5 Reasons Why I Love Using Task Poke Cards

Can I be honest for a minute? Constantly creating effective and engaging lessons can be exhausting. I can't be the only one who feels this way, right? That's why I always love it when I come across a good activity that can be used in many different ways that my students love. Enter Poke Task Cards! These fun and engaging task card activities (with a twist) check all the boxes!

Task Poke cards are a great addition to your lesson plans! Use these tips and tricks to make the most of using task poke cards in your classroom today.

What Are Task Poke Cards?

Task cards are a set of cards that have tasks or questions written on them. They can target a specific subject area, standard, or skill, or include a variety of skills. Generally, each card has a single task on it which is really great to keep students focused on the problem at hand. 

So how is a poke task card different from a regular task card?  Glad you asked!  Poke task cards are an interactive way to use task cards that make them self-checking.  This allows students to work independently and get immediate feedback on their answers.  

Task poke cards like these help you target specific skills you want your students to practice and help your students self-check their answers.

By using a pencil, pipe cleaner, straw or other "poker" students will mark their answer in the card by poking the item through the hole.  Then, they can turn the card over to see if they are correct. Poke cards are a great way to add some fine motor practice into your activity too! 

5 Reasons I Love Using Poke Task Cards

I could go on and on for days about my love for poke task cards in the classroom, but I narrowed it down to my 5 favorite reasons. Before long I'm sure you'll be able to add a few to this list yourself.

1. Quick & Easy Prep

Who doesn't love an activity that doesn't take hours to prep? Nobody has time for all that. That's the beauty of Task Poke Cards. All you have to do is copy, mark the answer on the back, laminate, and punch holes. Voila - all done! Now you are ready to go for years to come. It doesn't get much quicker and easier than that! 

Task poke cards like these are no prep meaningful activities you can use to review a variety of skills throughout the school year.

These cards are easy to sort and store in a small pencil box or zip-lock bag.  You can store them in your teacher's cabinet or bin for easy access throughout the year.  Label the outside of the bag or box with the skill and you'll be able to pull just what need. For example, if you're hoping to target some phonics skills during center time, this set of review poke cards is just the thing you need! Students will work on vowel teams, beginning and ending blends, digraphs, and more! 

2. Self-Checking

Activities that can become self-checking are always at the top of my list. There are so many benefits to a self-checking activity for students. Instant gratification is key given the world we live in today. In today's fast-paced world, our students are used to having everything at their fingertips. 

Immediate feedback is also important to help students learn skills correctly.  If a student spends 15 minutes in a center practicing incorrectly and doesn't learn of their mistake until a later time, we have essentially helped them move that incorrect skill through the learning process. Not a goal we have as teachers!

Task poke cards like these are self-checking giving students the opportunity to learn on the spot and make adjustments as necessary.

However, by allowing students the opportunity to immediately see the correct answer, we provide them with opportunities to move towards mastery.  If a student is correct, they continue what they are doing.  If they are incorrect, they can immediately stop, see the correct answer, and learn from this mistake.  This gives them opportunities to try again or ask for help.  A much better alternative than just practicing the wrong way. Self-checking activities allow students to self-monitor and make adjustments along the way. 

Any task cards are easy to make self-checking by simply putting the answers on the back of the cards and punching a hole for all the answer choices.  Sure, it's an extra step but well worth the time!

3. Task Poke Cards Are Versatile

You may be wondering what I mean by that. Well, they can pretty much be used for any subject or topic that you can imagine. Some subjects I have used task poke cards with include math skills such as place value, grammar skills such as contractions, and even phonics skills such as ending blends. Aside from targeting different skills, poke cards are also perfect for different times during the day. They're great for: 

Whole Group

This was always a class favorite in my room. We would play "Scoot!" using Task Poke Cards. All you have to do is place a task card on each student's desk and have them rotate (or scoot) around the room completing the task cards. They can carry a clipboard and recording sheet for their answers. Another twist on using Task Poke Cards for whole group instruction would be to display a card on your board or projector and have students answer on their whiteboards using "showdown." This is a great way to quickly assess their progress.

