Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Workboxes by the workbox diva herself!

On Thursday morning of the Schoolhouse Expo, Sue Patrick spoke on the workbox system. Her website is Workboxsystem.com I had posted about them a few months ago and had thought about using this coming school year.  Now, I'm definitely going to try them.

She started developing the workbox system for her 18 month old child with autism.  She also made the point that it works well for those with behavior/attention issues.  She made the point that behavior issues often come from overtaxing attention or energy on one thing.  Use of workboxes allows smaller segments that allow work to be accomplished before a behavior develops thus getting the work done and getting rid of the bad behavior.  She made the point that you evaluate the program based on behavior. 

I know that I'm probably not communicating this well, but it made a lot of sense especially sense a dealing with my sanguine/sensory dd who is only 5 1/2 going into 2nd grade in the fall.  Distraction and shorter attention span are a part of life.

Here are a few points from the session.  There is no way I could share everything.

The basic systems consists of 12 clear plastic shoeboxes on a cart.  The boxes are numbered 1 to 12.  There is also a schedule strip with the order of days activities. 

In each box is everything needed to complete that assignment, so no time is wasted trying to find the glue stick or the scissors, etc.  Each activity needs to be a closed ended assignment.  First you take the basic curriculum assignments and spread them in various boxes and then fill in the other boxes with other activities that reinforce what your are teaching.  The goal is to feel a sense of accomplishment when each box is done. 

She always starts the day with an independent box.  She then varies the boxes between subjects, activities, etc.  She might but a more fun/motivating assignment before after a more challenging to encourage things to get done.  Certain boxes that need mom's involvement have a "Work with Mom" label attached.

Two things that Sue Patrick uses and includes in the boxes are centers and interactive posters.  Centers can be such things as a listening center (book on tape), geography center (globe, atlas, and things you were going to cover anyway), science center (experiment or activity), folder games, typing centers, computer games, and more.  She emphasized that they should back up what you've been teaching.

Her interactive posters were awesome.  She even made them so that children of different ages could use the same poster in different ways.  They were so cool, but hard to explain. But to attempt to put in simply, most involved using a second copy of the poster to use for labels/answers that can be sticky tacked to the original poster. 

There are so many other details that I can't even cover them here.  I hope you at least get a sample of this cool system. 

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