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Community Based Instruction

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Keywords: speech and language skills, interpersonal skills, self-help, independent living, functional academics, hands on activites, repetitive practise, errorless learning
Subject(s): Service Learning, Special Needs, Dyslexia, Autism, Social Skills, Speech and Language
Grades P-K through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
View Full Text of Standards
School: Benjamin Bosse High School, Evansville, IN
Planned By: Jennifer Harvel
Original Author: Jennifer Harvel, Evansville
Description of your teaching situation for which the plan is intended.

The Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) is one of the largest special education districts in the state of Indiana. EVSC employs over 400 special education staff to provide quality services to more than 4,700 early childhood, public school and private school students receiving some level of special education support. I am employed at Bosse High School, the smallest EVSC high school, with nearly 40% less students than the other four high schools. Bosse is also known for its historical beauty as it is EVSC’s oldest high school. 69.74% of Bosse’s students are on free or reduced lunch. In addition, Bosse is the only high school which provides services for students with severe/profound disabilities. It houses three of these special education units, and each of the three units within the school has six students ranging in age from 14-22. In addition, students in this program receive special transportation, adaptive gym, speech, physical, and occupational services as deemed appropriate. I have six students who fall within eligibility guidelines to receive services in the severe/profound disabilities program. All have been diagnosed with autism as either the primary or secondary disability documented by medical and educational evaluations.
I share my classroom with another teacher who has students with moderate cognitive disabilities. Mrs. H and I share a large area that is divided into 2 classrooms and a vocational room, and each of us has our own entry/exit access to the classroom. One large classroom area is divided into two individual classrooms. Our vocational room contains the following areas: kitchen, laundry, sewing, exercise, arts/crafts, hygiene and pre-vocational training. Mrs. H uses the classroom area for the first two periods while I am in the vocational room with my students. All students go to gym class together and upon returning from gym, Mrs. Hale’s class uses the vocational room for two periods while I am in the classroom with my students.
The curriculum for my self contained program focuses strictly on a functional/life skills curriculum, allowing my students to learn meaningful, relevant skills requiring them to use higher level thinking skills. My curriculum consists of functional academics, independent living skills, self-help skills, interpersonal skills, vocational training, and speech and language development. The classroom activities are organized around authentic themes and can be taught using essential questions. Most activities require the student to demonstrate learning through a hands on approach assessed with measurable goals in which a rubric or percentage is obtained. The best part of my curriculum is that these activities allow students with various abilities, skill levels, and various learning styles an opportunity to be successful. In addition, the activities promote self-evaluation as well as review skills and increase generalization of concepts.
Another integral part of my program is community based instruction. Community based instruction provides my students with an opportunity to demonstrate what has been learned in the classroom. In the community, students shop for grocery items and practice using the "one-more dollar" strategy, skills that are practiced in the classroom daily. The items purchased are then used in classroom cooking experiences. In addition, students practice making food and drink requests using real life pictures in the classroom. Then, on the weekly community based outings, students practice what they have learned when they use their picture schedules at McDonalds. This existing curriculum allows my students to make relationships between classroom learning and authentic situations which involve them as active learners when they are given weekly opportunities through community based instruction.
Because of the shared classroom and vocational areas, my students are in an ideal setting to provide peer modeling as the students in the moderate disabilities program interact with my students. This provides opportunities for my students to view appropriate behavior through modeling as well as offers constant access to peers with higher degrees of abilities and understanding. For the most part we are a self contained classroom but have begun integrating with the students in the moderate disabilities program for community based outings and during recreation/leisure time.
Finally, this year I have been assigned peer tutors who are students from the general education setting. Students come into my room and interact with my students in their instructional tasks. I have found that the peer interactions that take place during periods with peer tutors have much more of a positive and defining impact on my students behavior. The students in the room work to gain the attention and acceptance of their peer. They are receptive to their corrections and tend to work beyond current data levels with academic goals such as recognition of safety and community words as well as identification of coins and one more dollar strategy.
I would like to stress that the addition of using classroom procedures and taking the time to record prompts and steps to teach the procedures for academic as well as behavioral task has impacted both student and staff in a positive manner. It has allowed subs to walk in the door and perform to nearly the same level as regular seasoned staff. This along has reduced stress for not only staff but the students as well. The students are taking more control of their environment and demonstrating greater understanding of what is expected of them in multiple settings.


