Put the Fun in Student Task CardsHey y'all! Raise your hand if you love task cards! I know I do. You can find them in just about every unit in my store. BUT...sometimes they need to be dressed up a bit. Especially around holidays when the kids are all a little bonkers.
I see teachers all the time put task cards in a plastic bag or envelope and throw them in a center. That works fine and I do that quite a bit, too. But I also like to mix things up. Here are a few ways to shake it up a little in your classroom and get your students excited about them all over again.
1. Write the Room
You realize write the rooms are just a different way to show off task cards right? Rather than all the cards being in one spot, they're everywhere. It gets the kids up and moving and your movers and shakers get some of their wiggles out. Before putting your task cards in a center, take a close look at them and see if your students would be able to complete the tasks while up moving around. Most of the time in my class, the answer is yes.
2. Sensory Bins
You know those clear plastic bins at Target or Walmart with the lids? The ones that are shoebox sized or a little bigger? They make excellent sensory bins--no fancy stands or extra floor space needed. In the fall, I fill one up with leaves, pumpkins, or acorns. At Christmas time, I fill one up with fake snow, ornaments, and snowman embellishments. In the spring, Easter grass and plastic eggs fill our bins. Mix your task cards in and you have one super engaging center.
Will the kids play with the "stuff?" Probably. Will they play so much they forget to work? Probably not. If you set the expectation that they must complete the task cards before really enjoying the bin, you will have so much engagement you won't believe your eyes. Do I do this all the time? No. It's just too much. Do I use the most challenging task cards in this station? Absolutely not. I like excitement, but we also have to be real.
3. Cute Containers
By this I mean, those super cute, seasonal things at the Dollar Spot are really not a waste of money. Several years in a row, I have used cloth gift bags I've found at Christmas time to hold cards. I've used little cookie tins, Easter baskets, Valentine mailboxes, Halloween baskets, Christmas stockings, lunchbox tins, and all kinds of things to hold cards. You won't believe how excited students are to add two-digit numbers from a stack of task cards in a stocking.
4. Make a Gallery Wall
Find some cute frames or make some with unused border. Display cards on the wall like a picture gallery. You could even put a tree cutout on the wall and hang the pictures from the branches. (This is an OLD picture from my first year teaching. Cards can be placed on the leaves.) The simple novelty of this is gets your students much more engaged than placing cards in plastic baggies.
I love this game for reviewing skills as a whole group. Each student has a card--something simple like math equations, or a word or definition. Students walk the room while music plays. When the music stops, they find a partner and quiz each other on the material on the card. After both partners quiz and answer, they trade cards. The music starts again and the process repeats. You can watch a video about how this is done here.
Task cards can be powerful learning tools, but everything needs a little novelty now and then. I hope these ideas will help you in the classroom to keep things interesting and your students on task. What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments. Have a wonderful week and stay cozy!