Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January 2019 Task of the Month

We design tasks to eliminate any possible frustration the students may experience when trying to complete them. Because the items in these examples are large and chunky, they are easier to pick up. Because all pieces are contained and stabilized in the shoeboxes, there is no confusion about how to set up the parts. Because the individual items are organized in bins or on a post, they are less likely to fall from the desk.

Such organized tasks also lead to independence. The materials define what the students are to do.

Clarifying beginnings and endings of tasks eliminates the desire of some students to undo the work they just finished. Having materials disappear into slots emphasizes the finish aspect.

Often when designing tasks for our beginning students, we add a sensory component to make the task more interesting to them.

In this activity, the items students are to push through the opening have different textures.

In this task, the plastic shapes make a clanking sound when hitting the bottom of the tin can. Students enjoy memorizing a sing-song phrase to say along with the action. “Clink! Clank!”

After our beginning-level students can complete tasks requiring them to place objects into openings, we often design this type of sorting task for them. Here, the students must figure out which object fits into which opening. Because the cylindrical spool will not fit into the horizontal slit for the buttons and the buttons will not fit into a round opening, the students must think about what they are doing. They must sustain their attention to a problem as they use trial-and-error methods to make the objects fit. Focusing attention in order to problem-solve is an important skill that can be generalized to other tasks as the students make progress. Learning to complete such a simple put-in task has valuable implications for our students.

Our Tasks Galore series of books will aid you in designing activities for all developmental levels. We address all areas of curriculum whether academic or self-help.

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As always, a portion of our proceeds go to organizations helping people with autism and their families.

We wish you a very Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 2018 Task of the Month

It is the time of year for gift-giving in many cultures. We have discussed in previous posts how our students with learning challenges can enjoy commercially bought toys just as do typically developing children.

There are, however, many cute toys that some of our students cannot yet use as the instructions direct. By our making simple visual adaptations or simplifying how to use the toys, the children can more easily look and see how they can play with them.

In this Lucky Ducks game, children are to pick up a duck that is spinning on the battery-operated pond. Next, they are to look at shape and color on the bottom of the duck. The rules state that the children are to keep the first duck they find and then keep two more ducks with matching shape/color. If subsequent ducks they choose after their first do not match the shape/color of the first duck, the children are to return it to the spinning pond.

Those directions can be complex for many of our students. One adaptation we have used is adding a lotto board with the colors and shapes that match those on the ducks. When students pick a duck moving about on the board, they match it to the board that all the students use. The game would then be over when all the ducks leave the pond and land on their lotto board spot.

In this example, we use the pieces of this interesting toy but change the directions further to an even simpler version. To engage students in an activity not of their choosing, we often incorporate their interests in these adaptations. For this toy, we add water play which many young children enjoy. As these colorful ducks spin about on the Lucky Ducks™ pond, students choose one and let it splash into the water that has turned blue with a dash of food coloring. Children enjoy this game while they also work on their fine motor and attention skills. They grasp, release and fit the ducks into the container. They must sustain their focus until all the ducks are gone from the board and in the water.

Here is another example of an adapted game. This is a modification of Candyland, a Hasbro game. Using a large sheet of poster board, we create a game board with larger spaces and provide chunky game pieces. These adaptations make both easier to manipulate.  Additionally, we redesign the game with easier rules. Children choose a card that has either a colored circle or a food item on it.  They learn to match their men to the next space with that color or food.

Once the student had learned the steps of picking a card; moving a game piece to act on what that card states; staying focused until the game is finished and taking turns, these rules may be generalized to different games.

For more fun ideas and ways to task analyze play activities please be sure to look at our webpage.

We wish all of you a very Happy Holiday season… Merry Tasking!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 2018 Task of the Month

This is a great activity for getting our students to begin noticing their peers. Some of the pages guide them to pay attention to peer’s physical characteristics. Others encourage questions in order to fill in an answer to complete the sentences about the person. The pages can be individualized for the students. This example is adapted with movable possible answers that can be Velcroed to fill in the blanks. You may even put this together as a booklet or leave it separated, depending on your student.

Other students may be able to practice the skill with pencil and paper. Below is an example of an activity for practicing the same skill in a Conversation Game format. Students take turns by choosing a topic from the two presented and then picking a question to ask. A next step might be to have the students think of a question independently when presented with a written prompt, such as, “What else could you ask your friend?”

Our hope as educators is that, as the students become comfortable with interacting with a peer using such structure, they may next ask spontaneous questions.

For these and other great ideas for social activities please visit our website.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

October 2018 Task of the Month

Structuring activities to teach self-help/home living skills

Sorting socks, folding wash cloths, putting away silverware etc. are all good beginning chores for students. Children with special needs may need a more structured method than verbal direction alone when learning these skills. Therefore, we design structured activities or “tasks” that explicitly teach the needed skill. We teach, practice, and then implement the activity in the appropriate context.