I have changed my rules to only include the three mentioned below and picture cues are provided and posted for my students on the wall of our classroom. My students have been included in the demonstration of our rules to help them understand and follow the rules as we have discussed them and modeled incorrect and correct responses. A copy of the rules were taken with us to each area of the school and community so that they could be practiced and rehearsed on as need basis to increase generalization and understanding of each rule. The picture cues were stressed and now are used as a cue to eliminate the undesired behavior without having to use vocal cue. Teaching the rules and seeing the transfer from the sign of rules to just using a picture cue to stop hitting/yelling and begin listening has been rewarding for my students and well as staff. The assignment of posting and teaching these rules has proven to be beneficial to the entire class. Not having to raise your voice and use negative comments which occurred prior the process of using the rules and picture cues makes the classroom environment much more enjoyable and conducive to learning.

Classroom Rules:
1. Keep hands and feet to yourself.
2. Listen to directions.
3. Use inside voices during school hours.

Response for breaking Ms, Harvel's rules
1. Keep hands and feet to yourself
• remind with picture cue
• warn with correct response modeled
• move to area out of reach of neighbor
• teach and practice desired response
• include note in daily communication book with picture cue of rule broken
2. Listen to Direction
• reminder with picture cue
• warning with clap for attention and show visual cue
• provide one to one direction
• practice and praise later in lesson
3. Use inside voices and school words during school hours
• reminder with picture cue of rule
• warning given - provide appropriate response
• teach and practice
• remove from immediate area
• note in communication book with picture cue of rule broken

Consequences for Practicing Ms Harvel's classroom rules

Students are given a chance to earn solid quarter and purchase snack from classroom antique vending machine if they did not require one to one intervention or moved away from immediate group area at the end of day.

Students receive popcorn and games with shorten Vocational time on Friday

Class Rules

1. Keep feet and hands to yourself.

2. Listen to directions.

3. Use inside voices during school hours.

Activities for
Creating & Teaching Classroom Rules

Classroom rules were establish the first day of the school year.
Creating and teaching the classroom rules has proven to be effective for both the students and staff. Keeping the rules clear and concise with use of picture cues has improved student participation and understanding of desired behaviors. The staff using the same words to correct and being consistent with consequences has also proven to increase both understanding and maintaining a positive classroom environment that feels safe.

Students were shown examples of possible picture cues to include with each rule and asked to select the one that indicated the rule best. It was not received and acted upon by the entire class but was definitely received and understood by majority. I found that including my students in this step to be much more helpful then I had thought it would be. The students who did identify with the rules and indicated their selection of a picture cues definitely made a choice they felt indicated the rule. This has been and continues to be a struggle to empower my students to be an active part of controlling their learning environment.

Activity #1 – Creating and Teaching Classroom Rules
Being a Good Student

Time: 30 minutes (Daily and as needed)

Pictures of good and bad behavior in classroom
Smiley face with word YES
Frown face with word NO:
Copy of classroom rules for each student

1. Have student sit at group table along with assistants and teacher

2. Show pictures of good behavior and allow assistant to assist student to point to rule that indicates the desired behavior.

3. Give pictures to each adult that will have two students assigned to review and model what they are seeing in the picture and pointing to classroom rule that is being taught.

4. After each three minutes pass, the adult to the mini group will pass their pictures to the left so that new rules and modeling of correct behavior occurs.

5. After the first ten minutes have past, each rule should have been reviewed and students will now be asked to model and practice each rule one by one with assistances from a staff member.

6. During this activity, the student will be given a copy of rule to go home that has a coordinating picture cue. Then the students were asked "Which picture means "Hands and Feet to Yourself ", “Inside Voices Used Here" "Listen to Staff"

7. The rules with picture cue are then posted on classroom wall and copy is taken with us to all environments in the school and community.

