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Journals of Trip to New York City

School: Shutesbury Elementary School

City/State: Shutesbury, MA

Grade(s): 5, 6

Format(s): Journal

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual Arts

Project Overview

These reflective journals were created by 5th/6th grade students from the Shutesbury Elementary School, in Shutesbury, Massachusetts as part of a Learning expedition that included a trip to New York City. The journals are a special kind of scrapbook that combines writing with the collection of artifacts.

Students went on a multi-day trip to New York. Each year the trip centered around whatever academic content the class was studying at the time: one of these journals was from a year in which students were studying geology (visiting the American Museum of Natural History and Tiffany Jewelers to meet with diamond cutters), and the other journal is from a year in which they were studying architecture (studying and drawing skyscrapers; meeting with city architects). No matter the academic theme, the trip was also about the cultural experience of rural students being in the city.

The journals shown here capture the different experiences that each student had in New York, as well as what they thought and learned while they were there. Each journal uniquely combines writing, drawings, photographs and actual artifacts, in a reflective “scrapbook” format. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • A useful way to have students gather the disparate pieces of a trip into a cohesive story of their experience.
  • The “Scrapbook” format is compelling for students.
  • The quality of reflective writing, cover art and layout in these journals is high, making them good models for thoughtful writing and presentation.
  • Provides a means for assessing individual student’s learning/experience in NYC.
  • Can be a way to share the details of a fieldwork experience with family members or friends.
  • As you flip through the pages of “New York Reflection” notice the way this student weaves writing with the artifacts. It’s not just a recounting of what she did, but also provides insights into what this student was thinking during specific moments of the trip.

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can use grammar conventions to send a clear message to a reader or listener.
  • I can use correct grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
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