After years of trying to find meaningful jobs for my students that actually worked on their IEP goals and objectives I think I have found the answer. This however, is not my original idea. So thanks to the person who gave me this idea through a Facebook post, it has truly changed my life…..or at least my afternoon M-F :).
Here is what I did to get started.
1) I contacted my administration team for approval. I explained the job and the purpose behind it.
2) Contacted teachers who were on planning during the time we would be delivering the mail. We currently have 7/26 teachers who participate (more would me more than willing to allow this but, this is enough for us right now). I chose teachers who were on planning to prevent minimal class disruptions and allow time for my students to practice their communication skills. I sent out this email:
Hello 1:30 Planning Team :),
We have a few students who are starting a mail delivery job. This job is going to help build organization, transition and communication skills. We would love if you would be willing to participate. If you choose to participate we just ask that you leave your mail in your mailbox and interact with the students during delivery. A simple wave or high-five would be appropriate. Your mail will be delivered daily between 1:30-2:15. If you are interested please let me know.
Within minutes everyone I sent it to replied with a YES!, Sounds like fun!, Can’t wait to meet the kids! Thank so much!
2) I found something to organize and deliver the mail. Thankfully our office has a mail cart so I just snag that when we need it. For the organization part I just use one of the cheap plastic file folder crates. I think I got mine at Wal-Mart or Target. I plopped some hanging file folders in it (7 to match the number of teachers we were delivering to) and put teacher names on labels. I just attached a large Avery label to the hanging folder tab (to make it bigger). (I grabbed this picture from Google…the color hanging folders would work even better!!!!)
3) I then decided which students would do the job. I currently have 3 students participate. Two of them (alternate days) stock/organize the mail cart and 1 of them does the deliveries.
4) Stocking/Organizing the cart: The student pushes the cart (with the file crate already inside) to the mail room and takes the mail out of the teachers box and puts it in the corresponding folder. I have an adult help with every step of this. At this time my students are working on “putting in” so the para currently gets it out of the box and tells them where to put it. But, this is a great way to incorporate matching skills if your students are working on those. Simply put a colored sticker (I’m thinking those garage sale dots) on the mailbox and a matching sticker to their hanging file folder in the crate. The student can take it out of the “green dot” mailbox and put it in the “green dot” folder. I know some districts require every task to match the curriculum so here are a few more ideas to help make this educational.
-you could have uppercase letters on the mailbox and lowercase on the folder
-states on the mailbox and their capitals on the folder
-vocabulary word on the mailbox and a definition on the folder
-math problem on the mailbox and the answer on the folder
There are so many “matching” activities that you could incorporate into this job.
5) Delivering Mail: The student I have deliver the mail needs “heavy work” incorporated into their day so I add a backpack to the bottom of the cart before he leaves. The backpack is filled with reams of papers to weigh it down. This student pushes the cart through the halls and stops at the appropriate class. During this time he is working on, walking in the hall appropriately, looking where he is going, knocking on the door, getting the mail, walking it to the teacher, saying Hi! and coming back out to the cart. Following directions is the BIG goal here!!
6) Clean Up: The cart is brought back to the classroom, the backpack and file crate are taken out and the cart is returned to the office.
I will admit having snack following the job is VERY motivating for my students. I do not use food as a reinforcer during the day/other tasks so making sure snack time was right after this not so preferred activity helps…..SHH!!! They will never know I am that sneaky 🙂 (Grab this First/Then chart here)
I absolutely love this job and am so glad that endlessly scrolling through Facebook at 2am finally paid off!! This job allows my students to build real life job skills, work on IEP goals and objectives and get some sensory input as well.
Do you do a mail delivery job in your classroom? What has been your favorite classroom job that you have implemented?