Many of us also have students who don't like to complete academic work. You know, you put a worksheet in front of your student and they tear it up? or throw it at you? Maybe, I'm just having that kind of week?! But regardless, we all know that all behaviors are really our students trying to COMMUNICATE their needs. What I assume my students are trying to let me know when they refuse work is either "this is too hard," "where's my motivation to complete the work?", or "this is boring!"
One way to keep your students engaged in work and decrease work refusal is to incorporate preferred topics into their work. Have handwriting be writing their favorite movie character names, let them do a research project about their preferred topic, make social stories or behavior charts using their favorite video games or apps, etc.
This philosophy combined with having so many students that loved food, has probably been one of the main reasons I have created so many work tasks that have to do with food. I have collected pictures of some of my favorite food themed work tasks to share with you. I would love to hear about your favorite food themed tasks as well!
How perfect is this task with Valentine's day only a couple days away?! Save that chocolate box, find some images/clip art of candies and make a matching task!
Use your mini cupcake containers from your next class party and find some large pom poms for students to "put in" each cupcake liner. Color the bottoms of the liners if you want students to match the correct color pom pom.
What kid doesn't love fast food? I went to McDonalds and asked if they would be willing to donate some empty fry containers for my special education class...and they had NO PROBLEM with that! Then I just made up some quick paper french fries (laminated of course) for students to practice counting. I even had a cheat sheet for students who need a little assistance counting (get my fries and cheat sheet HERE FREE). I kept the fries grouped together, but you could also cut them out into individual fries and have kids practice counting more independently.
So, the other day my weekly coupons came in the mail, and they accidentally gave me doubles of the Burger King coupons...and you know what my first thought was? "Oooh, I can a matching file folder with these!" Yeah I know....major nerd alert.
Use pictures of real food items when practicing money concepts to make the task more engaging.
Use pocket folders for sorting tasks. Laminate the whole folder, then use a razor blade to cut open the pockets so the pictures can slide in. I used real life photos from google for these. Kids can sort foods that go in the refrigerator vs. freezer, cupboard vs. refrigerator, fruits vs. vegetables, meats vs. breads, junk food vs. healthy food, etc. And this is a nice task for teachers to make, because...no cutting/pealing velcro!
Adapted books about food always make a great work task. This book is about yummy and yucky ice cream flavors and students have to use velcro pictures to identify the correct selection on each page. Check out more on this book HERE.
Here is another FREEBIE. Sorting pictures of food by food group!
There are tons of different academic concepts you can address using file folders and pictures of food. Matching non-identical pictures, sorting big vs. small, sorting or matching by color, etc.
And if you are able to include worksheets in your independent work system, make them be about engaging topics as well. You can laminate worksheets so they are re-usable or just have kids complete them with pencil. Here are some examples of worksheets related to food.
Adding costs of BBQ items. For more BBQ themed activities, look HERE.
Cut/Paste activity for labeling Thanksgiving foods. Another thing my students loved were holidays, so this activity was a double whammy!
Writing words related to a preferred topic...in this instance food/Thanksgiving.
That's all I can track down for now, I would love to here about anything you are doing in your classroom related to food tasks or how you incorporate your students preferred topics!