By Teachers, For Teachers
You may have seen task cards featured as teaching strategies on Pinterest or other educational blogs, but weren’t exactly sure what they were, or how you can use them in your classroom. A task card is a small card (usually about the size of an index card or smaller) and has an activity or question on it. Tip: An organized teacher may label the cards depending on the subject, or add a number to help keep them in order. Some task cards have clip art on them, while others may include brief instructions, examples, or a quick definition that may help with the task. There are two variations of task cards; one that asks a question and requires a response from students, and one that suggests an activity for students to complete. Question task cards can be multiple choice or in short- or long-answer form. The second variation which is called an activity card, which simply suggests an activity for the students to complete, but usually requires extra materials in order for the task to be accomplished. Many teachers prefer the question task cards as teaching strategies because they are easy to create, and can be used in games or for test preparation.
In today’s classrooms, many teachers are choosing task cards for worksheets. One of the main reasons is because they can be used in a variety of ways, and can be used to reinforce or review a skill. Let’s take a moment to consider why you should use a task card over your traditional worksheets.
Overall, task cards can be used time and time again whereas a worksheet cannot. All you have to do is laminate the cards and you can use them every year. If you do laminate them, then all you to do is have students write their answers or responses in their journals or on a separate piece of paper.
Students can work on task cards at their seats. All you have to do is keep your task cards in a tote, folder, or on a bulletin board. If you have a lot of fast finishers, then they can take one when they have completed their classwork before everyone else. Another option is to attach them to a wall or hang them using a clothesline. They can also be used as homework. Each week, students would bring home a few task cards to complete at home as their homework.
Another option is to use task cards in small groups. You can create a learning center where students would work on a task card independently, but still within their group. Just make sure that you have an answer sheet if you wanted students to self-correct their work.
Task cards can be used for games as well. It’s easy to add a task card to a traditional board game (think Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly, etc.). All you have to do is alter the rules a little bit and have students chose a task card before they take their turn.
Another option is to pair students up with a classmate and take turns reading a task card. Each student would choose a card and read it to their partner. Then the partner would have to answer the card correctly in order to keep the card. The child with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
Task cards can also be done with your whole class. Start by asking students a question from one of the task cards, then challenge students to answer by holding up one finger to answer the question. Another option is to design different stations around the classroom. Students can rotate to each station just like they would for learning centers, but this time it will be using task cards.
Once you give task cards a try, you will be hooked! Not only are they versatile and easy to use, the students love them. Give them a try and tell us what you think. You can find a huge variety of cards on Pinterest.
Do you use task cards as teaching strategies in your classroom? If so, what types are your favorite? Please share your response in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.