8. Each staff member is taught to correct and redirect using the same terms and pointing to the picture cue that stresses the rule.

Activity #2 - Creating and Teaching Classroom Rules

Which Rule Have I Broken

Time: 10 minutes (Daily and as needed)

Materials: Teacher and copy of classroom rules with picture cues for each student


1. Have students sitting in a circle and facing each other.
2. Have a second adult come into the circle and Ms. Harvel will break a rule by hitting/ yelling or ignoring what second adult is saying.
3. Students will be asked "What rule did she break"
4. I will then be correct by second staff member "Ms. Harvel - we keep and hands and feet to ourselves"
5. If the same rule is broken the second adult will again redirect and place me outside of the circle for two more pretend behaviors with redirect and model are given.
6. Students will be asked to place their hand over the rule that was broken. Each student then will be placed in circle and included in good behavior skit such as "shaking hand to greet"

Pictures will be taken of students when in the community and around school that demonstrate them following rules correctly. These pictures will also be used to keep reminding our students of good behavior.

Activity #3 - Creating and Teaching Classroom Rules

How did I do on CBI (Community Based Instruction) outing?

Time: 5 to 10 minutes (one to one with staff member/peer tutor - Daily)

Materials: *Name badge with McDonald’s picture cues,
*Index card with Grocery item picture used during shopping outing, *How Did I do on CBI (worksheet)

1. Give each student worksheet "How did I do on CBI?"
2. Have the adult assigned or peer tutor assist with completing the worksheet using removable markers
3. Student will participate by marking answers to what item the located and item(s) selected at McDonalds.
4. Copy of sheet will be sent home for parent or guardian to review their day and discuss what they did during shopping and fast-food restaurant
5. Student is encouraged to mark how they did and what they would like to do next time. Sheets are kept to review prior to next CBI outing.

I use this sheet upon return from each CBI outing. Each student functions in the severe/profound area and do not have writing abilities. However, since this sheet was developed, much of the time they can indicate using a point to object they shopped for or ate at McDonalds. I feel that it is a must to attempt to give them input as to how they did using yes/no objects that have smile and frown included. It is my hope that before they graduate that they be able to select items shopped for or purchased independent of adult/peer tutor. My parents/guardians are thrilled to be able to discuss a part of their day and encourage them to do the activity over upon arrival home from school. My families have asked that I prepare the signs and picture of sign language I use in class to help increase communication. My students have increased both skill level in the grocery store as well as proper behavior when dining outside to school in the community. The rule for inside voice is taught over and over in classroom setting but has not been an issue while on CBI outings. (The clip art with the forms did not transfer to this lesson plan)
At the store I will locate: *Before CBI

At McDonalds I will buy:

1. I will keep my feet and hands to myself?

2. I will listen to directions?

3. I will use an inside voice when I go shopping and out to eat at McDonalds.

4. I feel that I will be ____________ when in the community.

At the store I located: *After CBI

At McDonalds I had:

1. Today I kept my feet and hands to myself?

2. Today I listened to directions?

3. Today I used an inside voice when I was shopping and at McDonalds?

4. I feel that I did ____________ today.

Reflection to - Creating and Teaching Classroom Rules

I have found that teaching and using the rules as part of our routine during the first few weeks has helped decrease the need for correction of rule breaking. The activities have proven to be useful to both the student and staff members as we are all on the same page and use pretty much the same vocabulary to correct and redirect behavior. I have two students with limited speech abilities and we have heard then state rules and corrective remarks to their peers.

It was very rewarding to have a student correct an inappropriate behavior of their classmate. The picture cues have also been an addition that has proven to be effective as it cuts down on verbal correction and limits distraction for the entire group.

Hands and feet to yourself was taught through modeling correct behavior as needed for correction and as group activity before vocational time upon arriving to class from breakfast. The assistants helped model the behaviors and use both verbal cues/picture cues as well as sign language that helped to stress where our hands and feet belong. It was proven to be beneficial to keep the picture cues on school key ring with each of us as a visual reminder to stop a behavior before it happens without requiring verbal/physical cues. This lesson along has helped train my assistants on handling inappropriate behavior without causing negative distraction for our class.

