I Can Work - A work Skills Curriculum by Angela Mahoney, M.Ed
Created by Angela Mahoney, M.Ed., this popular curriculum is a 5 Module Program designed to integrate communication skills along with hands-on pre-vocational training in the areas of Job Readiness, Clerical, Retail, Food Service and Grocery. It is designed to introduce and educate middle school, high school and young adults with special needs who are interested in working in the community. To address the diverse range of student needs and learning styles each module includes a text-only version and a picture-supported version for each lesson and visual supports throughout the entire program. Additionally, each activity plan has a visual support for acceptable vs. unacceptable work, a visual supported word wall, and a bank of modifications and suggestions.
This program can be implemented in a variety of settings such as a classroom, a special area class as well as in a small therapy setting. The suggested frequency for this program is two 45-minute sessions per week although this program can meet the need of any time frame allowed.
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Module 1: Job Readiness
The Job Readiness Module presents the first step in a multi-layered process for introducing and educating young adults in the area of vocation. Module 1 will expose students to and teach them a range of vocation-related vocabulary, such as "time card," "professional," "coworker," "supervisor," "uniform," and "job application." Based on the recommended frequency of two, 45 minute sessions per week, the Job Readiness Module is designed to take 3 to 5 weeks to complete. Students participate in the following prevocational lessons:
- Ready to Work
- All About Me!
- What is a Uniform?
- Communicating with Co-Workers at Work
- Applying for a Job
- Creating a Portfolio
- How to Act Like a Professional
- Using a Timecard
- Job Quality
Module 2: Clerical
The Clerical Module is the first of four modules that contain hands-on, activity based plans. It exposes students to and teaches them a range of concepts, vocabulary, and jobs, related to clerical tasks in the workplace. Students participate in the following clerical activities:
- Folding Paper in Thirds
- Stuffing and Sealing Envelopes
- Labeling Envelopes
- Filing by Numbers
- Collating Envelopes
- Stapling Papers
- Folding Papers in Half
- Sealing Papers for Mailing
- Filing by Words or Letters
Module 3: Retail
The Retail Module exposes students to and teachers them a range of concepts, vocabulary, and jobs related to retail tasks in the workplace. Students participate in the following retail activities:
- Buttoning Shirts
- Pairing and Boxing Shoes
- Folding Towels
- Hanging Shirts
- Sorting Shirts by Size
- Matching and Folding Socks
- Folding Shirts
- Sorting and Sizing Shoes
- Sizing Shirts
Module 4: Food Service
The Food Service Module exposes students to and teaches them a range of concepts, vocabulary, and jobs related to the food service tasks in the workplace. Students participate in the following food service activities:
- Folding and Bagging Rectangle Napkins
- Sorting and Bagging Utensils
- Sorting Place-Setting Materials
- Setting a Table
- Sorting Coins
- Counting and Bagging Coins
- Folding and Bagging Diamond Napkins
Module 5: Grocery
The Grocery Module exposes students to and teaches them a range of concepts, vocabulary, and jobs related to the grocery tasks in the workplace. Students participate in the following grocery activities:
- Sorting Hard and Soft Items
- Sorting Cold and Warm Grocery Items
- Sorting Food and Cleaning Grocery Items
- Stocking Grocery Store Items
- Bagging Grocery Items
The program is presented in 2 formats:
1. The Complete I Can Work! Curriculum includes a printed, bound copy of over 300 pages with an introduction to the program, all the lessons, reference pages on steps/materials needed and set up of vocational space for each module and more to conduct a successful vocational program. And... the CD as a PDF of the book is also included.
About the Author:
Angela Mahoney, M.Ed., author of the I Can Work! curriculum, currently works as Special Educator for the Danbury Public School in Danbury, Connecticut. She has worked with students of all ages in a variety of settings for the past eighteen years. Her career includes a private school where she worked with over seventy-five middle school and high school-aged students on a weekly basis, running an inclusion-based elementary program for students on the autism spectrum, as well as co-teaching core academic classes as part of a team comprised of fellow middle school educators.
Angela teaches educators, therapists, and parents the vocational skill building action steps for creating a highly engaged transition plan, developing hands-on job related opportunities, and the use of data paired with reflection to prepare all individuals for successful employment.
Angela is the creator of the I Can Work! curriculum, which includes the main program on CD with Manual, timecards, and workbooks.
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