How I Use Task Cards for Math

I have always loved task cards because they are such great practice, low prep, and easy to implement. But, my middle school students were not as engaged-or focused- with them as my elementary student were. (In elementary, we would do write the room- tape them around the room and it was magic!) So, here are a few simple twists you can add in to make them a little more exciting, and keep students focused on actually solving them and not getting distracted. (:

After passing out an answer document, I always start by choosing a few to complete together. I call this their head start. Then I set a timer for an allotted time. I personally tell my students if you do not finish all of the cards in the time frame, that is okay- but get as many completed as possible. Quality>Quantity.

After the timer is finished, we go over the answers. I use the app Popsicle Sticks (I use the paid version) to boost participation for answers. Students get one point for each correct answer, including the head start we did together.

At the end, students count how many they got correct. This is their number of ‘points’. I then pass out a 100 chart and students can mark off however many points they have. So if they got 14 task cards correct, they get to choose 14 numbers to mark off. This is a huge incentive for accuracy and engagement as they are solving the cards.

After students have marked off their numbners, I make them put their pencils down and hold the 100 chart in their hands. This ensures a fair game! I Google a random number generator for 1-100 and generate a number. If a student has that number marked off, they get a prize. (I usually do candy but you can choose your own reward of course.) I do three numbers personally. If it chooses a number that no student picked, I just don’t count that.

I also use this stragegy for group work. If you do not prefer for students to walk around the room solving task cards taped on the wall, place a few in a bag and do group rotations. YouTube has cute timers! When the timer goes off, rotate the bags. At the end of all the rotations, do the same process. Go over the answers and collect points, etc. The group can decide together what numbers to mark off , & the winning group gets the prize. If I do this method, I just have one winning group- the first group who has a number that is generated.

As I am currenlty teaching summer school, I added a new spin. I am letting students keep thier 100 chart and as we keep doing tihs over the course, they can add to their numbers. Just adding another incentive for getting questions right and collaborating. (: How do you like to add a spin on task cards? I would love to know!

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