The very first time I used task cards in my classroom, I was hooked!
I love task cards because these little cards are loaded with a great amount of focused, concentrated practice for my students, and they can be completed in such a variety of ways!
My students love them because the task cards are presented in a format that seems like a game, which automatically makes them more fun!
And it doesn’t hurt that we often do use them in game situations for a fun review or we place them around the room, so the kids get lots of movement, which they need and love.
Since task cards are one of my favorite teaching tools, I thought I would put together a list of the 16 ways I like to use task cards in my classroom.
1. Whole Group
Use task cards as a whole group and place them under the document camera. Kids can use whiteboards to show you their answers.
2. Parent Helpers
Parent Helpers can work one on one with your kids who need extra help. Place task cards in a basket with a list of students who need some extra attention.
3. Test Prep
Task cards are great for test prep. Each day you can use a different set of cards and mix up the way the task cards are used. This way, your class can go through a lot of material, in a short period of time.
Centers are a great place for task cards. Once you print and laminate the cards, task cards are an easy way to fill up a center and to provide your kids with an effective review activity.
Task cards can be used as homework. Don’t want to send your beautifully laminated set home to have coffee spilled on it? Simply make a copy of the black and white version to send home. Then there are no worries and the child gets excellent practice.
Pairs can work together to solve cards and to quiz each other. They can work on the same card and then share answers, or they can do a certain number of cards (you choose…5…10…half of them…all of them???) and then come together to share.
7. Board Games
Board games are an awesome way to use task cards. Even “babyish” games like Candy Land can become fun again (such nostalgia for the old and wise 5th graders…) when you have to solve a task card in order to take your turn.
Lots of games work here like Jenga, checkers, tic, tac, toe, Battleship, Connect 4 and so on. Feeling brave? How about Operation?
8. Exit Slips
Task cards can be used as exit slips. Take one, read it or put it under the document camera, and ask the kids to solve it as an informal assessment at the end of the day.
9. Scoot or a Scavenger Hunt
Place cards around the room and have kids use clipboards and record sheets to solve task cards. You can play Scoot, if you wish. This is where each child stays at their task card station until you call out “Scoot” after a few minutes. The word “Scoot” is the signal to move to the next station.
Some teachers really like Scoot but I prefer just having the kids work on the task cards, taking as much time as they need before they move on. I tell them that if a station is crowded, to skip it and come back later. They just have to be sure to keep their numbering straight.
10. Guided Reading Group
Small groups are a great place to use task cards. If you are working with a small group of kids at a guided reading group, this is a perfect setting for task cards. Kids can solve task cards as a small group, can work together in pairs, or can solve them on their own and then discuss their answers together.
Task cards are great to run off when you have a student who works with a tutor. Sometimes parents request materials for tutoring or the tutor needs to know what you’re working on in class and by running off a black and white copy of the task cards, you’ve found an easy, yet helpful way to help your student work more effectively with his/her tutor.
12. Review Game
A class review game like Jeopardy is a great way to use task cards. Split the class into teams, use the document camera or a Smart Board Jeopardy Template, and ask questions from the cards.
Keep a stack of task cards on your desk for transitions. When you have an extra five minutes before recess or lunch, pulling a few task cards is not only fun, but an educational use of those odd few minutes here and there.
14. Interactive Notebooks
Interactive Notebooks are an awesome place to cut, glue, and then answer a task card. Once you present a lesson, task cards are a good record of that learning and you may even want your students to take notes around (or above/below) the task card.
15. The Mirror Game
The Mirror Game is a fun task card game to play with the whole class. Have your kids sit facing each other with whiteboards. Ask a question from a task card and then the kids answer it without showing their partner. Chose a signal word or phrase (GO!), and kids show their partner the answer. If they “mirror” each other (both have identical answers) and are right, they can add two tally points to their board. If only one person is right, their “team” still gets one tally point.
16. Fast Finishers
Fast finishers can use task cards when their work is complete as a form of enrichment. Just copy a record sheet and grab a set of laminated task cards and students can complete these when they need something extra to do.
If you are looking for more task cards for your classroom, my store has lots and lots of them that are ready to use and cost only a few dollars. They can be purchased separately but are also included in almost every unit I create since I find them to be so useful. Here is a Reading Task Card Bundle with 512 task cards, all in print and digital!
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