Functional Skills Curriculum



Language Arts



Social Studies

Independent Living Skills


Garden Project


Our Class Activities





Language Arts

Functional Vocabulary

Survival Signs
Grocery Words
Restaurant Words/Fast Food Words
Job Words
Community Signs

Functional Writing

Thank You Letters - for every field trip we go on a thank you letter is written!
Addressing Envelopes
Job Applications
Personal data

Functional Math


All of our money skills are taught through hands on experience using our classroom store called "Westmart" and our classroom bank called "Westbank":
Earning Money
Counting Money
Saving Money
Spending Money
Balancing a Bank Account
Making Change


Measurement skills are taught through hands on learning experience as well, for example this year we built cardboard birdhouses in our classroom first, then we went to shop class and built bat houses for our outdoor classroom area!


Functional Science


We study lots of different areas of real life science, following are a few examples, whenever possible we visit the nature center for classes, or the University of Kansas, or the pet store:

Reptiles & amphibians - we have classroom pets that are
reptiles and amphibians!
Butterflies - includes raising them from larva to
caterpillar to butterfly!
Bats - we even made bat houses for our outdoor
Owls - includes going on an owl prowl!
Weather - a trip to the TV station for a weather forecast
Ponds & Streams - studying all the little critters in the
water garden!
Gardening - we are the caretakers of our outdoor
classroom gardens!
We even dabble in a little chemistry! The KU Chemistry Club invites us for a mini-chemistry carnival and we make all kinds of gooey stuff like oobleck, goop, silly putty and slime!


Functional Skills Social Studies


Maps & Globes:

In order to make studying maps and globes meaningful for the students we sent a little beanie baby, named Tracker, with a friend of mine to Ireland. We packed him in his own little suitcase, complete with his own passport and a letter explaining what each person should do as he is passed from one to the next. It is hoped he will travel around the world, sending us postcards from the different countries he visits. We will then find those countries on the map and study about those countries. Since he started in Ireland our first unit of study was Ireland, and what fun we had! We made Irish food, did the Irish jig, had visitors who played Irish music, and saw an authentic Irish kilt! Since Ireland, our little Tracker has traveled to England, Belgium, and Cuba!

Kansas History / Facts - trip to Kansas museum of History
Kansas unit of study
Lawrence History/ Facts - Guest speakers
Lawrence field trips of historical places


Independent Living Skills


Shopping for groceries - we learn to locate items in the store, find
the price and determine the best price
Cooking - reading and following a recipe
Doing dishes - washing, drying and putting away!
Clean up - sweeping, hanging up wet towels!


We do lots of seasonal crafts to sell at our Westmart store to help
raise money for our class field trip in the spring!

Dining Out:

Once every nine weeks we go to a special place for "dining out".
We practice proper dining etiquette!

Community Based Instruction:

We take lots of community fields trips that are both educational
and recreational. For example, when we are studying about Kansas, we visit a wonderful bakery that shows us how wheat goes from a grain, to flour, to bread! In the fall we like to go on a special hiking trail and look for signs of fall. Or visit the apple orchard and come back with apples to make apple pie, and the pumpkin patch to make our favorite pumpkin recipe! During the winter we make a nice warm soup and take it to the Salvation Army for the homeless. We also like to visit our friends at the Humane Society! During April we always plan a trip to the Recycling Center, the Water Treatment Plant or the Waste Water Treatment Plant to raise our environmental awareness! In the spring we also visit a garden center to sharpen our gardening skills to get ready for the gardening season! We also take a trip on the T - our public transportation to learn how to ride and get from one place to the next!

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Functional Skills Home West Junior High U.S.D. 497
This page maintained by Kathy Mehl, September 21, 2005 .