Task Cards, Why I Love Them

Task cards are single tasks or questions on a smaller piece of paper.  You could think of them as single-question worksheets.  Cards can be on any topic, subject, or difficulty level.  I have task cards for math, writing, reading and social studies.  

Task Cards – What are task cards and why you should use them? 

teacher helping kids with task cards

How do you use task cards in the classroom? 

As a teacher, I love them because you can adapt them to your teaching style as well as student needs.

  • I can use an unprinted page of cards as a class warm-up.  I do this by projecting the pdf of 4 or 6 questions for the whole class.  I have students choose which they want to answer.  This provides student choice, differentiation, and of course challenge.  Challenge?  Yes, because some kids will try to do them all while you take attendance.
  • I can also use the projected page of cards as my teaching questions.  I don’t need to think up questions they will do in independent practice, I just use them as we talk through the steps, concepts, or topics.

How to use in a whole class? 

  • Task cards can also be a great review for the whole group.  Either projecting them like before or letting students come up and teach the class their thoughts on solving the task.
  • A Task card set printed in black and white on regular paper can become a quick prep exit ticket to your learning objective.  Students simply write their names on the back and answer their questions.  This also allows for differentiation as you pass them out, if that is something you need. 

How to use task cards as a class activity? 

They will become favorite class activities in a variety of ways.

task cards sports
  • In centers or stations you can pull a specific number of cards to be completed independently or with their center partners.  You can level the questions provided at this point as well.   Changing the number of cards or difficulty to fit the needs of each group visiting the center. 
  • They can become group work by using a bundle per group or asking a group to create an anchor chart demonstrating multiple ways to solve their question.
  • By hanging or placing task cards around the room, you have a low prep write the room activity.  Students love getting up and moving.    

Last summer, my teammate and I, used blue tape and hung task cards in the hallway.  Our classes were able to mingle together with their clipboards answering questions and sharing their ideas.  Since we naturally had taught a little differently, they were able to share another perspective.

How to use task cards in a small group? 

This is by far my favorite use of task cards.  When students come to the back table, I review one or two together to make sure we are all on the same page.  Then students get their questions.  They can help each other but, I am there as well.  There is no cheating since no two students will get the same question in one group session.  I can differentiate the cards as I pass them out. 

Small group expectations can be a set as a number to get done, a set number to get right or, we just get as many done in the time allotted. 

Generally, I set a goal for correctness.  Since the students never feel overwhelmed having only one question at a time participation is not a struggle. 

They know they can ask for help at any time because when I solve it, the answer is mine and they just get another card.  No one is angry.  Why?  The goal for say, 5 correct PEMDAS expressions in 30 minutes, is not scary. 

How do students answer task card questions? 

With task cards, it is also easy to adjust how students will record or share their answers.  Maybe they write the answer on an organized table I printed when I bought them.  Maybe, they will fold a paper show their work, and circle the answer.  In a whole group, they might be using whiteboards.  In small groups, they can use paper, whiteboards or, just tell me their answer. 

Task cards work for all teachers

Why task cards are awesome? 

No matter your teaching style task cards can fit in nicely.  The increased participation from task cards compared to worksheets will amaze you.  Finally, if someone does need a few more practice problems at home – I can just print a page and send it home without all the stress of having 30 problems where I need to cross out half but the student still gets stressed by the official look of it all.

How to differentiate with task cards? 

10 task card ideas for teachers

  • 1) Select specific cards for specific students
  • 2) Change the amount to be completed individually or by group.
  • 3)Math the output to accommodate student needs
  • 4) Offer student choice in which card to complete

How to prepare task cards? 

There are so many choices.  Like I shared, sometimes I just project them from my computer.  Sometimes I will print and cut them apart as Exit Tickets.  Most often I print in color and laminate so I can save them in those cute little plastic boxes.  I think if you get some of your worksheets converted to task cards, you will find you will do all of these things and more with task cards in your classroom. 

How to create task cards? 

Creating task cards can be done by converting the questions in your text or worksheets into single questions written in rectangles.  If you aren’t sure you have time for that, Teachers Pay Teachers has a TON of task cards available. HERE

Free information about task cards

Since I have been teaching for well, longer than I want to admit, I have many task cards in my TpT store, Lessons in a Bubble.  You can search my store by subject or the word task to see what I have already done to save you time.

I hope you find task cards to be as complementary to your teaching day as I have. 

If you have read this far, I would also like to invite you to join my email list where I share new ideas and tips every week.  I look forward to hearing from you.  By filling out the form below, you will receive a FREE Accommodation Idea Bank to help you match support to your students who may be struggling. 

I love task cards so much I am always making more. Here are some from my TpT store.

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