If you're looking for a great way to help your special education students with task completion, independent work skills, and fine motor skills – task cards or boxes may be just what you need!
Why should I use a task box system?
I absolutely love using task boxes in my special education classroom, and here are six reasons why you will too!
- Independent work stations or task boxes are a great way to provide students with independent, hands-on practice of the skills they are working on.
- Task boxes can be easily differentiated to meet the needs of all learners in your classroom.
- Using task boxes is a great way to promote fine motor skills development.
- Independent work stations or task boxes can help students to develop a sense of pride and ownership in their work.
- Progress monitoring is much easier when you use task cards for performance tasks.
- Task boxes are just plain fun! Students often enjoy working on task cards or boxes because they are independent and can choose which task they want to work on next.
How to use a task box system in your special education classroom
There are a few different ways that you can use work boxes or independent work stations in your classroom. Try dividing students up into small groups and have each group rotate to a different station throughout the day. You can also set up independent work stations during center time or as an early finisher activity. Don't forget that you can also use task cards or boxes as a way for students to earn points or rewards.
What can task boxes be used for in the special education classroom?
- Independent work task boxes can be used for basic skills practice and IEP goals (math facts, spelling words, etc.).
- Following direction tasks or listening comprehension task cards.
- Vocational education skills and work tasks like matching, categorizing, and sorting.
- Combine a fine motor task with new skills and meet multiple students' needs
What types of tasks are students working on?
This answer will depend on your students' independent levels and needs (not grade level). Here's just a few ideas:
- Visual task boxes – i.e.: matching, sorting, patterns, and visual discrimination
- Life skills students are working on – i.e.: basic hygiene, community signs, sorting plastic silverware
- Social emotional learning – i.e.: identifying emotions, sorting social skills (i.e.: expected vs. unexpected)
- Basic skills for academics – i.e.: letter and number recognition, decoding (i.e.: matching CVC words with pictures)
- Assembly tasks – i.e.: hands-on tasks featuring patterning skills (i.e.: follow directions to put items where they belong)
- Errorless activities – build confidence and independent skills with task cards that ensure students answer correctly
What do I need to set up a classroom task box system?
Your supplies will depend on what's appropriate and accessible for your students whether you're working with younger students or at the high school level.
The first decision is storage – I've tried a few different systems (pencil pouches, plastic storage bags, and dollar store bins) and by far, our favorite were the photo keeper boxes that you can find at craft stores. These plastic boxes are the perfect size for individual tasks and the easiest for my students to interact with independently (i.e.: open and close). Another option is to add task cards to a sensory bin or use them in your small groups.
Other items you may want to consider: card stock for printing and hands-on manipulatives (mini erasers, pipe cleaners, clothes pins, foam shapes, play dough).
Of course, you'll also need the actual task cards! Check out this free task box collection:
When you're ready to build your task box library, I highly recommend checking out the Task Box Dollar Club. It's a growing collection of tasks with new products added every month:
Looking for more blog posts on getting started with a work task system?
Check out these great ideas for special education teachers:
How to use task boxes for independent work in special education
Task Cards and Boxes: A Great Way to Help Your Students Succeed
IEP Skills Task Boxes
IEP Skills task boxes – independent practice, centers, small groups, and progress monitoring!
Task Boxes – Free Workshop for Special Educators
Independent Work Systems Special education teachers and administrators, get ready! Check out this FREE training so you can build student independence without spending hours of your precious time on planning. The workshop includes a bonus that will help with independent work and routines in the resource room setting – don't miss it!! Task Boxes: The
Task Boxes for Special Educators
All special educators know that task boxes are mini-miracle-workers in the resource room setting. They may as well be called “Independence Builders” or “Engagement Boosters” (and a half dozen other magical names). Add magic to your classroom with the Task Box Dollar Club! What is the Task Box Dollar Club? Monthly task boxes Exclusive to
Thanks for reading – please let me know if you have any questions!