University of Exeter
Tools for Schools
Box of tricks

Box of tricks

Key Points

This strategy is about scaffolding the student to use a range of strategies that can help them focus. The student will create a box of tricks full of ideas, which they can then choose from to help with the task that they need to achieve in class

  • Everyday use with student
  • Gathering lots of ideas in one place
How is this tweaked for flex?
The children flex is designed for may need different things to help at different times, and often something will work for a short time and then stop being useful, so a new idea will be needed - and quickly! The box of tricks is a way to put these ideas in one place
  • Get the box of tricks template ready and plan a time to work with the student to make their own box of tricks: a list of ideas of what helps them to focus and stay in class
  • Note in your lesson plans when it will be useful to remind the child to pick a trick from their box

Stage 1: Make the box of tricks

Stage 2. Use the box of tricks in the class

  • Remind the child they can choose something to help them focus from their box of tricks
  • Support them to make their choice
  • When the task is complete, recap with the child the specific process and how it was linked to what they achieved (positively!) 
  • Use positive reinforcement to congratulate them for using their trick (e.g. watch one of the magic trick videos on the magic trick poster)

  • After you’ve used the box a few times, fill in the reflection template with what you’ve noticed - what was good or bad, and how could you change it? Was there too much choice for the child, or no trick to suit the situation?
  • Make any changes based on your reflections
  • If you feel stuck, discuss this with your SENCo, colleagues or the child's family