My independent work box station is one of my favorite activities for my students. It's amazing to watch them grow more and more independent and begin to work on these tasks all by themselves. And my students find so much satisfaction and pride in being able to do tasks on their own tool! Plus, I know a lot of classrooms are short on aides. After teaching your students how to use a work task station, you shouldn't even need any aides to run it so you can utilize them where needed (just obviously with someone keeping an eye on things in case a student needs redirection!).
What kind of supplies do I need? Shoeboxes (I got 30 of them at the dollar store), labels and schedules, and random things you can probably find in your classroom or at the dollar store to create the tasks! If you need more space and have small tasks, you can use index card holders (for task cards) or magazine file boxes (for file folders)
What kind of tasks should I have? You should have tasks that your students can complete independently. Sure, you want to challenge them a little bit (for example, don't give a student who can alphabetize a simple color matching task), but the overall goal for this station is independence and following a schedule - a VERY IMPORTANT life and vocational skill!
See my Pinterest board here (or below) for ideas and for pictures of the work tasks I included.
You can also look through my boxes in the links below.
Whatever tasks you have your students do, make sure to teach your students to put their work back in the box completed and DO NOT let them see you take it apart. That devalues their work, and who wants to do work if they know it will just be taken apart? Plus, it's not realistic. If you are completing a task on the job, you better not take it apart after you've finished it! I've had some students who came to me so trained in taking their work apart that it took six months to undo...
How do I set up my student's schedules? A weekly master schedule is your best friend! I scheduled my student's boxes so that no two boxes were done on the same day, so that the student schedules could be set up in the morning by an aide and be ready to go.
How do I teach my students the schedule? Start with very simple tasks. You want them to learn the routine first. Set up their schedules beforehand and have your student find their schedule with their name on it (for student who are working on identifying their name, I choose a unique color for their schedule card or put a sticker on it to help them identify their schedule).
And that's about it!
Teach your students the routine and soon this station will run instead. I speak from experience when I say that you will amazed and so proud of what your students are able to achieve independently!
Let me know if you have any other questions in setting up a work box station.