Monday, May 18, 2015

10 Engaging No Prep (or Low Prep) Ways to Use Task Cards!

In this age of differentiation, I have recently realized that I pretty much need to be prepared to not only teach the curriculum but remediate, enrich, and reteach all at the same time. As in, at the exact same moment. (GULP!) 

Since the scientific community has not developed the capacity to make human clones and since I have 3 small children of my own who expect nutritious and savory meals at least 3 times daily, clean clothes, and hours of my time and attention. Every. Single. Day. I don’t have lots of spare time. I need something that I can make quickly and “grab and go” whenever I need it (usually in about 3 minutes ago).

This is how my task cards were born. I needed tasks/problems that were aligned to the common core, but that are also “self checking”. I can figure the answer out myself, but I am usually multi-tasking so much that I don’t have the time to spend doing this. Also, I wanted to have a resource I could give to anyone who works with my kiddos (students, parents, tutors, other teachers etc.) that I could just let them grab it and go with it! With my task cards all I have to do is print them, cut them and fold them (laminating is helpful, but optional). I love, love, love having these! I use them all time in many different ways. 

Eventually I made a set of math task cards for each of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Common Core Standards. I have tons of task cards; I might be able to wallpaper a mid-sized house with them I have so many. They make teaching math so much easier. If someone is going to pull a small group of students for extra support, BAM, I hand them a pack of task cards and send them on their way. If a  student finishes an assignment in 17 seconds (and gets everything right), BAM, I give said student a pack of task cards. If I need an enrichment lesson for one small group and a different lesson for a remediation group, BAM, I pull the appropriate sets of task cards and BAM, I am rocking it!  While on this task card loving roll, I have come up with lots of no prep or low prep ways to spice up the whole task card experience. Below are my top ten, all time, toe curling, I hope the principal does an unannounced evaluative walk-through during this awesome activity, ways I use task cards. 

  1. Scoot Games - I discovered Scoot a few years ago and let me tell you it was love at first sight, as in the clouds parted and angels sang kind of love. Scoot is a fast paced whole class game, where students “scoot” from desk to desk solving problems. If you have never used Scoot in your classroom, I created this All About Scoot Freebie. Do yourself a favor and try it out! It is PERFECT for the end of the school year!

2. Enrichment - This was a game changer for my high performing students. When I give a math assignment, I often list the 5 most difficult problems and give students the chance to do the “Most Difficult 5” first. If they can do the most difficult 5 with 100% accuracy, then I let them do an alternative enrichment activity (because they have obviously mastered the skill). The students love doing task cards and will happily work on challenging task cards. I love the task cards because the students can check their own work and I am always giving kids that need an extra challenge something meaningful to do!

3. Formative Assessments -  I project a task card and have the students solve the problem on white boards. Then, when everyone is done I have the class hold up the whiteboards so I can do a quick formative assessment. I can quickly determine who “gets it” and who needs extra help. I can group students almost instantly.

4. Centers - I put a set of task cards on a binder ring (or if I am feeling really fancy I put them in a mini-photo album with 1 task car per page) and have a recording sheet and students complete the cards at a center in the classroom. Instant center!

5. Small Group Remediation - I pull a small group of students and hand each one a task card to solve. I can check it right away and each kiddo can work at his/her own pace. Simple, yet effective.

6. At Home Support - When parents ask, “What can we do at home to help?” Or if I notice a student could benefit from some extra help, I often send a set of task cards home. Since they are “self checking” it takes a lot of stress of the parents and student. 

7. Scavenger Hunt - You can hide cards around the classroom. I give each child a clip board and a recording sheet. Then I let the kids find the cards and answer them.

8. A Board Game - Take almost any board game (checkers, Monopoly, etc) and have students answer a task cards before they get to take a turn. It is a great way to make a “fun time” academic!

9. Fast Finisher Activity - When a student finished his/her work quickly, task cards make a great “sponge” activity to “soak up” extra time. Students can work independently or in pairs.

10. Spiral Review - It is important to review and practice previously taught concepts. For morning work or bell work (sometimes called “do nows), I pull out  3 - 5 task cards and project them with a document camera. It is a quick an easy way to do a no prep daily spiral review. It is perfect for test prep or review at the end of the year!

If you would like to check out some of my task cards, click on the link below!

1 comment:

  1. I love.the scavenger hunt one! This gets the kiddos.up and moving!