I’m lucky to work at an amazing school with a staff that cares deeply about my students. When I first came around and pitched the idea of a treat cart to them, they didn’t hesitate to jump in. Over the course of a year, I had over 60 different staff members participate! That’s unbelievable to me!
I don’t always explain the background of my classroom initiatives well. In my self-contained program, we participate in Community Based Instruction (CBI). This allows my students to take the skills they are learning in the classroom and apply them in a hand-on skills. In my four years of teaching, the treat cart was hands down the best project I ever implemented.
It’s one thing for my students to role play in my classroom. It’s a complete different story when they get to run a snack shop themselves. It wasn’t boring Ms. Morris who wanted the fake cookies. It was the real music teacher who wanted a ginger ale and their beloved 5th grade general education teacher who asked for cookies each week. My kids had the food, and everyone wanted it. They became the suppliers and everything became real.
As the person buying from the treat cart, you see a cute kid offering you cookies. I see so much more. I watched children who couldn’t count mixed coins count more than $100 in bills. I watched children who couldn’t use one-to-one correspondence count 20 bags of chips to put on the cart. I watched children go from one word phrases to asking a question in a complete sentence. I watched the confidence grow and shine through each of the students. And you thought it was just a bag of cookies 🙂
If you don’t know what a treat cart is, check back next week. I’ll post a lot of pictures to show it in action. If you work at a school where a special needs class runs any sort of store, just know they aren’t looking to make money. They are looking for so much more.