So you have your task boxes prepped and ready to go. Now how do you use them in the inclusive classroom? Let me give you four tips for using task boxes in my inclusive classroom.
Small Groups: teaching & progress monitoring
Small group rotations are my favorite time to use task boxes. It is a perfect place to teach and assess using the task boxes. When I make my small groups, I group them homogeneously. This means I group them by skill or level. However, I am constantly evaluating and changing kiddos as needed.
For example, this year I have kids that are working on the phonological awareness skill of blending compound words and other groups that are ready to begin reading CVC words. This is a very large range!
This is where task boxes make planning and differentiating SO easy. I will just grab a task box for that skill group and it is prepped and ready to go. During small group, we work together first with direct instruction on the task cards and gradually moving to some independent practice.
During small groups is also when I progress monitor for IEP goals and other skills I am monitoring. It can be difficult to assess one on one, so this is another time when I will give the students who are waiting to be assessed a previously worked on task box. They work on completing it quietly while I assess their peer.
It can seem daunting to get students who have disabilities (whether it be behavior or academic) to be independent. Task boxes are one of the key ways to get there!
The first step is to directly teach the student the skill and how to complete the task cards.
Once the student knows how to complete the task, you can develop a system for them to complete specific boxes. This takes time to teach routines, but teaching independence is a life long skill.
Additionally, when they student is done with the task box, you can collect data. You can see what they got correct when doing it on their own.
The thing that takes me the longest every week is planning for my teaching assistants. I want them to have detailed lesson plans for their groups that are targeted and systematic.
Task boxes have been a life saver when planning. I can just write in the plans what task box to use for their group. It is zero prep and an engaging activity both the adults and kids love. Even better- since they are nicely organized, the teaching assistants can just grab and go! This has lightened my load as the special educator significantly.
This one may seem new to you. But we do task boxes in whole group too! It is a great way to work on a specific skill and to teach the use of task boxes. There are several ways we do this.
-Work together: we solve each card together. I will place the task card under a document camera for the entire class to see. The moveable pieces are laid out, typically in the center of the carpet, and the students work together to figure out the answer.
-Finding partners: this is my favorite way to use task cards whole group. I will give some students the task card and other the answers that go with them. They have to walk around to find their partner. This is a great way to work on team work or an easy way to get partners!
Now that you have some of my tips for using task boxes, here are some of my favorite task boxes to use in the classroom! Just click the picture to grab your set!