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Easy Vocational Task with Greeting Cards: Independent Work Inspiration

Structured Work Systems | February 10, 2021

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This week’s Independent Work Inspiration task is a vocational task designed for helping students practice stuffing envelopes. I like to start with greeting cards because they are stiffer and easier to put in the envelopes. And it’s such a simple task to make with no real preparation required. Keep reading for tips and extensions to make it work well for your students.

Independent Work Inspiration: Material List

  • Greeting cards
  • Matching envelopes

Greeting Card Task: Who is It For?

As a vocational task, this is often reserved for older students as an office task. However, it’s really a life skill (assuming that when you read this we still use snail mail of some kind.). So it’s appropriate for most elementary through adult ages. It does require that the students can cross midline and have the fine motor skills to manage the envelopes.

Independent Work Inspiration: Greeting Cards with Video Tutorial

Independent Work Inspiration Vocational Task Video

Tips for the Vocational Task with Greeting Cards

This is a pretty straightforward task but there are a few ways that you can start it easily and then expand it. And there are a few tips for making it go smoothly.

First, it’s easy because you can just buy a $1 set of cards at the local dollar store and put them and their envelopes in a bin and be ready to go. That’s what I’ve done above. You can also use leftover holiday cards you have hanging around your house and not spend anything, which is always a win.

Second, make sure that you separate the cards from the envelopes to organize your task, as you see in the picture above. And set it out so the students work left to the right. This helps them learn how to set out tasks that require this type of sequencing. And it will help them be ready for when you progress from cards to collating and stuffing envelopes in more advanced vocational tasks.

Pro tip for #IWInspiration this week-when organizing your task, set it up so students work left to right. This helps them learn to set up their collating and future clerical tasks for easy implementation.Click to Tweet

Third, you want to make sure that you have the same number of envelopes that you have cards.  Otherwise, it’s going to get confusing and students will sometimes get stuck in that loop of trying to find what they missed.  Think of that furniture you put together that you were left with pieces of and you weren’t sure what happened.

Expanding the Vocational Task with Greeting Cards

I start with greeting cards because they are easier to put in envelopes. But once students can do this task, it’s easy to expand to make more difficult. Obviously you can always add more to increase difficulty as a first step.

The next way I would increase the difficulty would be to change up the size of envelopes and greeting cards, as you see in the picture below. So, now they have to match up the cards and the envelopes that go together. But of course make sure that they all will match up in the end.

Independent Work Inspiration: Greeting Cards with Video Tutorial

Second, you can start to move to different materials. Once they can do greeting cards, cut paper to the size of envelopes to eliminate the need for folding. Students then have to put the papers in the envelopes. Then later you can work on folding and then putting folded papers into envelopes.

Need more ideas for independent work inspiration? Check out the resources below.

More Workbasket Resources

Looking for more ideas on work systems and how they can be used?  Check out the links in Resources below for more posts.  And, I wrote about a book about them!  Click on the book to the left for an Amazon Affiliate link (see my disclosure policy for more information about affiliate links).

GET ALL THE VISUALS AND ORGANIZATIONAL TOOLS YOU NEED to start independent work in your classroom.

These kits include an e-book with directions on setting up independent work systems and using the materials included, data sheets for tracking progress, visuals for the bins and schedules, what’s next visuals, and mastery sheets to keep track of which students have mastered which task. 

Looking for more ideas for creating independent work systems in your classroom?

Check out the FREE webinar the image to find out more and watch as soon as you register!

Independent Work Inspiration: Greeting Cards with Video Tutorial

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