Task Cards Do’s & Don’ts

So just to clarify and make sure we’re all on the same page, task cards are small pieces of paper, and on each one is a problem or a question that the students need to answer. Think about a worksheet cut into squares, with one question on each square. Most teachers use recording sheets for students to record their answers all in one spot and ask students to turn them in for accountability or a grade.  They are great, but there are a lot of things these cards can do and things they can’t.

task cards

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#1: They DON’T Make it Easy to Differentiate

Let’s say your students are practicing main idea. Is putting the same 30 task cards in front of every single student fair? Your lower students struggle and your students who have mastered the skill are bored. You could create three different sets of cards, one for each level. But do you want to cut out 90 different task cards and grade all of the different answers? Didn’t think so!

#2: They DON’T Provide Valuable Data

If you have 25 students and each student filled out a recording sheet with 30 boxes, that’s 750 BOXES you now have to check and grade. And here’s another question: what DATA are you actually getting from them? You now know who does and doesn’t understand main idea (or insert the topic you have on your cards). But that’s something you should have known prior to putting out the task cards, right?

#3: They DON’T Make For a Good Use of Time

A student’s time is extremely valuable to them, as it should be. They should be spending their time learning what they need to learn. Your below-level learners will struggle, become unmotivated, or take days on end to complete the cards. Your above-average learners will fly through the activity and become bored or need extra work to stay engaged. It’s too “one size fits all” and no one is benefiting from the experience! So HOW do we fix this? Read on to find out!

Want to get more out of your task cards?  Make sure to download my Task Cards Do’s and Don’ts Guide!  Great information about how they have been transformed and you’re going to want to see this!  I might even send you a FREE set! 😉

task cards

Do:  Make Task Cards Work for You

You can use task cards:

  • in small groups (self-directed or teacher-led)
  • in partnerships
  • as a game, like Scoot
  • as an exit ticket
  • in centers
  • as an activity for early finishers
  • by hanging them around the room to get kids moving

Don’t:  Repeat Common Mistakes with Task Cards

Here are a few things I”ve learned during my journey with task cards!

  • They can get boring – mix up how you  use them and be sure not to overuse them
  • Not every student needs all 30 cards.  Be intentional!
  • Yes, they need to be laminated
  • If you aren’t going to check or grade them, don’t give them
  • Keep your answer keys in a handy location

Check out these ideas on how to organize your task cards!

So what do you think?  Are they for you?  I bet if you saw the way I revolutionized them, you’d be a fan!  Make sure to head over to my store and check them out.  I have both print and digital versions for Math, Reading, and Grammar!  Just head to my store and type in ‘Task Cards” in the search bar and take your pick!

Take Me To The Task Cards

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task cards


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I’m a wife, a mommy of 3, blogger, and a full time teacher author and presenter. I love to read, shop, and spend time with my family! My hands are always busy, but my heart is so full!

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