One functional life skill that every student needs to know is how to effectively make purchases for groceries. This requires that they understand how to find the prices in the store, how to navigate sales flyers and potentially to use coupons effectively.
I have had a number of personal and professional experiences with individuals with developmental disabilities who are living or learning to live independently or semi-independently. In these situations, I've seen clients who get to the counter at the grocery store and don't know that they don't have enough money to make their purchases. And for some individuals, this results in a variety of problem behavior stemming from frustration at having to give something up, difficulty deciding what to put back, and just plain embarrassment.
We have all had it happen to us at one point or another, but it's usually the exception rather than the rule. It's one thing to get to the counter once in a while and not have enough money. But it's another if that is what happens every time you go to the store.
FUNCTIONAL LITERACY and Math AT THE GROCERY STORE
In addition, many of us, and our students, need to get the most of our money at the grocery store. That means being able to understand how to use sales flyers and make economical decisions. For instance, is it cheaper to buy brand A with a coupon or Brand B that doesn't have a coupon? If item A is on sale for buy one get one free (BOGO), is now a good time to stock up on it and buy 2 to take advantage of the sale?
There are so many skills we use in the grocery store that we may not even realize. It's really about functional math, but also functional literacy. We have to know how to read the sales, coupons, signs and shopping list. And then we need to know how much money we need, where we can save, and how much money to give the clerk.
the grocery store
To me, this is my favorite part of the whole set. I've created a grocery store. It uses a combination of real photos and clip art to create a produce stand, a dairy section, meat counter, bakery, dry goods and frozen food aisles. There are prices for each item.
You can set up the grocery store in multiple ways:
GROCERY STORE PRICES WORKSHEETS
Some students just need to practice finding prices in the store. They may not be ready for adding the totals, but these worksheets can help them find out how much things cost. The worksheets have picture cues that match the store. Students use the grocery store to find the prices of 1 item in the store. If the student is not a writer, he or she could dictate the answer to a student or staff member who writes it for them.
These are great to use in different ways with the class as well.
Grocery STORE TASK CARDS
There are 84 task cards in which students find items in the grocery store and determine the price of purchasing single or multiple of that item. To do the math, students could:
COUPONS AND COUPON TASK CARDS
What would the grocery store be without understanding coupons. And when you start to work on functional literacy, you realize that there is a lot of read on that little coupon.
For instance, the buyer has to know the expiration date, the details of what needs to be purchased (e.g., brand name, number), and how the coupon can be used.
So there are 30 coupons in this set. And there are 128 task cards that focus on finding relevant information on the coupon.
The first 6 task cards can be used with any of the coupons for common information. Questions include what is the coupon for, when does it expire, etc. The rest of the task cards focus on specific coupons. There are multiple task cards paired with each coupon.
In addition to individualized and small group instruction, the task cards and coupons can be used in multiple ways in the classroom.
Knowing how to use money effectively to shop and save at the grocery store is a functional life skill we all need. Check out these ideas to teach your students. #lifeskills #autism
I've also included a file folder template that can be used with any coupon. You can use it with the ones in the set or with coupons from your own store.
It asks basic questions for information that can be found on almost all coupons. The template works on functional literacy of finding and answering the required information.
This tool makes a great file folder or a good worksheet if you need to keep permanent product. And by switching out the coupon, the student never memorizes the answer.
SALES FLYERS AND FUNCTIONAL LITERACY WORKSHEETS
In addition to the grocery store and coupons, there are 3 pages of sales flyers that can be used for a number of other activities. The most basic one is just finding information on the flyer.
There are 3 worksheets (1 for each page of the flyer) that focus on questions about what the sales flyer tells us. For instance, until what date is it valid? How many of something do you have to buy to get the sales price?
There are two versions of each worksheet. One has a word bank. The other does not have a word bank. For the word bank version, students can cut and paste or use the bank to find and write their answers to the questions.
FIGURING OUT THE MONEY
So I started this product to work on money skills, before it turned into so much more. But there are quite a few complex money skills that go along with shopping. You have to know what the price is, figure out if it is on sale (and a good buy), whether you have a coupon, etc.
To teach students to add prices and find sales, there are 10 worksheets with 2 or 3 items that the students can find in the store. They have to:
- find the regular price from the store,
- locate the sale price if it applies,
- look for any applicable coupons,
- total the amount for that item,
- and add up the totals of the items on the list.
On one worksheet they can write a check and subtract it from a register. Another worksheet has the same items, but they circle the bills that could be used to give the clerk to pay for the items and then subtract from an amount giving to the clerk to determine change they would get back. This helps them determine if they have enough money for the purchases.
INTEGRATING ALL THE SKILLS FOR SHOPPING
Bringing all the skills and tools together is required to move toward a real shopping trip. To do this, we use a shopping list to have the students plan out their purchases. Using the store, the sales flyer, and the coupons, there are 15 pre-made shopping lists with 5 to 11 items on them. To complete the shopping list, the students
- determine the amount of each item based on the store,
- check to see if it's on sale in the flyer,
- and check to see if they have a coupon.
- Then they add up the cost of their groceries.
And I included a visual task analysis, with pictures, to help the students complete the task. (You can see it in the picture above). Some of the items are in the store but not on sale. Others are on sale but don't have a coupon. And some have a coupon and are on sale.
BUILDING GENERALIZATION OF THE LEARNED SKILLS
Of course, as we all know, none of this instruction means anything unless you have the tools to generalize the learning to the actual grocery store. I've included some tools for doing that and some ideas of how it might work.
First, there is a blank shopping list and a blank check and register. This allows you to create shopping lists for students from the materials. Or you can have them create shopping lists based a classroom cooking project or any other activity. They can then use grocery store flyers and coupons from your community to practice the skills.
Once they are comfortable with that, the next step would be to take the shopping list to the store and start finding the food. They can practice writing checks, or take their debit cards to practice with them, now that they have an understanding of how the money works.
Obviously there is a ton of work that can be completed with this 174-page product. But, as I usually do, I like to give ways that the learning can be extended beyond just the materials in the set. Here are some ideas for teaching grocery skills extending from skills that have been taught with the set.
I hope this has given you some ideas to use in your classroom. You can check out the set of materials below.
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Until next time,