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Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards

February 17, 2016 by Emily




Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

Guest Article by Ashley Schroeder from “Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd

Do you have stacks upon stacks of task cards in your classroom? Have you accumulated a pile of task cards for nearly every standard that you teach, yet you’re not sure about the BEST ways to use them with your students in your classroom? There are 7 practical and engaging ways that you can start using those task cards in your classroom – TOMORROW!

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

What are task cards?

Task cards are quite literally what they sound like. They are cards that have tasks on them for the students to complete! They are a GREAT alternative to those dreaded worksheets, and the students LOVE them! Often times, teachers will have students record their answers from each task card onto a response sheet of some sort or they could also easily have their students record their responses from the task cards in a notebook or even on white boards. Task cards can include skill practice with practically any standard you can imagine! I love to use task cards for grammar, math practice, word problems, parts of speech, and more!

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

 

How can I use task cards in my classroom?

There are so many practical, engaging, and effective ways to use task cards in your classroom. You can use task cards with your whole group to introduce a topic. You can use task cards as differentiated exit tickets. You could use task cards as a center or as an early finisher activity.

The ideas in this post are just a handful of ways to use task cards in any classroom, and I’m hopeful that my suggestions will help guide you to the perfect ways that you can use task cards with your students in your very own classroom.

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

SCOOT or Around the Room

My students just love playing SCOOT in our classroom. I use our task card collection to play those SCOOT games, too! The task cards can be spread out all over the classroom. This task card pictured above is propped up on a marker basket! Then, the students will use a clipboard to “scoot” from task card to task card and record the answers on their response sheet as they go! You can give them a certain amount of time at each card, or you can just let them scoot from task card to task card at their own pace. Either way, the students are engaged, up and moving, and getting the re-enforced practice they need as they roam around the classroom!

**To try a fun version of SCOOT for free – Check out my FAST FACT SCOOT freebie!

FAST FACT SCOOT Freebie!

Differentiation

I think task cards are one of the EASIEST ways to differentiate in the classroom. You can differentiate by using different sets of task cards with different sets of students, differentiating the skill levels or the skills themselves by using different sets of task cards, using task cards as a formative assessment to be able to accurately differentiate your reading or math groups, etc. The possibilities are endless! Here is a brief video in which I explain one way that I differentiate using task cards in my 2nd grade classroom.

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

Using Task Cards as a Whole Group

Sometimes, you need an engaging way to poll your audience – a.k.a. your students. I’ve used task cards in a whole group setting to do just that. Projecting one task card at a time {I have a document camera that I use for this!} to have the students answer on individual white boards, to use hand held devices to “vote” on their answers, etc. is a GREAT way to do an informal assessment on your class as a whole.   You could also project one task card at a time to use when you’re introducing a skill to the whole group or even doing a unit review! You could pull a task card from each skill from the unit and do a fun and engaging unit assessment – all by using task cards with your whole group!

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

Exit tickets

Task cards can be used as exit tickets or “tickets out the door”, too. I love to give my students one FINAL task card during our small group work, or a final task card at the wrap up of a lesson. Then, each student gets a sticky note, he/she writes his/her answer on the sticky note and puts it in his/her assigned number spot on our Show What You Know formative assessment board. At a glance, I can see right away who’s got it. I can ALSO differentiate these exit tickets.   If I’m giving these exit tickets at the end of my small group work, my first group might be given one task card to answer, my second group might be given a more difficult task card to answer, and my enrichment group might be given the most challenging task card to answer, yet all three groups record their answer as their own differentiated exit ticket on our Show What You Know board!

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

Centers

Task cards are a great, low prep center activity, too. It’s great re-enforced practice at a manageable level for the students to be completing independently as the questions are one task card at a time. You could put 4-5 students in a center together, give them one set of task cards, and they can work together to complete as many of the task cards as they can during center time, record their responses on their response sheet, and then use a key to check their work or turn it in as an assessment.

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

Early Finishers

Aren’t you ALWAYS looking for something for those early finishers to do as the rest of the class is finishing their work? TASK CARDS! As you can see above, I have mine stored in drawers by skill. Establish rules and expectations with your students as to which drawers and which task cards they can help themselves to, and BOOM! Your early finishers are all of a sudden engaged again! Simply store each set of task cards in a quart size ziplock bag, organize them into drawers, bins, or baskets by skill, unit, topic, etc, and you’ve got an EASY early finisher activity!

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

 

Task cards are the way to EASILY engage and differentiate for your students all year long!

Engage and Differentiate with Task Cards from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second

Ashley is a 2005 graduate of Penn State University with her Masters in Education. She is an enthusiastic and energetic 2nd grade teacher in her 10th year teaching in Hinckley, Ohio and has taught 1st and 2nd grade. Ashley is also a passionate teacher entrepreneur and is a teacher author on Teachers Pay Teachers at Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd.   She loves connecting with, learning from, and sharing teaching tips and resources with teachers all over the world via social media. Ashley loves to learn and grow every day as a teacher and as an entrepreneur through the endless and inspirational connections she has made with other teachers worldwide who share her passion for teaching.

You can connect with Ashley on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Periscope.

Ashley Schroeder from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd

 

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