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Math Task Cards

If you are anything like me, you have piles and piles of math task cards in your classroom. They can be handwritten ones, they can be TpT resources or even TpT Freebies! But the question is, how do you use them in your classroom? Here are a few of my favorite ways to implement math task cards in my classroom.

Mini-Lesson

These are great to have on hand to do some quick practice, to pick problems to use for your lesson, or to give to ALL students and have one or two students to explain how they solved them. I will keep them handy to help review old skills and I will add one or two new problems from that days’ lesson to introduce them to the new skill. They will all attempt it, then we talk about various strategies to solving the problem, then we fix our math notebooks to make sure we picked an accurate way to solve the problem that we will then practice throughout the rest of the day.

Math Talk

Picking one or two of these problems as your “math talk” problems can be a great way to talk about brainstorming various ways to come up with the correct solution to the same problem. I usually try to pick a more challenging problem for this, and then give students time to work either independently or with a small group to come up with your solutions, then we talk as a class about all the solutions that we can use.

Small Group

I love using task cards in small group because it is a great way for all students to be practicing the same skill while working on different problems that are already prepped for you. I will give each person a card, and then when they finish either I select a new one for them or I allow them to select their new problem. When they finish their problem, they just give me a quick and silent thumbs up, then I check their work and allow them to move on to the next one.

Independently to Work on Specific Goals

If the whole class has gotten a topic, and one or a few students are stuck, having task cards on hand for them to keep practicing is a great way for students to get to mastery. I will either have them practice during an independent workshop, OR I will have them practice for a warm up at my back table. This is a great way to teach students to be self-monitoring their work. I tell them what they need to work on and check back in frequently, expecting them to come tell me when they think they have finally mastered that skill.

Write the Room

If your whole class needs review or is working on the same skill, it can be fun to hide the task cards around your room and have the students find and solve them. I always make it a rule that no more than one person can be at a task card at a time, that way they are not talking to each other or cheating. Sometimes, if it is a newer skill we might work in partners. Students LOVE this and always have so much fun finding the cards and solving them.

Center Based

After we have learned a skill, I will add task cards into student choice bins either for centers or early finishers. I am always surprised at how many students self-select to use task cards rather than other more hands on centers. This is when I will encourage students who are struggling with a skill to pick something they need to work on rather than working on what is easy.

Grab and Solve

Either at my back table or at their own tables, put all the task cards either in a bin or spread out, and have students grab, solve, check and then move on. Sometimes, I will be the one checking, or you can teach them to have their neighbor check it for them.

Enrichment

Task cards are a great way to have quick enrichment activities on hand. After we finish proving we have mastery of the grade-level task, I can easily just whip out task cards with enrichment problems on them for my group to work on. I usually just keep these with my small math group materials, and we will do one to two problems a day. The kids get SO excited about solving these problems.

Test Review

Task cards can be a great, quick, test review. There are many ways to use them, but you can project them whole group, give think time, then talk about solutions to quickly review many skills at the same time with your students.

Around the World

Task cards are a quick way to play the game around the world with your students. Students go “Around the World” trying to solve problems faster than their neighbor and one “winner” will emerge. Students LOVE this game, however, you do need to think about how to differentiate this game for your struggling learners so that they do not feel on the spot and so they have a fair advantage compared to your other learners. I usually will only play this game toward the end of a unit.

Tips:

To keep it easy, I just keep one task card recording sheet in a sheet protector in my students’ desks for the year. This alleviates the need to make ANY copies what-so-ever and then my students know exactly where their answers should go. Snag my free task card recording sheet here!

The first time we use task cards, we always practice whole group so that students know exactly how to use them. We practice going in and out of order, and talk about the importance of putting the correct answer in the correct box. Depending on what the task card is asking them, we always talk about showing all of our work. Whether it is on scrap paper or in their math notebooks, they HAVE to show their work so that if it is incorrect, they can go back and fix it without starting over.

Keep answer sheets handy for quick checks. This will make grading their work so much easier, especially if students are working on different task card sets.

I store all of my task cards with my centers by unit and slowly introduce new task cards as we learn new skills in our classroom. To read more about how I structure my math block, you can read my blog post all about it here.

Are you looking for some math task cards for second grade math?

Many of these tips can be used for ELA too, however, I find myself using task cards much more during math than ELA.

1 thought on “Math Task Cards

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