It’s Time For a New School Job!

As our middle and high school students return from summer break, they are in the perfect position to break free from the classroom or school job that they may have been practicing for years. Let’s face it, once our students master a job, they continue in that same position for an extended period, without continuing to develop skills needed for more complex routines. It’s easy to maintain the status quo, and tough to rock a smooth-sailing boat. Let’s start the new year by navigating new waters, and if it’s a bit stormy, then hunker down and stick with it because it will get better!

Use the morning meeting to allow students to choose which school or classroom job they would like to pursue. Remember that using choice, whenever possible, is a great antecedent strategy to reduce the likelihood of problem behaviors occurring. Make brief videos of people completing the jobs to show during morning meeting. Have a couple of different choice wheels available (print from Links website) that meet the needs for students (e.g., pictures, written words, or a combination of both). Once each student has identified a job, either select the job routine from the Links Standard Routines, or if needed, create a custom routine. Remember that you can edit Standard Routines by adding and deleting steps.  The Links Routine Planning Form is an excellent resource to help you identify all the materials you might need to set up your student’s routine successfully. These materials might include token boards, mini schedules, or discrete trial lessons needed to pre-teach specific skills.

The recycling routine is a common school job that can be differentiated to all students. It incorporates several skills, including sequencing events, locating and identifying building numbers, using mini schedules for self-management, sorting various recyclables, following multi-step directions, and solving problems as they arise during the routine. These skills may be taught during discrete trial training if increased opportunities to respond are needed.

Check out our “Recycling/classroom job” visuals on the Links website to help organize visual schedules for students. For students at the Essential level, consider constructing a visual schedule with removable icons, and teach recycling nouns and verbs through discrete trial. Use a token board during the routine to reinforce completion of each step. For students at the Intermediate or Advanced level, consider a written schedule that can be placed on a lanyard to be worn around the neck. This “hands-free” schedule option is an excellent way to continue building independence with a variety of routine tasks. To create one, use the fillable pdf to set the schedule (which might vary daily, so prepare multiple mini schedules), print, and laminate. Cut out the mini schedules and use a hole punch at the top to slip the lanyard through. Now your hands-free recycling schedule is available for every day of the week. Use the Observed Routine Assessment (ORA) to track progress and make data-based instructional decisions.

Here’s hoping that school and classroom jobs take off without a hitch!

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