My 2nd grade teachers are awesome for being so eager to come to the library for virtual field trips, and all 6 classes wanted to do one around the first Thanksgiving. There are so many advantages to doing a virtual field trip, perhaps the biggest is that students seem to be very engaged with the content. I was a little nervous that some of the information presented might be advanced for this age level, but I knew that they'd still enjoy the experience & the teachers were willing to give it a go!
I started doing virtual field trips last school year during library lessons and found that my less participatory students in full-group settings really blossomed when it came to using technology, working in teams, and changing the focus away from reading and on to other disciplines (science, social studies, history, etc). My most successful & fun was a trip to the Grand Canyon & similar landmarks around the world with 4th graders after they completed a landforms unit. My schedule really restricts how often I can plan these experiences, so I used the end of the year technology conference as a way to spread the world about how virtual field trips can be used in classrooms, as a collaborative lesson with your media coordinator, and the many benefits I've found from doing them with students. I hooked my 2nd grade teachers, and hopefully the fun and success we have together will encourage other grades to try it out too!
For this field trip, I squeezed in 6 classes over 2.5 days - chaos! Fortunately, it lent itself to easy set-up, and it's highly student-directed versus the teacher feeding information. The website we used was by Scholastic, and can be found at http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/. Students spread out across the big library space and, with partners, picked which video they wanted to start with: the Mayflower, Pilgrim Village, or Wampanoag Homesite. These are longer videos, so I reminded students that they would need STAMINA to get through the information, but we really didn't have issues of any students losing focus. After watching a video, they looked through the slideshow photographs of Plimoth Plantation and did some guess work by "reading" the pictures, just like they do in picture books and informational text.