Enamored by fancy task cards seen on Pinterest, I decided to revise and consolidate activities for a unit on Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream into task cards for my students to use in lieu of worksheets and one size fits all lessons.
What are task cards? Task cards are a set of cards with questions and activities on them that can be used for reinforcement of teaching concepts, assessment, and differentiated learning activities.
Task cards come in sets to target a specific skills, standards, or subject areas. Cards can focus on Bloom Taxonomy of questioning and tap into multiple intelligences. I designed a set specific to layers of close reading. Tasks addressed what the text says, what the text means, and what the text does. This required students to reread parts of a text multiple times with a different lens to hone in on their close reading skills.
Task cards can be completed individually, in small groups, for homework, in learning centers, and even in game-like activities. Students can write their responses to the task cards and compare answers. Task cards can be used in a “beat the clock game,” seeing who can answer the task the quickest.
KeslerScience.com describes two different activities to use task cards:
One activity, “Scoot” has students each start off with different cards to answer for a certain period of time, perhaps 2 to 3 minutes (depending on the questions or tasks and grade level of the students). Students answer the task card on their own. When the allotted time is up, the teacher says “Scoot!” All students move and answer another card that awaits them. (Another version of this is to let the students pass on the task cards to his or her seatmate once the time to answer is up.)
In “Back to Back Game” a pair of students will be given the same task card to answer. They either sit or stand with their backs against each other. The teacher reads the task aloud so the whole class has the chance to hear it. The students then answer it, either by personal whiteboards or hand signal and turn to each other to find out if they have same answers. Discussion will follow after that.
Task cards can be used as checks for understanding in the middle of a lesson to see if students have digested the material. For example, after reading through an Act in Shakespeare, students pull out the task cards to apply their reading and understanding. I always give my students four -six task cards and have them complete 3-4 of the tasks. This allows students to show what they know and I have data for what I need to cover or address moving forward. Task cards allow for student choice.
Task cards can also be used as exit slips, review sessions, and I love Amy Brown‘s idea to make a bingo board out of task cards. Students must complete 5 tasks in a row, column or diagonal to win.
Depending how you design them and use them, task cards can be engaging and an opportunity to help students master content material.