Community Field Trip
The school district I work for promotes the importance of providing our students with the tools to be successful for life. So, how can we help to carry over skills learned in therapy to real-life settings? How do we encourage our students to interact with individuals in the community or those outside of their comfort zone?
Once an idea for a field trip has been developed- weeks of planning and organizing ideas quickly follows. Because of the upcoming holiday season, I thought it would be best to encourage my students to plan their own Thanksgiving feast.
Before planning our feast, we discussed Thanksgiving traditions, foods, history, organization, etc. I was surprised to discover that many of my students were unaware of "why" we celebrated this holiday. I also gave each of my students a "Grocery Store Vocabulary Match" quiz to determine which areas we needed to focus on the most throughout this unit. Once we developed a base understanding, and common foods associated with Thanksgiving, we began to brainstorm.
Each student was encouraged to come up with their own Thanksgiving "menu." Some students required more assistance than others with this task. Some decided to make this activity fun, listing items such as,"turkey coated with Cheetos," as their entree.
Once a menu was developed- students were then encouraged to look up recipes and pricing for items on their menu. Pricing was determined using grocery store flyers and google. Most of my students required assistance with looking up recipes for items on their menu (they did not realize how much work goes into making these dishes!). Once we gathered our prices and ingredients needed, we discussed the best way to create a shopping list. This led into a discussion about how a grocery store is organized and the many sections located within each store. To gain a better understanding of the organization of a grocery store and the vocabulary associated with a shopping trip, we used the UNO game from the Plan Your Own Thanksgiving Feast packet in my TPT store. My students really enjoyed this game!
Now- How to translate this idea over to a field trip?
I wanted my students to be able to independently navigate around a grocery store while following a list. I also wanted them to be able to interact with grocery store employees and purchase something with their own money.
I created a master "shopping list" in a scavenger hunt format based on the menu and shopping lists developed in therapy. Each student received the same list, but were each given a different "starting point," so that they were not working as a large group, rather groups of two. Each time they encountered an item on their shopping list they were to take a picture using their smart phone or tablet. If they were unable to locate an item, they were encouraged to ask a store employee. At the end of the "scavenger hunt" the student was instructed to pick a snack and go check out.
Even though I tried to group same section items together on the shopping list, it was evident that my students were not paying much attention to this! They still ended up walking around aimlessly at times.. But overall, they did a very nice job! They were well behaved, asked for help when needed, interacted with other customers, and helped some elderly individuals with their groceries 😊 . The grocery store staff were amazing as well! They took the time to help explain sales tax to many of my students.
If you were to create a trip like this, is there anything you would do differently? Also, please feel free to view this product in my store if you are interested in doing something like this next year!