From the 3 AM departure on Sunday morning to the midnight arrival back in Huntsville on Thursday, the 8th grade Washington D.C. trip is loaded with exciting learning opportunities for our 8th grade students. There is no such thing as “down-time” on this trip, as the city has so much to offer, and we take advantage of it!
One of the best parts of being an 8th grade U.S. history teacher at Randolph is that every year at this time I get to see our curriculum come alive. It is one thing to spend time in the classroom teaching and discussing the founding of our country, from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution and beyond, but it means so much more to see the students' faces at the National Archives, when they lean over the glass case and see the actual documents themselves. It puts things so many things in perspective and truly brings history to life! There are so many moments like this throughout the trip. Betsy Allen and I call them the “aha!” moments, where kids are able to connect something in “real life” to what they have learned in class. It’s almost like some of them realize that what they have learned in class does actually exist!
This year’s itinerary includes stops at the brand new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the U.S. Capitol (including a visit with Senator Shelby), Mount Vernon and Arlington Cemetery. The Smithsonian Museums are always a fun part of the trip because the students get to choose for themselves which museums to visit. On the way home from D.C., we will make a stop at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Stay in touch with us throughout the trip! There will be multiple ways for Randolph parents, faculty, and staff to follow our trip in D.C. Students and faculty will tweet about the museums, monuments, and parks they visit using the hashtag #dc8. This will be a great way to be kept up to speed as the trip progresses. Also, each night, members of our Middle School newspaper staff will blog about the day’s events. This blog will include reactions to the day’s events from other members of the class. We hope you will follow along as our students and faculty chronicle the trip!