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Featuring articles from our principal Occupational Therapist, Dr Nicole Grant, members of the therapy team, and guest posts from members of our community.  

Posts tagged task initiation
Task cards for assignment completion

A common challenge for older primary and high school age children is getting assignments submitted on time. Assignments can seem daunting for kids who struggle with time management and organisation skills. Often getting started is the hardest part. These Foldable Task Cards are a great strategy to help with planning assignments, and to help kids keep on track. Here’s how!

task card1.JPG

SET UP

Step 1.

Fold a coloured piece of A4 card in half lengthways, and cut along the line.

Step 2.

Fold the long strip in half, and then each half into thirds. You should end up with 6 sections in total.

Step 3.

In the 1st section, write the heading - ‘Warm Up’. In the last section, write the heading ‘Reward’.

Step 4.

Draw a line across the entire bottom of the strip using a ruler.

Now it’s time to enter the details!

TASK PLANNING

The Warm Up

In the first section, we write a quick activity that is fun, but helps the child to get ready for desk work. Ideal warm up tasks will get hands ready for writing/ typing and brains ready for thinking. Students should have a say in their preference for warm up activities as this task needs to be very motivating. Ideas include:

  • Colouring mandalas

  • Crossword or word search

  • Advanced dot to dots

  • Type an email to a friend

  • Read a few pages of a book

The warm up task needs to be done at the desk or workspace and be quick to prepare and pack up.

The Reward

Everyone is motivated by something. The idea of the reward is to provide motivation for task completion and is an incentive to get the assignment started. Rewards can be longer, and can be completely unrelated to the project being completed. The Reward can be desk based, or outside, or can be a treat, food item, or game. Whatever is highly motivating for your child.

Timing

The bottom of the strip is used to set time limits for each stage of the task. It’s important that the student is realistic about how much time is required for each step. The time serves as as reminder to keep students on task and moving along. This is particularly helpful for kids who get stuck on one task.

TIP: If the assignment is a big one, tape two strips side by side so that there is 12 sections in total. This will give you 10 spaces for steps. Longer strips can still be folded.

Breaking Down and Writing the Steps

It is important that your child is involved in the process at all stages of making these task cards, however at this stage it is particularly crucial. This is where you read the project, homework or assignment requirements and decide a) what each step is, and b) how long each step will realistically take.

This process is also a learning opportunity as the student is required to work out the key pieces of information and what is actually required from them to be successful. Each section can have a few smaller steps, but the order of steps should make sense. Once again, it is important to be realistic about what can be achieved in the time you are allocating. Editing and checking work can be time consuming, but it is important to allow time for this.

Why this works

  • Coloured card is more eye catching, and creating a different shape to the usual A4 sized work sheets is visually different, and therefore a bit more interesting for the student.

  • Creating the task cards is a kinaesthetic activity, activating lots of different parts of the brain

  • The shape of the strip provides a prompt for the student to work systematically through each step towards the end point - the Reward

  • The strip is 3 dimensional when folded and provides a nice tactile experience for the student.

  • It can be folded in a number of different ways so that only 1 task is present at a time, which is important for those kids who get overwhelmed by too much information.

  • The cards are highly portable, and can be inserted into pockets on a wall calendar, or used as a bookmark.

Why don’t you try this for next term’s assignment tasks? If your child is struggling with getting work started or completed on time, an Occupational Therapist can assist.