For years now I have looked forward to Fridays with my students because of what we have planned each week. We have taken Friday as our Functional Friday, which has more aptly been called Fun Friday by many students (and teachers/paraprofessionals). While we work on “functional skills” every day, we focus Friday on application of those skills. We participate in activities throughout the day that highlight skills directly taught through the week. While we do have a lot of fun, I like to note the academic skills applied to real life tasks across this day.
The Friendly Bean: Coffee Business
We start off every Friday morning with a whirlwind of activity and skill application through the running of our Coffee business: The Friendly Bean. In a nutshell, we take orders through a google form, export orders into an Excel spreadsheet, print orders onto stickers, place them on cups, fulfill the orders through cold brew coffee or Keurig pods, fix the orders to their specifications, deliver the orders to the far reaches of our huge high school, use communication skills to exchange money, prepare our deposit, and inventory supplies for purchases for the next week.
It is a ton of work, but it has been amazing for my students. The obvious application of reading, math, science, social studies, and communication skills abound. It has also been a great way for our students to be more connected and social on campus. To be honest, the students I thought would have the most trouble with these tasks, have loved it the most. It has brought out sides of my students, I didn’t know were there! It is going to be so awesome when they go to apply for jobs and they already have years of experience with some of these skills. I have another post highlighting the skills that I collect data on during on coffee business here.
After the hustle and bustle of running the business for the first 2 hours of the day, I like to slow things down and take a quiet visit to our school library. While my students are far from quiet, they enjoy the peaceful environment that the library provides. We take time each Friday to turn in books checked out the week prior and find new books for students to enjoy. Something that I love about our library visit is that my students are not constrained by their “reading level” during the book choosing process. They can choose any book in the library that interests them. They peruse the non-fiction books most often, looking at topics ranging from movies, to comic books, to famous athletes, and even cooking. It’s a great opportunity for them to explore their interests even if they cannot fluently read the text.
Scrapbooking is an activity idea that I got from The Autism Helper years and years ago. See that post here. Scrapbooking is something that students of all levels can complete and enjoy. I love how we celebrate fun and successful events from each week while also using our reading skills to follow written directions and writing skills to describe our pictures. We keep a scrapbook of the whole year and have 30-40 pages once we’re done.
I make sure that we also play games on Fridays. I love games for so many skills and academic topics. The easiest game for us to play and apply to a ton of topics is BINGO! There are so many versions out there and TAH has so many great ones as well. We also make sure to rotate the classics of Candyland, Operation, Sorry, Trouble, Go Fish, Uno, Monopoly, the list goes on!
Sasha and our blogging team have several great in-depth blogs about how to incorporate games into your day. Find those posts here. While games take some set up and skill building, the application of academic and social skills abound! I love how students can bring these skills home, have shared activities with their parents and siblings, and make memories with their families through game nights.
In addition to scrapbooking, we have time with our peer helpers to complete craft activities on Friday. We let students choose between crafts that we have supplies and instructions set up for, including: coloring, painting, weaving, beading, and making collages. The peers that are in our classes come alongside our students and model the crafting activities and also complete the crafts to take home. Students don’t even realize the fine motor, language acquisition, and comprehension skills that they are learning and practicing during these activities.
Weekly Cleaning Routines
To wrap up the day, we try to leave our classroom clean and tidy for the weekend. We return file folders and task boxes to their storage space. We make sure any papers are taken to their destinations. We make sure any items they need to take home to share with parents are packed up. We wash/rinse any fidgets that may be less than clean. We make sure we didn’t leave any dishes in the sink from cooking activities or the coffee business. We wipe down tables, white boards, mirrors, and countertops. We sweep and vacuum the room that we call our home all week. We follow directions and build routines that will benefit our students for their entire lives. We usually also listen to music while we work. It’s a cleaning party, a fun way to wrap up our Functional Fun Friday.
Let me know what you do to have a blast applying skills on Friday or any day of the week!