Simple Task Boxes for Special Education: Easy to Make and Use
IWInspiration| Structured Work Systems | April 28, 2021
Put-in tasks are simple task boxes that are a basic starting point for students in special education who have limited or no ability to work independently. They are the perfect place to start for students just beginning in independent work systems. This particular task is the most basic because it is self-contained, so the student does not need to organize any materials. And even better, it’s pretty easy to make with no need for laminating or Velcro. Plus, there is no special equipment; you’ll find the materials around your house or classroom most of the time.
Independent Work Inspiration: Material List
- Shoebox–cardboard is easiest, but you can use plastic boxes if you have tools to cut through it.
- Spare playing cards-these are pretty easy to find around my house as the extra decks that are unusable because they are missing card
- Box cutter or tools to cut cardboard or plastic
- Plastic container to hold the cards on the box
- Contact paper to cover the box (optional–as you’ll see in the video below)
Simple Task Boxes for Putting in Cards: Who Are They For?
These simple task boxes can be used by any ages. They are most useful for your students who don’t yet have skills to work independently. Students simply pull the task to them, pick up the cards, and put them through the slot. There are no materials to organize or worry about. You can adjust the difficulty by the number of cards you put in the task for them to put through the slot.
Simple Task Box Putting in Cards Video Tutorial
Making These Simple Task Boxes
This shoebox task is easy to make with a cardboard shoebox. If you make it from a plastic shoebox, it will likely be more durable. But it will be harder to cut and the edges will need to be cushioned so as not to be too sharp for the student. This type of shoebox task is great for students just starting out in independent work because they don’t need to organize any materials. The materials are all self-contained.
As you can see in the video, you can choose to cover the shoebox with contact paper or not. In the pictures you see that I did. This makes more attractive, but it also makes the task less distracting for the student. And it makes it easier to clean, since contact paper is usually easy to wipe down with a damp cloth.
Tips for Making Simple Task Boxes with Playing Cards
In the picture above, you can see the steps. When you cover the box, make sure you cover the lid separately so the box still opens. That way you can retrieve the cards when the task is complete. After I covered the box in contact paper, I cut a slit in the top slightly wider than the width of the playing cards.
Then, I put 2 strips of Velcro on the top of the box next to the slit. Next I put the matching Velcro strips on the back of a photo box container. This isn’t shown in the video. This allows me to attach the card box to the top of the shoebox so there are no moveable pieces other than the cards. It fits on as you see in #3 above. However, as you saw in the video, and in #4, you could have the cards in a separate bin just as easily. Putting them on the shoebox just makes the task a bit easier for the student since there are fewer pieces.
Need more ideas for task boxes? 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.