How to Make Your Own IEP Work Bins

When teaching special education, regardless of the setting or the age level, your students come with an IEP. With each IEP comes a series of goals for your students to work on and hopefully master over the course of a year.

One of the biggest questions I often get is how do you not only make sure you collect data on these IEP goals, but also make sure you have enough data on these goals, especially if you have a larger caseload or if you want to work in center rotations.  

How do you do this so that you are meeting the needs of all of your students and collecting all of your progress monitoring data and baseline data on the goals so that when you sit down at the table to make decisions for your student as an IEP team.

IEP Work Bins are a way that you can do that.

Note: IEP bins may or may not work for you or your students depending on a few things like your caseload, your classroom, how much space you have available to house the work bins, etc.  But they are a great option that you can use in a variety of different ways.

If you are more of a watcher than a reader, check out my YouTube video that shows you how to put these together:

One thing you may not know about me is I love reading professional development books.  I recently read one where it talked about using these IEP Work Bins.  The book wasn’t about these work bins or task boxes, but it brought up the topic of making your own boxes.  And one of the ways they talked about using it wasn’t using those typical plastic bins, but by using just a regular box and putting student work in it. 

What is an IEP Work Bin?

An IEP Work Bin is any bin or bucket that has individual student materials in it that align with a child’s IEP. Most types, an IEP work bin is for one specific student. The materials and activities inside the IEP Work Bin can be used to practicing the new skills or for progress monitoring and data collection.

And typically, an IEP Work Bin uses plastic bin that you would get at a store – Lakeshore Learning, Target, Walmart, or even The Dollar Tree.

When I worked in the self-contained classroom, I had IEP Work Bins for my students.  My school or district did not provide them, I purchased them with my own money.  If you don’t know if these are going to work for you, or if purchasing them is not in your budget, we all know we have some extra boxes laying around – looking at you Amazon Prime – that we can reuse for a variety of things, including Work Bins. 

You may also know that I LOVE color coding in the classroom. So for the example in the video, I used all blue materials – blue duct tape and blue felt. I used the blue duct tape to reinforce the box a little better, but to also color code the box for that student. 

  • Why felt? Because you can take velcro icons and stick it to and from the felt if you want the students to have a work bin or have different work bins or centers set up in your classroom where they take visual icons and move from one bin to the other.  Maybe you have a rotating schedule where you work on different things on different days of the week.  There are so many options when it comes to using these!

Now I love me a nice, color coded plastic bin.. but they aren’t cheap. And I have used velcro on those plastic bins before. Depending on the bin, sometimes the velcro dot comes off, sometimes the velcro dots are too small, there’s variables for everything.

What may work for one teacher in one classroom, may not work for someone else in a different classroom.  It’s all about what works best for you. Using the felt is an inexpensive way, and probably a resource you already have access to in your classroom or at school.  

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How to Make Your Own IEP Work Bin for Cheap

Let’s take a look at the steps:

  1. Measure and cut the felt so that it fits the side of the box you would like to use it on. I stapled the felt on so it would hold, but you can put it on however is easiest for you.  I also put some on the bottom of the inside of the box because, why not.
  2. Tape the flaps on the inside of the box for a more secure box.
  3. Put tape all around the outside flaps of the box.

And there you have it – super quick and easy!

Again, if you need more of a visual, the YouTube video shows you how. 

In the video, I show you how you can velcro two behavior management cards to the box to show how you can reuse the cards and work bins and change them out throughout the school year and can be changed out depending on what the student is working on and needs it for.

What to Put in IEP Work Bins

Now it’s time to get to work, but what do you put in these bins?  It can be anything your student is working on! File folders, work sheets, fine motor tasks, you name it!

Here are some of my centers, work bins and task box activities that are perfect for this.  I know I also talked a lot about center rotations, so here is more information on how I plan academic centers in my special education classroom.

Do you use work bins or task boxes in your class?  What do you love about them?  Comment below and let me know!




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