Work baskets can be used to encourage a pupil to work independently, to provide focus and clarity. The approach can also help to alleviate anxiety as the sequence of tasks is visually clear to the pupil.
To set up a work system, 2 baskets are needed, one labelled ‘start’ and one labelled ‘finished’. Activities are separated into plastic zipped folders e.g. 10 puzzle pieces to make a puzzle, one book, one drawing sheet and pencils and placed in the ‘start’ basket. Everything which is needed for the activity should be in the folder so the child does not have to get up to get any resources. The number of activities will depend on the child’s level of concentration.
Place the ‘start’ basket on the left hand side of the table. Encourage the child to take out an activity, complete it and then place it in the ‘finished’ basket on the right hand side of the table.
You can extend this by having a schedule for the work system, whereby the child has to look at pictures/symbols of the activities and complete them in sequence. Alternatively, a sequence can be colour coded (with a coloured sticker or zip a particular colour on the plastic folder). You can also use numbers or letters for the schedule.
The photos, symbols, colours, letters or words for the schedule can be set out on a card and be attached with Velcro, Blu tac or paper clips. Ensure the child turns these over as each activity is completed, as follows:
- Look at schedule
- Find the appropriate activity in the ‘start’ basket
- Complete activity
- Put activity in the ‘finished’ basket
- Turn card over
- Move on to the next activity
This will structure the activities for the student so that he can do them independently. This way of working should also help him to be motivated, achieve success and keep his self-esteem high.
- See our article on visual cues for more information