Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Resolution and Task Box #1: Academic Sensory Bags

Happy New Year to all the readers of Considerate Classroom!!  

You have made 2012 a great year for me and for that, I am incredibly humbled & thankful!!  Each year I try to make (& keep) a New Year's resolution that will make my classroom more successful.  This year's resolution is to use my classroom materials in a more purposeful and sequential order.

Over the years, I have collected a significant amount of task boxes & work systems. As you can imagine,  I often forget what I have and use the same things over and over just because I get stuck in a rut.  My plan for 2013 is to develop a Scope & Sequence to use the task boxes in a progressive order throughout the school year as the children gain skills.  The Scope & Sequence will support students as their fine motor, literacy, math and social skills advance.  

My collection of task boxes and
work systems, each boxes contains
one to five tasks. 
The tubs above the cabinets hold over-
sized tasks of various subject areas
and skill levels.
I recently went through all my tubs in an effort to keep my resolution. In doing so, I found several extremely effective tasks used to teach students new skills during direct instruction and independent work.  Over the next few weeks, Considerate Classroom will be highlighting my "Top 10 Task Boxes & Work Systems".    

To kickoff the list, here is a terrific Academic Sensory Bag Task Box. This is a great way to desensitize children to touching soft, squishy textures.  It also provides children with an opportunity to strengthen their fine motor skills as they squeeze objects to specific places in the sensory bags. 

Use a Foodsaver machine to make sensory bags.  All you need to do is to add various manipulatives and ingredients to the bags.  This example features counting bears and hair gel.  But you truly could use anything.  Get creative!!  For texture, I have used playdough, flour, glitter, sand and hair gel.  For manipulatives, I have using plastic counting items, beads, buttons, plastic toys, small party favors, foam letters, numbers and shapes.  

See the fun examples below to get you started!!

       In this example,  students have to use their color matching
skills to move the bears to the correct colored homes.
In this example, students have to move the bears to
the cave that is the same color as them. 

In this example, students work on the skill of walking in a line
as they move the bears into the school by pinching them
across the black line. 
In this example, the students work to have the bears race to the finish line.
You can work on sequencing and following directions by saying things like
“Have the red bear get to the finish line first, then the blue, then the green."
Or you can work on recall and memory “Which bear won? Who got second?" etc


  1. this is a great exercise for the students! I love the organization of your classroom and the ideas you have. my being a self contained teacher at the high school level, I try to innovate new ideas in my classroom and I will continue following your blog for ideas .
    Thank you so much

  2. Dioone: You are very welcome. I'm delighted my ideas are helping your classroom. Thank you very much for the feedback.

  3. Could you use freezer ziplock bags and secure the opening with clear Duck tape or packing tape?

    1. Absolutely! Great solution if you don't have a freezer bag machine:)