Paper-Based Work System

Visual support to define what work, how much work, when the work is finished, and what to do next.

When to use: 

  • Use when a student is expected to complete work independently. 


  • The student must be working on mastered tasks. 
  • This is an opportunity for fluency, maintenance, or generalization. 

How to use: 

  1. Place START and FINISHED containers in student work area. START is on the left and FINISHED is on the right. 
  2. Place numbered tasks in the START container. 
  3. Place the check off task directions in the student work area.  Include a writing utensil. 
  4. Student completes tasks in order. 
  5. Student checks off each task as it is put in the FINISHED container. 
  6. When all of the tasks are completed, the student moves to the ‘what to do next’ activity. 


  • This work system can be implemented in a general education classroom. 
  • The final visual (what to do next) is usually a reinforcing activity. This increases motivation to complete the tasks. 
  • Using the shortest or easiest task as Task 1 may help a student get started and build behavioral momentum. 


  • You may use office stacking trays, folders, or accordion folders to organize materials at the student work area.