Focus on Five: Ways to Adapt Your Work Task System!

Categories: Resources | Work Tasks

About two years ago, I had the pleasure of working with the legend herself, Sasha, and she helped me to start the work task system in my classroom. Not only was it so much fun to set up, it’s fun to add-on to, as your students gain more skills or as you get new students in your classroom. Do yourself a favor and buy TAH’s The MOST Space Efficient & Organized Work Task System for a Special Ed Classroom, immediately, if not sooner!!! Then, grab a La Croix and read below for 5 ways to adapt this system to meet the needs of your students….

1. Color-Code

When I was setting up my work task system, Sasha pointed out that all the letters and numbers could be visually overwhelming for some students, so she suggested color-coding the quadrants of the shelves.  This is not only helpful for students when doing the work tasks, but it was helpful for adults and students putting the work tasks away.

2. Use Pictures

Use pictures instead of letters for students who still need help visually discriminating letters and numbers. I used fruit visuals for my tasks in the middle of the shelf. All the tasks labeled with the fruit pictures are in the middle of the shelf, which was helpful because students only have to focus on one part of the shelf.  Also, none of the boxes with the fruit visuals have lids to help students transition from a three bin system to a more age appropriate set-up.


3. Raise it Up 

For your friends with visual impairments, ask your VI teacher to help you put Braille on the tags for the student schedules and the tasks.  Also, our VI teacher put puffy paint on the shape tags to help students identify tasks. This is the first year I have done this, so I will keep you posted on how my students respond!

4. Take a Break

Allow students to take a break between each task. This has been very helpful to my students, especially as they transition to increasing their time on task. Showing the visuals can be a helpful reminder to you and your student…just remember to set a timer for the break!

5. Step-by-Step

Adjusting the number of tasks a student has on their mini-schedule is an easy way to adapt work tasks for students on varying levels.  A student can start with one or two tasks initially , and then move up to three. I have also had some student overachievers complete two mini-schedules worth of tasks!


6. {Bonus Tip} Change Locations

Sometimes, having a student’s mini-schedule surrounded by all the other schedules can be visually overwhelming so I will include their mini-schedule as part of their wall visual schedule. You can also Velcro a student’s work-task mini schedule to their desk. One benefit to doing this is that the student can take their mini-schedule with them as they gather their work tasks.


I hope you are inspired to create a work task system in your classroom!  Share what makes your work task system unique to your classroom!

Holly Bueb
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