There seems to be no shortage of task cards out there as a resource for students and teachers. The question is how to incorporate these tools as meaningful and engaging work in your classroom. Here are some ways to get you started!
10 Ways to Use Task Cards
This is a no-brainer. Print, cut, laminate, and put task cards on a ring. Store them somewhere in your classroom for early finishers. I suggest front loading this task before the school year starts by utilizing parent and student volunteers.
Another tip: If you want task cards available for the first month of school, then use the previous grade level standards to determine what skills they should have.
2. Speed dating
Speed dating is great for partner work time and forces students who do not typically participate in the whole group to discuss their work. Each student has a task card that they complete. I come around to check and clarify any misunderstandings. Students become the “expert” on that problem. You will partner up students (either by having them find a new partner or rotating seats) and they will swap task cards with their partner. The “experts” are there to check each other’s work and correct any mistakes.
Scoot can be played 2 ways: either the task card can scoot or the student can scoot. You need one task card for each student. Set a timer and periodically say, “Scoot!” When that happens, either students will move seats to the next card or the card can be passed to the next student. I like this because it gives students exposure to many problems and prevents students from getting stuck on one problem for an extended period of time.
Incorporate task cards into your station rotations by utilizing a few cards at various stations. This would be an excellent place to spiral review. As long as you have some task cards handy, you always have a station ready!
5. SMALL GROUPS
Task card sets usually provide you with a wide range of problems with varying difficulty. This makes them perfect for scaffolding in a small group setting. In addition, whiteboards make small groups feel more special than working with pencil on paper.
6. Warm Up + Bell Ringers
Here is an additional way to save on making copies: Project a task card as students enter the classroom, and have students complete the warm up in an interactive notebook. Praise students who get started on the warm up before class even starts.
7. Four corners for Multiple choice task cards
When you get closer to state testing time, practicing multiple choice questions is an important testing strategy. State testing practice can feel monotonous, so getting students out of their seats to answer questions and defend their answers is a must. Project a task card, give students time to work it out independently or in pairs, and then assign a corner of the room either A, B, C, D. When you prompt them, students move to the corner of the room with the answer they got. For additional practice, you could also ask questions like, “Which answer choice can we eliminate before even working out the problem?” and have students move to the corresponding corners and discuss.
8. USING TASKS CARDS WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING
- Project a task card that students answer using individual whiteboards or scratch paper
- Use one for an exit ticket or entrance ticket – either digitally by Google Forms or Go Formative
- Boom Cards is an app that turns them into a digital game with instant feedback
9. Connect 4
Divide your classroom into two teams. Purchase a Connect 4 game or project this online version. As teams complete problems (with thorough strategies and units), you can hand a student a game piece or give them permission to play one piece online. This will encourage complete and accurate work because playing a turn only happens when everyone on each team has done the work properly. #positivepeerpressure
10. Spiraled review
If you have the time, printing task cards on card stock, laminating them, and organizing them will make reviewing at the end of the year a breeze. You will have sets from different units ready to be reused for state testing or for finals. No student will notice if you repeat cards from October in April, and you will not have to make up additional problems.
This is not an exhaustive list. In fact, I know that many of our readers use task cards in a variety of ways. How do you use them with your students?
Editor’s Note: Maneuvering the Middle has been publishing blog posts for almost 6 years! This post was originally published in April of 2018; it has been revamped for accuracy and relevancy.