Hot Tips & Topics

We are dedicated to providing you with a comprehensive collection of relevant and up-to-date K-12 education news and editorials. For teachers, by teachers.

Teaching Strategies Using Task Cards

Janelle Cox

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.

Teaching Strategies: Why Use a Task Card over a Worksheet?

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.

  1. Task cards are motivating, especially to the students that struggle with learning on a daily basis. Imagine that you are just learning to read and your teacher gives you a worksheet with a bunch of words that you cannot read. This can be quite overwhelming to a small child. However, when put the difficult words on a task card, the child can work on one sentence at a time and it won’t feel so overwhelming. These students will feel the same sense of accomplishment working through these task cards, as they would when they complete their sight word cards.
  2. Task cards are also differentiated. Each student can complete a card that suits her own unique learning needs. A struggling student can complete a task card that is multiple choice, while a more-able student can complete one that is short or long answer. Each student is completing a task card that is structured to his or her own needs.
  3. Task cards are quite versatile and can used in a variety of ways. For example, you can use them in your learning centers, with independent work, in small or whole groups, for games, homework, or you can even give them to your early finishers.

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.

Classroom Use of Task Cards

Independent Work

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.

Related Articles
Instagram logo
A few effective ways that you can use Instagram to enrich your technology in...
microphone in front of a brick wall
We've compiled and concocted 20 side-splitting (and maybe a little corny) ...
Teacher helping student at a laptop
By embracing and integrating technology in the classroom, we are setting our...
A group of kids smiling in front of laptop
The advantage of a successful cross-curriculum integration is that students...
Student smiling while writing on smart board
We outline the amazing advantages to utilizing technology in the classroom by...

Group Work

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.

Whole Group Work

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.