Life Skills for 5th Graders

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by btteach, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. btteach

    btteach Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2010

    I am searching for ideas for life skills/daily living skills to teach my fifth graders this year. Most of my kiddos have a diagnosis of autism; also TBI and Down's Syndrome. I thought that since there are so many of you who teach middle school students w/severe disabilities, you might have ideas about what life skills you'd like to see your students have (or hope they might have acquired) by the time they touch down to start in middle school. Thanks!
     
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  3. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Aug 14, 2010

    There is a book called Life Skills for Special Children that has a lot of fabulous idea. I go through it with my middle school class. (I have a middle and high school class). They also have one for secondary students with special needs. It just provides a good starting off point and some activities and is well worth the $30 price.
     
  4. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Aug 15, 2010

    Tying shoes.
    It is amazing how many people just give up on tying shoes because it doesn't come at the drop of a hat. I have taught many kids to do it (some kids legitimately DONT ever get it...) - but still - in 5th grade, they should still be taught and have opportunities for daily practice. This is something that is such a life skill!!!!! I wish that my kids' previous teachers hadn't given up on it (the elem program teacher told me "there was no way they'd ever get it, so she just stopped working on it." Sad!!!!! There are tons of resources from Mayer-Johnson (the double colored laces, books with pictures of the steps, etc. ZERO of my kids can tie their shoes, and my goal is to up that number this year. We will work on it every day before gym class.

    Brushing teeth.
    Another one that really just seems to fall by the wayside. I did this with my elem. kids in texas, and we did it every morning after breakfast AND after lunch, just for the practice (plus a few of them had some seriously stinky breath so the 2x a day at school did NOT hurt... and a few of them, I'm not certain it ever got done at home, so to do it 2x at school was a godsend...)

    Looking in mirror, adjusting clothes, being aware of self.
    My kids have a really hard time with understanding that your shirt all the way tucked into your pants and your pants pulled up "looks weird" and is going to get stares. Another thing they have trouble with is food on their faces and not having a clue. We have worked on using a napkin during lunch, and also when we return from lunch, they all do a "mirror check" and on the top of the mirror theres a visual that says, "is there anything on my face??" This has helped IMMENSELY. Just becoming aware of what a mirror is, how to use it, how to determine if you "look good," etc.

    Deodorant.
    Honestly, especially for kids who will be especially against it (kids with weird texture/sensory/smell issues) - they should at least be exposed to it starting in elementary school. You know when you get to middle school, that sucker MUST be applied every morning. Another thing to just "be on the lookout" for. Not necessarily applying it every day, but letting them see it, touch it, smell it, maybe put it on their hands here and there -to show them it's not scary (not sure what level kids you have, but mine are very low and deodorant was a HUGE shocker to them and it took MONTHS to desensitize them...)

    Changing clothes independently.
    Hopefully, by this age, this is something they can do. I have several kids who still have their parents dressing them every morning!!!! Huge issue when you have to get ready for gym class in middle school! Maybe if you have an extra set of clothes, you can just put the bag in the bathroom and say "okay, change into your extra clothes" and see what happens. Most kids will probably be able to do it, but there might be the straggler kid who has no idea what you're asking or is startled that you're asking him to do it by himself.

    HANDWASHING.
    Washing hands effectively. A lost and forgotten skill! Teaching the "count to 10" technique for scrubbing under the water, using appropriate amounts of soap, drying with towel not shirt, putting towels in trash, etc.

    Those are just the BASIC skills I can think of off the top of my head. Not sure if your kids are way higher than that or already HAVE all those skills... but those are the skills I wish that my kids came to me with (they are ALL capable, I just know they got put on the backburner and now they're in middle school!)
     
  5. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Aug 15, 2010

    teachersk - We do a "morning grooming check" as part of our routine with coming in. Students check if their clothing is on properly, state if they have brushed hair (looking in mirror) and teeth, older ones state if they are wearing deoderant...etc. I actually have it as a check off sheet they go through in the morning (one week at a time) and then have a larger visual procedure for it.

    As for tieing shoes... we have an 16 year old who finally got it at the end of last year. I say never give up on that one!
     
  6. btteach

    btteach Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2010

    Great ideas!

    M2M, teachersk, those are great ideas-they give me a great place to begin. Many thanks~
     
  7. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Aug 15, 2010

    btteach---

    One other suggestion. Do all of your kids (in your class) go into the same middle school program?

    Is there a way you can get in touch with the middle school teacher?

    I would be absolutely elated if our elementary program teacher would contact me and be "on the same page" about things like that.

    I know that they have a whole different thing going on at the elementary school - but it would be nice if we could kind of provide "continuity of care" in a way....

    That might be something you could check into, contacting the middle school program teacher and seeing what kinds of things she'd (he'd? how sexist am I!) be interested in seeing her students have upon entry to her program.

    Just a thought!
     
  8. btteach

    btteach Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2010

    Good idea re: continuity of care

    I'll put that high up on my "TO DO" list, (thanks teachersk.)
    The students I have will most likely transition into 2 middle schools in my district. The ideas on this board have given me a starting baseline, and I'll fill it in with feedback from the middle school teachers.
     
  9. mom2mikey

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    Aug 15, 2010

    btteach - I would try to make things as functional and hands on as you possibly can. I recieved a grade 6 student in to my program last year who could do a lovely job of counting pictures on paper but when I tried to get him to count actual objects (like dollars or the dog biscuits we make for our classroom business) he was unable to do it. Remember that many of our kiddos have limited ability to transfer skills and need to be taught things in context. The more hands on and functional the better.

    Here is a great place to look to get some ideas as to what you can focus on to ensure that a curriculum is functional: http://www.esc3.net/index.php/component/content/article/146/670-faces-curriculum-resources

    Good on you for trying to look ahead and ensure that your students are prepared for where they are going. It is so important to have that long term goal in mind.
     
  10. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Aug 15, 2010

    We used to use FACES in our life skills classes in Texas! Funny you should link it, M2m!
     
  11. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Aug 15, 2010

    teachersk - I have found the F.A.C.E.S. curriculum to be very helpful in coming up with ideas, concepts and approaches. What did you think of it when you used it?
     
  12. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Aug 15, 2010

    Looooved it.

    Let me just tell you - speaking of continuity of care - most of the school districts down where I was (South Texas) used it - so if a kid came from another district, they had a portfolio full of the concepts they'd acquired (SAME CURRICULUM!! imagine that).

    It was fab.

    There are some things that my lower kids would never be able to get from there, but the general idea of it was great.

    A bunch of teachers came up with it several years ago. It has since fallen by the wayside since teachers are now required to "teach on grade level."

    I know a lot of teachers still use it as a resource but it's no longer a designated curriculum in my old district due to NCLB.
     
  13. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Aug 15, 2010

    teachersk - That is too bad as I think its a great curriculum. I have bought a couple of other life skill curriculums and they just do not compare to F.A.C.E.S. for me. I go back to it often as a reference point. Like you said. some of it is a bit too high for some of my students but it is nice to have it as a frame of reference. I love the idea of uisng it as a curriculum and knowing that students who move between schools would be working on similar things.
     

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