I can't believe that it has taken me so long to implement task boxes in my classroom. Task boxes have been such a game-changer for not only my independent work station but my direct instruction when I am working with just one student. Not only are they super engaging, but they provide sensory input that my students on the spectrum. Having bright and fun pictures that they can manipulate and self-correct has been so awesome to watch in action! I just started using these in December, and my kiddos are asking for them every day. Today I want to share with you how I use these in my classroom and all the different benefits!!
Currently, I have 6 academic task box kits that I rotate through and collect data on. I used to have this horrible backroom closet full of random shoebox tasks, giant bins full of random pieces and it was a nightmare to keep track of!! I am an organized person and this was driving me absolutely crazy! I stopped using them after a while and even my paras were getting discouraged with the giant mess in the closet!!! I saw someone post about task boxes in these compact boxes over the summer. I then made a bunch of my own to fit the needs of my kids and have never looked back!! Let me tell you why you NEED these tasks boxes in your classroom today!!
NUMBER ONE: compact in size
You can’t argue the fact that I can fit almost 100 tasks in one section of my cupboards in my classroom. They are small enough to fit the most compact spaces. I can fit three of these boxes in just one hand. Space savers for sure!
NUMBER TWO: portability
Often times I am in another classroom working with a student and can grab a few task boxes to work on or grab one whole kit! Many times teachers, speech pathologists or OT Come by and borrow them for assessment purposes. Just grab and go! You can also just take one and run! There have been times I have been in a hurry to get somewhere and can't print something or copy something really quick, so I just grab one of these!
NUMBER THREE: assessment
These task cards have made the assessment easy. I have over 96 different skills. Students don't even realize they are being assessed/ They think they are playing again. I can assess a single skill in less than 3 minutes. Even my nonverbal kiddos can do this!
NUMBER FOUR: engaging
students love bright and fun activities! I use quality clipart and carefully designed task cards to be sure that each task sustains attention and keeps them wanting more.
NUMBER FIVE: sensory input
My students need a multi-modal approach to learning skills. These task boxes provide sensory input by giving them tactile stimulation when using the matching Velcro pieces. It also provides auditory feedback when they rip the Velcro from the cards. Some of my students like the feel of the Velcro. Using bright colors and fun clipart on teach card provides students with visual stimulation to increase engagement.
NUMBER SIX: so many topics
My academic task boxes cover 32 different ELA skills, 32 different math skills, 16 different science skills, and 16 different social studies skills. That is a WHOPPING 96 different skills! My students never get bored of task boxes because there are so many different skills. I plan to add 3 or 4 more kits (life skills, errorless learning, and maybe a social/emotional)
|each task box kit comes with a color-coded sheet to organize your life|
NUMBER SEVEN: organized
Putting over 100 task boxes or work bins in my closet or cabinets before would have taken up my ENTIRE classroom. With these new, compact task boxes, I am able to stay organized and have them all in one spot. And also, it's so pretty!! Each task box comes with a pretty label to make each task box easy to find.
NUMBER EIGHT: variety of uses
So there are so many different uses for these boxes. I teach most of my kids in centers during one on one instruction time. Whatever skills we are learning I will use the related task box as a fun new way to practice. Once the skill is mastered with me, I will move it to the independent center to help generalize the skill, work on fluency and maintenance. Also, I use my aides with small groups and will just give them a few boxes, and this doesn't need any planning or prep work, I just hand them a few boxes and say “here, practice these”. LOL In addition, my speech pathologist and occupational therapist have loved using them as well. AND THERE'S MORE!! There have even been a few students that I knew that I could trust to take them home for homework as extra fun practice because their parents hated doing worksheets with their child or the child was unable to complete them. Really the possibilities are endless!
NUMBER NINE: data collection
When I was trying to do independent stations with my classroom before, I wasn't really taking any data. We were kind of flying by the seat of our pants. We didn't have any tasks labeled, nothing was organized, we were just going through the motions. Now that we are organized, taking data is a dream! My data sheets hang near the station on a clipboard. Paraprofessionals can easily take data on each task in seconds. I know exactly which task students are doing on a daily basis and its something that I can show parents during conference and admin loves it too!!
|You can get these data collection sheets for free by subscribing to my blog in the sidebar!|
NUMBER TEN: Promotes Independence
I cant tell you how awesome it has been to see students use these task boxes in my independent center. The format is the same, so they are able to understand how to use them easier. Students are able to follow a mini schedule and complete 4-6 boxes in a 30 minute time span without adult prompt or support. I have watched my student grow from not attending, dependent learners to engaged, independent ROCK STARS! Parents have also seen the improvement at home. Now who doesn't love that!!!
Want to read all about how I set up my independent work centers? Check out this blog post
Check out the Academic Task Box Bundle Here!
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