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HIgh School Special Education Teacher

HIgh School Special Education Teacher

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I teach a Life skills class for special needs students. I have been given the challenge of creating a program in our school plus thing out of the box with it. What are you doing in other schools? Does anyone have an apartment or house that you use? How do you fund these projects?

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Cheri Maupin's picture
Cheri Maupin
Resource Teacher, Community Based Education, High School from Ogallala, Ne

Your general housekeeping ideas sound like very good ones. I had not thought about the elderly in our community. Do you have a community garden area? We don't but I was thinking of helping people in the community that do have gardens for that experience.

paula's picture

I think that a local nursing home would be willing to work with you to develop some housekeeping skills. You could do wash, make beds or perhaps work in the activities department.

Denise Lepard's picture
Denise Lepard
Education Specialist, Transition; San Diego, CA

A Leach

Our school is fortunate enough to have a small kitchen with washer and dryer. Believe me, I know how very fortuante we are.
Our life skills class (at one time or another) have:
* ran a cookie business where the students sold the fresh baked cookies at the end of the day~there is nothing like the smell of baked goods to encourage sales
* ran a breakfast program for faculty. The students developed a menu, took advance orders, perpared and even delivered orders, shopped for materials, and arranged the advertisements
*host a sit down Christmas luncheon for faculty/staff/family members. We sell tickets to the event, prepare all foods and serve our guests. The students bring in recipes or search for a recipe to make and in the end - we prepare a cookbook with the recipes that we used.
*have a student run school store for after school snacks
*do laundry for the PE department
*prepare a family style meal at least once a week
* have the local Red Cross come for babysitting/tips on staying alone and basic first aid training
*participate in job shadowing/community outings
I should note that we have excellent staff and students but are also a very rural area with limited resources. We have had to think outside of the box and feel we have been quite successful.

Your school sounds similar to mine. It is a non-public school, and I have found, if we need it... our directors usually get it for us. I work with the 18-22 year old population and we have job coaching; a mock restaurant that plans, takes orders, prepares, serves a very healthy (vegan) meal once a week; a washer and dryer; simulated stores; etc... About 40% of our kids are diploma bound.

Belle Aakhus's picture
Belle Aakhus
Teacher of Developmental Cognitive Disabilties

[quote]I personally do teach this group of students...but when I was student teaching, I worked in Bend, OR area. One of the schools there had an apartment where post high school students reported, and then went to their supported employment positions (shelters, and other arranged jobs). You might want to look up the schools in the Bend area.[/quote]

paula's picture

An apartment is a good idea for your older CD students. A neighboring school district had an apartment for teaching life skills. All students spent time learning a variety of skills.
Another project I had was matching students with seniors and had them do life skills in their apartments and homes. Great for both the students and senior citizens.

paula's picture

another idea is a potato bar for staff on Fridays
Ballons for the school- sold ballons kids could purchase for birthday etc
Cookie orders
Made birdhouses and sold them

Cheri Maupin's picture
Cheri Maupin
Resource Teacher, Community Based Education, High School from Ogallala, Ne

All the ideas that have been suggested on this discussion group has been wonderful. I have take a few of them and presented to my director. The result is that I am creating a new program for our school then presenting the ideas that you all gave to our School Board in the fall. Each idea is worth a pile of gold. We as life skills teachers have to present more that core curriculum to our students but how to make it in the world. You all desire a round of applause!!

Mary-Ellen Quintana's picture

Hi, I'm pretty new to students requiring more life skill courses vs. those on a more academic track. Quite the opposite, I've had 3 autistic children placed in my class because they are higher functioning and the psychologist or parents (or both) wanted to challenge them. At least for these kids, I've seen how by raising expectations, they have all risen to the challenge. I treat them like the other kids and encourage them. These children so want to achieve it surprises me. What is more unsettling is that their parents keep telling me that I'm producing a miracle. I don't think I'm doing anything special; I just think these kids were misplaced. I teach a 8:1:1 class, ELA, Social Studies, 9 - 12 grade. The issue, is they're STILL autistic and will need support their entire life. Yet they have shown they can complete a highly structure, but modified high school curriculum that I hope will enrich their lives.

paula's picture

What you did is awesome... often times, students with autism aren't challenged to do their best. It is obvious that you treated them with respect and demanded that they do their best. Kudos to you, you certainly deserve it.

Mary-Ellen Quintana's picture

Gee, thank you Paula. Funny thing, when I met my first autistic child I was a little scared. I wondered how I would be able to teach him. The thing is he taught me. This kid is so lovable that even after two years with him I would adopt him in a flash if I could. He is so highly cared for and admired by everyone in the class and mainstream school.

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