Follow staff direction was taught by providing practice for desired behavior and routines to be followed throughout school day. We practice taking off our coat and hanging under our name plate. The students were taught using modeling and repetitive practice as well as backward chain of desired behavior. I demonstrated the use of verbal reward for proximity as well as praised attempts while providing one to one instruction.

Speak with inside voice was taught by modeling desired behavior with correct pitch and reward for use of correct pitch when speaking. We showed displeasure by holding ears and stating "loud squeals hurt all of our ears - we speak with an inside voice here".

The above data sheet s are used to track individual success and/or modified steps for each individual student to allow for independence with degrees of prompt systems for success.

Preparing for CBI

When breakfast is finished on Wednesday mornings, students report back to classroom and prepare for Community Based Instruction outing.

Mrs. Sheryl and Mrs. Cheryl will assist any student whom did not use restroom prior to breakfast to follow personal hygiene routine.

Students are asked to select their picture identification card

Student is given choices of drinks asked "What do you want to drink at McDonald's?"

Student is to place drink choice in the back of their picture ID

Student is then given food choices and asked "What are you going to eat"

Student is to place food item in ID so visible to cashier when asked "May I take your order?"

Student is to place on ID so that picture of self is seen by teacher and staff

Student is to get and place on their jacket/coat for CBI outing

Student is to wait at table until all classmates are ready to go to bus

Student is assigned peer tutor or staff member to assist with shopping task.

Student will be given cue "Let's go shopping" to get up and exit room to bus

Students are given three or more picture cue items to search for in the grocery store and peer tutor or staff member will record if item was located independently or with assistance.

Students are given an opportunity to select desired item(s) to be purchased when finished shopping outing and arriving at McDonalds for snack.

Individual objectives have been written to the skill level and need of each student so that the data taken will record their level of independence and understanding of the task to order what they want or select drink from drink station or just be able to get ice in their cup at a drink station.

Procedures are the backbone to the Severe/Profound Disabilities curriculum. Procedures help decrease behaviors as they dictate what is expected from both students and staff. For a classroom to be successful, procedures must be taught. Assistants want to be an active member of the classroom that is beneficial to the learning environment therefore they need to be taught what is expected from their behavior as well as what is expected behaviors for our students.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Procedures for:
Preparing for Snack
Preparing for CBI
It is exciting to begin a new school year and witness the changes that have occurred for students that were on your teacher of record the prior year. I always look forward to getting the communication book going the first day and including a letter home that explains my excitement and plans for the school year. The majority of my students love school and appreciate the routine and consistent flow of the day. I always send home parent surveys to find out if there are any new needs for their student. I keep in mind that my students are out of a set routine and need to be taught what is expected of them while attending school. I always have my assistance and I review the parent surveys as they are turned in as well as review sub-folder that contains a short description for each student. The activities for getting to know our students are driven by parent responses to survey as well as past experience for student that have returned and were previously on my teacher of record role. The following is one follow-up activity:
What is your favorite CBI place:

Time: 5 to 10 minutes

CBI icons/pictures; planning Worksheets from CBI, picture from outings


1. Allow student to use CBI planning sheet to select which store they want to shop for food items
2. Give each student a chance to provide a choice by selecting the picture of the store when
asked “where do you want to shop tomorrow?”.
3. Make a tally mark by the store indicated
4. the store with majority rule wins
5. store choose by student's will be recorded in communication book for parent/guardian knowledge and CBI outing will take place with the store chosen visited first.

Materials: Autism, Integrating Technology, Early Learning, CDs and DVDs, Memory Cards, Batteries, Flip Video, Flash Memory Camcorders, Video Cameras, Cause and Effect, Switch Software, Dyslexia, Speech and Language, Hardware Devices
Other Items: 3 ipads, $600.00 each, total of $1800.00