Friday, October 3, 2014

Sharing What Works: Work Tasks System

I've noticed a new found love by many special education teachers. Whatever you want to call it... work tasks, job boxes, work boxes, etc. These systems that allow students to build independence in their lives through the use of some little rubbermaid containers and mostly dollar store finds is making teachers so excited! I am no different!

This was one of the first things that I set up in my room when I found out I was going to be teaching students with ASD in a self-contained classroom. I have read a lot lately though that teachers have trouble storing the items and they have problems setting it up. That students couldn't be kept engaged because they were just given whatever task was available.
My work tasks behind the blue curtain and my newly added on black shelf with about 25 more tasks in it and even more on top of it! I love them all! They are like my babies! 

Well there is a solution to all that. It is called labeling and scheduling. YES another schedule! I know it hurts to think that you have come up with another fool-proof schedule in your classroom.

If you classroom is anything like mine you have multiple schedules. You have:
-the regular building schedule
-the teacher's job duty schedule
-the para professional job duty schedule
-the students work schedule
-a schedule for when to collect data and work on IEP's

...and the list could go on and on and on for-EV-ER! Well, yes I'm going to tell you. If you haven't already added a schedule for your work tasks in your classroom then you are going to want to do it now. The time and headaches that are saved is amazing!

Here is a picture of what my work task schedule looks like.
Each student has a different set of boxes that no one else in the room has that day (so there are no mixups) and they don't do the same box twice during the week (unless I make a special exception).

Here is a close up of the Work Task Schedule in my room. This is what my student who puts the numbers on the desks uses as a reference to know what numbers and letters to put on.
I have this schedule right next to my shelves of work tasks. This is so everyone in the room can read it and knows what each student is doing at any given time during their Work Task time. The great thing about it is that it is simple, easy to read and understand, and it is laminated! So I write the number or letters under each students' name for the time being and use a dry-erase marker so that I can change easily without having to re-laminate or re-print something that was typed out. 

Here is what my students desks look like with all their tasks on them. 
I even got smart this year and made the whole process of placing the numbers or letters on the students desks into a job that another student does as part of their morning chores. I was asking one of my paras to do this every morning and she would pull her hair out trying to find the stinkin' numbers. Now, I solved the problem by getting one of my super organized students to help us out!

So, within my classroom schedule each student has time in their day to work on their work task boxes for that day. On the schedule for each day they have a different set of boxes. I have had times in the past where I had students that couldn't handle different boxes on different days so they did the same ones over and over. I don't like doing this because I think students should have variety because not everyday in their life is realistically going to be the same but, for this particular student it worked well. 

During their "Work Task" time and during any other "down time" students may work to complete their work boxes. They know that when they are finished they are allowed to take a break. Again, I have adapted this for students who may need more breaks. I have students that have breaks in between boxes and halfway through depending on their ability to work independently for periods of time. 

As you have seen in many of my other posts I have all kinds of work tasks. If you haven't you can check my blog posts about work tasks here, and here, and here, and here.   Yes, they are all different links to different posts I have done on work tasks. 

Well, as I change things (because I always do) I will keep you posted. I plan to continue this with a post all about my new "Life/Functional Skills Area" that I have created new in my classroom this year. I've shared pictures but now I'm going to explain how it works too! It is a whole other type of work task time for my students but mostly focusing on Life and Functional Job Skills. 


  1. Your very organized! Do they do work boxes all day, everyday of the week or is this something that can be completed in an hour or two?

  2. Thanks. No, I have set times in my schedule for students to work on their work tasks. Most of the time it takes them about 30 minutes maybe a little more to complete. Check this blog post with my schedule in it.

  3. Yes, I found the schedule after I posted that! I was just letting my kids work in the boxes in their free time but there doesn't seem much time for that lately. I think I will try to work it into the schedule as well.

    1. Karen, that seems to work well for me. I know that sometimes it is nice to have a filler when you get done something too early but, it has been a great independent work time for my students as well.


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