Independent Vocational Tasks -Work Centers

Those of us that are fortunate enough to work with students that have moderate to severe disabilities have a huge task to undertake. We teach our students in the areas of vocational work skills, daily living skills, functional academics, and improving common core knowledge just to name a few. One of these areas, setting up the vocational tasks in my classroom, has always been a chore. It can be difficult to monitor and prepare. Students are very intelligent. If vocational tasks are not preassigned, students will get an easier job off the shelf to complete.

Recently, I saw information on a productive way to set up vocational tasks from The Autism Helper. No point in recreating the wheel, so I took her idea and ran with it! There were several work tasks set up for independent student work in my classroom, with no true organization. This changed! Initially, we organized the tasks to ensure they were in separate containers. Labels were created and printed. I used numbers and shapes for the labels. Each vocational task has a shape or number adhered to it as well as a piece of velcro.

Next, student cards were made from index cards and divided into quarters. These were laminated as well. The student cards were then hot-glued to the wall. Students will have up to four different vocational task labels on their individual cards. This allows the student to remove a label from his/her card and match it to the vocational task. Students will work on the same four jobs for the week, and then new jobs will be assigned.


We have several different jobs for the students to complete. Some of those jobs cover functional academics like setting the time on clocks to packaging money. Other tasks may be entering data on the computer, working on reading comprehension on RazKids, or work on math skills on MobyMax. Still yet other jobs are assembling pens or nuts and bolts to name a few. The vocational jobs cover a variety of tasks as well as student ability levels.


On the wall above the student’s work cards are two clipboards. One of the boards has the labels for each vocational task velcroed onto it. These labels are divided up and placed on the students work cards. The student can then remove the label to match to the correct vocational task. The other clipboard has a print out of all the jobs available to complete. This clipboard, with the jobs, allows someone to score the different tasks completed and note a score on the sheet. This scoring system makes it easier to monitor which students need additional practice, more difficult vocational tasks, or less difficult jobs.

How are vocational tasks set up in your classroom? How do you monitor these?