The first time I tried them was when I was looking for a fun, more engaging way to give a science "test". A lot of my students are movers and don't do all that great with the traditional kind of test, so I wanted to do it differently. I created this awesome set of task cards on habitats and communities to test their knowledge. How did I do it?
I taped the cards all around the classroom and let the students hunt for them. You're probably thinking that this can't possibly have worked as a test! I had two rules: everyone must be completely quiet at all times (otherwise, I assume you're cheating) and only one student per card at a time. Students grabbed clipboards and went hunting.
It was AMAZIING!!! They followed the rules and did their "test" with a smile on their face!! It was a proud moment!
I was even able to adapt this task for my kids with special needs by picking the cards and questions they would answer and circling those numbers on their answer sheet (those were the only cards they were to go to). I also had another group of students who did their "test" in another room, with their own set of cards as they required more time to do the task. Most students took only one 50 minute science block to finish all 32 questions. We then reviewed each question together, using the projector. The feedback I got from students was so great that I knew I had to do this again. When I marked the tests, I also realized that they did a lot better (MUCH better) than I had anticipated. I was instantly hooked on task cards.
I've also used task cards in centers and for early finishers, in math, science, and language. Every single time, students ask for more. They absolutely love them. It's a great way to do paper-pencil-worksheet type work without the actual worksheet.
Here are more of my task cards. I've made other ones for themed days (like Grinch Multiplication Task Cards, but those can't be shared because of copyright laws).
How do you use task cards in your classroom?