We Mean Business

BY John Bonanni

Nauset Regional Middle School

Project Description
The project aims to provide students with severe special needs generalization of functional math skills, social skills, and life skills through direct instruction and community integration within the immediate Orleans community. After receiving direct instruction and simulation for functional Math skills corresponding to individuals’ levels, students will then receive life skills and social skills training for community engagement. Students will then engage in real world math and social skills at local businesses, requiring them to activate prior knowledge of skills learned within their classroom. By providing real money for students to access, areas of life and social skills, historically at a deficit for this population, can be properly taught and assessed. Using math curricula at varying academic levels, numbers and operations will be explicitly taught, modeled, and guided within the classroom. Simulation of purchasing, interacting, and purchasing will be modeled within a “classroom store” as well as within the “school store” in the cafeteria at varying lunch times. The same operations, relative to each student’s goals, will then be assessed within the community through interactions with business owners in the community. Students will first meet with bank professionals at Cape Cod Five in Orleans, where they will interview bank providers about the use and responsibilities of maintaining a bank account. Students will then attend five separate field trips into the community requiring interviewing employees, budgeting, purchasing, and correctly counting their own change.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
In areas of Functional Math, students will be pretested in areas of finance, including the differences between wants and needs as well as how to create a budget. Curriculum Based Assessment and dynamic, teacher-created word problems to foster connections to the community will be used throughout the unit to assess progress in mathematics operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In areas of social skills, a rubric for social skills will be shared with students prior to their interacting in the community. Throughout the course of six different field trips, students will then be assessed in differentiated areas of social skills relative to their level of social functioning. Life skills, such as community safety, will be explicitly taught, and observations will be recorded.

Benefit to the students and the school
The benefit of the proposed project not only harnesses the need for students with disabilities to generalize learned math skills, but the project also creates community awareness of students historically overlooked within their immediate communities. Relationships will be created with local business owners while students can feel more comfortable navigating their immediate community. By walking into the community, students garner more spatial awareness, with the added necessity of exercise, motion breaks, exercise of social skills through exchanges with others within the community, and exercise of life skills, such as waiting at a cross walk, steps required to do laundry, and how to use the bus system. Generalization of math skills within the class room and acquisition of functional math skills can also be met such as budgeting, purchasing, counting change, and how to read time (bus schedules).

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
To reinforce positive classroom behavior throughout the week, each community trip will take place at the end of the school week, during April and May, and at the end of the day.

April 6, 2018
April 13, 2018
April 27, 2018
May 4, 2018
May 11, 2018
May 18, 2018
May 25, 2018