Making Money IEP Goals More Functional

When teaching money, where do you start? Coins, right? Well...maybe not.

One of my pet peeves was getting a new freshman's IEP and seeing that one of their goals was to identify a penny or to recognize the value of a quarter. This happened ALL of the time. Why did this bother me? These skills of recognizing coins and their values simply aren't functional anymore for these students. If they still aren't able to identify coins at 14 years old, they need to move onto something else.

Bills are more Functional Than Coins

When you make a purchase at the store, what do you pay with? Coins are probably the last thing you grab, correct? You probably use your credit card or cash. When teaching basic money skills, cash is the best place to start because you can only spend what you have (no chances of overdraft or bills you can't pay).
How to write simple IEP goals for money instruction in special education

When teaching students about using cash, I love bills because they all are even different colors to further help students identify which is which! Unlike coins which can be tricky since they are small and look pretty similar (with the exception of the penny) AND coins don't even have their number value on them, so strange!

Example Money Identification IEP Goal

To help you write those IEP goals, an example of an IEP goal for recognizing bills is: 

Given a variety of bills, Students will _____ (match/identity/determine value of)* the
A) one dollar bill, B) five dollar bill, C) ten dollar bill, D) twenty dollar bill with 100% accuracy, 4 out of 5 trials.
*(you would choose one of these options based on the students ability and what they are working towards)

Money Identification Resources

How to teach identifying money for autism and special education

Some of my favorite resources to help your students identify the values and names of bills are linked below, just click on the pictures to check out the resource!

File folders are always my go to because they are easy to store and students seem to think they are games! They are also easy to use during independent work time. 

Yvonne says: "All I can say is that I wish I had stumbled across this money sort file folder activity set at the beginning of the school year. My students just loved using this resource. They are finally learning the difference between the monetary bills. I can't wait to use it again for this upcoming school year." These money file folders are available here!

I hear the best feedback from this money card game! Kaitlin recently commented and said: "LOVE THIS!! It combines money skills in a game that most students know how to play! My students pick the money uno over regular uno cards now! LOVE THIS RESOURCE!" 

My first year teaching I was anti-worksheets, but found that parents actually wanted to see them! I learned that seeing worksheets come home and have them for homework help parents see what their students are working on during the day. So while real practice is better, worksheets can be beneficial as well, not only to show parents what we are working on obviously, but for another way to practice as well! 

And teachers love them! Sarah says: "I love these!  They are perfect for my kids who are starting to learn values and dollar names.  It's also such a great idea to have both sides of the bill included.  So many products are lacking that - so thank you for including them." These money worksheets are found HERE!

The more types of resources you can use the better since all students learn best in different ways (and also, sometimes your students might not be too interested in doing a worksheet, but you could easily convince them to do a file folder or play a game!) And as I mentioned, the worksheets are perfect to send home for homework!

Real Practice

Of course you can have your students practice these money skills on community trips, but you want to prepare them for that before they get there! Bring real money in the classroom if you can, or find the most realistic bills you can find to practice with.

For direct hands on instruction, check out these free money instruction data sheets for instruction with real (or realistic) money!

These magnetic bills (double sided) are a great visual as well! (amazon affiliate link) 

And you can use the money posters found in the money worksheets to display at the front of your classroom as well!

So will you change how you have been writing your money math goals? 

At least until they can recognize bills, right?! And then of course we can move onto other things like dollar over, and simple budgeting, but that's probably a blog post for another day ;)

And no, I'm not anti-coins (I actually have all of these bill resources available as coins in my TpT store as well) but I simply believe that coins should not be taught FIRST since bills are used more frequently.

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