be treated to a homemade dinner and snacks prepared by locals.  In Ponce, the group will eat an elegant Puerto Rican dinner at San Juan’s top salsa spot and may sample some churros – a fried pastry that is sometimes dipped in chocolate. While visiting El Yunque rainforest on the Northeast coast of Puerto Rico, students will sample Pinchos, a traditional Spanish snack eaten with toothpicks or skewers.

Experiencing Puerto Rican Culture
Salsa dancing is more popular than ever in Spanish speaking countries. Meanwhile a wave of enthusiasm for learning Salsa is sweeping the United States and other countries. On the first evening of the tour, students will take professionally taught Salsa lessons and participate in a workshop at one of Puerto Rico’s most prestigious dance schools. A few days later the group will dine in a top salsa restaurant in San Juan where they will listen to live Salsa music – where they may choose to practice some of the dance moves they learned.

On day two of the tour, students will see a Puerto Rican dance performance and participate in a workshop where they will learn the history and the moves of dance from Bomba y Plena to the current Reggaetón.

Towards the end of the tour students will learn to play dominós and briscas, two favorite local games, while relaxing after supper.

Spanish Language Learning Exercises
Foreign language teachers will be interested in hearing their students speak Spanish on tour, so the local tour guide has developed some fun and ingenious ways of learning.  On the first day of the tour he will teach the group how to sing Marc Anthony’s Preciosa, Puerto Rico’s unofficial anthem. By the final day of the tour the guide will ask students to sing Preciosa by heart.

Near La Parguera, students will have the opportunity to tour a public school and see how children in Puerto Rico learn.  The Principal will guide them around the school. Students will have a chance to test their Spanish by posing questions they may have about education in Puerto Rico – and be answered in Spanish.

While touring Ponce’s old and new farmers markets, students will participate in a Scavenger Digital Hunt.   They will learn the Spanish names for native fruits, vegetables and meat products.  This is a fun, hands-on way to learn new Spanish words using technology and real time interactions with the people of Puerto Rico.

This tour includes visits to rural areas and cities.  It can be adapted to any student travel group’s needs or preferences.  Because a Puerto Rican tour guide created it, the sites selected offer an insightful local viewpoint on culture, language and food.

Request a quote for a Cultural and Immersion Tour of Puerto Rico or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information.

School Trips to New York: Take Note of New Attractions in NYC

Student Youth Travel Association revealed the most popular U.S. and international destinations for educational tours in May 2010. New York City was the #1 choice for domestic student travel. School trips destined for New York City will want to add the newest, state-of-the-art attractions to their itineraries. These include the U.S.S. Intrepid Museum, Bodies the Exhibition and Blue Man Group. I am certain there are also many new restaurants, shopping and sightseeing opportunities in New York City. I am keeping my list to these attractions for this particular article due to limitations with space.

School Trips to NYC: Visit Interactive Museums
These days, new and updated museums and attractions tend to have the latest technology installed at their exhibits to keep the attention of student tour groups. This includes audio and video podcasts, and interactive features that make it possible for students to reach out and touch the artistic and/or historical periods they are studying through the use of technology. Student tour groups can even receive text alerts and ‘tweets’ about new exhibits and specials at these popular destinations if they choose to follow a chosen venue on Twitter or on their cell phones.

This fall, I am recommending these destinations to student travel groups headed to New York City because they attract and keep the full attention of educational student tour participants.

Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum re-opened in late 2008 with a wealth of new exhibits and programming. The Intrepid served in World War II, Vietnam, and during the Cold War in addition to being a primary recovery vessel for NASA. It is one of the most successful and visible aircraft carriers in history. Student travel groups will not want to miss the new interactive displays. School groups can ride in an A-6 Cockpit Simulator or experience the Virtual Flight Zone. The Concorde was the world’s fastest commercial airplanes, and is open for touring as well. Students can step into the cabin and view the cockpit, Groups will also want to take an inside look at life on a submarine by visiting the Growler Submarine, once a top secrete missile command center. Student tours will gain valuable insight into the Intrepid’s role in World War II and the Vietnam War, so a visit to the Intrepid will dovetail nicely with curricular studies in this area.

