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  • Mrs G

Teach Functional Life Skills

I teach functional independent living skills in special education. It's a skill set that will serve my students all their lives leading to more confidence and independence with real-world, daily tasks. It takes time and in my experience, it's worth it!


Have you ever thought about all of the individual steps involves in washing the dishes? How about in vacuuming a floor, doing the laundry, making a bed, or cleaning a bathroom? How about in all of the functional life skills that we just, “get”? I have! In great length.


In fact, I think of these steps every single time I plan a functional life skills lesson.


Working with students who were learning independent living skills made me realize just how much is involved in taking care of your home. I noted how many steps I have “just picked up” without needing to think them through. Having to explicitly teach the “hows” of taking care of a house can be somewhat overwhelming when you consider everything involved.



My favorite strategy is to pre-teach these skills in the classroom. In my classroom, we have access to a sink for hands-on lessons but are limited when it comes to other household appliances. So we had to improvise.


Resources for Independent Living Skills

I created a Household Chores Unit to support my students in the process of learning those necessary independent living skills. Specifically, it provides read-alouds, classroom discussion questions, writing prompts, math reasoning, sequencing, work at several ability levels, student flashcards, and a word wall. Academic tasks with functional life skills content have been such a success in my classroom.


The chores discussed include chores in all parts of the house as well as outdoors, working with animals, and doing laundry. I wanted to include clip art as well as real photos to support students in making the connection to their own lives. You can make something similar by snapping photos around your own community.



Try it for FREE

You can download my mini Laundry unit for free! A teacher recently contacted me to mention that she used the real photos to create a laminated vocabulary flip chart… an amazing idea!


If you use this product in creative ways I would love to hear about it.

I love sneaking social skills, transition, and independent living lessons into my daily curriculum. You can read about other resources I use with my students in life skills here!


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