Using Task Boxes to Help Struggling Learners

describing how to use task boxes

Reaching all of the learners in a classroom is daunting.  You have limited time to find the right materials for every learner. This can be a major challenge in an inclusive classroom. Task boxes are one of the best ways to eliminate this stress and meet all of the students right where they are at.

When task boxes are prepped and ready to go, it is easy to differentiate within a group or classroom. These can be used when teaching on the go or if there are last minute changes.

Here are some ways that work best to use task boxes to help struggling learners.

1. Rotations

Rotations are a great way to see many struggling students in small group.  However, this means lots of prep and materials. Groups need to be planned and materials need to be readied, which is a lot if you are running several groups a day!

Therefore, if you have different levels of struggling learners that all need to focus on various skills, these boxes are just what your classroom needs. Each group can have a task box that is for a specific targeted skill. These boxes can be used day after day for repetition and engagement.

When using task boxes, one group can be working on identifying teen numbers and the next can work on sorting colors.  This allows you to provide differentiation you have always wanted to. No more scrambling for worksheets or staying late finding engaging activities for each group.

Each rotation can have a hands on task as well as meeting them at their exact level- prepped and ready to go!

2. Alternative Teaching

Alternative teaching is one of my favorite ways to co-teach.  It is important to remember that students with disabilities are general education students first.  They need access to the gen ed curriculum, but also need interventions to help them catch up.

Enter alternative teaching.

This is where one teacher leads the whole group and another pulls a small group.  During this model, all students have access to the general ed curriculum, but are then pulled for small segments to work on specific skills they are missing.

These small groups are perfect times to grab and go with task boxes. 

For example, during reading students may be learning about reading CVC words in the whole group. 

However, three students struggle with identifying beginning sounds.  These three students can join the small group at the back and use a task box targeting this skill. The next group may need rhyming help. By using specific boxes for these skills, students can get the exact intervention they need.

This will accelerate their learning and help close the gap between them and their peers.

3. Independent work times

Independent work times are a great time to work on task boxes.  The task boxes come with 16 different skills in each.  These can all be passed out to students on different levels.  

When students are all working on task boxes, no one will know if one student is working on an easier or harder skill.  At times, when individualizing learning, it can also be ostracizing for students when others realize they are working on easier skills.

When using task boxes, differentiating can be done discretely and without anyone noticing.  Task boxes help students become more confident in practicing the skills, no matter what level they are at. 

There is such limited time in the day. These skills driven tasks are just what you need to help reach each and every student in your classroom.

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