5 Ways To Use Task Cards In The Primary Classroom
Task cards are one of the most versatile learning materials for the primary classroom. They are such a simple, easy-to-use classroom hero and can be used for so many things! No matter what you are focusing on, they are a great way to engage your students and get some serious learning in! Today I am sharing my top 5 ways to use task cards in the primary classroom!
Why Use Task Cards?
If you teach in the primary classroom, I’m sure you already know just how useful task cards are, but just in case you need a reminder- here are a few of my favorite reasons to use them!
- Repetition: We all know that practice makes progress, but. . . that can get boring! Using task cards is my favorite hack for practicing skills over and over without losing student interest.
- Promote Independence: Task cards typically only have 1 action or direction for students to follow on each one. This means, that once kiddos get a feel for the activity, they can be fully independent!
- Easy To Prep: Whether you are using digital (no-prep) or printed (low-prep) cards, you won’t have to spend much time preparing these activities.
- Make Learning Fun: Probably the best reason to use task cards is simply that they bring a game-like element of fun to the classroom. These are a great way to excite your students about learning and engage those little minds!
Convinced you need these in your life?! I hope so! Task cards truly are a great addition to just about any lesson plan and students always love them. Here are a few of my personal favorite ways to use them in the classroom.
1. Use Digital Task Cards For super engagement
We all know that kids LOVE technology! If you have a group of worn-out students at the end of the week, there is no quicker way to grab their attention than with a fun, digital activity! Digital task cards are a great way to review concepts at the end of the day, introduce new skills, or simply offer a “change of pace” from the typical paper worksheet.
Digital cards are great for when you need an activity that students can manage independently. Morning Work always comes to mind for me! Using digital task cards during morning work or as a “check-in” activity will provide you with a bit of time for all those morning teacher tasks like attendance, preparing lessons, lunch count, etc.
As with anything in the primary classroom, you will want to make sure to model how to complete the digital activity before sending your students off to manage solo. Once they get the hang of it though, this is a wonderful way to have some dedicated time in the mornings to check a few things off your list while students warm up for the day.
2. perfect for CENTER TIME
Task cards are perfect for center time because once students understand the directions, they can easily remain independent throughout the entire time. This allows for you to work in small groups with part of the class while the rest of the kiddos get some skills practice in!
My favorite method for this is to provide students with a stack of task cards, recording sheets, and a clipboard. Students will work on solving their cards and filling out the recording sheets independently. When they have finished, ask them to swap clipboards with a partner and check their friend’s work. This is a great way for students to practice the same task twice, without even knowing it!
3. Use Task Cards for “Fast Finishers”
I don’t think there’s anything that teachers hate more than hearing “I’m done! Now what?” Fast finishers can be an issue in every classroom. And without a plan for how to address this issue, it can often turn into a classroom management nightmare.
Task cards to the rescue! Create an early finisher activity area that is stocked with task cards. These can be task cards you have previously used in your centers or new ones. The key is making sure that students can complete them independently.
Task cards are great for fast finishers because they require very little prep and can be used again and again throughout the year. Keep sets of task cards in zipper baggies or small plastic boxes so they are easy to grab. And . . . make sure that students know where to grab any additional supplies they need. This keeps the early finisher task from triggering more questions.
4. a fun, Quick Assessment
Task cards are also fantastic when used as a tool for quick assessments! This is especially helpful during small groups or when working with individual students. You can provide a recording sheet or simply have your students solve with a dry-erase marker on laminated task cards.
Using task cards will allow you to quickly and easily see how each of your students are progressing on a target skill. And . . . task cards keep these assessments from feeling too formal or high stress. This is a wonderful way to get a quick and painless snapshot of student progress on a regular basis!
5. Play Games With Task Cards
I saved the best for last. . . . games! Students love playing games and group games especially tend to be crowd-pleasers! One of the easiest ways to use task cards is by replacing the game cards of your favorite board game with skills based cards. Students will follow the normal game rules, they will just answer a task card before taking their turn.
I know what you’re thinking. . . group games can sometimes make for a hectic classroom. Before you begin a game, make sure your kiddos know the classroom expectations. Most of this will surely fall in line with standard classroom rules, but I think it never hurts to offer a friendly reminder about being kind, being courteous, and being careful with our words whenever we start a game. This will help set the stage for a fun and friendly game!
One of my favorite games in the classroom will always and forever be “Scoot”. This game is such a simple concept and requires no prep whatsoever, making it a great activity to pull out at a moment’s notice!
To play, simply lay the cards around the room or place one on each desk. Students will get a specific amount of time to complete their cards. When time is up you say “Scoot” and everyone rotates to the next card.
Be sure to choose a length of time that will allow students to solve the problem, but isn’t too easy either! The kiddos always love this one since they get to move around the room. This is a great fun Friday activity or afternoon review!
Whole Group Review Games
Digital task cards also come in handy when you want to do a quick review in your small groups or as a whole class. Simply project the cards on your classroom screen or whiteboard and you are all set. This is a great activity when you have a few minutes to spare.
To add an extra element of fun, divide your class into “teams”. Have them work together on their answers and then raise their hands when they solve the problem. A little healthy competition can make skills practice more fun and engaging for your students!
Try Task Cards In Your Classroom
Ready to grab your own set of task cards?! You’re in luck! Today I am sharing a set of free math task cards in both print and digital versions! Grab your copy of this Representing Numbers to 120 Task Card Set to use in centers, as morning work, or for Scoot Games!
Give these a try in your classroom and see which method is your favorite! I loved using task cards in my classroom so much that I created a whole bunch of them. Check out all of my favorites!
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Don’t forget to Pin this post to your favorite Pinterest board so you will have all my task card tips in one handy spot! Happy Teaching!