Independent Practice

Task cards are great for completing independently at a student's desk. In fact, they are ideal for early finishers. I always loved to keep a few decks of task cards in my early finisher bucket. My students couldn't wait to grab a set and get busy! 

Use a photo box like this to store your task poke cards making them an easy to access activity for independent skills practice throughout the school year.

Another idea to use them independently is to send a deck home for extra practice. This is a great way to make sure none of your kiddos are getting left behind. Plus, I'm betting your students will enjoy having a hands-on activity to work on instead of a typical homework worksheet!

Group Work

Small group time or centers is always a favorite part of the school day. Task Poke Cards are a great addition to any learning center because students can work together to complete them.  They can also pass around the cards to make it more of an individual assignment. My kids always loved it when I would provide an answer sheet for them to check each other's work.

See what I mean about task poke cards being so versatile?! They are seriously one of the very best hands-on activities! They make great early finisher activities or morning work activities too!  You can't go wrong with adding Poke task cards any time of your day. 

4. Engaging

Engagement can be a struggle,  especially after the first few months of school! Our students quickly fall into a routine and get comfortable enough in their surroundings to lose interest. It's our job to make sure this doesn't happen. 

Task Poke Cards are always an engaging activity no matter how or when you decide to use them. They are bright and colorful which makes them so appealing to your students. Plus, the hands-on learning approach adds another element of fun!

Task poke cards like these keep learning fun and exciting for your students no matter the skill.

Keep them fresh and fun by changing up the "poker."  Adding in a seasonal pencil or creating a decorated set of pokers using pipe cleaners and beads can make the activity fun for students.

You can also change how they are used.  I like to occasionally go from a one-person activity to a partner activity.  When we do poke cards in partners, one person holds up the card so that their partner sees the question and answer choices.  The partner reads the question and puts the poker through the hole.  Then the person holding the card lets them know if they were right.  The anticipation of which answer they will choose is enough to make this activity a favorite!  Students take turns holding cards as they work through the task cards.

5. Fun Reinforcement

We know that all lessons and skills require reinforcement. The most obvious way to do this is with worksheets, but nobody wants to be drowning in them all day every day. Poke Task Cards offer students opportunities to get in the repeated practice that is necessary to reach mastery.  

Did you know that people, on average, need 17 repetitions of a skill or concept to move something into long-term memory?  And that's just for a simple task they understand.  Now consider how much more they need to practice something that is a brand new, challenging skill! Repetition is so important to the learning process and task cards are a great way to get that in!

Your students will look forward to targeted skills practice when using interactive learning materials like these task poke cards.

Speaking of repetition, I think you'll find they come in especially handy for topics that tend to lack engagement factor and require lots of practice, such as fact families. We all know that students need lots of opportunities to master these, and having a fun poke card activity certainly helps!  

Try Poke Cards for Free!

I hope you are excited about using Poke Cards in your classroom! I told you they were great! I'd love for you to try them out in your classroom so you can really see and experience all they have to offer.  I can't wait for you to use Task Poke Cards in your classroom! I'm sure you will quickly grow to love them as much as I do. 

Grab these Tens and Ones Poke Task Cards today!  They are the perfect review activity any time of the year.

Grab this Tens and Ones Place Value task poke cards FREEBIE to use in your classroom today.

More Poke Cards for Your Classroom

Over the years I have created many different Poke card sets for a variety of skills and concepts.  You can see them all in my store on TPT.  No matter what skill you're looking to target, there's a little something for everyone! 

Save These Poke Task Card Tips and Ideas

Be sure to save this to your favorite classroom activities Pinterest board so you can come back to them when you're ready! 

Looking for ways to keep learning fun and hands on in your classroom this year? Incorporate the engaging task poke cards into your lesson plans for hands-on, self-checking, no-prep, skills practice your students will be excited to use over and over again. #thechocolateteacher #taskpokecards #pokecardsintheclassroom #taskpokecardideas

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