5 New Ways to Use Task Cards in the Classroom

Math

Task Cards are a great classroom activity loved by students and teachers alike. Most commonly used as a center activity, task cards are a wonderful way for students to practice a skill or concept on their own. But . . . there are many other ways to use task cards in the classroom. Today I am excited to share with you 5 new ways to use task cards in the classroom.

Bell Ringer Activity

Task Cards make a perfect bell ringer activity. If you are not familiar with a bell ringer activity, it is a short activity that students complete as soon as they arrive in class and it becomes a part of the class routine. Students know that when they get to class, they immediately begin on the bell ringer. This gives you, the teacher, time to take attendance or some other beginning of the class task you need to do.

Task Cards are great to use as a bell ringer activity

The great thing about using task cards as a bell ringer activity is that you can do one, two, four or ten cards depending on the needs of your classroom. Ok – maybe ten is a little much for a bell ringer, but you get the idea.

There are many ways to set-up using task cards as a bell ringer activity. I suggest using a projector or smart board to digitally display them in the front of your classroom. Simply choose the card or cards you want the students to work on that day and project them. Students then answer on a piece of paper, a sticky note, or even right on their desk using a dry erase marker.

Task Card Scavenger Hunt

Having some bad weather? Students need a little movement in their day? Use task cards to create a scavenger hunt around the school.

Before the activity begins you will need to print and cut the task cards and then hang them around the school in places where the students can find them. Equip your students with the answer sheet and a clipboard and they will be ready to go. Students can work individually or in teams to find all the task cards and write down the answers.

Make sure to set clear ground rules for students as they move around the school. If you aren’t sure about sending the students out, try using the cafeteria or gym. This allows the students to spread out and move around a larger space, but gives you the ability to easily monitor the activity.

Whole Class Game

class game engages students

Looking for a fun way to review or practice a skill? Turn it into a game! The hard part of running a game in the classroom is coming up with the questions. By using task cards as the questions, the hard part is done! Now all you have to do is decide what type of game you want to play.

Here are some fun, low prep classroom game ideas. Emphasis on the FUN and the LOW PREP!

Football

Project an image of a football field on the board in your room. Divide the class into two teams and have them take turns answering questions. If the student can answer correctly on their own, they move ahead 10 yards. They can ask their team for help and move ahead 5 yards. However, if the team cannot answer correctly, the other team has a chance to “intercept” the ball by answering correctly. Each team continues answering questions until they score a touch down or the other team intercepts the ball. Then it becomes the other team’s turn.

All you need to add is task cards for your questions and something to represent the ball that can be moved as questions are answered. A magnet works great if you are projecting to a magnetic whiteboard.

football field for class game

Jeopardy

Create your own, skill based Jeopardy game using task cards. After printing out the cards, simply display them on the board in a Jeopardy style grid and use a sticky note (or dry erase marker if they are laminated) to mark a number of points on the back of each card. You can also create this reusable library pocket Jeopardy Board from My Joy Filled Life. Simply slide the task cards into the pockets for an easy set-up!

To play, divide the class into teams (small groups of 2-4 works best). The first team calls out a category and point number, then you read the question or task from the task card. I encourage all teams to work on the answer because if a team is incorrect another team can answer and earn the points.

Relay Tic-Tac-Toe

This is a fun game of tic-tac-toe where teams work relay style to create tic-tac-toe. What makes this different from a normal tic-tac-toe game is that there are only 3 of each symbol (X & O). After all 3 are on the board, the game continues by moving symbols around to an empty box. {Check out this video to see how it is played. You can use the same idea without the running.}

Divide the class into two teams. Students will take turns answering, relay style. Read the first task card to the two students in the front of the line. The student that answers correctly first, gets to add or move the symbol for their team and then the next two students in line face off with the next task card. Continue asking questions until one team has completed the Tic-Tac-Toe by getting 3 in a row.

Race the Teacher

Race the Teacher is a super fun way to fill 5 minutes or even to review for a test. The idea is simple, but the students love, love, love it! Call on a student to race the teacher. The student looks through the task card stack and chooses one. The student or the teacher reads the card aloud and then race to solve the problem or complete the activity on the task card. The rest of the class cheers on the “competitors.”

race the teacher student winner

Once the task card has been completed, the rest of the class takes on the role of the judge to determine if the task card was completed correctly. This engages the entire class in completing the activity on the task card.

Test Prep with Task Cards

Test prep season is tough. Tough on the students and tough on the teachers. There’s comes a point when you just can’t put another reading passage or math practice sheet in front of your students. Task Cards to the rescue!

Task Cards allow students to practice important skills without them looking like standardized test questions. For test prep review, I love using task cards for a variety of skills and concepts and mixing them up. This helps simulate the test where the skills and concepts are all mixed up.

Scoot

A game of Scoot is a fun way to review. If you are not familiar with Scoot, you lay out one task card on each desk (or post them around the room). Each student stands in front of a card and completes the card. Then, when you say Scoot, the students move to the next card and complete it. This continues until the students have made their way through all the cards.

To keep the game moving, I use a timer set to a reasonable amount of time for the task cards I am using. It might be 1 minute or 3 minutes depending on what skill we are doing. However, I always make sure that the task card can be completed within the time given so that it doesn’t cause frustration.

At the end, we review each task card together. I like to have the students to take turns being the teacher and showing how to complete each task card.

Test Prep Game Day

For more test prep fun, create an entire game day using task cards. Incorporate lots of ideas listed above and create a test prep day of review games is just the break from the normal routine that everyone needs.

Math Task Cards for the Entire Year

Here’s some great task card sets to use with any of the ideas listed in this post. Each set focuses on a specific skill or concept. This Mega Bundle covers all of the math standards for the entire year!

task card math bundle for the entire year

Here’s the skills and concepts that are included:

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