Independent Work System

Independent work is a classroom must have, especially in the start of the school year. You need to make sure your whole class is busy and engaged while you work in small groups or one on one with other students, train your staff, or teach students to follow their schedule. You need independent work tasks and you need a lot of them. You need variety so students don’t get bored. You also need tasks that are time consuming. You want to be teaching work endurance. You don’t want tasks that take 90 seconds. You’ll have a whole lot of down time on your hands and down time = trouble.

I know a lot of autism classrooms use the TEACCH 3 bin work task system – I used to but honestly it takes up too much room! And it takes forever to put in new tasks each day. I tried out a few different options – but this has worked the best for us. We have been using it for years!  I still use one 3 bin work task for one of my students because I do love the structure it provides for my students who struggle to work independently. Learn more and set up your own system like this with this product – The Most Space Efficient and Organized Work Task System Ever. 

So here is my video tutorial 🙂

 

Here are some of my tasks included in the bins:

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If you want tasks like these but have no clue where to start – check out this product! It jumped to my bestseller list almost immediately after I posted it. This resource provides directions, labels, and visuals for 40 work tasks!

Work Tasks - The Autism Helper

Check out my Work Task pinterest boards for more work task pictures!

The schedule and structure for this system are available on TpT if you think this is something that may work in your classroom! Check out and here is a product preview:

17 Comments

  1. This is AMAZING! Thank you so much for the in-depth tutorial. I am working on getting my work task center set up, and am so excited to use some of these ideas!!

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  2. I LOVE this idea! I’ve been trying it in my self-contained classroom, but since I am also required to co-teach in 4 different classrooms in K-3 this year, I am only in my self-contained classroom for two 30-minute segments each day, so it makes it very difficult to monitor what goes on when I’m not in the room. Do you (or any other Autism Helper followers) have any suggestions?

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  3. Wow, Sasha! I have purchased many-o’ things from you, but this resource is, perhaps, the most exciting! I teach an autistic class grades 3-5 and have been wanting to implement a work task system.

    I just have a question…is it best for students to start tasks (and us take data to track independence) during one-on-one discrete trials or is it appropriate to allow students to start this work task system in the natural environment (and still take data)?

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  4. How often do you change the tasks?

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  5. Great to hear!

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  6. Maybe staff checklists?

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  7. Either way! It depends on the students and how much staffing you will have available during independent work time.

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  8. The tasks stay the same – the students’ schedule changes so they are doing different tasks every day! 🙂

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  9. This is my first year teaching and I have been searching for many months (including summer) for a way to efficiently organize my classroom. I think I have found it! I have both low and high functioning students so it is great to see that there is a way to teach it all!!! Thank you!!!

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  10. So glad to hear! Enjoy!

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  11. Sasha, what are your students working towards after they have completed the 3 tasks? Are they working on these tasks during scheduled times of the day or is this system implemented all day?

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  12. There is a scheduled time of day to do this activity. The type of reinforcement depends on the kid. Some of the kids require less reinforcement & more naturalistic (praise, token economy points, or work completion) while others are working towards a specifically chosen item using visuals etc. Hope this helps!

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  13. You said the students tasks change every day. How many weeks are they on the same weekly schedule? If I changed them every week, they’d go through all the tasks in 3 weeks! Do you have a “cycle” they are on when everything repeats itself?

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  14. They repeat the same schedule every week and that continues the whole year. So for example Johnny is only doing task 13 once a week and he does task 13 once a week all year. He will still need practice and generalization on task 13 all year and the point of independent work is also work without adult prompting. There are about 36 weeks in a school year – so he is doing that task maybe 30ish times throughout the whole year – so it’s really not too repetitive. So once you make a schedule for the week – you are set for the year. Does that make sense? Hope that helps!

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  15. Hi Sasha! Do you have any suggestions for higher functioning high school students that are in a self-contained learning center?

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  16. […] I saw information on a productive way to set up vocational tasks from The Autism Helper. No point in recreating the wheel, so I took her idea and ran with it! There were several work […]

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