Task cards boast so many incredible benefits. And they’re not just for elementary-aged students either. In fact, task cards are a wonderful way for middle school students (and high school students, too!) to approach concepts in an approachable manner: a manner that also encourages independent learning… and MOVEMENT. Read on for recommendations from Teacher-Authors on how to make task cards a hit in your middle school classroom. And discover plenty of terrific task card resources across a range of subjects.
Task Card Tips and Ideas
“One of the great things about task cards is that they can be used in conjunction with movement,” says Rachel Lynette. “We know that kids are more engaged and are more likely to remember what they’ve learned when they’re moving. Movement can also be an effective way to get kids who usually tune out or who have behavior issues focused and involved. Here are some ways to get kids moving with task cards:
1. Put cards up in different parts of the room (or better yet, outside on trees or a long wall) and have students move around the room with their answer sheets on a clip boards.
2. Play ‘Quiz, Quiz, Trade’ (a Kagan structure). You can find the directions here.
3. Use the document camera to display one task card for the whole class. Students can answer on individual white boards (great for short answers or multiple choice). When the teacher says, ‘Answers up!’ students stand and display their boards to the teacher for a quick assessment.
4. Assign a different letter (A, B, C, or D) to each corner of the room, and use the document camera to display a multiple choice task card. Students then go to the corner corresponding with their answer.
5. For longer, discussion-type task cards, you can pair students up and have them go on a ‘walkabout’ (where they essentially walk and talk). This is especially great if you can go outdoors!
6. Another fun idea is to play Concentric Circles, a game from Literary Sherri.
There are plenty others ideas but these are just a few fun ones that come to mind!”
“I like to use task cards to give students a choice of two or three different writing prompts to respond to each day,” explains Literary Sherri. “This makes a great bell-ringer activity, and students are always engaged in the activity because they love having choices! Take a look at my November Writing Task Cards (grades 7-10).”
Here’s what Leaf and STEM Learning has to say, “When I’ve used task cards with my students, I’ve liked for the questions to be open-ended with rigorous question prompts. My favorites are ones that are naturally tiered for students working on different levels. A good set of task cards can be used and reused throughout the school year!” Take a look at:
Area Models for Multiplication and Division Task Cards (grades 4-5)
Rational Number Task Cards (grades 6-7)
“My middle school students love when I give them self-checking task cards because they seem more game-like than traditional activities,” explains Math in the Middle. “I make a few copies of each of the task cards and spread them out on a table. Each student starts with a random card and the answer to their task card tells them which card they need to do next. This continues until they’ve completed 20 task cards. The answer to their 20th task card takes them back to their first one if they solved all the task cards correctly. As a teacher, I love the fact that all students can work at their own pace. And they know instantly if they’re right or wrong without having to ask me!” Check these out:
Order of Operations Self-Checking Task Cards FREEBIE (grades 5-7)
Middle School Math Self-Checking Task Card Bundle (grade 5-8)
“Kids love it when you set task cards up ‘lab practical’ style,” says Amy Brown Science. “I place a few task cards at each lab station, give the kids a few minutes to complete them, and then have them rotate to the next station. Kids love to be up and moving, and they actually seem to get a lot more out of the lesson this way.” Check out:
Microscope Task Cards, Grades 5-10, Set of 41 cards
Scientific Method Task Cards (grades 6-10)
Common Core Science Task Cards (grades 6-12)
Route 22 Educational Resources says, “For teachers who want to maximize instructional time, use technology, and give students the opportunity to take control of their learning, task cards with QR Codes are the way to go. These types of task cards have added a new layer of excitement to my classroom. You can easily find free QR Code readers on an app store. Trust me, kids LOVE being able to check their answers on their phones or tablets while working on problems individually or during rotation stations. Since students are able to check their work, I can spend more time with students who need extra assistance to master math content.” Give these a look:
Integers Task Cards (grades 5-8)
Ordering Rational Numbers (grade 6)
Sheila Cantonwine‘s task cards usually span three levels. “Level 1 is basic, Level 2 is intermediate, and Level 3 is more advanced. The three levels have different borders on the task cards to make it easy to distinguish the levels.” Here are some of her fantastic task card sets for middle school:
Fraction Task Card Bundle (3 Levels) (grades 3-7)
Decimal Task Card Bundle (3 Levels) – 216 Task Cards (grades 4-7)
Integer Task Card Bundle (3 Levels) – 252 Task Cards (grades 5-8)
And here are some terrific task card resources from The ESL Nexus:
Chinese New Year ELA Task Cards for Mechanics and Grammar (CCSS Aligned) (grades 3-6)
Halloween Vocabulary Task Cards for ELLs and Mainstream Students (grades 3-8)
Winter Holiday Task Cards: Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa Facts and Grammar Review (grades 4-8)
Plus, a special note from her as well: “For anyone wanting to jump on the task card bandwagon, the most important tip I can give for task card success is to download THE essential resource, which is Rachel Lynette’s The Task Card Handbook (FREE).
Here’s to task cards and the incredible classroom experiences they can help create! Take a look at the entire collection of task cards on TpT, made with love by TpT’s talented Teacher-Authors. Bravo!