Sunday, March 31, 2013

Compound Word Task Card Freebie

I spent my Easter afternoon whipping up a batch of. . .task cards!

Next week, with my 3rd grade RtI group, I am going to spend some time focusing on compound words.  On Monday, we are going to use Easter Eggs to review compound words (definitely not my own original idea...I've seen it several times on the Internet) and then some task cards as well!

Compound words shown up in second grade Common Core standards, but they seem to give my kids trouble.  Knowing common compound words is so crucial because it can really help the students with their fluency and automaticity.  Most often, students know the two words that make up a compound word, but they see a big word and have a hard time looking past it and then stumble when trying to read it.  So we are going to hit them hard this week!

We are going to start with the task cards on Monday.  I bought some awesome graphics from Ashley Hughes during her sale to make these task cards.  Each card has a graphic (like a horseshoe) of a compound word.  I am going to be putting them up on the document camera, and the students will identify the words.  Then, we put a word on each hand and clap them together to make the compound word.  I made a couple recording sheets for the cards, so I will also have them record them as we do them together.

Think you can use these with your students? Download them for FREE here!

Then, we are going to use our leftover Easter Eggs to practice compound words.  When I made these, I focused less on the object compound words (like birdhouse, cupcake, baseball, etc.) and more on other words like therefore, lifetime, somebody, etc.  that are a little bit more abstract.

I got super clever with this one and packed up a bag of goldfish to bring tomorrow.  Every time they get a match, they get a goldfish.  Get it? A goldfish!  It's a compound word!  (I considered bringing in a bag of jelly beans to give the kids if they got one wrong...since it's not a compound word, but every kid seems to make it one...but my hubby pointed out that I was just giving them incentive to get it wrong. True. Very true.)

The rest of the week we are going to focus on the words from this list of compound words.  I am going to be typing up some compound word stories for the kids to practice reading, which will also be free over at my teaching blog, Teaching With a Mountain View, so be on the lookout for those!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Test Prep with Task Cards

If you are new to Task Card Corner, WELCOME!  I am so glad you have joined us.  View THIS post to learn more about my vision!

We took our state assessments at the end of February and beginning of March, but I have received several questions about how I use task cards to prepare for state testing... and it just so happens that we did use them, and we had a blast!  We did test prep stations with task cards for about a week in both math and reading.  The centers were differentiated and they focused on common core strands as well as our former state standards that are still being tested this year and next (even if they aren't a Common Core Standard).

This year I have done several "Passports" for students when we are doing centers, and we stuck with that theme for test prep.  They had a Reading Passport to Success and a Math Passport to Success.

Each group of students got different passports based on what I knew they needed to review, especially in reading.  I had some kids working on higher level Inferential Vs. Literal Comprehension Questions, and some were working on Story Elements.  I used my fabulous Target Dollar Spot buckets and had a big row of buckets all along our back counter (which I didn't get a picture of... oops)!  The kids worked their way through the buckets based on what assignment/skill was on their passports.  In each bucket, they found a variety of different task cards to use to practice the skill.  When they finished working their way through a bucket, they would come find me, I would stamp their passport, and then they would check their answers using the answer keys.  The kids LOVED getting their stamps!

Reading Task Cards for Test Prep

Here is an example of one group's Math Passport.  Keep reading to download an editable version for yourself!
I had a lot of fun with math.  The kids have so many different skill sets and needs that I ended up with four different passports, with some kids reviewing the basics of addition and subtraction and another group working more heavily on fractions and decimals and critical math thinking.  In my mind, I was helping to ensure (hope, pray, fingers crossed) some kiddos would be proficient and giving others a chance to show that they are advanced.

Math Task Cards for Test Prep

There is SO much to cover in math that I didn't use complete sets of cards, but pulled 10-15 from different standards.  You can see here that for Geometry, they worked on Angles task cards, Perimeter & Area Task Cards, and Geometry/Shape Task Cards all in one bucket.

As far as time, I considered giving them a set amount of time at each station, but then I realized that wasn't the most logical idea--if they needed extra reinforcement on a topic, giving them ten minutes to work on it then forcing them to leave it behind wouldn't be the best practice.  So we spent a week of our literacy and math block devoted to completing our cards, and they worked at their own pace.

While the students were working on cards, I had identified areas that I wanted to be sure to hit home and use some of the down and dirty test prep materials with in small groups.  You know the drill-- released items, test prep pages, all of those things that you just HAVE to use so that kids are used to the format of the test.  So, as the students were independently working on their buckets, I saw 3-5 small groups each day, practicing some essential test prep material.  It was lovely!

Now, there were a few sets of cards that I had ALL of my students do, regardless of where they stood academically.  All of them worked on Inference (the inference task cards are differentiated so some groups were doing different cards), Sequencing, and Context Clues task cards in Reading.  In math, they all had to do the Data & Graphing Task Cards, What's My Operation? Task Cards, and Elapsed Time task cards.  These are skills that always seem to be heavily tested and most often taken for granted as having mastered.

Don't Have Time for A Week Long Study Session?

If you don't have time to devote an entire week to review, I highly recommend a set of reading review cards.  I make monthly reading and math skills task cards for my students to use in a variety of situations (morning work, morning meeting, early finishers, quick assessments, homework, etc.), and if you don't have a lot of time, they are a great way to hit the skills fast and furious.  I'm finishing up my April cards now (did you know that April is one of the less interesting months historically?), but you can still use the March cards, too!

Of course, you can use ANY task cards you have for this, but all of the task cards shown above are for sale at my TpT Store.  You can purchase them by clicking on their respective link above: If you are looking for reading task cards, click "Reading."  I will link to my "Must have test prep task cards" below.  If you have any requests for a specific set of task cards that you need for your test prep, let me know, and I'm happy to make custom orders!

Download an editable version of the Reading Passport Here and the Math Passport Here.  Nothing fancy or special, but it did the trick!  (Funny story:  My kids were so disappointed that there was no "fancy border thing" around the passport.  They have been spoiled!)

Must Have Test Prep Task Cards
Grades 3-5

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Welcome to Task Card Corner!

Welcome to Task Card Corner!


  I began using task cards in my classroom several years ago.  I had piled them into bins and baskets and files and never felt that I utilized them like I should.  I spent HOURS creating task cards, and I needed a way to make sure they were available to me and my students whenever we needed them!  So, I created Task Card Corner. 

I blog about Task Cards on my regular teaching blog,  Teaching With a Mountain View, and I get a lot of questions about how I use task cards in my classroom.  After a lot of thought, I decided the answer was simple: an entire blog devoted to teaching and enriching with task cards.  And so, was born, and it's my own little Task Card Corner on the web!  I've had the domain for a few months, considering what I would do with it, and now I think my vision is clear...

On Task Card Corner, I will be blogging about how I use task cards in my classroom (both my own and some other wonderful people who create and use task cards).  I will also make it a comprehensive listing of every single task card set I create (both free and paid) so that it is easy to find exactly what you need, when you need it!  I hope to compile a big list of free task cards as well, just in case you are new to task cards and want to get the hang of it before you invest!

I will be looking for guest bloggers soon--to promote their own free task cards and ways that they use them in the classroom.  If you're interested, email me at !

While the website continues to be UNDER CONSTRUCTION and a work in progress, Check out my task card corner that I've blogged about over at Teaching With a Mountain View.

And while you're at it, check out my Task Card board on Pinterest. (I also have boards for anchor charts, organization, math topics, and so much more!)