Confessions of a Reformed "Anti-Task Card-er"

I am just going to say it.  I am not a big fan of task cards. {ducking from anything that may get thrown at me right now.}

I know that they are really hot right now.  I know that people love them.  I know that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread for some teachers.  But *I* have just never really fell head over heals for them.

Until this year.

OK...that isn't exactly true.  I still am not a huge fan BUT my kids LOVE LOVE LOVE them.  Did I mention that they love them?  Because they do.  Task cards have revitalized plain old worksheets for the kids.  They have instant buy in and I find that the kids are completing their work faster if I present the work in task card format than if I simply type everything up on a worksheet page.

So, since we have this new found love for task cards in my room, I thought I would share some of the ways that task cards have been successful in my class this year.

First up is the "Task Card Dump".  Basically, the students get into groups of 4 or 5.  I make enough copies of the task cards I want to use for each of the groups.  The kids get a recording sheet, sit in their groups, and dump the task cards in the center.  Then, they take a card each and begin solving the problems.  There is no order to which card needs to be taken next, they just grab whichever one is there.

The "Group Switch" is a popular strategy in my class as well.   Kids get into small groups of about 3 or 4.  I make enough task card sets for about 4 groups to share.  Then, I split those task card sets into groups of 3 or 4 cards.  Each small group of students get a little group of cards.  They solve  them.  Then, after a few minutes, I call time and everyone switches their group of cards for another group of cards.  After 4 switches, all of the kids have gone through all of the cards.

These task cards are from Teaching with a Mountain View :)
Finally, there is the "Individual Grab".  This works well when I use my Story Elements cards.  I set all of the cards up on the board and the kids walk up and grab whichever one they need at the time.  Then, when they are done, the kids put that one back and grab another one.  I always make sure to copy several sets of the cards so that all of the kids can be working at the same time.

So there you have it.  A few easy ways to get the kids involved with task cards in your classroom.  Do you use task cards?  What strategies have you used to get the kids more actively engaged with the cards?


  1. I love this post! I didn't jump on the bandwagon until this year either and it was because of my students too. I am going to be using some of your strategies! Thanks for sharing.

    Crofts' Classroom

  2. Love this! My kids, too, love task cards! I keep trying to avoid them but it's amazing how long they'll work on concepts, thinking it's "fun"! Thanks for sharing the various ways to use (love the terms: grab & dump) Lol

  3. I double it up and put the problem on the back of state cards. They then have to match the state on their response sheet.

  4. I loved reading this Steph! My students enjoy them too and the smaller size is less overwhelming for my newcomer ELLs. Every so often, I will tape a set of task cards around the room and my students grab a clipboard and travel from card to card. They always cheer when they come in and see the cards on the wall! It's a nice way to get them moving around while still working and on "task" ;)

  5. We do "Scoot" in which there is a task card at each seat and the kids stand, solve/answer the card there, then on my word, "scoot" to the next card. Sometimes I'll still put them at each seat and they scoot on their own as they finish their cards, which makes it nice for quick kids so they don't have wait time.

  6. Great ideas, Stephanie! I am a "Scooter" too! Oddly enough, my very hyper, highly chatty group is at their best during these times. Whenever I say that they are going to work independently, they say, "Oooooh, are we going to do a Scoot?" I'm definitely going to try some of your ideas too!

  7. Knowing that I'm the only stable thing in many of my student's lives makes me want to be there for them each and everyday. They are like my children and I need to give them the best each and everyday.

  8. I love Scoot because it only requires one set of task cards!

  9. Hi! I'm in a time crunch for ordering new materials for my classroom and I wanted to email you but don't know how exactly, lol. I follow your blog and keep up-to-date on your classroom literature and read alouds. Basically, I want to know which book I should purchase that would give me a bang for my buck. I want one new classroom novel that I can align to common-core standards. Which fiction novel do you recommend most? (I was thinking to start the year off with it.) Thanks in advance!


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