- Project Cost: $997.39
- Funded to Date: $10
- Teacher Name: Jean Lawson
- School: Truman Elementary
- Grade Level: K-5 Special Education Teacher--Autism
Market in the Classroom will be an authentic learning experience for my students with autism. Students will engage in simulated grocery shopping experiences, learning to make healthy choices from foods that are produced on a farm. Then when they are shopping with their families, they will recognize and recommend these foods for home, increasing healthy foods for the whole family. Students will be impacted by an awareness of healthy choices in food by becoming familiar with new foods, exploring new tastes and smells, and beginning to make healthier choices at school, at home, and in the community.
- Planned Use for Funds: Funds will be used to set up a model produce section of the grocery store so students with autism can practice shopping for fresh, healthy foods. Items purchased will be a small shopping cart, play food, a cash register, food bins, dry erase divider, and photo posters.
- Need Represented: We have about 20 students from K-5 in three autism classrooms. Parents are often concerned about the health of their children with autism due to their restrictive diets. Teaching them what to eat must be done through explicit, direct instruction with lots of practice. Aversions to foods may be due to taste, smell, or texture. Sometimes it’s just because it is a new food, which needs to be reintroduced over and over until it becomes familiar. Even with food peculiarities, my students love to come to the table to mix up ingredients and cook. When they are engaged, they experience foods with all their senses: seeing, touching, smelling, listening, and tasting new foods. The more children are exposed to a variety of foods and textures, the more familiar they become with them, and the more likely they are to include them on their plate and in their diet. Better health translates to better learning and a better quality of life.
- Academic Impact: Students will increase their skills in selecting and preparing healthy foods for themselves and their families.
Students will increase their employability, math, and social skills by working at the simulated market in the classroom.
Students will increase their knowledge of how healthy foods help them by learning about nutritional values of foods, how their body works, and what they need to feel good and be healthy.
- Student Population: My students have autism to a degree that significantly impacts their ability to learn in ways other children learn, and which prevents them from participating in the regular education classroom. I develop real-life experiences in my classroom where they can participate in daily living skills in meaningful ways. I have seen growth in their learning and heard reports from their parents that show this type of learning is carried over to home. That’s student success--making learning relevant, personal, and engaging!