All of the latest research points toward the effectiveness of differentiation for learning. But figuring out how to differentiated can sometimes be tricky. If you are trying to differentiate the learning environment in your classroom, why not try task cards? We all know that not every student learns the same way; therefore, we need to design lessons and tasks that are based on our student’s learning styles.
Task cards are just what they sound like. They are cards that have tasks on them for the students to complete. Task cards can be made to target any learning objective you want studied. They can be used for grammar, math practice, word problems, parts of speech, historic events, science principles, and more.
Task cards are a wonderful alternative to worksheets, and the students love them because each card focuses on only one task. Imagine that you are a struggling student being given an entire worksheet to complete. You would probably feel very overwhelmed. However, if the tasks on that worksheet were given to you one at a time, you might feel a sense of accomplishment when one task is completed before moving to the next one.
Digital Task Cards with Google
Digital task cards are basically the same thing as a paper task card except they are, of course digital. Students can access and complete the task cards from any computer or device.
A task card will usually include a title and a number and perhaps instructions, definitions, or examples. A border and clip art can be included to jazz up the task card. Let’s take a look at two sample digital task cards I created in G Suite. You will see how easy it is to differentiate and scaffold instruction with these task cards.
Part of Speech Google Task Cards
This set of task cards was created in Google Slides. Students select the part of speech by highlighting the correct choice option. They can complete any or all of the task cards. Give them some choice.
Along with your task cards, you can include Challenge Cards that might include open-ended questions or require longer responses. The last card in this example is a challenge card that requires the student to actually type out the part of speech that appears in the sentence.
If students need to answer questions verbally, these cards can easily be replicated in Google Docs. That way, students can use the voice typing tool to speak their answer choices.
Get your own copy of the Google Slides Task Cards template here – Google Slide link.
Drawing Conclusions Google Drawing Task Cards
Give your visual learners a few task cards to complete that enable them to draw their answers. Drawing helps students visualize their learning. For some students, a picture really is worth a thousand words. This set of task cards was created in Google Drawings. Students read the scenario, come to a conclusion, and then draw their answer utilizing the drawing tools. There are two different task cards in this example; however, you can create them with fewer or more cards.
Get your own copy of the Google Drawings Task Cards template here – Google Drawings link.
Using Digital Task Cards in the Classroom
There are many different ways you can use digital task cards in the classroom. Below are just a few:
- Introduce a new topic by sharing digital task cards with groups of students. Have them work on the task cards as a whole group activity and then have one person in the group “share” the completed task cards with you.
- Assess student learning by using digital task cards as exit tickets that you can share with individual students. Again, once completed, the students can then “share” them with you.
- Set up one or two technology stations in your classroom as a center where your students could complete the task cards. This could even be an activity for those students who finish work early.
So Many Possibilities
Digital task cards open up so many possibilities for differentiating and scaffolding in your classroom all year long. They provide students with alternative ways of exploring and expressing key ideas and using key skills. With task cards, students can work independently at their own pace. Different students with different needs and abilities can be given different task cards. Task cards give opportunity for choice and provide a challenge that is just beyond what your students can already do. In addition, they enable students to progress toward stronger understanding and, ultimately, greater independence in the learning process.
If you are looking for even more strategies to use in your classroom, join us for the Innovative Learning Strategies Conference on September 13-14. In addition, don’t forget to join us for our monthly Get Your Google On webinars to learn more ways to use Google to differentiate for your students.
Do you or your staff need more training in effectively differentiating for all learners? TCEA can provide onsite, customized workshops for you at a very reasonable price. And each attendee will also receive a complimentary one-year membership in TCEA, allowing him/her to continue the learning the entire year. Contact Dr. Bruce Ellis for more information and a quote for your staff development needs.