Why & How to Use Task Cards in The Classroom

Why?

Task Cards Save Paper: Using task cards can cut down on the number of copies and paper used because you don’t need to make a set for each student and if laminated or kept in protective sleeves, they can be used for years without printing new copies. 

Task Cards Increase Engagement: They add to student engagement because they add novelty. Paper and pencil practice is certainly useful, but can become dull and routine.  Using dry erase markers on a task card can mix things up a bit.  Also, task cards can be printed with fun colors and clip art to add interest for the students.

How? 

Centers and or Work Stations – Print cards and keep in small containers or baggies.  Have students work in pairs or groups solving problems on task cards and recording on a record sheet.  I like using record sheets for two reasons. One, the students are more likely to stay on task if they know they will have to turn something in at the end of the center. And, the other reason, I like to look over the record sheets to see if students need re-teaching or extra help with the skill/concept worked on in the center.  If you do not have a lot of copy paper you can always have students use notebook paper to create a record sheet.  Have them write the name of the center on the paper and then number or letter their answers.

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Whole Class Cooperative Groups – My suggestions for whole class would be the same as for work stations & centers except you would need one set of task cards for each table group.  After learning or reviewing a concept with whole class, the students could work on the cards with their table groups.   After the group work you could have a class discussion about the task cards as a way to wrap up. Another whole class activity which would require only one set of task cards is a “Scoot” or circuit.  To set up a Scoot you have a different task card on each desk and have the students work in pairs rotating around the set of task cards in numerical or alphabetical offer.  Some teachers will set a timer for scoot and others will let students move as they finish.  For a FREE  “Scoot Record Sheet” that can be used with any set of task cards, click here.

ScootSheetPREVIEW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Differentiating Small Groups or One on One Tutorials – You can select individual task cards for students based on individual needs.  You can use the cards as cards. Or you can print an entire page and put into a sleeve to use with dry erase.  Kept in sleeves like this makes storage easy, just put in a 3 ring binder organized by subject.

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Early Finishers and Extensions – If you have students who finish work early, need a different assignment, or students who need extensions to their assignments, you can set up a task cards in a file box or plastic containers in a special location.  Label files or drawers with letters or numbers and let individual students know ahead of time which letter/number set they can work on when finished with regular class work (or instead of regular class work for students needing a different assignment).   Another option for early finishers and extensions is to set up a scavenger hunt around the room.  For directions on making a scavenger hunt with task cards, see this post. 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Why & How to Use Task Cards in The Classroom

  1. Thank you SO much for this clear and concise explanation of Task Cards. I have often seen them as a product on Teachers pay Teachers, but I haven’t really understood their purpose or what they were intended to be used for. This is so informative and helpful.

    Also, love the idea of using sleeves. I have used laminating sheets in the past that the dry erase markers stuck to and didn’t clean off of easily. My go-to at the moment is using clear contact paper which I can pick up at Dollar Tree, but using sleeves sounds even better since they could easily be stored in a three ring binder without needing to punch holes. LOVE it!

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    • Thanks Christina! Happy that you learned something new! A few years ago when I started seeing task cards pop up on TpT and blogs, I wasn’t really sure either. But once I started using them I was hooked!

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  2. This was a new idea for me so I appreciate how you explained everything in detail. And everyone can appreciate the free record sheets! Thanks!

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  3. I use task cards (and stations) at least twice a week in my 8th grade science classroom. It’s such a great way to engage students but have them review on their own. It allows me the chance to focus on a few small groups that really need more of my attention. The “faster learners” like them because they can move at their own pace. For my last task card, I usually have it as an independent practice (or homework) handout. You explained the benefits of task cards very well. Thank you for promoting them. I really believe every teacher in every subject area should try them out.

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  4. Love this post. We use task card centers in kindergarten. That way students can choose how many they want to do- and they don’t get bored. Of an activity takes too long or is too hard for them, they don’t get as much benefit from them! Great post!

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