It's Sara from Sara J Creations and I've got a big love for task cards! Let me explain to you a bit about task cards and then I've got a freebie for you.
Task cards are all the rage in education right now, but what exactly are they? Task cards come in a variety of sizes, designs, content areas and formats. They are usually a set of cards (generally smaller than a piece of paper - think index card sized) that have one problem on each card. Sometimes these are open ended problems, sometimes these are multiple choice questions, sometimes they have QR codes to scan to check the answer. And the list goes on and on.
You can make task cards work for you no matter what subject or grade you teach. I once heard it described as being as simple as taking a worksheet and breaking the problems up so there is one on each card. Now why go through all that work, right? Why not just give them a whole worksheet? Using task cards allows you to differentiate for your students. You could require a struggling student to complete fewer cards making them less overwhelmed than they would be if they were looking at a worksheet with 30 problems on it. Often, task cards are displayed around the room causing students to get up and move while working. How many of your students NEED to get up and move? This is a perfect way to let that happen while still focusing on learning.
Task cards often need some sort of recording sheet to go with it so students can record their answers. Usually the task cards are just one set for the whole class and designed to be reused, so the students have to solve the problem on their recording sheet.
Depending on how you are using the cards, you might want answer keys available for students to check their work. If you have the technology available, try QR code task cards. After students solve the problem, they scan a QR code on the card to check their own answer.
There are many benefits to using task cards, but the benefit often depends on how you are using the task cards. I've included 12 ideas for using task cards in your classroom. Note: There are SO many ways to use task cards, this is by no means a comprehensive list.
1. As a center/station for math centers or math workshop, students work through them at their own pace. They could either self correct or you could collect it and check their work and perhaps take a score.
3. As a preassessment for a unit you haven’t taught yet to see what they know about the topic and a way to group them by ability. How you use it is up to you - you could use number 1, 6, or 7 but use the results to guide your instruction.
4. As an assessment at the end of a unit - just like the preassessment, you decide how you want to do this (all at the same time, one on one, in small groups, as a game, during a quiet time, etc.) but take the score and assess what they've learned instead of giving a test on the same material
5. As a review before the end of a unit - these would be perfect to review for an upcoming test in science, math, social studies, reading, etc.
6. As a chance for the class to get up and move – place all over the room and they have to wander and find all the cards and solve. They can solve them in any order as long as they put the answer in the correct spot on their recording sheet.
7. Use in a game such as Scoot – place a different card on each desk, after a set amount of time, have them move to the next desk and solve that card and then continue moving until they’ve completed all the cards
8. Tape a card on each student (use washi/scrapbooking tape that is easily removed), pair them up and they will work to solve their partner’s problem, then they can move and find a new partner and continue solving.
9. Early finishers can work on solving problems when they finish their other work
10. Interactive bulletin board that they can go up to and work on solving during a set time during the day
11. Sent home as homework - then you can make adjustments about how many problems students are solving based on their abilities and needs.
12. Cut and paste into math journals and solve. These could make a great problem of the day or opener for a lesson and then they can go back and reference it later when it is stored in a journal.
Did that give you an idea on where to start? Or maybe you realized you were using task cards without even knowing it. How do you use task cards in your classroom?
If you want to try out task cards for free, I have two free samples in my store. The first is a place value set. This freebie includes 16 task cards that cover expanded form, skip counting, base ten blocks and comparing numbers. They are all Common Core Aligned and designed for second grade.
My other free sample is designed for upper elementary and focuses on learning states and capitals. It includes the states in the West region and comes with a QR code on each card to scan for the answer. Give task cards a try and let me know what you think!