Creative writing field trips in the Bay Area
July 24, 2014 4:40 PM   Subscribe

I am a 2nd-grade teacher at school in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. Our teaching team is looking to add a field trip for the whole grade this year that has to do with creative writing. Suggestions?

The format is pretty loose. We teach a modified version of Writer's Workshop from the Reading & Writing Project, and we would love to find a field trip that gives kids an opportunity to do some fun creative writing outside the classroom. 826 Valencia has a splendid program called Storytelling & Bookmaking, but it is primarily for San Francisco public schools (we are on their waiting list). That type of format is generally what we're looking for, but anything that involves pumping some fun and creativity into writing is great.


- This is for about 50 second graders (ages 7 and 8).
- It could be a 2-day trip with the kids split into 2 groups.
- This is a private school.
- It would need to be in Oakland, Berkeley, or SF.
- I don't have a specific budget but, you know, nothing too crazy.

Thank you!
posted by anonymous to Education (7 answers total)
You could go to a historic site linked to Gertrude Stein, Jack London, or Joaquin Miller. Or you could ring up Maxine Hong Kington, Amy Tan, Daniel Clowes, Frank Chin, Mary Roach or one of the other authors (still alive and kicking!) who call Oakland home and see if they'd be willing to entertain a class of kids. One might just say yes!
posted by psoas at 6:56 PM on July 24, 2014

Yeah, I was thinking to take them all for a drink at Heinolds. Or you could go check out Jack London's little hut that's still there next to it.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:03 PM on July 24, 2014

What about Oakland Museum of California? We took our entire 9th grade class there, and I saw SO many opportunities to have students do creative writing. They could write from the perspective of early Californians based on what they learned. They could write a narrative about experiencing the science/special exhibits. There are TONS of cool stuff that could launch all kinds of creative writing.

Honestly, creative writing is the easiest thing to build field trips around if you're willing to do a little legwork first, or if you're okay working really fast. And OMCA has some great stuff to launch from.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:06 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm sure this is unconventional, but when I taught creative writing, the trips were about *writing,* not seeing the homes of writers or what-not. (Boring, if you ask me, to boot. At least to most kids.) So, I took them to places that would really get them going in the writing department, giving them some ideas before-hand about what I would be looking for. Outdoors parks are okay. But the best ones were the art museum (use art as writing prompts)... and .... the airport. Really. This was pre-9/11, so we could go most places, but even just hanging out in arrivals and watching people come from all over was wonderful. Tourist areas where there are lots of people (like Pier Whatever), places to sit, but you can also keep track of them can be awesome.
posted by RedEmma at 6:15 AM on July 25, 2014

Well, for just cool stuff to watch that you can make stories about, how about the Port of Oakland Park? It looks private but it's actually public, and you can climb the lookout toward and swivel the viewers towards the birds and the slough OR towards the cranes loading and unloading the cargo ships onto trucks.

I never get tired of either of those.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:07 AM on July 25, 2014

Or Richmond's Rosie the Riveter park. It has a little museum with weird hours, a great collection of old buildings, and if you call ahead you can usually get a Rosie the Riveter specialist park ranger (often about 18 years old) to come walk everyone through it.

WWII Richmond was fascinating because of the social upheaval it caused- women in the factories, blacks and whites working together, etc.

More complicated, (because I think the park has to run everyone's SSN's before you go, which takes a week's notice), but awesome would be Port Chicago's memorial which is over by Port Costa. I'm always surprised at how many locals don't even know about the Port Chicago Disaster's fascinating and relatively unknown history to it, also involving race relations and an explosion that had a 3 mile wide fireball. (previously on metafilter)
posted by small_ruminant at 11:18 AM on July 25, 2014

I was going to suggest the OMCA too (they don't have their fall schedule up yet), but it sounds like you want something where learning or practicing writing is part of the activity--not just inspiration for writing, right? And I don't know where to find that. This is for 4th grade + (though you could ask them for recs?). You might also ask the OMCA docent office if they have any docents who could lead a writing-oriented tour, though they will probably say no.
posted by wintersweet at 11:26 PM on July 25, 2014

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