A task box center is an independent work system where students use a visual schedule to find and complete activities independently. By using task boxes in the classroom, students are able to practice skills while also developing their independence and self-management!
My Task Box Center Makeover
I wanted change things up because my old independent work system was not very efficient. I stored the activities on a cart, and each day I would place the assigned work into bins for the students. That took up a lot of time! Also, it did not help my students learn self-management. So, I knew I had to find a better way to implement task boxes in my classroom. By reading through posts like this one about Structured Work Systems, I was able to come up with a plan to implement my own task box center!
With a little rearranging, I was able to make a spot in my room to set up my new center. To start, I placed a bookshelf to store the task boxes, and then I added a work table. I can utilize the metal window panes to hang the students’ work schedules.
Real Picture Task Box Schedules
As an intermediate grades teacher, I love these Real Picture Cards! (For primary students, these cards would also be a great fit!) My students love the different pictures because they are recognizable. They also great for developing vocabulary because students can label and describe what they see!
I printed the cards in color, then laminated them with 5 millimeter laminate so they would be nice and sturdy. I made two sets – one for the boxes and one for the students’ work schedules.
Putting it All Together
After making the picture cards, I began to assemble the boxes. I first placed a Velcro dot (affiliate link) on the front of each box, then one on the back of each card. Remember: soft on the surface, hard on the card! Afterwards, I filled the boxes with tasks for my students to complete.
What activities can go inside of task boxes? Anything! When I assign students their schedule, I like to give them a mix of fine motor, reading, math, and work tasks. Some examples of materials to use in task boxes are lacing cards, puzzles, matching activities, spelling and sight word reading tasks, and 1:1 correspondence tasks. There are a TON of great task box ideas on the blog!
How to Use the Task Box Center
First, the students find their schedule on the wall. The pictures tell them which boxes to choose from the shelf. Then, the student will bring the boxes to the table to complete their tasks. After that, they will return the boxes to the shelf. When they are done, they may take a break! A data sheet like this one can help you keep track of how students fare with completing the routine.
Setting up a task box center can seem like a daunting task for teachers. However, with just a little prep, you can create a center that will foster student independence and support learning goals!