Bodies The Exhibition
One of the most innovative public exhibitions of the body is now in New York City at the South Street Seaport, Pier 17. School trips headed to New York can book a stop at Bodies The Exhibition, a nationally acclaimed success. The exhibit illustrates the most intimate details of the body using the latest polymer preservation technologies. Real bodies and authentic human organs are on display at this exhibit — a fact that continues to be at the core of the controversy of the show. Student groups are able to consider real human skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive and circulatory systems. This is a learning experience unsurpassable by any other. Students can see the impact a healthy life has on the body and also the perils of unhealthy life choices such as smoking or eating foods rich in fat. Science students studying anatomy and biology will find this exhibit parallels their course work. Health and art students will find applications for Bodies The Exhibition in their academic work, too.

Blue Man Group
This high tech stage performance that combines performance art, music, visual art and more has a wide appeal to student tour groups. High school trips headed to NYC will find the show engaging because it speaks directly to them — the children of the digital age. Three men, painted in a mask of blue and wearing black, dance and perform wild antics filled with color, sound and light. This high energy, exhilarating show is accompanied by electronic music and special visual effects that make the blue men come alive on stage. Blue Man Group can be seen at venues across the U.S. They are currently housed at the Astor Place Theater in New York City. Student travel groups headed to New York will want to book performances months in advance to make certain they can obtain tickets.

Let’s face it: students these days have access to the latest technology and they love to use it. New and updated exhibits are being designed with interactive features so audiences can feel like they are part of the exhibit – not just onlookers. The U.S.S. Intrepid Museum and Bodies the Exhibition utilize the latest technologies in unique and exciting ways. Experimental theater has made many creative attempts to bring the audience closer to the actors and actresses and the action on stage. Blue Man Group does this through props, electronic music, and surprises for the audience. All of these destinations promise and deliver exciting opportunities for the student traveler.

To learn more about educational tours to New York City and to view sample itineraries, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Components of a Successful Student Trip to Washington D.C. from a Teacher’s Perspective

Over the past 25 years I have worked with many K-12 teachers to organize student trips to Washington D.C. This spring I received a thank you letter from Shawn Tierney, a teacher at Santa Rita High School in Tucson, Arizona, detailing specific aspects of a trip to Washington D.C. that made it a “resounding success.”

I was happy to receive this detailed letter from Mr. Tierney. Parts of his commentary are included in this article. Tierney reflects upon the important aspects of student travel that help teachers and student tour companies to create a safe, rewarding educational experience for all involved.

Travel can be an eye opening educational experience. For many student travelers, it may even be their first time on an airplane or visiting a large urban area. In this particular instance, a class traveled from Arizona to Washington D.C. – which is a significant distance. Some students may only make this trip once in a lifetime.

In order for a student trip to be a memorable and pleasurable learning experience, coordination among a variety of individuals is necessary. A qualified student travel company will hire the most capable professionals. Student trips are influenced by: tour escorts, bus drivers, restaurant owners and managers, hotel managers, security guards, administrators and docents at various destinations, and the educational travel company. Of course teachers, students and chaperons are key to an excellent trip as well. When everyone works together in a synchronized way the trip is bound to be successful.

Starting the Trip on the Right Foot: Ground Transportation to the Phoenix Airport
Trip planning is a key foundation for success. The less a teacher has to worry about the details, the more he or she can focus on the educational objectives of the trip. Shawn Tierney mentioned he was relieved his selected ground transportation company, Mountain View Tours, has “bus drivers that were accessible and ready when we needed ground transportation in Arizona. It was as comforting to see the white bus turning into the school parking lot early Saturday morning, as it was to receive a call from the bus driver in Phoenix who was ready to pick us up at the airline terminal upon our return.”

