Friday, September 24, 2010

How To: Teach Concrete Concepts within the Grocery Store

Any vision professional will tell you that the vital part of teaching concepts for children with vision impairments is to use the real deal when explaining or teaching about it. That’s it—you have to use the real mccoy if you are gonna give your student an actual frame of reference about things. (There are two other critical concepts but I am gonna save that for another post—stay tuned!)

The grocery store is a treasure for all kinds of ECC skills. Here’s a sampling of skills our students can learn about at the grocery store:
1. Self advocacy
2. Mobility
3. Braille skills
4. Social
5. Daily living skills
6. Community skills

The grocery store is also a teaching place for all students and abilities. Here are my favorite concepts to work on within the grocery store. (My list can be a jumping off point to topics or starting points for teaching. You can, of course, customize it for your student).

1. Discuss what the grocery store is.
a. How does it differ from other stores like Target?
b. Is it a big place or a small place?
c. Sections of the store/layout
2. What does the grocery store sell?
a. Discuss items & specialties (bakery, deli, customer service, checkout)
3. Follow a grocery list
a. This is where you can make this a sequential teaching plan. For example, you want to make pasta so brainstorm where you would find each item.
4. Practice money exchanges & checkout skills
5. Take time to take items off the shelf or remove things from the freezer. Explore the aisles, endcaps, freezer cases, seafood section, etc.
6. Play “Supermarket Sweep” as a family or class*

These are concepts that will work for children who are deafblind, early childhood or school age. If you are going to use these concepts with typically developing older school age students, bump up the dificulty level. Give the students a longer shopping list, have them pay as independently as they can, etc.

Make sure that you do your best to teach this lesson as complete as possible. The lesson should begin before you go to the actual store. You should discuss how you are going to get into the store, pre-teach about what the grocery store is, use object symbols, have shopping lists and money in wallets to pay for transactions.

*I will give the directions for Supermarket Sweep in another post.

Do it at home: Start preparing for you community outing to the grocery store! Ask yourself: what does my child really know about grocery shopping? Remember that if you are going to have your child hold onto the cart, that you give them plenty of opportunities to interact. Nothing is learned while just walking behind a cart! Good luck!!

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