How to Set Up and Implement Your Independent Workbox System

If you have been following along with my blog posts, you know that I just love organization.  Ok, love might not be a strong enough word…I AM OBSESSED with being organized.  Everything needs a system to be able to run smoothly, especially in our classrooms.  

Follow these tips and ideas to implement and run a workbox system in your classroom. 

Find a place to store your workboxes.  

Storage can sometimes be a challenge.  If you have a storage area off of your classroom or a small closet, talk to your administration about utilizing those areas.  Maybe you have a bookcase or cabinet, try to find creative ways to store your workboxes.  For years, I kept my workboxes in a cabinet and bookshelf.  It wasn’t the best, but it worked.  Check out the two ways I stored my workbox library.


Create a System

Have a system to know what workboxes your students have done and whether they have mastered them or not.  I created a workbox reference sheet that has all the workboxes that had the following information listed: workbox letter or number, level of difficulty (easy, medium, hard), category, and task.  After a student mastered the task, I would highlight the task on the list.  This helped my paras and myself know what tasks my students had done, which ones were mastered, which ones were not mastered, and the task boxes that had not yet been done.   


Data Collection

Along with creating a system, it is important to have datasheets for each student to track progress on their independent workboxes.  This will help in determining whether a task needs to be placed back into direct instruction or mastered.  Set criteria for the number of days the student should master the work task independently. 


Scheduling Independent Work for your Students

When creating student schedules, remember to carve out time in the day for them to complete independent work boxes.  Make sure your student knows what work, how much work, where to put it when they are done, and what comes next.

Scheduling tip:

  • schedule independent work during a time of day when you have minimal staffing available


Remember, it takes time to build an independent work system and it doesn’t happen overnight.  Give yourself some time and grace to create a system that will aid your students in independently completing their work.


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