How to use Task Management Boards

by Shelley Parkin – Speech and Language Therapist

Classroom resources for supporting SLCN are essential for teachers, and many are supplied as part of our SLCN support packages. Today, we are going to look at Task Management Boards; their role in the classroom and using them to best effect.

What are Task Management Boards?

Task Management boards are a great resource to use with those pupils with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). They are essentially a task planner, with a series of pictures and simple actions illustrating what needs to be done to complete a particular task.

Where can I find them?

If you're a subscriber to our packages, you’ll find them in your Infant Language Link and Junior Language Link packages under Interventions – ‘Classroom Resources’. 

Why are Task Management Boards useful? 

Task Management boards are a great way to let a child know what they need to do in a really visual way. Children with SLCN often have difficulties with language memory and find it hard to remember spoken instructions. Unlike spoken words, which disappear once uttered, these visuals remain on the board to remind them what to do next.

How do I use Task Management Boards?

This resource allows all kinds of tasks and activities to be broken down into smaller steps, visually, supporting a child’s understanding of all the different things needed to complete them. The idea is that the child can ‘check off’ each step once it’s completed and get started on the next one independently.

I like to print them out and laminate them - then I can use drywipe pens to mark them, rub them out and reuse them in different tasks. Sometimes I use ‘hook and eye’ sticky strips to stick on different pictures and let the child pull them off when a task is completed.

Top Tips:

These boards are a good way to develop a child’s independence in working through a task. It’s important not to assume that providing the child with a visual support like this means our job is done, however. I’ve introduced this kind of support in schools before, where the adult has told me ‘it worked a bit at first, but I still had to keep telling him what to do next’.

Developing task independence is not going to happen straight away, just because the child has a nice new task planner to look at. As with learning any new skill, we need to apply a lot of support in the beginning, before slowly fading out that level of input. Try working your way through the steps together in the beginning, but then start setting the child one part of the task to complete on their own. You could then extend this to two parts. Another step might be to alternate- the child does one, and then you check in and guide them on to the next one. Gradually increase the amount the child is doing independently.

The benefits of using Task Management boards to support SLCN in the classroom:

  • The child gains essential visual support
  • The child knows how many steps a task contains and in what order to carry them out
  • The child’s planning and sequencing skills are supported and practised
  • They know how much they need to do and can see where the task will end
  • They can start to build some independence with their work and rely less on an adult to tell them what to do next
  • It’s very satisfying to cross something off your ‘to-do’ list! It gives the child a sense of accomplishment

Try out your Language Link Task Management boards; we’d love to hear how they’re working for the children you support!