Community Based Instruction Visuals

Does your class do community based instruction? It’s one of the most valuable and beneficial things my classroom does. A few years ago one of my students refuse to leave the house with his parents. One of them always had to stay home with him and they couldn’t even go out to a family dinner. After a few years of regular community based instruction, his mom said he know ASKS to go places 🙂

When I first started teaching, I used to take my whole class places – this was mass chaos and highly advice against this! It was mostly head counting and I barely had a chance to actually work on any skills with my students. In the past few years, I switch things up. My coworker and I do weekly community trips where we each bring a few students. We pick one location a month. Then each student gets to go on one trip a month. The other students stay back with the aides. We try to plan it over a prep period so some of the students are at gym or music during that time. This has work out immensely better. I actually get to work with the students on community tasks!

My kids LOVE these trips. Not only are we able to work on important life skills but these trips usually function as a great reinforcer. Many of my kids ‘work for’ these trips! Double whammy 🙂

We have gone everywhere – McDonalds, Pizza Hut buffet, grocery store, diner, frozen yogurt shop, taco restaurant, Subway, Dunkin Donuts… We try to pick a big variety of locations to provide our students with new experiences and learn new vocabulary!

Here are some visuals we use on our trip. This one is great for fast food restaurants:

Here is one we use for Subway:



We did our second trip to the grocery store today! We have been buying food for our Thanksgiving feast will be having next Wednesday! My guys did super well 🙂




  1. Your blog has seriously become my favorite. I have bought so many things for your TpT store. I work with students with Autism and other communication delays. I have quite the variety in my classroom that I find very overwhelming at times! I teach pre-school, and currently have 2 students with an Autism diagnosis. I envy your organization with differentiating! I know I need to make a lot of changes in my classroom and I admire your blog so much! When I read that you had a student who refused to leave his home, I thought, I have that child!! We don’t have the opportunity to for community visits, but I am working with the family and creating social stories that I hope will help with transitions to the car to travel to Walmart, etc, even just the neighbors house! Your resources are super inspiring and helpful! Thank you for all you create and share!

    Creating & Teaching

  2. I am really fortunate as we got new buildings this year with full kitchens…they are beautiful. We do weekly shopping and cooking classes and I am sooo lucky that my boss lets me do this with just three students. Students have to select the food, create the shopping list, find the items at the store, pay for it using self serve or cashier. We then cook the next day. I got all teary when one of my students (who usually will not initiate conversations), independently went to the deli and asked for cold cuts. It was so lovely. Thank you for sharing these visuals. Our next step is to have lunch when we are out. These will come in handy. It is really amazing that you so willinging share your hard work with others. Please know it is benefitting kids all the way in Australia!

  3. That sounds amazing Kelly! I am super jealous that you have a full kitchen – how fun!

    I love our classrooms are connecting from across the globe 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Thank you SO MUCH Erin! That is so sweet to say and I really appreciate the feedback! Thank you for reading and I am so glad my ramblings are helpful 🙂

    That is so great you are making visuals for the family of the child who doesn’t like to leave his house! It is so important to target those skills early!

    Thank again for your very kind words! Made my day 🙂

  5. I love reading your blog. I have a very similar classroom, although it is a low-incidence classroom setting. I am curious how your community based instruction works. We take a few trips a year. But due to our school being located in a very small town there aren’t many places we can walk to. Do you walk? Take a school bus? Or drive personal vehicles for your community based instruction? Also, we have a full kitchen in our classroom. I have always purchased the supplies for this and I am okay doing this, but feel we could do so much more if the funding came from somewhere else. Any ideas on funding cooking in the classroom or community based instruction?

    Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas!

  6. Thanks so much for reading Allison!

    So for community based instruction we either walk or take the city bus (we live nearby many bus stops that are a short trip to a variety of stores!). We do some bigger trips with school buses but in general – we don’t take too many school bus trips. Too expensive! haha.

    I am very jealous of your full kitchen! The way we work payment for community based trips is that I ask parents 3 times a year for $25. Then we pull from that group of money for each trip. Funding through grants is very difficult for cooking or community based instruction because almost all grants exclude trips that would buy food! Also many grants seem to have a difficult time understanding that a trip to McDonalds is educational. I have written many grants trying to explain this with little luck! Asking parents for money a few times a year works really well! One month we will do a cheaper trip (like Dunkin Donuts) and the next month a more expensive one (ie. subway or pizza hut). I am also fairly shameless and ask stores or restaurants if they will give us a deal! Many do! Pizza hut let all my big boys eat at the buffet for the kid price and gave us all free pop! Subway also lets us do two for one!

    Hope this helps 🙂

  7. Hello! Do you have a Community-Based-Instruction Unit?

  8. I have actually been in the process of making a big one for a few months – hoping to get it done soon!

  9. Hi, Thank You for your information. I am writing a paper on CBI you gave me the most instructive information. I now have a pathway to write this paper. I have gone to restaurants with students who have ASD as a para-professional. I have not planned as a teacher, hoping to be one soon. I am working on my Masters in teaching Autism. Great Ideas

  10. So great to hear! Thanks for reading and good look in your class!


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