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Thought Box

We all have students who have a hard time staying on topic.  There are many reasons why kids have trouble with this skill.

1.  Attention Issues

2.  Poor Impulse Control
2.  Fear of Forgetting the Thought
4.  Not Understanding the Topic
5.  Poor Pragmatic Language Skills

There are also many ideas out there to help students to stay on topic and the goals should always center around the reason for the difficulty.  A Thought Box is a simple strategy that may help all students to stop and think about their thought.  

A Thought Box is:

-  a concept and not literally a box (although it could be)  
-  a place for students to document thoughts 
-  a compensatory strategy for topic maintenance

Students are asked to write down or draw the thought instead of blurting out a comment, response, or answer.   Next, they need to ask themselves a few questions.

 1.  Is it relevant to the topic?
 2.  Is it the appropriate time to give input or ask questions? 
 3.  Can it or should it wait?

Examples of thought boxes may 

- a pack of post it notes 

- dry erase board 
- journal book

It is wise to introduce this skill in a one-on-one or small group setting.  The long-term goal is for students to recognize their thoughts and improve topic maintenance skills within the classroom.

Here is a fun activity that would pair nicely with the Thought Box concept:  


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea Jen!!!! I have kids that would do really well with a thought box! Thank you for sharing. I just e-mailed this post to the Sp.Ed. teacher I work with! Love it!

  2. I'm so glad to hear it Rachel. It's such a simple concept to apply and everyone benefits.

  3. Great idea! It helps my kids to have something tangible when learning these often intangible social language concepts!!