Saturday, September 7, 2013

Get Them Moving with Task Cards!

Please give a warm welcome to Heidi of Counting on Words!  She shares how she takes task cards and combines it with movement.  I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did!

The students in the urban school district where I teach spend much of their time away from school playing video games and watching television.  You might think their lack of physical activity would make them perfectly happy sitting at a table in my classroom all day; however, if anything, the students are more restless. It isn’t the sedimentary life style they crave but the entertainment so often associated with it.  In order to reach my most reluctant learners, I can’t just teach them.  I have to entertain them.

How do I manage to entertain them without an acting or theater background?  TASK CARDS!  I’ve been able to find task cards for any topic I teach in my fourth-grade classroom, most of them created by the Queen of Task Cards, Rachel Lynette.  Teacher blogs, Facebook, and Pinterest are full of ideas on how to use task cards in an entertaining way.  Some of my favorites are listed below.

Scoot: In this activity, one Task Card is placed in front of each student.  Students have a set amount of time to answer the question, then at the signal (my Responsive Classroom chime), they grab their answer sheets and “Scoot” to the next seat!  By the time they have made a complete trip around the class, they’ve answered multiple questions without realizing it. My students love this game so much, and they stay on task so they can answer the question and be ready to scoot before the signal!

            Around the Room: This is a lower key version of Scoot, but still has the students moving around the room.  I set this up during lunch or a special by taping the Task Cards around the room.  I place some at eye level, some low to the floor, some on the windows, and some on the side of my desk.  Students move about the room in a random order and answer the questions at their own pace, as no signal is used for this activity.  My only rule is that there can’t be more than two students waiting for a card; they must find an empty spot each time. 

Go to Your Corner (Go to Your Side):  I often use Rachel’s “Would You Rather” cards when I have a few minutes between classes or activities.  I read one of the cards and assign sides of the room to each choice.  For example, I might pick a card with the question, “Would you rather be able to fly or be able to turn invisible?” Then, I ask students to stand on one side of the room if they’d rather be able to fly and another side if they’d rather be able to turn invisible.  I ask two or three students on each side why they made that choice, as this gives us a chance to learn things about each other while getting out of our seats for some movement.  This same activity can be used with any multiple-choice Task Card set, so that students are able to choose a section of the room corresponding to each answer choice.


There are many ways Task Cards can be used to practice the skills you need to teach, while at the same time entertaining students and getting them active!



I am a fourth-grade teacher in Euclid, Ohio, and am currently in my 28th year of teaching.  In addition to fourth-grade, I’ve taught fifth-grade and worked as a technology resource teacher.  I started my own store on TeachersPayTeachers in February 2013, to share my love of graphics, fonts, and creating my own resources. My teenage daughter came up with the name of my store, Counting on Words, because I create products for both reading and math.  You can follow me at: Counting on Words.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

THanks for featuring Heidi! I have the pleasure of working with her, and use many of her ideas. I cannot wait to use Scoot this year!

Terri Vogt said...

Thank you Heidi! I train adult employees for a large state agency. I find that many of the tips and activities teachers use for their younger students transfer well into the adult classroom. Therefore, I am always looking for new ideas from K-12 classroom teachers. If you are interested, I will let you know how I transfer some of your ideas into adult learning.

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