Ideas for Making Structured Work Systems Portable & Practical for any Classroom


I've preached and preached about why it's SO important to teach students to work independently and use structured work systems.

I want to show you three ways to use structured work systems in a variety of settings. These systems are great because they can be implemented in any classroom and at home! You can also use similar structured systems during direct instruction and groups to provide students with consistent structure.

I love all of these systems because they're PORTABLE! They're small and students can easily take them from class to class or between home and school but they provide students with the structure they need!




Binder system:
A common structured work system a the binder system! This is different than the usual binder system that just has Velcro pieces in it though! A binder set up like this is awesome because it can include the structure of a schedule and you can use any work materials (worksheets, books to read, Velcro tasks, etc.). Binders are also great because students can easily take them to/ from different classrooms with adapted work or take them home with homework.

I love to add a first/ then chart on the front of the binder to remind students what they're working for. Students can then take the reward (i.g. swing) off and take it to a staff member when they're finished working. 


The inside of a binder system. Hot glue the schedule on the left side of the binder. Use dividers with pockets (you could also use pencil pouches!) and then put matching schedule card on front of divider. 


Put a "finished" card on the back pocket of the binder for students to put their completed work. You could also include another pocket folder to put the "finished" card on, but I find it's hard for students to slip papers and work into the dividers.
You can see a video explanation of this work system set up here! 


Folder system:
This is the easiest to master and most basic system I'm going to share. A folder system is great because they BLEND IN. I'm all about giving our students materials that look just like the materials that their peers are using.

A down fall to the folder system is they aren't great for using with tasks with Velcro pieces (unless you have the pieces attached to the page somehow).


Again, I like to add a "first/ then" char to the front of my folder systems. 




All the folder system needs is a "to do" label on the left side and a "finished" label on the right. Students just move the work over to the right as they complete it.  
You can see a video explanation of this work system set up here! 


Small drawer system:
Drawer systems are also commonly used and are great! I love drawer systems, but I try to use them less than binders and folders because they aren't as portable. It's easy for a student to take a folder or binder to their general ed classroom or home, but bringing a set of drawers home or to another classroom isn't always practical.

Drawer systems are great for Velcro tasks or for larger tasks (like puzzles or true task boxes/ shoe box tasks).

You'll have your schedule, a drawer system (a small one or large one) with matching schedule cards glued on, and a bucket with a "finished" card glued on.
You can see a video explanation of this work system set up here! 


If you want to grab the schedules/ printables for setting up structured work systems in  your classroom, head over to my TpT shop to grab them for FREE!