Using task cards instead of worksheets in the classroom has become common practice with many teachers. Thank goodness! I remember being a student and dreading the pile of papers that my teachers handed out for us to work on. Worksheets almost always meant, “be quite and work by yourself.” That style of teaching does not work in today’s classroom. Teachers want to create an engaging environment that nurtures the whole student. Today I am sharing FIVE great reasons to use task cards in your classroom.
- High interest
- We already talked about my memories of total boredom with the worksheets assigned by my teachers. Boredom will not be an issue now! Your students will be so excited when they see that the day’s agenda includes activities that involve task cards. That is because usually they will be moving around the classroom, playing a game, or even TALKING with their peers. We all know how much students love to talk.
- Your classroom is filled with students of varying levels of prior knowledge. They also probably have different needs when it comes to requiring support from you. Approach this obstacle by using task cards that have built in differentiation, eliminate the ones that may be too challenging at the time, or combine sets so that you have questions with multiple levels. Then make sure that students interact with cards that are appropriate for their skill level.
- One of the reasons that I love using task cards so much is that they can be used in so many ways. I have even reused the exact same card set 3 days in a row because the students were struggling with the concept and really needed the extra practice. I just changed the way we used the cards so that the students stayed engaged with the content. Check back soon for a post filled with ideas for different activities you can do with these cards.
- Fill unexpected empty time
- Whether your planned lesson ends with 5 minutes to spare or your technology fails you when you need it most, there are times when you end up with unexpected empty time to fill. Keep a set of cards handy and you will feel like an education rock star. My campus experienced a power outage during an administrative walk-through a few years ago. I opened the blinds to let in some light, pulled out a set of discussion cards and, without skipping a beat, my students were engaged in learning. My administrator let me know that they appreciated my preparedness.
- Formative assessment
- A big part of teaching is checking in with students to gauge their level of content mastery (how well they know the material). Growing up, my teachers did this with quizzes. While quizzes do have their uses, you can get so much more information by varying the way you assess your students. My favorite are discussion cards. Students are giving the opportunity to move around and talk to their peers while discussing academic vocabulary and concepts! While they are having a blast learning, I walk around and listen in on discussions, supporting or redirecting as necessary. Vocabulary puzzles are another great way to formatively assess students and can be used in a variety of ways. They do include a quiz, if you need it.
So there you have it, FIVE reasons why using task cards is better than handing out work sheets. I’d love to hear from you. Tell my your favorite way to engage your students or check to see if they’ve mastered a concept. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Instagram @twoteachingtaylors.
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