Some of the students on my caseload are in high school and transition.  A large part of their curriculum includes practicing vocational skills, often in the community.  We are currently in a hybrid model, with a combination of some in-person and some remote learning.  Even during in-person instruction, we are not able to access the community due to current health and safety guidelines.  However, with a little creativity, we have come up with some ways that we can continue to teach and practice vocational skills in both remote and in-person settings.  Here are some of my favorite ideas!

Digital Activities

I have been obsessed with using Boom Cards and Google Slides for simulated virtual vocational skill practice!  I have made some simple sorting activities using Google Slides.  My team also took our typical in-school jobs and created more digital materials around them.  For example, one of our common in-school jobs is cleaning in the cafeteria.  We created Google Slides activities with a social story including all the steps, materials needed, video modeling of the tasks and Boom Cards to go along with it.

If creating your own materials seems overwhelming right now, there are a ton of premade materials available.  Sasha has a ton of Boom Card Decks available and some of them can be applicable to vocational skills.  I like using the Community Signs comprehension cards to work on community skills my students will need in order to safely get to and from their jobs.  Additionally, I am so excited to start using Sasha’s Data Entry Work Tasks!  These are perfect for both virtual and in-person learning.  All of my students have individual devices, so we can set them up with their own folders and Excel/Google Sheets files that can be used in any setting.  Our team has been looking for a way to incorporate more technology skills practice, and this bundle is perfect for that.

Finally, check out Adulting Made Easy for some more digital tasks.  She has a ton of digital vocational tasks differentiated for various levels that can be used in either Boom Cards or Google Slides.  One of my favorite activities from her store includes the stocking groceries activity.  Prior to COVID, I had a lot of students working on stocking out in community stores.  This is a safe, easy way to continue working on those skills.

Individual Work Boxes

Individual materials are the way to go these days.  Sasha has this awesome Work Task Mega Pack available!  I am so excited to use these tasks with my students.  Many of these can be made into individual tasks for the classroom or can even be sent home to students learning remotely.  Some of my favorite tasks for my older students include: sorting pencils/pens, collating paper, organizing office supplies, sorting silverware, organizing mail based on zip code.  

Modified in-school jobs

Even if you are in-person right now, community jobs are still likely not an option for you.  You may need to get creative and modify some of your in school jobs to meet health and safety requirements.  I highly recommend chatting with your school nurse about the job tasks you would like your students to do.  They may still be able to do certain job tasks out of the classroom but still on campus with modifications.  We talked with our nurses about a few safety precautions that could make our standard in-school jobs COVID friendly. It is still a work in progress, but all of your previous in-school jobs may not be totally off limits if health and safety precautions can be maintained.

Virtual Job Shadowing and Exploring Work

This is a great time to focus on job exploration, which can include learning about different kinds of jobs and helping students learn more about themselves.  There are two websites that my students have been working with this year, which can be used in any setting.

  • Virtual Job Shadowing: This website is a paid membership site that contains a wide variety of virtual job shadowing activities.  There are resources on the website where you can explore what they offer before requesting a quote for your students.
  • Explore Work: This is a free website that contains lessons and activities related to future goals, current skills, self advocacy and career/training options.

Soft Skills

Teaching and practicing soft skills is a super important skill that can be done in any learning setting. Soft skills are the skills you need to succeed in any job setting, they are not specific to one job task.  For example, things like eye contact, greetings, asking for help, and persisting at tasks are all important soft skills.  All of these can be addressed safely via video modeling, social stories, Boom Card activities and role playing in both remote and in person settings.  Check out some of Sasha’s digital social stories that can help practice some of these skills.  

What are some of your favorite ways to address vocational skills during COVID19?  Drop a comment below!

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