• Heather

How To Teach: Packing Skills & Keeping a Wallet or Purse

Importance of Packing and Wearing or Using a Wallet or Purse

As students become teenagers and young adults, being able to hold their own things shows a level of independence. Holding on to a bag and keeping the bag with them as they move from one environment to the next will allow them to have what they need when they need it. This, I’m positive, is a preference for all people.



Focus Skills

-When to carry a purse or wallet

-What things are needed to be packed for different activities

-What is necessary to pack or have in a wallet/purse

-Personal information

-Importance of maintaining responsibility of a purse/wallet

-Variety of wallets and purses



Why Focus On These Skills

In my classroom it’s called ‘Personal Responsibility.’ If the student can walk with their bag from the bus to the room, then that is the focus. If they can move things they will need for exercise class from their desk into the bag, then they are packing. If they can identify what they need to bring with them to an outing, then wonderful! All of these skills increase their independence and reduce demands on caregivers, that’s a win-win in my book!



When To Teach

The beauty of this skill is that it can be taught at any point in the school year. However, once it is addressed it needs to be an expectation. Will all students carry their own bags, pack their own things, or carry around a purse or wallet? Remember, not having what they need in a given scenario because they didn’t pack it can be JUST the learning opportunity they need to remember to pack it every other time after that! (Let there be a successful failure!)



I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (3 full lessons) and most appropriate for life skill lessons at the middle school, high school and transition level students. Below are some lesson unit highlights!



Lesson Objective

Students will identify the appropriate items to pack or carry in a purse/wallet.

Students will identify and pack the appropriate items needed for an activity.



Lesson Vocabulary

Bring, pack, personal, purse, responsibility, wallet, wear, what, where, why



Resource Perks

  • Pre and Post assessment

  • 1 page narrative explaining the skill with and without visual text supports (to incorporate functional reading)

  • 5 skill practice activities to learn and/or reinforce the focus skills

  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment

  • 5 Strategies for Success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)

  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)

  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics

  • Homework sheet to encourage students to practice the skill outside of the school setting

  • Word search of key vocabulary terms

  • Visuals for focus skills with age appropriate colors and graphics



Ultimate Goal

Getting away from learned helplessness is the ultimate goal of this lesson because it can be SO easy to support students in carrying their things FOR them when they could maintain their belongings on their own. Let them have that ownership over their things, be willing to let them go somewhere WITHOUT something they need so that they will remember to always pack it again, let them accidently leave their wallet/purse on a school bus (be sure all staff/driver are in the know) so they know they need to keep better track of it.




Links to Curriculum


Pack, Purse, and Wallet Mini Lesson Unit


Independent Living Lesson Unit Bundle


Life Skills Curriculum Bundle



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