Learn all about task cards in the secondary classroom. Read about what they are, how to use them, ways to store them, and much more!
WHAT ARE TASK CARDS?
Task cards are sets of questions, tasks, or problems for students to use, generally one task per card. They usually come as a PDF, about 4 per page. The teacher prints, laminates (optional), and cuts.
WHAT MAKES TASK CARDS BETTER THAN A PRACTICE WORKSHEET?
While a worksheet can serve a purpose as a great practice tool, task cards offer more variety in engagement. Task cards encourage student movement, discussion, collaboration, and fun. All of those things are needed in a secondary math class.
Some students also find that a worksheet can seem overwhelming. A task card, however, the idea of one task at a time seems much more manageable.
WHAT ARE SOME STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE USE IN MY CLASSROOM?
- Hang the task cards around the room for a gallery-walk-type activity. Print an answer sheet for each student. Allow them to start on any card and go in any order. I encourage them to work together and talk through the tasks with those students around them.
- Distribute one card per student at their seat. Each student has an answer sheet. Give students time to answer. Then, have all students pass their card and answer a new one. A fun variation of this could be made into a game, like musical cards. Turn on some music and they pass until the music stops. Answer that card and continue playing until they have all gotten some quality practice in.
- Strategically select a sample of cards from the set for a station in a station rotation activity.
- Use the Kagan structure, Quiz-Quiz-Trade. Each student gets a card and they answer their card. They then move about the room while music plays. When it stops, they pair up with the nearest person. They quiz each other on the cards. I also allow them to work together to answer the cards. Then, they answer the other card. Lastly, they trade cards to repeat the whole process.
HOW DO I STORE THE TASK CARD SETS?
Here are a few different storage methods I have tried or seen:
- Punch holes in the corners and store them on a binder ring.
- Place each set in its own manila envelope, along with the answer key.
- Put a rubber band around the set and place your collection of sets in a box, drawer, or file folder in a file cabinet.
- MY FAVORITE WAY…in a photo storage box. I place each set in its own case within the large case. I have had to double-up sets within the small cases before because there are only 16 inside the large case. Here is a link to a colorful one from Michael’s. It sometimes sells out, so here is a link to a clear one on Amazon. These are not affiliate links, just helpful suggestions.
I AM TEACHING VIRTUALLY. HOW DO THESE WORK FOR DISTANCE LEARNING?
A great alternative to task cards is a digital, interactive version. For me, the best version of a digital task card is a Boom Card. They are fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop, T/F, and multiple choice questions. You can see all my Geometry Boom Card sets by clicking here.
My other favorite task card option for distance learning is Google Forms. I am currently converting my PDF task cards to include a Google Form version. It is easily assignable in Google Classroom. Teachers can also assign them to collaborative groups in break-out rooms on Zooms. You can see all of my Geometry Task Card Sets by clicking here.
If you have any questions about task cards, please reach out below! To read about more engagement strategies in the Geometry classroom, click here to read about how I do interactive notebooks effectively.