Task cards are an easy, simple, and practical instructional strategy to incorporate into your classroom. There is some prep work and set up required by teachers, but once you have a system in place, it is easy from there on out. Best of all, kids love using task cards. Task cards really do promote student engagement, which helps your class run smoothly while the magic of learning is happening.
First, find task cards on any subject you need to teach. Task cards are a great option for practice with math concepts, reading comprehension skills, science, social studies, and more. You can even find task cards that focus solely on social skills for students with special needs. The options for task cards are really endless. If you can’t find the specific task cards needed for your subject material, you can easily make your own using medium or large sized index cards. To make them look even fancier, you can use colored index cards to help separate different subjects, topics, or skills. Laminate them or copy on stock paper to allow for more durability and use.
Then, plan HOW you will use the task cards within your classroom. There are several different strategies that you could implement or test out. With any strategy, you can choose to have kids write down their responses on paper or share responses orally. Check out these free Task Card Response Sheets that you can use with your students.
1. Simple Partner Task Cards. Set students up in pairs with a stack of task cards. Students take turns picking a task cards and solving it at the same time. Students can then check if they got the same answer and re-teach each other when someone needs help.
2. Task Card Centers. Set up groups of task cards throughout the classroom. Have students spend a period of time (10 minutes) at each center with their group. Set a timer. When the timer goes off, students move to the next center of task cards.
3. Game Time Task Cards. Let students work in pairs or small groups to play simple games, such as Scrabble, Connect Four, Checkers, Chess, or really any board games you have on hand. Students need to solve a task card and record their answer before taking a turn.
4. Movement Task Cards. Select 5-10 task cards and tape them or hang them up around the room. Have students walk around and complete as many task cards as they can.
5. “Do Now” Morning Work. Leave a pile of task cards at each table first thing in the morning. Have students quietly and independently complete task cards while at their seats.
6. Create Your Own Task Cards. Have students create their own task cards on a specific topic using index cards. Then, have students share their cards with a partner for their partner to solve.
7. Around the World Task Cards. All students should start by sitting at their desks. Choose one student randomly to stand up next to someone else. The teacher (or a student leader) flips a task card and reads it to the two standing students. Whoever answers the task card first gets to move on to the next student and the student who didn’t answer correctly must sit down. The goal is for one student to get enough answers right to go “all around the world” (a.k.a. the classroom).
8. Early Finisher Task Cards. Have sets up task cards in plastic baggies, envelopes, or cups ready for students who finish tests or other assignments early. Students can choose their “extra credit task cards” on their own or be provided a specific set by the teacher.
9. Teach the Class Task Cards. Pass out different task cards to each student. You can differentiate by giving specific task cards to certain students. Give time for kids to complete their task card, then select students to teach their task card to the class.
10. Homework Task Cards. Provide students an extra copy of task cards and send them home for kids to practice on their own, with friends, or with parents.