A person writing a checklist in a notebook

Use visual self-management tools in your classroom

teaching practice

For student year

Early years
Middle years

Helps students to

  • prepare materials
  • build greater independence
  • maintain on-task behaviour
  • Helps teachers to

  • teach independence
  • teach organisation
  • Summary

    Providing visual self-management tools for complex activities or assignments can help students to build their organisation skills, independence, and engagement.

    These tools help students to:

    • break down complex activities into manageable steps 
    • create checklists using the steps.

    Preparing to teach

    1. Identify which students could benefit from visual self-management tools.

    2. Choose the most appropriate tools for each student’s needs.

    Task sheets

    Task sheets are clear and easy to understand, and provide students with information about complex classroom tasks, e.g.:

    • what they need to do
    • the standard of work required
    • the steps they need to take to complete a task 
    • the order in which they should complete the steps.


    Checklists help students to:

    • remember the materials they need
    • keep track of individual steps in a task 
    • check off steps as they are completed 
    • monitor their progress 
    • reward themselves for completing a task
    • feel capable and successful.

    3. Prepare self-management tools required.

    • Break down complicated activities into manageable steps.
    • Create checklists to ensure activities are completed accurately.

    It works better if the teacher:

    • allows students to create checklists – they are more powerful when created by the student
    • starts with smaller task-based checklists and gradually moves to more complicated checklists
    • writes task sheets that are clear and outline each component of the task
    • initially monitors students’ use of checklists to ensure students understand which items, steps, or materials need to be included on the checklist.

    It doesn’t work if:

    • task sheets are overloaded with complex information.

    In the classroom

    • Provide students with the self-management tools you have prepared.
    • Help students to break down complicated activities into manageable steps themselves, or create a checklist for students that lists all steps and materials needed for each step. 
    • Read through the task sheet with students and explain how to use it. Help them to identify which items need to be on their checklist (if this isn’t included on your pre-prepared checklist).
    • Monitor students’ use of the self-management tools and scaffold as required. 

    Practice toolkit

    Practice implementation planner template

    We know that in the busyness of teaching it is not always easy to keep track of what is working and what is not. So, we have created this template for you to record and reflect on what you are doing to help you create a more inclusive classroom. The implementation planner contains:

    • Guidance around goal setting
    • Reflection section (What worked, didn’t work and what to change and next steps.)
    • Prompting questions

    Implementation planner template

    Implementation planner with examples

    Set your professional learning goal for:

    Use visual self-management tools in your classroom
    You can set and save your goal for inclusive practices using inclusionED. Saved goals will appear in your profile. Here you can access, refine and review your goal easily.

    Benefits of goal setting

    Setting, working towards, and reflecting on goals helps you grow professionally and improve your practice. You can access AITSL learning resources for teachers to learn more about:
    How to set goals
    The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership recommends using the SMART matrix to frame your goal setting.

    SMART goals refers to goals that are:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant
    • Time-phased
    Read more about Improving teaching practices.


    Visual self-management tools: Practice brief

    Further reading

    Materials informing this practice


    Related Practices

    This practice is from the core research project