Creating a visual board to stay on task

If you’ve read my blog, ‘Progress report on C‘, you’ll know that C is easily distracted during lesson time. His teachers often comment that he has the capacity to complete the task at hand but his ability to drift off to la-la-land hinders his completion of tasks.

To assist the teachers and myself, and his learning, I came up with a schedule board. It’s similar to the PECS system (Note: We used PECS for a while when C wasn’t talking at age 2), so for any parents out there, I think this is a useful tool for our kids or even any kids who needs the visual reminder to stay on task.

Time needed: 4 hours  I have to add that finding the pictures and buying of the materials needed were really the easiest part to the making of this tool book. The most time-consuming part is the cutting, laminating and sticking of fasteners, which took me close to three hours to complete.

Materials needed:

  • A4 clip board
  • B5 folder for storing the tasks
  • B5-Divider (optional)
  • Strong fastener (available at any large stationery stores like Popular, Jusco, Hero, etc. It should come with two sides, one pointy and one furry)
  • Laminating sheets (I used A4 sized ones) & laminator
  • Cutting board & penknife
  • Slightly better quality paper (so that the tasks cards will not be too flimsy and will last longer; Normal ones for office printing is about 80gsm; I’ve used the 120gsm)
  • Corner cutter

Instructions (for the schedule paper and clip board):

Completed schedule-paper.
Completed schedule-paper.
  1. Open up a new Microsoft word document.
  2. Click insert ‘Shape’, ‘Rounded shape’, and change the size to 5cm by 5cm. I created two columns of rounded-shape squares with four at each column.
  3. Click insert ‘Shape’, ‘Rounded shape’, and change the size to 2cm by 2cm. This is for the numbering of the tasks. I placed the numbers on the left-hand column (as usual, we have changed the numbers to ordinal numbers to reinforce what has been taught).
  4. Do the same for the right column but insert ticks in the squares instead of numerals. (Note: I got C to select the coloured-ticks of his choice.)
  5. Insert ‘text box’ for each column and type in ‘Task’ for the left-column and ‘Completed’ for the right-column.
  6. Print out and laminate the schedule paper (I choose to print in colour as I think it might attract C more but I’m pretty sure black will do the same trick.)
  7. Cut out eight pieces of 1.5cm to 2cm of the fasteners (the furry end).
  8. Paste them vertically on the center of the 5cm by 5cm square boxes.
  9. Optional step: I choose to include fasteners on the A4-clipboard to ensure that the schedule paper does not fall off easily. On the back of the schedule paper, paste two 5cm fasteners (the furry end) vertically on the top and bottom of the paper. On the A4-clipboard, paste two 5cm fasteners (the pointy end) horizontally on the top and bottom of the clip board. (Note: I think this cross-shape when the fasteners are joined together seems to hold them together better.)
Position of fasteners for the clip board and schedule paper
Position of fasteners for the clip board and schedule paper

Instructions (B5 ring file):

Materials for the ring-file to store the schedule cards
Materials for the ring-file to store the schedule cards
Completed ring-file
Completed ring-file
  1. Insert the ring label on each of the divider.
  2. On each of the divider, paste two stripes of the fasteners (pointy ones), 18cm long (as shown in the picture).
How I arranged the schedule cards
On the ‘Index’ of the divider, write down how you would like to categorise the schedule cards. (As this is for school, I used the categories given by the teacher.)

Instructions (Schedule-cards):

Tools you'll need
Tools you’ll need for the schedule cards
  1. Open up a new Microsoft word document.
  2. Insert ‘Rectangle’, and change the size to 5cm by 5cm. You should be able to fit three squares on each line, and fill in 12 squares on each page. To assist with the alignment of the squares, I clicked on ‘View’ and selected ‘Gridlines’.
  3. Select and insert the pictures on each square, and type an appropriate title.
  4. Schedule cards printed out on A4 paper
    Print out the A4-paper once you are done with inserting the pictures and titles.
  5. Manually cut out each schedule card.
    Manually cut out each schedule card on the cutting board. (It will be easier if someone had invented a square cut-out tool like those for creating round pin-up buttons,)
  6. I used the cutting board to align the schedule cards to ensure that they have spaces in between.
    Using a laminating sheet, line the schedule cards but ensure that you have spaces in between each card as you will need to cut them out again. I use the grids on the cutting board to align the schedule cards.
  7. Laminate the schedule cards. Cut them out into individual squares, ensuring you have a border of about .2cm on each side. (This helps to keep the cards in shape and not split open that easily.)
  8.  How a corner-cutter looks like. Optional step: I used a corner cutter to smooth out the edges of the cards.
  9. Cut out 2cm stripes of the fasteners (the furry ones) and paste them horizontally on the center of the card.
    Cut out 2cm stripes of the fasteners (the furry ones) and paste them horizontally on the center of the card.

    Done. You may paste them on the schedule board or in the ring file.

    Schedule on A4-clipboard
    Schedule cards pasted on the schedule paper.

    Completed ring-file
    Schedule cards stored in the ring file.
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