Tour guides & Teachers Can Make or Break a Student Trip
When a tour guide and a teacher work well together, a school trip is sure to go smoothly. Kelly Everett was the licensed Washington D.C. tour guide assigned to work with Santa Rita High School students and tour leaders. Tierney says, “She was informative, proactive, and flexible. She made suggestions due to weather and traffic so that students had a thorough visit to Washington D.C.” When visiting any destination, adaptability and problem solving can make all of the difference. Tierney commented that, “the high point of the trip was when we were able to meet with our Congressional District Representative on the steps of the Capitol within 24 hours of the Health Care Reform Bill being passed. This required an overhaul of the schedule, which Kelly handled with composure and enthusiasm.” The experience of actually seeing the Congressional District representative following the passing of this historical bill was certainly a rare and rewarding experience for the school group. Tierney recalled, “the looks on the faces of our graduating seniors who saw, many for the first time, the interior of the Capitol, made it all worthwhile.”


Experienced Bus Drivers in Washington D.C. Save Time by Averting Hassles and Hang-ups

Bus drivers with a thorough knowledge of the streets of Washington D.C. as well as appropriate places to load and unload large groups when entering museums, government buildings, and other destinations, can save time on student trips. Shawn Tierney is a Washington D.C. native, so he knows full well the pitfalls and delays that might await any large school group or individual when winding through the streets of the city. According to Tierney, the bus driver, Bob Pearl, had, “knowledge of the maze of streets in D.C. This was critical in making many of our scheduled appointments. He did an excellent job of managing the one way streets and constant construction and security restrictions.” The bus driver was also “always mindful for the safety of the students.” The fact that the bus driver and the tour guide worked well together created a smooth trip.

Santa Rita High School students went on a four day, three night trip to Washington D.C. that included: Arlington National Cemetery, Ford’s Theatre, Smithsonian American and Natural History Museum, a visit to the Supreme Court as well as the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Navy Memorial, Washington National Cathedral, the Holocaust Museum, Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, and Mount Vernon.

Even though Santa Rita High School’s itinerary was full — there are even more worthwhile educational destinations to see in Washington D.C. For the March 2011 trip, Tierney plans to add another night so more destinations may be included. He also indicated he’d start planning in August 2010. Planning a student trip to Washington D.C. six months to one year in advance is always wise, especially if teachers want student groups to gain admission to the Capitol, White House, or Pentagon when visiting.

To review an itinerary or speak to an educational travel professional about the costs or details of taking a student trip to Washington D.C. email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote by taking a moment to fill out a brief, online questionnaire.

Take Student Travel Groups on a Science Trip to Washington D.C.

Student travel group leaders and teachers often take school groups to Washington D.C. on history and government tours. Our nation’s capitol has a rich history, and the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are centrally located there. This makes the trip to Washington D.C. perfect for the study of history and government.

Yet Washington D.C. is also an ideal location for student trips which focus on science based learning. There are numerous points of interest in the Washington D.C. area that complement the study of science including: Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian American & Natural History Museum, NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center, Maryland Science Center, Baltimore National Aquarium, Marian Koshland Science Museum, and the National Zoo. In addition to scheduling visits to these locations on the itinerary, student tour groups can also allow time to visit the U.S. Capitol/Supreme Court, take an illuminated tour of Memorials and Monuments, and see the U.S.S. Barry — all in a three or four day tour.

This article will provide a brief overview of major points of interest for a science tour of Washington D.C.

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum & Smithsonian American Natural History Museum
These two museums are a great starting point for an educational science trip.
U.S. explorations of space and innovations in flight are well-documented and preserved in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Students can participate in guided tours, or educational programs that are appropriate for specific grade levels. A visit to the Air and Space Museum will provide interactive learning about airplanes, outer space explorations and pivotal moments in U.S. history when American scientists and programs led the world in discoveries in flight and space missions.

The American Natural History Museum provides guided and self-guided tours and educational programs related to the history of the earth: fossils, stones, animals, pre-historic wildlife and remains, oceanic environments, and more. Student tour groups can visit permanent or special exhibits related to their curricular studies and teachers can focus the visit on exhibits which complement actual classroom learning experiences in the natural sciences. A visit to these two Smithsonian Museums provides an excellent opportunity for learning about science.

NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center
At the NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center, student tour groups gain a deeper level of insight into contemporary space exploration. The group can view photographs taken from the Hubble Space Telescope with pictures of planets, galaxies, black holes and views of earth taken from outer space. Students may view movies of earth and outer space in the Science on a Sphere projection room, where film is projected onto a spherical screen. Student groups will also learn about information gathered from satellites and other vehicles designed to explore deep space, through photographs of phenomenon on earth, the sun, and planets. Student education is enhanced through the lens of high tech devices, utilized by the NASA scientists to further our knowledge about the universe.

Maryland Science Center & Baltimore National Aquarium
Located in Baltimore, MD, just an hour outside of Washington D.C., are two premiere attractions for the science student: Maryland Science Center and the Baltimore National Aquarium. The Maryland Science Center has a rooftop observatory as well as nightly Sky and Stars SkiCasts to help the astronomy student interpret the activities of stars, planets, and other celestial bodies and occurrences. Students can watch live chemical and scientific experiments on the Demo stage, see science films projected onto a sphere, or ride on Segways when they tour the Maryland Science Center.

At the Baltimore National Aquarium, students will be especially pleased by the new exhibit, “A Dolphin’s World” an extraordinary Dolphin Show that teaches students about the ocean planet, and the way human behavior in and near the Chesapeake Bay watershed affects the dolphins’ environment on a daily basis. The Baltimore National Aquarium also has a 4-D Immersion Theater with daily shows as well as 16,500 animals on exhibit. It’s no wonder the Baltimore National Aquarium is internationally known and recognized as one of the finest aquariums in the United States. The opportunity to visit the Baltimore National Aquarium will complement any classroom studies on oceanography and life beneath the sea.

Marian Koshland Science Museum
The National Academy of Sciences Marian Koshland Science Museum in Washington D.C. features interactive exhibits that teach visitors about the immediate impact science has on our daily lives. Here students will learn about the importance of safe drinking water, infectious diseases, DNA, and some of the wonders of science. The exhibits are ongoing and will change from time to time. Teachers are advised to check the Museum website to coordinate curricular plans with current exhibits.

National Zoo
The National Zoo is a spectacular showcase for animals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians from a variety of eco-systems around the world. There are numerous exhibits, many with a geographical focus such as on North America, Asia, the Amazon and Africa; exhibits that concentrate on species are: Great Cats, Giant Pandas, Birds, and Asian Elephants. Teachers can access the National Zoo website well in advance of the trip to develop lesson plans that are in sync with the visit. The curriculum guides are grade specific and available for free download, with core materials included for classroom learning, making it easy for teachers to prepare students for the trip to the National Zoo.

Teachers looking to organize a science trip will find a wealth of opportunity for quality educational experiences in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Some of the finest science museums in the world are located in the capitol city. For more information about a science based student trip and itinerary email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for details on scheduling or pricing. Or, Request a Quote, by taking a few minutes to fill out this brief, online questionnaire.

Enumclaw High School Band and Orchestra Produce a CD/DVD to Raise Funds for a Student Trip to Orlando, Florida

By Howard Clemens

Many high school bands, orchestras, and choirs have to raise money in the fall and spring so they may travel and perform in cities across the U.S. such as Orlando, FL, Washington D.C., and New York City. This year, I was particularly impressed by a story one Band and Orchestra Director, Lynda Alley, of Enumclaw High School in Washington, told me about her successful fundraising efforts. By recording and selling a fall concert CD/DVD, the school group was able to raise $15,000.

From April 5-9, 2010, Enumclaw high school band and orchestra will travel to Orlando, Florida to perform at Disney World. On April 6th, the high school band will perform in the Future March at Epcot Center and the symphony orchestra will perform on the Waterside Stage in Magic Kingdom. Both groups will partake in the “You’re Instrumental” workshop, a real recording session where students will underscore an animation of choice with their own soundtrack.

The story of how this particular high school band and orchestra raised funds for the trip to Disney World is heartening, and shows real drive and enthusiasm on the part of the band director and the students. Lynda Alley, Band and Orchestra Director at Enumclaw High School, said, “We engaged the services of the RM Project, a company that specializes in making films and soundtracks of student performances. RM Project made a soundtrack and film of our band performance during our fall 2009 concert.”

Alley says the high school band was so enthusiastic about the project they rehearsed and successfully recorded material that would normally be presented in June for the October 21st and 22nd concert.

The RM Project did not require upfront fees for production, but took a percentage of the proceeds as agreed upon in the contract. The production company recorded the fall concert and within two weeks presented master tracks for review. Once these were approved, the final CD/DVD was delivered in two weeks. Alley said, “The final project was packaged completely professionally, as if it rolled off the shelf at Best Buy. The DVD/CD’s are printed in full color, with a 24-page color companion booklet. The back and front of the jewel case is in full color featuring the artwork we requested, and the CD includes a bar code for retail distribution.” Alley added that the sound quality is perfect, as if it were recorded at “Carnegie Hall.”

Freshman through senior aged students were asked to sell the CD/DVD to parents, relatives, friends and associates. Students were actually relieved that they did not have to sell wrapping paper and magazines. Instead they were asked to do something that dovetailed with their musical work. Alley commented, “In many ways, students are more sophisticated than when I was in high school. I think most high school students find it demeaning when they are asked to sell items that have no connection with what they are attempting to achieve as students and musicians.”

Students who were motivated to sell more CD/DVDs were rewarded with an incentive based program. If they reached certain sales levels they received items aligned with their interest in music such as: music notation software, Apple Computer music products and music download gift cards. Students’ ultimate reward was attending the trip to Orlando in the spring and performing at Epcot Center or Magic Kingdom.

Parents were especially receptive to the program because it yielded $15,000 in funds in just six weeks. This took pressure from the booster organization to raise the funds. In previous years, the booster organization ran all of the concessions at the home athletic events, and was still unable to raise this much money.

In addition to student sales of the CD/DVD, the RM Project put up a website to generate more retail sales and as a place to sell digital downloads. Alley indicated, “This was a great way to sell the product to out of town friends and relatives of our program. The RM Project also contracts to coordinate uploading the CD/DVD on iTunes, Napster, Amazon, Rhapsody, and other online services where music downloads can be purchased.” Even though Alley declined the second option for online sales, she intends to incorporate this into the spring 2010 recording project. She said that Enumclaw High School will produce two recordings per year for the foreseeable future.

From a fundraising perspective, the recording and distribution project was a great success. The project also garnered student musicians and the band director exposure in CD/DVD format as well as online. With Educational Travel Consultants as their chosen tour company, students will have access to all four parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom between April 5-9th. A security guard will also be provided for the group from 11 p.m. – 5 p.m. everyday.

To book a student performance tour or any other type of travel trip email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or take a moment to fill out the Request a Quote form online.

Writing Assignments that Complement Class Trips to Washington D.C. and NYC

Educational travel tours headed for Washington D.C. or New York City are an excellent way to stimulate active learning. Visiting historic sites such as the White House and the Capitol in Washington D.C. or taking the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Boat tour in New York City are just the first step in the learning process.

Writing Assignments Help Students Learn about NYC and Washington D.C.
Creating a post trip writing assignment that requires students to assimilate the information learned on a visit to Washington D.C. or New York City is one way to ensure that students have grasped the information conveyed on student tours.

Student tour groups get excited about visiting historic sites and learning about the way the U.S. government is run or the manner in which immigrant families entered the country. Experienced, licensed and knowledgeable tour guides make all the difference in any student tour. In both Washington D.C. and New York City, tour guides must be licensed in order to lead groups around the city. A high quality student tour company will only work with tour guides who are licensed.

Teachers and educational tour planners should contract with student travel companies that have excellent reputations and a long history in working with school groups. Working with an experienced educational travel company will ensure that information conveyed on a tour is in sync with academic standards and learning objectives.

In order to maintain high standards, licensed tour guides in New York City and Washington D.C. are required to pass certification tests which are designed to measure their knowledge of historical and cultural information about the city where they lead student tours. If a tour guide is licensed, then the student travel group is sure to receive accurate historical information about the sites. Another advantage of working with licensed tour guides is their ability to accurately answer questions from student travelers about historical sites.

In addition to selecting a qualified educational travel company that employs licensed tour guides, creating a post trip assignment related to one or more of the destinations on the itinerary are an effective way to help students process the event.

