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Saturday, April 12, 2014

TASK CARD TRAUMA

I love task cards, I really do.  …but sometimes I am just not sure how to make them work in the classroom.  Yes, they are engaging, but how do I ensure they are a true reflection of a student’s understanding? 

I am on a mission.  My goal is to share how I most often use task cards, but also come up with some new ways to use them in the classroom.

                             

METHOD #1:  Independent Work.  Depending on my purpose, this seems to work best if I am looking for a true assessment of understanding.  Rather than providing a set of task cards for each student, I scatter one set around the classroom.  Students each receive a Task Card Recording Sheet and their goal is to complete each task card by the end of class.  Obviously, setting expectations for the classroom environment is important.  Each card must be returned to where they found it before they can begin searching for a card they have not yet done.

METHOD #2: Partner Work.  At least in my classroom, working with a partner seems to work best when each task card can be a “station” in the classroom.  Partners find a task card and are given four minutes to work together to solve before rotating to a new station.  …I often time the stations so that the last ten minutes of class can be spent finishing any cards that were more challenging.

METHOD #2: Team Work.  I have tables in my classroom, so students are used to sitting in groups and working as a group.  If I plan to have students work as a team to complete the task cards, I often have a set of cards for each group.  (color-coding = brilliant.)  It is important to me that each student actively contributes to their team.  I often require students to complete the task card independently before discussing their answers.  In order to move onto the next task, all team member must agree on their solution. 

When I set out on this mission, I found a few great resources that get me thinking.  (oh, the possibilities…) Check out these resources for even more suggestions for using task cards in the classroom.

Interested in trying task cards??  (…or do you just need a new, fabulous set to spice up your collection?)  Be sure to check out my newest Teachers Pay Teachers product.  Adding and Subtracting Decimals: Task Cards.  Get them [here]!  I just used these with all of my middle school students when we returned from Spring Break.  It was a great way to turn our “math brains” back on and review this important skill.

Adding and Subtracting Decimals Task Cards

HOW DO YOU USE TASK CARDS IN YOUR CLASSROOM??  I would love to hear from you!

6 comments:

  1. Just found you blog - I'm a middle school teacher too! I use task cards to play "Scoot" and "Scatter". Scoot is where you tape a card to each desk and establish a pattern for students to rotate desks for when you holler "Scoot!" Students move from desk to desk based on how long you give them before you shout "Scoot!" "Scatter" is when you place various task cards around the room and students have to find them. :) Hope this helps!

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I love both of these ideas. I just read about "Scoot" and I can't wait to try it out. : ]

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  2. In addition to the ones you and Mrs. Spangler mentioned, I also use them to do a quiz-quiz-trade. Students walk around the room and form pairs. The partners quiz each other on their cards and then trade before separating to find a new partner.

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    1. Oh, this is a great idea! Thanks for sharing. ...if they are quizzing each other, do you still have them record their answers?

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  3. I think it's the saddest thing when I see task cards in use in classrooms as worksheets. Yet, I haven't completely figured out how I want to use them in my French class, to best advantage. I don't want it to be just grammar & conjugation or isolated vocabulary activities. I'll come back & share when I've got it all figured out!

    Tammy @ Teaching FSL

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    1. I can't wait to hear what you come up with!!

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