Monday, February 1, 2016

Differentiating Instruction With Task Cards

Task Cards....oh how I love thee! Task cards are an amazing teaching resource I could not live without it! They are engaging, easy to prep, versatile and my kids get excited when we use them. They are one of my go to resources for all subjects!

I LOVE using task cards in my classroom!! They provide such a versatile way to review skills quickly and in a meaningful way. My students love to grab a set of cards and a recording sheet. Sometimes they work with a partner. Sometimes they work independently. Sometimes we work on them as a whole class. But no matter how they are being used, the kids are engaged and learning!

To help differentiate my instruction, I make sure whatever skill I am working on with my students is asked in different ways and at different levels. Some of the cards contain multiple choice responses. Sometimes they need to fill in the blank. And sometimes the answers are open-ended and they need to write a sentence or explain their reasoning.

Just this week, we reviewed cause and effect skills. I had the kids work in groups of four to discuss and reason their answers with one another. Each group received 3 task cards. After 4 minutes, they rotated to the next table together and completed 3 different cards. Once they had rotated through the tables, we met as a whole group and discussed the answers they came up. It was great to see them working together, justifying their answers, and explaining their reasoning.


1. Fast Finisher Activity- Place cards in a bin with recording sheet or hang them on hooks so students can easily access them.

2. Small Group Work- I like using task cards as review instruction in small groups. I give each student 2 or 3 cards so quickly assess their understanding and reteach where necessary.

3. Whole Group Instruction- I project the cards (see below) for everyone to see. They record their answers on their sheet and then we review the answers together. Usually I will have students come up and model/explain their thinking for other students to see.

4. As a Center- Similiar to a fast finisher activity, I place the set of task cards with recording sheet in a bin. Students easily access the materials and complete the activity.

5. Read the Room or I Spy Activity- During this activity, I post the cards of a specific skill around the room. Then I give each student a recording sheet. They students don't have to do the cards in order. They just need to make sure they get to each one. I like this activity because students can work on it at their own pace. Sometimes I leave the cards up for a day or two before we review the answers together. This takes pressure off those students that may need more time to complete them.


I keep all my task card sets on metal rings. I hang the skills we are working on, along with a few review concepts on hooks in my classroom. This makes it easy for the kids to independently grab what they need to work on. When they are finished, the find the corresponding answer sheet, I keep in our task card binder and correct their work. When we work on a set as a whole group, I project the cards for everyone to see. Then, they record their answers on the provided student recording sheet. We always discuss our answers and correct as we go.

Are you ready to start using task cards in your classroom? To help get you started, I have this set of task cards as a FREEBIE for you to try out. If you love using them in your classroom, as much as I do, head over to my TpT store and check out all my MATH and ELA task card sets to help differentiate your students' learning.