Remember when I used that horrible analogy comparing the excitement of a Jay-Z CD release party to the extreme anticipation my students have of the release of my monthly calendars? Well if you bought that – here’s your next tale. This week is the high point of our school year. It’s all down hill from here folks. This is the week of the most incredible field trip ever to be created in the world of field trips. I take my students to an amazing restaurant recognized by critics around the world. The quality of dining rivals the finale of Top Chef. The excitement is palpable in the days and moments leading up to this event. We go to a diner. Bam.
Alright so I went a little over the top in the unnecessary descriptions and maybe you now think you are wasting your time reading my rants. But you don’t want to go do that pile of laundry you have waiting for you – do you? I know I sure don’t. So bear with me. While – fine – I may have exaggerated a little – critics have probably never eaten at this small corner restaurant before – the excitement my students have for this field trip is seriously just that extreme.
In true accordance with my little buddies’ yearn for routine – we tend to do some of the same field trips each year at the same time. I recommend this approach – it seems to take some of the anxiety out of community trips when students can prepare far in advance for these outings. We still do like to switch it up – because of course life isn’t always planned! But having some ‘regular’ trips are nice to look forward too. So every December we go on a trip to a diner a short city bus ride away. Not only do they absolutely love this trip but there are a bazillion great skills to work on at a restaurant.
Like I have talked about in other posts about community based instruction – I organize my field trips in small groups. I used to take my whole class at one time – and what a hot crazy heading counting mess that was. So now I take between 2-5 kids (depending on if the speech therapist or occupational therapist come with!) and my coworker takes a few kids and we go to same location multiple times until each student gets a turn. My aides stay with the rest of the class. I highly recommend this!
Here is what we work on at the restaurant:
- Greeting the hostess and asking for a table; how many people do we have?; we can’t just go over and pick a table – we need to wait for the hostess to seat us
- Looking at the menu and making our choice for our meal; talking about the items; looking at how much each meal costs
- Ordering our drink first – this is a tricky one! All of my kids want to order their meal right away. We first order our drink and then wait until the waitress comes back to order our meal
- Ordering in itself is huge – each child has different goals ranging from handing a PECS picture for their desired item to looking at the waitress and ordering in a complete sentence while being polite
- Waiting for our food – huge.
- Not drinking all of our drink in 2 minutes.
- Table manners. Another biggie. Again the goals for each student differ. For some students we focus on PECS for requesting food items and eating using a fork. For other students we work on eating slowly and cutting with a fork and knife.
- Letting the waitress clear our plate. Some of my kiddos try to clear their own plates because they are so used to it!
- Asking for our bill, paying our bill, leaving a tip.
… and the major thing we work on during this outing is maintaining appropriate behavior. We work on keeping our voices quiet, staying in our seat, talking nicely to our friends, etc.
One of my guys ordered hot chocolate when I took the first group last Monday. You should have seen his eyes light up when they asked him if he wanted whip cream. Too cute 🙂