Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New Work Tasks

One of my students has really been struggling lately with "down time."  He acts perfectly during breaks and requests them constantly throughout the day.  However, if he stays on break too long, he becomes very agitated and aggressive.  He also works incredibly fast.  So, to help keep him busier for longer periods of time, I went on a task making spree last week!  

I made 10 tasks utilizing mostly things already in my classroom.  The only things I bought were the tubs to hold the tasks ($1 each at the dollar tree), colored plastic silverware, and some socks!  Check out my new work tasks below!  Included are some tips on making your own work tasks as well!

Task #1: Labeling an envelope 
 I have wanted to make this task for awhile.  I already had return address labels for my classroom (but you can use some you get free in the mail too), I wrote out fake addresses, and I used some square-shaped stickers as stamps.  I laminated all these things (as well as the envelopes  which I had traced the shapes onto), and put velcro in all the boxes/on the pieces.  The kids have to match the right label into the correct spot. 

Task #2: Matching Socks 
The kids take the socks in the bin, find the match, fold them together, and place them in the smaller "finished" bin. 

Task #3: Packaging Mini Blocks 
 I used these mini blocks (which I found in my school awhile back) and gerber baby food containers (donated from a  co-worker) to make this packaging task.  

I made a little card that kids can use to put 1 block of each color on, and then they put all of them into the container.  

Here is what it looks like finished.

Task #4: Beading by Color 
 I used an old moon sand container to hold the wooden beads.  I tied one of each bead onto the bottom of the pipe cleaners.  The kids have to match colors, sort the beads, and use fine motor skills to complete this task.  

Task #5: Sorting by Color and Shape 
 These are clear plastic shapes (math manipulatives).  There are 3 different shapes of each color.  This task has a lot of materials…so it is important to make sure you can fit all your materials into the container before you set up the entire task!

When I stack the containers together and have all the pieces in a ZipLoc baggie squeezed on the side, there is just the right amount of room to store all the materials.  I hot glues one piece to the bottom of each container so my kids know where to sort each shape.

Task #6: Sorting Forks vs. Spoons
 Many of my students are very great at sorting by color, but sorting by other attributes (such as shape) are harder.  For this task,  I purposely bought 2 colors of spoons/forks to make it more difficult to sort.  So, in this task, kids put both purple and blue forks in one bin and both purple and blue spoons in the other.

For this task, I put the labels in 2 spots.  Right on the bottom, because it is easy to see when you are getting started.  But, I also put one on the back, so the kids could see it as they were sorting for a reminder.

Task #7: Sorting Pens vs. Pencils 
This task is pretty simple.  Just sorting pens and pencils into separate containers.

 Task #8: Sorting Letters of Different Fonts
I chose some letters in my student's name for him to sort.  I made a bunch of the same letters in different fonts to help with generalizing the skill of matching letters.  

Task #9: Matching Clips by Color and Location
To put this task together, I drew lines with Sharpies on note cards and laminated them. This task involves matching clips (from IKEA) by color onto the note cards in different positions.  

 Task #10: Sorting Clothes
For this task, I used small tupperware containers and made a variety of clothes pictures (each item has the clothing item in 2 different colors--i.e. a red shirt and orange shirt to be sorted into the "shirt" container).  This again makes the task a little trickier than just sorting by color.

The last thing I did was take picture of each task, and made labels for the bins.  Now, I can quickly tell what is in each bin when looking for a task.  So far, my students have loved these new tasks (I'm sure they were starting to get bored with our old ones!)  Now, let's hope for a decrease in aggression from the student who inspired all these tasks!

1.  Look through your existing materials for ideas. No need to spend additional money if you already have the materials.
2.  Brainstorm a list of task ideas using your materials.
3.  Make sure you can fit all of the materials for each task into your bins
4.  Think about what your task will look like when the students get it and what it will look like when they finish their work.
5.  Think about what types of labels you need and where is the best place to put them.

Hope this gave you some good ideas.  I, personally, love looking at posts with lots of work tasks because they give me ideas and inspire me to make new ones for my classroom!


  1. I love the sorting spoons and forks! I am currently working on revamping my task system too. I just re-arranged my furniture a little bit and I am adding more boxes. I currently have 1 student who completes a task schedule daily, but am hoping to embed it into our routine for all students. I can't wait for it to all be organized and set up! Thanks for sharing your ideas!!

    Creating & Teaching

  2. I love these new activities. You have inspired me to make something similar for my autistic student. He always gets done early and I have nothing meaningful for him to do. OR other teachers send him down and I don't want it to be "free time". Thank you so much, Heather

  3. Thanks for the great ideas. This is my summer project and stuff to do while I am on maternity leave

  4. These are great activities!! Where did you get the flat beads?