Using Structured Work Systems To Build Independence in the Elementary Classroom

Last week, I wrote a post on Using Structured Work Systems to Foster Student Independence. Work systems are structured sequences that provide students
opportunities to practice mastered skills through the use of organized
materials, including containers, bins, drawers, checklists, folders/binders,
among many other materials. Adult support can still be used to guide students
when using work systems; however, their purpose is to promote independence in

Structured work systems are perfect for helping a disorganized
student stay focused in the classroom. Although originally developed through Division TEAACH for individuals with autism, structured work systems can be used with all types of leaners, in a variety of elementary school settings, to help improve their independence throughout the day. Much like learners with autism, a lot of
students thrive off routine and structure. By using this left to right type of
system, students are able to see how much work they must do, how long it will
take, and when they are finished. For a lot of learners in today’s early
elementary classrooms, these 4 guidelines can go a long way in helping ease
student distress about working independently and can cut down on behaviors that
tend to arise when students are off task.
To piggyback my post from last week, I got together with a website called Bloomboard to create a collection of resources that are helpful when starting structured work systems in the classroom. BloomBoard is a place where educators can learn, share, and discuss the best teaching ideas to solve everyday classroom challenges and improve their practice. I’m so excited to start using this site to create more collections on topics to share with you! It kind of reminds me of gathering info for a research paper, but you never have to actually write the paper. It’s awesome!

Be sure to check out tomorrow’s blogger on BloomBoard, Nardi at Classroom Strategies and Things. Below is a little bit about her!
Beginning her eighteenth year of teaching, Nardi Routten is a fourth grade teacher at Frances K. Sweet Elementary School in Fort Pierce, Florida.  After being recognized as a Teacher Leader for her school and District, she has been invited to be part of The Florida Teacher Leader Fellowship.  In the classroom, Mrs. Routten typically has students with a wide range of abilities, including special education students. Even with this challenge, Mrs. Routten’s classes routinely score among the highest in her school and district.  Last January (January 9, 2015), Mrs. Routten received the Milken Educator Award, the highlight of her career.”


  1. Ann Miller on July 1, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing about the importance of structured work systems. A big thanks also for passing on the information about Bloomboard. What a fabulous resource! I teach middle school students in a self-contained setting and have incorporated some work systems in the last few years. Having a network of teachers to help me with ideas will enable me to do so much more this year.

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