Community Experiences Program Brainstorming
This coming up year we have several times during the week where we have a 1:1 student-staff ratio. This has opened up the door to begin looking deeper in to a community experiences program that I have been dreaming up for a couple of weeks now. These community experiences would also tie in to our transition pporfolios as it would allow us to get a better picture in to student's interests/passions. I'm still working on the logistics and am thinking it would mean a trip every 3 or 4 weeks throughout the year. I would want there to be both lead in and follow up to these activities so that we can give them meaning. I would also want there to be some type of "project" associated with most of these trips. Finally, I'm hoping that we can build a personal "Community Experience Book" from each of these trips. These would be kind of like mini scrapbooks and would include pictures, notes and materials collected on the trip (menus, mall map, packages...etc). At the end of the year, the student would have a series of books about their experiences that they and their parents could continue to read together.
I'm still brainstorming ideas and looking in to travel logistics but here are some of the thoughts I have had to this point:
- Bake Sale: Each group of students is to make two things that will be sold in the bake sale. Tasks to complete before going on the community field trip to the grocery store include: finding recipes and making a shopping list. I will then have one of my classroom helpers/volunteers go to the local grocery store and take pictures of the items on the shopping list. The field trip will consist of going to the store and finding the items (will use the pictures to find the items). After the field trip, students will make the items they have decided on and we will host a bake sale.
- Staff Lunch: Similar experience to what is oultined above but instead of baking student groups will be given a part of a staff lunch to make (example: desert, main dish, side dish, starter, drinks...etc.). Again students find recipes, make shopping lists, do the shopping and prepare the food for the staff.
- Mini-Makeovers: Before the trip, we do little spa activities and look at pictures related to make-up, hair, nails...etc. These pictures would all be things the student can choose to get done. The student would choose what they want done and picture symbols or communication devises would be set up for when we go on the trip. Then we have the trip. Upon returning, we can continue to experiment related to things that were done at the salon.
- Christmas Gift Exchange: Students would draw names and then interact with another student about Christmas, gifts and things they enjoy. Students would then go on a trip to buy things for the gift exchange, return back and wrap the gift as well as make a card. We would then have a gift exchange. This would probably be a trip to the dollar store.
- Pet Store/SPCA: Still working on this idea but really think this would be a great place to go. We could either start or end by having a day where we have some pets in the room.
- Mall Picture Scavenger Hunt: This would be one that would be more to get students out to the mall. We would start by looking at pictures of different types of stores and what you would buy at each one. We would do some sorting activities. Then we would go on a scavenger hunt that would include things like: take a picture of an outfit that you like, take a picture of a book about a dog, take a picture of a place where you can buy someting to eat...etc. Upon returning we would look at and discuss all the different pictures that each group took.
- Pizza Place: Look at menus and things that you put on pizzas before going. Go to pizza place and hopefully see how pizzas are made. Upon returning make our own pizzas.
- Present for Mother's Day at the Craft Store: I would pair this one with mother's day. Students decide on something they would like to make for their mom and then make shopping lists, go to the store and buy what they need and then return and make their mother's day present (as well as a card to go with).
- Classroom Planters: Students would be planting plants in planters that will go out on our patio. Students begin by looking at different plants and deciding what they would like in their planter, then we go to the garden store and buy plants and materials. Upon returning, we put together our planters and then continue to care for them.
- Care Packages from the Drug Store: I'm thinking we can put together care packages of things that people need in regards to personal care (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo, deoderant...etc.) and then donate them to a local foodbank to give out as they see appropriate. If I would have thought of this earlier, I would have told parents not to buy all these materials that they need for their students each year and we could have went to them ourselves. I am looking at creating a classroom business this year and we could use the proceeds from that to make these donations.
- Theatre/Performance: We go to several preformances a year and I would like to tie these in to our community experiences program. What would be involved is doing some background preparation before going and then having some activity to tie it up after going to the performance.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Editted to add: For more great ideas, check out the following: