This post originally appeared on the blog Check In With Mrs G.
Before I became a Special Ed teacher, one of the many jobs I had was working at a non-profit with young adults who had cognitive disabilities. These clients were 17-22 year olds who were transitioning into their first jobs. At the time, the vocational materials I found were written with academic language that made the content inaccessible for my clients. It was then that I developed what would become the first draft of my Life Skills Vocational products.
All of the products in my vocational series are ELA products that are meant to introduce students to vocabulary and concepts that they will find in the workplace. The Vocational Reading Comprehension Workbooks I & II explicitly teach workplace vocabulary such as clocking in, paychecks, job duties, work schedule, and interviewing. The reading comprehension tasks are broken into five parts to support scaffolding based on individual student needs.
In the Vocational Interactive Notebook, students walk through each step in searching for a job, applying for a job, and interviewing. Students are prompted with meaning-making questions such as, “Why do people get jobs?” and “What type of job might you want to have?”. At the completion of the notebook, students will have created their own resource for the job application process. This activity took four weeks to complete with my group and sparked many insightful conversations.
In the same spirit of accessibility and respect, I created a vocational writing workbook for a client with significantly impaired dexterity. His disability meant that he had the most success when using a speech-to-text program but his motivation to do the same work as the rest of our group meant that he wanted to develop his writing while with his peers. Unfortunately, what I found were many amazing resources that had pictures and topics appropriate for elementary students. So, I developed a workbook that has large primary lines and four tasks for each for each vocational vocabulary word: highlight, trace, copy, and complete the sentence. This workbook allowed him to participate in group in a way that was similar to his peers but still met his needs. For another, I used these Adapted Books.
My favorite thing about teaching and my biggest challenge in teaching are the same: each student’s needs are uniquely their own. Being attentive to the individual’s needs yet respectful of the student’s chronological age is the challenge of many sped teachers! If you are introducing a middle or high school class to vocational skills, the Vocational Life Skills Bundle may be a good fit for your students. If you try any of the products in this series, thank you! I would love to hear your feedback!
Hi! I’m Krystal, a Special Education teacher who believes that relationships are the key! I create products that aim to meet the varied needs of students with disabilities while empowering them with age-appropriate topics. I believe in preparing students for life beyond the classroom! I’d love to connect on Instagram or Facebook.