Imaginary Field Trips

What is an Imaginary Field Trip?

What is an Imaginary Field Trip? Well, it's just like it sounds. It's a field trip that the class takes in their imaginations. Usually it is guided by the teacher, but after several samples I have let students host their own story. Another name for this is "Guided Imagery". The story is told from the second person point-of-view ("You are doing this or that") so that whoever is imagining it is the main character the action occurs to. It is also important to make it all in present tense, so the audience can imagine it happening to them in real time. Another key feature is to include as many multisensory images as possible and in as great detail as possible so they can really imagine being there and experiencing those events.

Benefits

There are many benefits of doing Imaginary Field Trips, the most obvious of which is to develop better imaginations. These trips are also usually great FUN! I am careful to make nothing too scary in the story so they won't have a negative experience. This is very important when they're very deeply relaxed. This brings up the other main purpose - relaxation. Through the necessary process of going on an imaginary field trip, the children get to rest and relax their bodies and minds. They are far from passive, however, as they must practice paying attention and concentrate carefully on listening in order to imagine seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching all the things on the journey. If they don't concentrate, they know they will miss out AND have great difficulty on the follow-up activity which involves answering specific questions about their trip.

One other part of the Imaginary Field Trip is to include one or more aspect that each listener has to create for themselves. For example, the story may say that you see a creature and he helps you find an amazing treasure. Students might not be told very much about the creature or the treasure, but are still expected to be able to describe and draw the creature and tell what the treasure is. These ambiguous aspects help develop creativity. The follow up questions are good ways to evaluate student creativity and memory. After answering the questions, students greatly enjoy sharing their visions with others and this gives them practice communicating clearly.

Method

In order to have high quality images, it is important for everyone to get very calm and relaxed. I usually begin one by shutting the blinds and the door and the lights off. I put on soothing music like Enya or Medwyn Goodall, and I tell them to shut their eyes and get comfortable in their chairs. I tell them to take in a slow deep breath and after a few seconds to release it. I go through the entire process of muscle relaxation from feet to head, having them tighten, hold, and then release each named muscle group. Then we do waves of tightening and releasing all the muscles a couple times. At this point the class is usually not moving and silent and most everyone is pretty deeply relaxed. To make sure, I do the complete Waterfall Script next before beginning the actual story of the Imaginary Field Trip.

I am more than happy to write personal imaginary field trips for you and your child if you want one. Just tell me where you want to go and any specific objective you have for it - ie. peace, calmness, joy, curiousity, creativity, wisdom, seeing animal guides, etc. (pick one or two). These are $25 for written stories or $50 for the audiotape version. Email me at Director@metagifted.org to order. OR you can write your own!

How To Write an Imaginary Field Trip

Imaginary Field Trips Index

Here you will find an index of the various Imaginary Field Trip Journeys I have written which you can go on, use with your children, or use with a class.