Family field studies have become an important part of the educational curriculum at
Travis. Many different trips are planned by the different grade levels.
Kindergarten takes a family
field study to the Brazos State Park in November. Many of the families camp out in the
campground for the weekend. Others come and join the fun for the Saturday activities.
Teachers and parents organize a large group meal where everyone can share and discuss the
activities of the day. Many different nature centers and activities are planned as well as
a visit to the observatory and a special space trip in the Challenger Learning Center.
The first grade classes
plan a group trip to Galveston. They spend the day investigating the beach, tide pools,
and wildlife that can be found along the gulf's edge. A group picnic
serves as a time of sharing and learning from each other. Every other year a first grade
teacher organizes and leads a field study over the Spring Break to EPCOT/WALT DISNEY WORLD
in Florida as the culmination of a series of units throughout the year. Parents work
to raise money so that all who want to can go. The value to the children is the education
gained from the activities they are involved in as well as the camaraderie with fellow
students and parents. The interaction with their own parent(s) in meaningful activities
over time improves the vital communication that is necessary for a strong family
foundation to help them resist negative influences.
The second grade classes
take a weekend field study with parents to Glen Rose, Texas as a culmination of a unit of
study about dinosaurs. Many families camp out, take the tours and observe the dinosaur
footprints. Children gain in their knowledge about dinosaurs, living in the out-of-doors,
and being with other students and parents from cultures other than their own. This has
become an annual highlight of the second grade curriculum.
Third graders takes
a city tour , using the downtown tunnel system as a social studies discovery lesson.
The students use maps to explore the tunnels and find their way to appointed stops that
lead them to a final rendezvous spot.
visit Goliad and the fifth graders' culminating field study is to the state capital in
Austin, Texas in May.
This school-wide, end-of-year field study features activities planned around a theme in
science, art, literature, social studies, ecology and physical development. Students can
apply their learning in "hands -on" activities. This has become a Travis
tradition eagerly anticipated by the students. Teachers develop and ancillary
teachers supervise centers and stations around the park.
Classes rotate around these stations during the day. Parents are involved as chaperones
and aides in the centers. The closing ceremony, presented by our graduating 5th graders to
the gathered student body at the end of the day, has become a moving and uplifting
SCHOOL OF ART:
Fifth grade students experience 3 days of art appreciation at the Museum of Fine Arts and
art instruction at this prestigious art school. They create fantastic products which are
displayed in the halls upon their return. This experience broadens their knowledge and skills and
exposes them to a cultural experience they might never have otherwise.
TEXAS INSTITUTE OF ARTS IN EDUCATION:
Some of our teachers have received training through 3-week summer inservices offered by
the institute. Professionals in the disciplines of opera, dance, mime, puppetry, drama,
and visual arts work with students in the classrooms of these teachers.
Children experience enrichment activities which give them an awareness of the fine arts in
a creative, participatory way. A final product is created and, sometimes, a field study to
the theatre is taken to further the cultural experience.
YOUNG AUDIENCE PROGRAMS:
Children are exposed to all of the fine arts in this wonderful program sponsored by the
"Friends" of Young Audience Programs. This group donates money to pay half of
the cost of the
performance and the PTA budgets some of their funds for this wonderful cultural
experience. Opera, Ballet, dance, mime, brass, strings, western guitar, dramas, and jazz
impact not only their better understanding of fine arts, but also their awareness of Black
and Hispanic history and culture.
The celebrations include Black History Month, Kwanza, Chinese New Year, Hispanic Heritage
Month, Mercado, Pinata Contest, Cinco de Mayo, Yom Kippor and Hanukkah. These celebrations
involve morning announcements by students, Young Audience programs involving drama, music
and dance, and classroom study of the culture, including food and costumes. The
children become aware of the world around them and the customs of people different from
themselves. As they learn more about the contributions of other ethnic groups and
cultures, they can better appreciate and respect them.
PTA FATHER/CHILD, MATH/SCIENCE, AND READING NIGHTS:
Hosted by the faculty of Travis, these very successful and well attended evenings
accomplish their goal: to involve the parents in the school with a fun learning situation.
The garden/science teachers meet with all the classes each
week to conduct gardening and nature study activities. By engaging the children in such
real and hands-on studies, we hope to foster interest in science and nature that will
continue in their elective courses in secondary school and adult life.