Here are some brief ideas for writing assignments that may follow a class trip to Washington D.C. or New York City. Teachers will want to give students the details of these assignments before the tour, so they can take notes while they visit these sites. These writing exercises are designed for the high school classroom. Teachers should feel free to modify the assignments for specific learning and curriculum objectives.

Washington D.C. Writing Assignment Idea After a Visit to the Capitol

Instruct students to write a 500-750 word essay about their visit to the U.S. Capitol. Highlight three observations that stood out on your visit to the Capitol. What did you learn about American democracy that you did not know before your visit? Explain in detail. Describe any of the representatives, pages, aides or people that you may have met or seen on your visit. What are their functions in the democratic process?

Writing Exercise Idea Following a Tour of the White House:
Ask students to write a 500-750 word essay about their trip to the White House.
On your visit to the White House, which room were you drawn to the most, and why? Describe in detail the furnishings, art, and function of this room. How does this room play a role in diplomatic or political relations? Why is this particular room of the White House important and included on the tour?

New York City Writing Assignment to Follow a Boat Tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
Write a 500-750 word essay that brings together at least eight different facts about the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In your own words, describe why these two significant New York City landmarks are pivotal places in American history.

These writing assignment ideas are designed to inspire students to look and listen closely while on tour. They are specifically designed for high school educational tour groups visiting Washington D.C. or New York City. For more information about scheduling a student tour (with a licensed tour guide) for either destination or any U.S. city, visit The Request a Quote page and take a few minutes to fill out the form, or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Student Group Travel: Take a Band Trip to New York City

A high school band trip is one of the most exciting moments in the school year for the student musician. For the high school band, a trip to New York City could mean the ultimate in performance opportunity.

There are certainly plenty of choices for a student group interested in performing in either an adjudicated music festival setting or a performance that is not judged in New York City. This article will give band leaders, music teachers and other student trip planners an overview of some of the major performance and adjudicated music festival venues in the New York City area.

Take the Band to an Adjudicated Music Festival at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey

For high school bands that wish to compete, Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ is just a short bus ride from New York City, and offers superb stages outfitted with excellent equipment. Perform in the auditorium and spend the rest of the day at Six Flags riding the roller coasters, log flumes, and other fun activities.

The Six Flags Music Fest usually occurs in mid-May and is a great opportunity to perform and compete. Bands who do not want to compete in the adjudicated music festival with other schools may still perform and receive a rating from judges. This Six Flags Music Festivals are attended by high school bands, orchestras, ensembles, and choirs from across the United States. Six Flags Great Adventure provides musical performance stages with microphones and amplifiers as well as some percussion instruments.

Adjudicated Music Festivals Held at Universities and Colleges in Early Spring

College is still in session in early spring. Many high school bands that visit New York City compete at two universities within a short distance: Montclair State University or Rutgers University. Student band trip planners may book adjudicated appearances March-April.

Student performances are staged and judged in college auditoriums and award dinner ceremonies are held at nearby restaurants. The benefits of performing in a collegiate setting include ample seating, excellent acoustics and a quality sound system set-up and ready for student performances. Many of the judges are well known as musicians and directors of the finest bands and orchestras in this country.

Band Trips: Perform at New York City Venues

If the high school band wants to perform publicly in New York City without adjudication there are some wonderful venues to select from that will give the students excellent visibility. The company I own, Educational Travel Consultants, has booked student performance groups at the Statue of Liberty, United Nations, or Lincoln Center. Consider one of these locations as a place to reach out and find a wider audience for a high school band. Remember to book well in advance (6 months to one year) to ensure the performance will take place at the chosen venue.

Complement public performances for the high school bands with some exciting itinerary choices. Add some variety to the student travel itinerary. Many student trips to New York City tour Lincoln Center, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or Chinatown. Student groups may enjoy some of the best art museums in the world or take in a Broadway show. Students may also visit some of the finest delicatessens in the U.S. and dine at the Hard Rock Cafe, or a Medieval Dinner theater.

