If you read my last post, you have a general understanding about the rationale for using task cards in your classroom. I now present you with the top ten task card activities for the elementary classroom:
10. Literacy Stations:
Literacy stations are the most obvious classroom spot to use task cards. Each student will use their own recording sheet and complete each of the task cards during independent station time. My task card activities all come with instructional (informational) sheets that can be used at the station for student reference.
9. Whole Class Instruction:
Teachers can use some type of projection (an Elmo or Smart Board, for example) to enlarge the size of each card. Students can see one or two cards at a time from their own desks. Give the class a designated amount of time for each card and then move to the next card(s).
8. Early Finishers:
Place the task cards in a designated area in the classroom. Create a routine where students get a set of task cards when they finish an assignment early. This task card activity is a great hands off approach to learning.
7. Create Your Own:
This task card activity is not about completing the tasks given on a set of cards, but rather TO CREATE the task cards! You can provide the format for students (multiple choice, for example) and give the students a standard or objective from which to create their own. If your students need more structure or direction, you can even provide some of the information. For example, you can ask them to create open-ended question task cards using the vocabulary list for the week, or relevant science or social studies concepts.
6. Review Game:
Set up competitions between groups of students (girls vs. boys, east side vs. west side, rows, etc). Take turns to compete for the winning spot (highest percentage of correct answers). The entire group must agree on the answer to the question and only one group answers each question. This is great for end of year testing review.
5. Review Game Alternative:
Follow instructions from #6 for this task card activity, but only allow one person to represent the group. This stresses individual accountability but also has drawbacks. For example, students that miss a question are likely to feel bad for letting their group down. Know your students and be aware of potential issues that might arise with your particular group before choosing this activity.
4. Task Card Hunt:
Place task cards around the room and distribute answer sheets (loose leaf rings make it easy to organize and separate task cards). Make your own rules for student interaction during this time (allow whispering or require silence, for example). This is a great way to get the kids up and moving. Make it as easy or as difficult to locate/find the task cards as you’d like.
3. Task Cards and Games:
Combine any game where students take turns (board games, instructional games, card games, etc.) with task cards. In order for students to take their turn, they must first answer a task card correctly. If their answer is incorrect, the turn is lost. It’s truly amazing how students forget that they are “working” when games are incorporated!
2. Task Cards Go Home:
Set up envelopes (I use clear plastic envelopes) to send home to students. The routine and procedure for each class will vary, but the idea is that each student has multiple opportunities to take home different sets of cards. Task card envelopes can go home on Monday and be returned each Thursday or Friday. Setting up a visible incentive chart for completed task card sets is also motivating for students.
1. Play Scoot:
I wish I could remember where I first learned about Scoot. I’d love to credit the brilliant teacher who shared it with me. Place one card on each desk (in order) and ask students to stand up and push in their chairs. Students complete the card in front of them and then “scoot” around the room with their own answer sheet. Depending on how involved the task cards are, establish an amount of time that the students stay at each task card. Keep the time so that when you say SCOOT, students rotate to the next card. The most tricky part for students is starting on the correct number on their recording sheet. Scoot is another great way to get kids up and moving!
Of course, there are variations to each of these activities. Make modifications as needed, based on the age, independence level, and task requirements.
The best part of task cards is their versatility and ability to engage students! Have fun!
Feel free to use the comment section to share your favorite task card activities and leave a link to your own blog if you’d like!
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