Sunday, June 01, 2008

Another trip to the FED

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Thursday was Field Trip day for Mr. Silva-Brown's classes.  I took my AP Comparative Government class, plus another 12 students from other classes on my yearly trip to the San Francisco Federal Reserve and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  As usual, the result was a lot of satisfied students in terms of a worthwhile experience. 

For those that haven't figured it out yet (I've blogged about it a half-dozen times), the San Francisco Federal Reserve is a great trip for high school aged students.  Thanks to my School Site Council, I was able to fund a school bus for the  3 hour trip to 101 Market Street, the location of banking capital of the West Coast.  Fine, the 6:15 a.m. departure time did not create smiles in the early morning, but you can't really beat crossing the Golden Gate Bridge at 9 a.m. to a cloudless sky and views of the City By the Bay.  We arrived right on time (9:30) and Maggie Glanowska, the Coordinator of Economic Education for the FED, gave us a personal tour of the country's largest currency collection, the vault, and the shredding room.  The kids were fully engaged, asked great questions, and were completely depressed as they witnessed the counting of 46 million dollars in one of many cash counting rooms.  Plenty of "can't we just have one bundle" was said as we toured the well guarded FED vault.  It causes a stir with kids, a good one that they remember.

We then walked about 6 blocks up Market Street to the Downtown Mall food court, an experience that many enjoyed simply because few actually get out of the car and walk the city when they visit.  Some ask questions about the street cars, the banks, the Financial District, and just soak in the city atmosphere.  After a nice lunch, we headed the three short blocks to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  In February I attended a workshop for teachers in which we were trained how to be certified tour guides.  After completing the workshop, I was able to schedule self-guided tours for groups of students at no cost.  Entry fee for 30 students into the SF MOMA?  $0.  After a short tour from the top-down I gave the students an assignment that had them go around and list works that they would consider art, and works they did not consider art.  The picture above was one of the usual suspects of being considered something other than art.  The name of the piece is called "The Fountain", and it is on display in the same room as Diego Rivera, Salvador Dali, and Jackson Pollock.  It caused quite a stir as most students found the piece to be, well, a urinal, but one student was able to whip out some serious artistic knowledge that left dozens of students absolutely floored.  The conversation lasted well into the bus trip back and even found its way into Senior English classes the next day. 

We arrived back at around 6 p.m. and it plenty of time for students to head off to a band concert, and others to go home at hit the last bit of work before year's end.  I'll end up doing it again next year, even though I'm not teaching Gov/Econ (which I'm getting more and more bitter about).  One student recommended the FED in the morning, then a Giants game in the afternoon.  In fact, do it on April 15 to celebrate Jackie Robinson's first day in the Majors.  It might be hard to connect baseball with Gov/Econ, but it sure can be easily tied to U.S. History. 

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