Have you heard about task cards but found yourself wondering “What are they?” Then you are in the right place! Have you ever wondered “How do I use task cards?” Then you are in the right place! Do you find yourself asking “How do I organize task cards?” Then you are in the right place. This post is about All.Things.Task.Cards!
What are Task Cards?
Task Cards are skill based activities that come in the form of a card, usually around the size of photo. What makes these cards different from a worksheet is that each card contains only one question, problem or activity. Right from the start, this helps students to focus on the question and not get overwhelmed by the number of problems or questions before them. This can be a huge benefit for struggling learners or those with difficulty focusing on a long task.
Task cards can be found for a variety of skills and concepts and many different subject areas, like math, reading and writing. You can use them on one specific skill to give your students the repeated practice that leads to mastery. You can also use them to review a multiple skills before a test or assessment. Need to differentiate for your students? Task cards make it so easy to provide all of your students with just the skills practice they need.
Another wonderful benefit of using task cards is the ability to have students working independently. Although the activity on the cards will differ, the general concept is the same. This consistency allows students to quickly learn the expectations and work independently. Independent students free you up to work with small groups, hold writing conferences, or any other one-on-one activity that helps your students.
How do I use them?
Task Cards are so versatile! Although the most common use is as a center activity, there are so many other ways to use these resources.
1. Center Activities
As a center activity task cards are a wonderful way for students to practice or review a skill. Simply add a set of task cards and the coordinating answer key to the center area and students are ready to work independently.
2. Whole Class Review Game
One of the hardest things about playing a content based game in the classroom is coming up with enough questions. No worries! Task cards to the rescue. Now you can turn any lesson into a game using task cards as your question cards. Whether you choose to play board game style, relay style or jeopardy style, using these cards will save you lots of time preparing!
3. Exit Slips
An exit slip is a great way to check the understanding of students after a lesson. Simply choose a card that covers the skill from your lesson. Students answer the question or solve the problem on a sticky note or scrap piece of paper. You collect them as students leave the room – thus the name exit slips. By reviewing the exit slips you can get a very good idea of where your students are in their understanding of the new skill.
4. Interactive Notebooks
The size of task cards makes them the perfect addition to any interactive notebook. Provide students with one, two, four or more cards for them to add and answer in their notebook. Students can always refer back to review concepts.
5. Not So Ordinary Homework
Change up the homework assignments by printing a page of two of task cards. Students will love the change of pace and you will love knowing that students are getting specific skill practice.
6. End of the Year Test Review
Use multiple sets of task cards covering a variety of skills to review for end of the year testing. Turning review time into a game is always a great way to increase engagement.
7. Small Group Instruction
Whether you are working in daily small groups or doing intervention, task cards are a wonderful way to meet students right where they are. Differentiation is one of the most important things teachers can do to help their students, but also one of the most time consuming. Task cards make differentiation easy! Reteach and reinforce skills with struggling students or challenge students that are ready for more advanced levels.
8. Time Fillers
It’s always hard to figure out what to do with a 3-5 minute time slot. It’s not long enough to start a new lesson or assignment, but too long to do nothing. Task cards are the perfect gap fillers! Tackle one or two cards and turn those unused minutes into learning time!
These are just a few of the many ways to use these skill specific cards in the classroom. In this blog post I gave even more ideas in more detail!
How do I organize Task Cards?
Keeping your task card sets organized is a key to being able to use them in the most efficient way. After all, the idea is to be able to pull a specific skill set at any time.
Since these card sets are fairly small they can be organized in many different ways. But here’s a tip that is vital to the organization: Make sure to label them in a way that is easy for you to read. This will make grabbing just the right set easy and save you time. No one has time to be flipping through unorganized cards!
Here’s some simple, yet wonderful ways to organize your cards:
- Zip-loc bags
- recipe card holders
- shoe boxes
- index card holders
- photo storage boxes
- pencil boxes or pencil pouches
See some task card organization in practice with this FREE video filled with organization ideas. There are also some FREE organization labels included, so make sure to download those too! Find out more about organizing task cards in this blog post.
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