Monday, February 1, 2016

Prepping for Real Life Money Skills

When I first saw this homemade debit credit card reader I thought it was the real deal:

Used in the classroom store, in Ms. Parker's class for middle school students with moderate intellectual disabilities.
Students in our elementary, middle and high schools purchase lunch by depositing funds into their student accounts and then swiping their lunch cards at the debit card readers next to the cashier.
So many skills to work on to independently perform this everyday task:
  1. Finding your name from the column of lunch cards posted outside the cafeteria line.
  2. Keeping track of the lunch card while moving through the line, grabbing milk/juice from the deep, refrigerated bin, deciding which entree looks good and saying or indicating your choice to the lunch lady, not minding everyone shoving your tray (or you) along while you wait in line to pay.
  3. Placing your card into the debit card reader with the correct side up and the correct edge going into the port of the card reader.
  4. Entering your PIN.  Oh, the confusion the first few days of school when everyone has to enter a PIN and you're so nervous that you'll mess up!  It's sorta like the feeling I had when I had to learn to open my locker...the dreaded locker combination...
I spend a lot of time in cafeterias, helping students learn adapted methods for opening milk cartons and cellophane wrappers, not to mention self feeding skills.  It's an excellent school environment for observing a student's response to overwhelming noise and action, as well as their ease with interpersonal relationships.  My PT buddies find it invaluable for observing the student's physical ability to navigate through an unpredictable, constantly changing pathway, all while balancing a wobbly tray in their hands.

If you're not hanging out with your students at lunch, music, recess, art and PE you're missing out on the fun--and valuable information.  And, as a personal note, if you're as sensitive to loud noise as I am remember to bring along some earplugs.

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