What is a task card?
Task cards are exactly what they sound like. They are cards that contain one question or task for students to complete.
Why should you use and start collecting task cards?
Task cards are versatile and can be used for a variety of activities within the classroom. They can be printable or digital. You can use them in a whole group, a small group, or by an individual. They can fill five minutes or an entire class period. These types of cards are an easy way to differentiate among different skill levels. They can provide choice for students.
8 Task Card Activities
Write the Room
My favorite way to use task cards is as a Write the Room activity. I use this activity to practice a skill that I have already taught. I place various cards around the room and students walk around in groups of 3 or 4 answering the questions.
They aren’t falling asleep in class because they are up and moving. They are discussing the math concepts and arguing over who’s right and why. I usually give them a clipboard and an answer sheet.
In my opinion, this is not the same activity as a Write the Room activity. Station rotations generally provide an opportunity for more rigorous thinking. Instead of just focusing on a skill, the task card will provide more of an opportunity for application especially in a real world context. So, these cards would have questions at a deeper depth of knowledge.
You can use task cards as a center. If the teacher needs to pull students or work with a small group, other students can work at a center with a specific set of cards. You can even differentiate the centers based on the cards left for each group. You can also differentiate the centers by the number of task cards left for the group or by the rigor of the question on the card. I like to provide support for students by providing an answer bank on one of the slides. Then, students are not constantly interrupting you while you work with your group to ask, “Is this right?”
5 Minute Filler
We have all had that moment when we have asked students to pack up because there isn’t time to start the next activity. Then, in walks an administrator who you know is going to “ding you” if you don’t have “bell to bell” instruction. For this reason, it is often handy to have a review set of task cards on hand that students can complete mentally. Something, where they don’t need a pencil or paper to complete.
Task cards that deal with vocabulary or mental math are great for this sort of activity. Or maybe something like simple conversion rates. An example question might be, “How many feet are in a yard?” If you are knee-deep in geometry, maybe your task cards are a formula review. The possibilities are endless. You look great to your administration and the students are actually reviewing important concepts.
A scavenger hunt is a really fun way to use task cards. It is similar to a “write the room” type of activity. In a scavenger hunt, each task card will have an answer to another problem. You can buy a set of cards that are specifically made as scavenger hunts but you can also make them yourself from any set of cards you already have. Simply write the answers on them yourself. It takes less than five minutes and the students enjoy it. Just make sure you don’t have any answers that repeat.
By having the answers already on the task cards as sort of an answer bank, you won’t have students constantly asking you, “Is this the right answer?” They will know if they have the right answer because they found it on another card. This is what’s known as a “self-checking” activity and they are AMAZING!
Task cards are great for formal or informal assessment. Informally, they can be used as quick exit tickets to see how well students understood the concept of the day. They can also be used as warm ups to assess knowledge of prerequisite skills that are going to be needed for the day’s lesson.
You can also use task cards as a formal assessment. The assessments with task cards can be assigned through your learner management system, such as Google ClassroomTM, and completed as a formal assessment. You can also screenshot the cards and insert them into your quiz or test. I like to do this with a Google FormTM. I can slightly change my card or even just recycle previously used practice cards into the assessment. Either way, it saves me tons of time when it comes to making a formal assessment.
Practice, Homework, or Study Aid
There is a huge controversy over homework these days, how much should teachers be assigning if any? I believe that math is a subject where improvement and fluency depends on practice. Task cards are a great way to provide extra practice for students inside the classroom and outside the classroom.
For students (and parents) who might be overwhelmed by an entire worksheet, assigning 4 or 5 task cards digitally can seem doable. Also, students don’t know how to study for a math assessment so providing a few practice problems on task cards can help to hone in on the major concepts. Plus, it is easy to differentiate how many and what kinds of questions the students receive if you are assigning them digitally.
You can play games in the classroom using your task cards. For instance, Tic-Tac-Toe is an easy game to play with task cards. Students pull a task card, both students attempt the problem. If it is your turn and you get it correct, you can make your mark, if you get it wrong and the other person gets it right, they get to make their mark.
Students can also play Trashketball, BINGO and Jenga® with task cards. It gets a little loud sometimes but it’s fun and the kids are learning.
I also have a FREE set for two-step equation task cards in my TPT store. Just click here or on the image below.
Don’t forget to follow my TPT store for more upcoming FREEBIES.
I sincerely hope you found this post useful. If you have any thoughts regarding task cards, please feel free to leave a comment below.
As always, thank you for being a teacher. 🌸