Most importantly, work with an educational travel consultant who is experienced in music festivals and touring New York City. Whatever a student group trip planner chooses for entertainment and dining — a qualified student travel consultant will assist in building an excellent trip to New York City designed specifically for the high school band. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Take a Student Trip to Lowell, Massachusetts and Journey Back to the Beginning of the Industrial Revolution

by Howard Clemens

When bringing a student group to tour Boston, you may also want to consider adding a short excursion to Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell was founded as a manufacturing town in the Merrimack Valley and is considered the “cradle of the American Industrial Revolution.” Also the birthplace of author Jack Kerouac, Lowell is rich with history and stories of the beginning of the United States.

Historical Sites of Interest to Student Groups
Lowell is home to the Lowell National Historical Park, a 141-acre park. Though it is not the first urban national park, it is the largest in the country. The park includes a Visitor Center, and many restored and un-restored sites from the 19th century. The Visitor Center provides a free self-guided student tour of the history of Lowell, including exhibits such as the patent model of a loom by local inventor S. Thomas. The visitor center also includes a 20 minute video entitled “Lowell: The Industrial Revolution.”

Right Outside of Boston, Mass. Lowell Provides Insight into the Industrial Revolution
The Boott Mills sit along the Merrimack River, on the Eastern Canal, and are the oldest and most fully restored manufacturing sites in the district. The Boott Mill provides a walk-through museum with living re-creations of the textile manufacturing process in the 19th century. Adjacent to the Boot Mills is the Tsongas Industrial History Center, a hands-on center where weaving, creating canals, testing water wheels and working on an assembly line are some of the interactive activities for students.
A walkway along the river leads to several additional un-restored mill sites, providing views of restored and un-restored canal raceways once used by the mills. Additionally, the park includes the Patrick J Mogan Cultural Center, which focuses on the lives of Lowell’s many generations of immigrants.

The park includes a 5.6 mile power canal system. Boat and trolley tours along the Pawtucket Canal are offered late Spring through fall. Reproductions of 1901 electric trolley cars operate Spring through Fall. Other exhibits include canal boat tours exploring some of the city’s gatehouses and locks and the River Transformed/Suffolk Mill Turbine Exhibit, which shows how water power, namely the Francis Turbine, was once used to run Lowell’s textile factories.

Lowell is also home to Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Vandenberg Esplanade, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiation Laboratory which houses a small nuclear reactor. Lowell is the birthplace of Jack Kerouac and Academy Award-winning actress Bette Davis. Jack Kerouac’s gravesite is in Lowell’s Edson Cemetery. Another literary historical site of interest to student tour groups is The Worthen House, where Edgar Allan Poe allegedly wrote “The Raven,” a story known to all American students.

Women’s History in Lowell, MA
The term “Lowell Mill Girls” is used to describe the city’s 19th century female textile workers, who comprised about 75 percent of the city’s textile workforce. In 1845, the women organized a group called the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association and demanded a ten-hour workday. The petition they sent to the Massachusetts General Court led to the first government investigations into labor conditions in the United States.

Lowell is also the birthplace of Mary Hallaran, former director of the United States Women’s Army Corps. When asked by a superior what someone of her short stature could do for the military, she famously replied, “You don’t have to be six feet tall to have a brain that works.”

Touring Lowell with Student Trips
The Western Avenue studios provide an artistic picture of Lowell’s culture for student groups. A converted mill on Western Avenue which houses over 160 working artists and musicians, the studios are open to the public on the 1st Saturday of each month from 12-5 p.m.

With Lowell’s textile history, it is particularly suited as home to the New England Quilt Museum. The Quilt Museum includes 150 quilts which showcase the history of American textiles in quilts and quilt tops. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and has special hours on Sundays from May through December. The museum also offers discount tickets to students.

Lowell, MA. is the Perfect Add on to a Boston Student Trip
The city uses old freight lines to run streetcars from the center of the city to many of the city’s historical destinations. It also runs a public transit bus system throughout the city and is connected to Boston through commuter rail making it easy for educational groups visiting Boston to add Lowell, Massachusetts to their itinerary. Your educational travel consultant can help you make the best arrangements for your student group.