First of all, you may not have used task cards in your classroom before, so you might be wondering, ‘what are task cards?’ To put it simply, task cards are cards that have a specific task you’d like your students to do. For example, a set of cards may have three pictures on each card and students must identify which picture does not belong. Task cards can be used for any subject or skill. Often task cards are accompanied by a recording page to hold students accountable. They must record their answer to each task card on the page.
Are you interested in using task cards in your classroom? Check out the four ways I use task cards below!
Literacy or Math Centers
In my classroom, I like to utilize literacy and math centers while I work with small groups. I set up different activities around the room and students will rotate through the activities while I work with my small group. I usually place all items for each activity in a basket or other container so that students have the materials they need when they arrive at their ‘center.’
Task cards are a fantastic center! I usually keep my task cards on a ring or keep them in a task card box like the one below. You can find them at Michael’s or Amazon. They’ll hold cards up to 4×6 inches.
I’ll include copies of the recording page in the basket and students will work through the task cards, recording their answers as they go.
Be sure to include directions for the task cards, either verbal directions before the centers begin or a page with directions. The ones shown above require students to use a clothespin to ‘clip’ the end blend identified in the picture.
Write the Room
Doing a write the room activity is a great way to get students moving around while staying on task. This activity is ideal or independent work, partner work, or in groups of three students or less. Before beginning this activity, you’ll need to tape the task cards in different places around the classroom. If I’ve done write the room activities with my students a lot, I like to try to ‘hide’ the cards in places I don’t normally use. When all the cards are hidden, students will walk around the room with the recording page on a clipboard. They will look for the task cards and record their answer when they find one.
This is another great activity for students to do while you meet with a small group or conference with students one-on-one. Be sure to set expectations before beginning this activity, like no running to find the cards.
Whole Group Scoot
Scoot is a fun activity that can be done with any task card activity that has a recording page. If the task cards do not include a recording page, they will not work for scoot. This game may take some practice with little ones. My first graders absolutely loved this game, but they required some reminders of the rules before we played each time.
Scoot is a great movement activity because students will ‘scoot’ around the classroom completing the tasks on the task cards. To set up the activity, each student will have a recording page. You will place one task card on each desk. Often, I don’t have the same number of task cards as I have students. I’ll add in ‘break spots’ with desks that do not have a task card. At these ‘break spots’ students can dance, stretch, or check their answers.
When all the task cards have been passed out, be sure to show students where card number one is and the path that they will take as the scoot around the room. The student who is at card one scoots to card number two. Card number two scoots to card number three. Let students know that when they reach the last number card, they must scoot to card number one. When I play Scoot with my class, I try to maintain the same path each time so that students don’t get confused about where they scoot next.
I like to play soft music while we play Scoot. I’ll give my students about one or two minutes at each task card, although sometimes they need more or less time depending on the task required on the card. When the time for the card is up, I’ll pause the music and tell my students to ‘Scoot!’ This means that they must move on to the next desk.
I usually need to remind my students to pay close attention to the number on the card and make sure that they write their answer in the matching space on the recording page.
This is a really fun way to review a skill and you’re finished in about twenty minutes! My students love using task cards for Scoot.
Whole Group Competition Game
Another way to use task cards is a whole group game. You can split your students into teams, however many teams you want. Read or display a task card for the teams. They will work together to complete the task on the card. I ask my students to write their answer on a whiteboard and show it to me. The team that answers correctly wins a point!
You can modify this many different ways to make it work for your classroom. I preface playing this game with expectations for the teams and reminders of how good teammates act. As long as your students can handle a little competition with respect for one another, this is a fun way to use task cards in your classroom!
I hope this post has given you some ideas to use task cards in your classroom!
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Hi, I’m Libby!
I’m so happy you’re here! I love all things first grade – the curriculum, the content, and the sweet kiddos. I’m passionate about helping K-2 teachers save time in the classroom with fresh ideas and fun, engaging resources.