The following tasks were designed for a student during TEACCH training held in North Carolina this summer. In the first one, he was to choose a sock from the bin on the left and clip it to the match on the “clothesline.” In the second, he was to locate two matching socks in the bin, combine them with a different kind of clip, and then place these in the finish bin on his right. Both tasks work on matching colors, sustaining attention, strengthening pincer grip, and organizing all the parts. The second task requires a bit more organization with its additional steps. A next step may be to place the socks into a drawer.

For hundreds of more activities and tasks please visit You will find books full of ideas along with the “how and why” we structure them the way we do. Our books detail a wide array of curricula. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hurricane Florence: We are open!

Tasks Galore continues to be open for business. Our sale on Amazon is still taking place! Check out our best prices ever! We are actively shipping orders but please be aware the orders may be delayed due to conditions within our state. 

We pray for those affected so severely by Hurricane Florence and continue to do what we can to support our neighbors. We are #Carolina Strong!

If you would like to help those suffering from the affects of Hurricane Florence in NC you may make donations to The American Red Cross.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

September 2018 Task of the Month

We hope your school year is off to a good start. We always felt the beginning of a new term was stimulating. Getting to know our new students and their skills and possibilities was always exciting as was figuring out what was next in learning for our returning students.

Sometimes in our early learning classrooms, we have new students who have not yet been introduced to activities that require them to sustain focus until completion.

This is an example of a simple put-in task. The objects to put in are visible and can be turned up or down to fit through the opening. The opening is highlighted with white tape. To encourage our beginning students to attempt tasks, we design them so the explanation of what to do is visually clear. They remove each item from the box top, place it in the opening where it disappears into the container. It is obvious when the children have completed the task because all the pegs are gone.

Frequently we add additional sensory components to beginning tasks to make them more appealing to individual students, such as watching the chip float down through the water.

Or textures students can feel while placing the item.

Gradually we change the skills required in these simple tasks. In this task below, the students must figure out which object fits into which opening. Because the cylindrical spool will not fit into the horizontal slit and the buttons will not fit into the circular opening, the students discriminate. This is an early sorting type of task. Focusing attention to problem-solve is an important skill that they can generalize to other tasks as they progress. Such simple put-in tasks have valuable implications for our students.

For hundreds more task ideas and classroom strategies please view our products at

Also, continued for the month of September for those of you who shop on Amazon you will find our books at a deeply discounted “Back to School” price! This is an Amazon only offer.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 2018 Task of the Month

These two tasks are being used in a classroom whose theme for the month is farm animals.

The first task is a great example of how one toy can be modified to fit the different functioning levels of our students. These chunky, wooden items from a farm lacing bead set by Melissa and Doug have large openings which make them easier for small hands to manipulate. The typical lacing strings which are included in the set, however, are often difficult for some of our students. The flexibility of the laces requires precise two-handed dexterity.

To thread the wooden farm-related items successfully, one student might need a rigid thread, such as a plastic straw; another may be able to thread the piece with a less rigid device that flexes somewhat, such as a pipe cleaner.

By thinking of each students’ emerging abilities, the skills they need to learn, and the products available, we devise different ways for students to achieve the same objectives: using two hands simultaneously and figuring out how to get the threader entirely through the opening.

This second task shows a similar idea of adapting materials (a book in this example) in different ways to meet the individualized needs of our students. The objective here to use clues to draw conclusions. This is an important thinking or inference skill that is needed when comprehending what we read.

The book, Who’s on the Farm written by Dorothea DePrisco and illustrated by Chris Gilvan-Carwright, provides clues about what animal or person is partially hidden.  Before uncovering the picture, children make a guess based on the clues.

To help our students understand what to do, we made two adaptations based on their emerging abilities. Adaptation #1 offers scanned pictures, identical to those in the book, of the possible answers. The children choose their answer from among the visual choices and Velcro the picture on the back of the flap that covered the answer. Below our student has Velcroed the pig correctly. Adding this additional visual component of scanned possible answers allows even a nonverbal child to participate, provides multi-modal interest, and helps students use clues to answer the question of “who.”

Adaptation #2 is designed for students who can answer questions but are learning the concept of making guesses. This visual support reminds the student to make a guess before uncovering the picture in the book.



All of our Tasks Galore products demonstrate various ways to use the same task for a variety of learning experiences. To learn more about thematic studies and how to adapt a full curriculum based on one unit please visit and click on Tasks Galore Literature-based Thematic Units.

Reminder we will have a Back To School Sale through our partnering distributor during the month of August 2018.