Teaching Functional Life Skills in the Special Ed Classroom

Teaching Functional Life Skills is the most important component in our classrooms. There are many different things we could write about when talking about life skills. Today I want to address cleaning tables and washing hands. As part of my 7th period class we run the Cougar Cafe. The Cougar Cafe prepares items like cupcakes, brownies, chex mix, and many other things. The students sell these items during break time right outside of my classroom. To prepare for this endeavor, it is very important to take the time to teach the students proper cleaning procedures. One of them is to prepare the work station. To do this, the students have to wipe down all of the tables.

As many of you all know, the concept to wipe off dirt that we cannot see is a very difficult concept. Therefore, I sprinkled flour all over the tables. The students were able to practice their wiping skills and actually see the dirt on the table. Some of my students did a really good job and were able to clean up the mess independently. Some of my other students lack the motor skills to accomplish this task. We provided these students with hand over hand assistance.

cleaning table

After cleaning the tables, all students had to wash their hands. None of my students like their hands to be dirty. But, like the tables, you cannot see germs. So I grabbed the first thing that I could find in my fridge – KETCHUP. I squired ketchup on my students hands. They would only hold their hands out reluctantly, but after smearing the ketchup all over their hands, they were ready to wash their hands. Seeing the spots that needed to be cleaned on their hands was a huge help to get them to wash them the proper way.