I needed an alternative to morning work. My students enter the classroom between 7:30 and 8:00. Having to find a worksheet or activity every morning that some kids finished and some kids didn't was driving me nuts! It wasn't until my friend Fishyrobb suggested using task cards when my whole morning routine changed (check out her TPT store, she's amazing).
Why had I not thought of this before? Now, I use one math task card set for the week. I sort the cards out in the morning, put on some fun music, and get the kids up, moving, and learning.
|Students start the morning with task cards.|
Benefits of using task cards for morning work
Most of the task cards I make now are self-checking. I love this because it gives instant feedback and lets me know right away which students I need to help. Of course, students are expected to show their work in their notebooks so just copying the answers isn't an option. I don't have to wait to grade papers to see who to pull into small groups. That makes me very happy.
|Fold back the answer tab, glue, and laminate for self checking.|
With morning work task cards, the vibe of room is just different. Like I said before, I put on some music, usually a pop instrumental, and the kids get out of their seat and move to the task cards. I encourage kids to work together and talk about their work. The engagement is so much higher and it sets the tone for the day.
|Engagement...with a bow.|
Most task cards vary in difficulty. Higher achieving students can gravitate (usually with guidance) towards the more difficult problems. Students who need more support can work on easier problems which will scaffold them towards the harder problems. Knowing who my struggling students are, I can easily check in with them to see if they need help. If my higher achieving students get "finished" with the cards or do not seem engaged, I ask then to create some task cards that they feel would challenge other students.
The drawback of morning work task cards is that you have to have a collection of task cards to choose from. There are task cards kits you can buy from companies like Lakeshore that cost anywhere from $29.99 up to $85.00. Personally, I would start with TeacherPayTeachers.com. There are free task cards or task card packs around $2.50 or $3.00 and they are made by teachers like you.
Here are links to the task cards from this blog. Click on the image for more information: