A person writing a checklist in a notebook

Use visual self-management tools in your classroom

Early years
Middle years

Resources are provided with this practice



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.

This practice will help students to

prepare materials

build greater independence

maintain on-task behaviour

This practice will help teachers to

teach independence

teach organisation

Apply this practice with your students

The tabs below provide information to support your implementation of this practice. The sequence aligns with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership's High-Quality Professional Learning Cycle. You can find out more about high quality professional learning in the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders.

A. Plan

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.

Materials informing this practice


Visual self-management tools: Practice brief

B. Set goals

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Session title

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C. Apply the practice

  • 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. 

D. Reflect and refine

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Reflect on your student goals

Please enter student goals in B. Set Goals

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Reflect on your teacher goals

Please enter teacher goals in B. Set Goals

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E. Share

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You have put the <% practice_title %> practice into action.

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Completed At: <% current_outcome.completed_date %>

Your student goals and reflections

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Your teacher goals and reflections

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Similar practices

This practice is from the core research project


visual self-management breaks tasks into bite-size which is easier for students to follow and achieve. It makes pupils feel good as they are able to complete task independently.


3 May 2022