Saturday, July 30, 2011

Task Box #1: Monkey Grab and Drop

I am SO excited about this latest do it lots of money idea for the classroom!  I just had to share how I made these! 
So, I've wanted to make some more permanent task (or work) boxes for IEP goal work for a while now.  I've previously used baskets and tubs (and have kept ALL of the IEP goal work for a specific child in one basket or tub).  They just haven't seemed very permanent or organized, they can't be used independently at all and they don't give the child a clear visual idea of when the task is complete. 

My search began!  I found these beautiful task boxes for sale!  Yikes!  Each task box is between $35 and $45 (and they're not even clear boxes).   I would much rather make my own, very individualized boxes (based on the child's individual IEP goal)...and I'm pretty sure I could make each box for under $5.00!

So, my search continued!  I found lots of ideas for making your own task boxes...but I kept coming back to these slick boxes that clearly cost too much! 

I realized that I wanted clear boxes (not cardboard boxes)!  I also loved the idea of a container attached to the box to either hold a certain number of items for the child to then pull out and complete the task or to put the items in as they work on the task  

*(When the cup is empty, the task is complete or when all the items are IN the cup the task is complete- very visual). 

Finally, I hit on an idea I thought might work!  I bought some plastic shoe boxes for $1.00/box.  I bought plastic cups (6 for .80 cents).  I used an Exacto knife to cut the hole for the cup and inserted the cup.  It fit perfectly!  The cup sits on the bottom of the box with just a small amount of the rim showing above the hole in the lid. 

The idea is that the child will always work from left to right on the task, whether the task requires them to put items IN the cup or take them OUT.  Therefore the placement of the cup on the box top may change depending on the task; but the child will learn that they work from left to right, no matter what.

This particular task box was created for a little guy who is working on reaching out for an item and grabbing it.  Ultimately, the goal is to grab the stuffed animal and drop it into the cup.

We will probably use backward chaining for this task and start by handing him the monkey to hold and drop into the cup.  We'll work backwards until he is reaching out, grabbing the ring, picking up the monkey and then dropping it into the cup.  (This is one of the most basic task boxes I will make and would NOT be appropriate for all children.  I will be creating more advanced task boxes as well!)

In order to make the stuffed animal more manageable to grab, I simply took a shower curtain ring and squeezed enough of the stuffed animal into the opening to make it hold!  This way he can reach out and grab the ring to pull the monkey to the cup.  He can focus on just this one item and one task.  (And it's easy enough to simply attach the ring to another stuffed animal based on interest or topics we are focusing on in the classroom!)

The best thing about these task boxes is that when we're finished, we simply pop the top off, put the items back into the box and stack the boxes on top of each other! 

We can easily see what items are in each task box.  However, to make it even more user friendly, my next step is to take a photo of the monkey and attach it to the box so the child can clearly see what is inside and what task he will be doing.

Total cost for this task box:  less than $1.50 (I had the shower curtain ring and stuffed animals already)

If you are interested in creating task boxes, stay tuned!  I do plan on making more adveanced  task boxes that I will share here!  Oh, I have a ton of ideas for these!   Off to the store to collect more plastic shoe boxes!

Grab the "How Long is this Hall" Button!

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