February Task Box Activities for Special Education Classrooms

Friday, January 27, 2017
With only two more days left in January, it is time to switch up my task boxes for February. In hopes of keeping my students engaged and learning new skills, I center my task boxes around monthly themes. We had so much fun with our January task boxes, but now it's time to say goodbye and welcome in the new month. With only six students in my classroom currently, I have a ten task box system in my classroom. You can check out my task box system here. I typically use the following formula when setting up my task box rotation each month: three math (various levels), three ELA (various levels), and four fine motor. I usually have a few extra prepared so that I can rotate them in as needed. I then assign each student one math box at his/her level, one ELA box at his/her level, and 1 strictly fine motor task at his/her level. I have learned that I can find many appropriate FREE tasks just by doing a simple Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers search, but I always create a few myself as well. Here are the twelve activities that I will be using for my task box system in February. Click on the creator's name to be taken to their website/store where you can download their amazing product for FREE!

Math Activities

1. Valentine Counting Cards from Playdough to Plato 

*Additional supplies needed: clothespins

2. Sweet Heart Counting: A Ten Fram Manipulative Center from Simply Special Ed

*Additional supplies needed: Conversation Hearts

3. Conversation Heart Patterning Activity

You can download the patterning cards that I created here for FREE!
*Additional supplies needed: Conversation Hearts or Conversation Heart Foam Stickers, Patterning Cards 

4. Valentine's Day Clip Cards from Simply Special Ed

*Additional supplies needed: clothespins 

ELA Activities 

5. Valentine CVC Mailbox Match from Sarah Warner 

6. Valentine Alphabet Match Cards from The Kindergarten Connection

*Additional supplies needed: clothespins

7. Broken Heart Alphabet Hunt from Stephanie Ann

8. Mailing a Letter: Valentine's Day Assembly Task from Teaching Special Thinkers 

*Additional supplies needed: mailbox, envelopes, cards, velcro, 

Fine Motor Activities 

9. Toilet Paper Roll Sort

*Additional supplies needed: tongs, toilet paper rolls, Valentine pom poms

10. Heart Ice Tray Activity (Idea from Trullium Montessori)

*Additional supplies needed: tongs, heart gems (Amazon link: Translucent Pink Acrylic Hearts), heart ice cube tray (Amazon link: Ice Cube Heart Tray

11. Pipe Cleaner Bead Sorting

*Additional supplies needed: pipe cleaners, heart beads (Amazon link: Crafter's Square, Heart Beads)

12. Mini Heart Eraser Sorting 

*Additional supplies needed: tongs, small containers, mini heart erasers (I got mine from Target) 

My Classroom Task Box System

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Since creating my Simple Task Box System for Special Education Classrooms, which is posted on my Teachers Pay Teachers store, I have had many questions about how I set up the task box system in my classroom.

For my task box system, I use this Ten Drawer Utility Cart. You can purchase this cart from Amazon using this referral link: Seville Classics 10-Drawer Organizer Cart, Black. (Side note: I have five of these carts in my classroom and I absolutely LOVE them!) I have tried other task box organization methods, but this is my favorite because it saves space and it is easy for my student to access. As you can see, I printed, laminated, and used Velcro to attach numbers 1-10 from my Simple Task Box System product to the cart. Each drawer of the cart contains a different task for the students to work on. I typically use the following formula when loading my tasks boxes with activities: 3 math activities (various levels), 3 ELA activities (various levels), and 4 fine motor activities (various levels). I typically have a few extra activities "on deck" that I can rotate in as needed.

Next, I print, laminate, and place velcro on my student schedules. I also print, laminate, and attach Velcro to several sets of numbers 1-10, which I attach to the "To-Do" side of the student schedules. The numbers on the schedule correlate to the tasks that that student is assigned/must complete during his/her task box time. As you can see in the picture below, the student shown has been assigned task boxes "3," "6," and "9." The student must complete task box number "3" first. When he/she has completed tax box "3," he/she moves the number over to the "done" side of his/her schedule, and moves on to the next task box, which would be task box number "6."

My students work on task boxes everyday. It is one of their rotations. Because of my current staff/student ratios, I have a staff member that assists my students with their task boxes each day; however, task boxes are ideal for independent practice. Because the goal of task boxes is to build independence for students, I place activities that review skills that have already been mastered in the task box trays. This allows students to feel confident and to review and practice skills that they have already learned. After all, "if you do not use it, you lose it."

Students typically repeat the tasks that are on their schedule for 1 to 2 weeks until they have mastered the activities in their boxes. The staff member that oversees the task box rotation, completes a data sheet each Friday, letting me know if each student complete the activities independently, with minimal prompting, or if they need to continue to practice the activities.

I base the activities that I place in my task boxes on my students' IEP goals. With that said, I found an amazing FREE resource from Special Education Corner on Teachers Pay Teachers . This is a wonderful starting point, especially because most of the items used are very easy to find. Check out the product here.  Pinterest is also a wonderful resource for task boxes.

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