A task card library makes all the difference!
You know that every student is unique and has their own learning style. While some may thrive in a traditional classroom setting, others may need a more self-paced approach to absorb and retain new information. That’s where a task card library can be a game-changer.
What is a task card library, you may ask? It’s a collection of task card sets containing specific tasks or activities for students to complete. These tasks can range from language-based exercises to problem-solving challenges. They can be used in various settings, including one-on-one tutoring sessions or small group work. A self-serve task card library is your collection you draw from, and your students browse to select what they want to work on. But perhaps you’ve never heard of using task cards in adult ESL?
Real-Life Applications of Task Cards in the Adult ESL Classroom
One of the great things about task cards is that they can be used to teach a wide range of skills and concepts, from vocabulary and grammar to problem-solving and critical thinking. Here are a few examples of how they can be used in the adult ESL classroom, especially once you’ve started your self-serve task card library:
There are many ways that task cards can be used to introduce and reinforce new vocabulary words in the adult ESL classroom. Here are a few examples of task card activities that can help students learn and remember new vocabulary:
- Matching: Create task cards that ask students to match vocabulary words to their definitions. You could use this activity to introduce new words or to review words that have already been taught.
- Sentence creation: Create task cards that ask students to use the new vocabulary words in sentences. This can help students understand how the words are used in context and be a great way to practice their writing skills.
- Word associations: Create task cards that ask students to come up with associations for the new vocabulary words. For example, if the word is “book,” students might brainstorm words like “author,” “library,” or “pages.” This activity can help students to better understand and remember the new words.
Task cards can be a valuable resource for practicing and reinforcing grammar concepts in the adult ESL classroom. Here are a few more ideas for using task cards to practice grammar with your students:
- Identifying errors: Create task cards containing sample sentences with errors. Ask students to identify and correct the errors. This can be a great way to practice proofreading skills and to help students learn to identify common grammar mistakes.
- Creating sentences: Create task cards that ask students to create their own sentences using a specific grammar structure. For example, you might ask them to create a series of sentences using the present continuous tense or sentences using a specific verb tense and subject-verb agreement. This activity can help students to understand how grammar structures are used in context and can also be a good way to practice writing skills.
- Grammar matching: Create task cards that ask students to match grammar concepts with their definitions or examples. This can be a helpful way to review and reinforce key concepts.
- Grammar review game: Create a set of task cards that contain a variety of grammar concepts and examples. Divide the class into teams and have each team take turns drawing a task card and trying to correctly identify the grammar concept it represents. For example, if the task card contains the sentence “She is singing,” the team might need to identify the present continuous tense. The team with the most correct answers wins at the game’s end.
Task cards can be a valuable tool for challenging students to think critically and solve problems in the adult ESL classroom. Here are a few more examples of how task cards can be used to promote critical thinking and problem-solving:
Real-life scenarios: Create task cards that contain real-life scenarios that require students to apply their language skills to solve a problem or make a decision. For example, you might ask students to order food at a restaurant, make a hotel reservation, or request information from a customer service representative. This activity can help students understand how their language skills can be used in practical situations and can be a good way to practice listening and speaking skills.
Brain teasers: Create task cards that contain brain teasers or logic puzzles that require students to think critically and solve problems. For example, you might ask students to identify the relationship between a series of words or sentences. This activity can be a fun and engaging way to challenge students’ problem-solving skills and can also help to improve their critical thinking skills.
Decision-making: Create task cards that ask students to make decisions based on given information. For example, you might ask students to determine the best course of action in a hypothetical situation, such as deciding whether to rent or buy a home or choosing the most cost-effective option for a vacation. This activity can help students develop their critical thinking skills and can be a good way to practice language skills such as reading comprehension and vocabulary.
Resourcefulness: Create task cards that contain problems or challenges that students must solve. For example, you might ask students to determine the most efficient way to study for an English proficiency exam or to develop a plan to solve a cultural misunderstanding between neighbors and then write a plan of action. This activity can help students to think critically and to apply their language skills in a practical setting.
But what makes a task card library such a powerful tool for adult ESL students? Keep reading for just a few of the benefits.
Maximizing Efficiency and Engagement: The Top 5 Benefits of Using a Task Card Library with Adult ESL Students
Task cards offer a customizable learning experience for adult English as a Second Language (ESL) learners, allowing them to tailor their studies to their individual needs and abilities. With this flexible approach, students can browse the task card library and find sets that will allow them to spend extra time on topics they find challenging, such as grammar or vocabulary, while feeling a sense of achievement as they work through the cards.
Additionally, the self-paced nature of task cards can increase student engagement and motivation. For example, an adult learner struggling with verb tenses might benefit from working through a set of task cards that focus on different verb forms, while a student who is looking to expand their vocabulary could use task cards to learn new words and phrases.
Self-serve task card libraries offer adult ESL learners a customizable, self-paced learning experience. By providing answer keys and a wide range of task cards to choose from in your task card library, you give your students the means to take charge of their own learning journey and feel a sense of ownership over their progress. This sense of autonomy can increase motivation and a desire to keep learning and improving. Task card libraries provide a powerful tool for adult ESL learners to make progress at their own pace. With this flexible approach, students can feel confident in their understanding of the material and have a greater sense of accomplishment as they work through the task cards.
A self-serve task card library can be a useful and flexible tool for adult ESL classes. Task cards allow teachers to adapt the lesson to the needs of individual students while still addressing the group’s needs as a whole. They also allow students to personalize their learning by choosing the topic or concept they want to practice. Task cards can be used in various settings and easily adapted to meet the needs of different learners. Students can use them individually or in small groups with minimal preparation required on behalf of the teacher, making them convenient for use in the classroom. The more sets you have in your task card library, the more flexibility you gain.
With the diverse range of activities to choose from in a task card library, students can experiment and discover their favorite tasks or go straight for the practice they know they need to improve in a key area. And with so much variety, boredom will never be an issue. Here are just a few examples of the variety a task card library can offer:
- Conversational prompts to help students practice their speaking skills, with topics ranging from current events to hobbies to personal experiences
- Vocabulary exercises to help students expand their language skills, including definitions of new words and opportunities to use them in sentences
- Grammar practice tasks to help students identify and correct common errors
- Reading comprehension questions to help students engage with and demonstrate understanding of a text
- Writing prompts to inspire creative writing projects and help students develop their writing skills
- Cultural information to introduce students to customs and traditions in English-speaking countries and encourage comparison with their own culture
- Job interview practice tasks to help students prepare for the real thing, with common interview questions to practice answering
- Mindfulness exercises to help students reduce anxiety and stress
Task cards are an excellent way to challenge and engage early finishers in meaningful work. A self-serve task card library offers a range of activities that reinforce and expand upon concepts learned in class, helping to keep students challenged and engaged. This is especially beneficial in mixed-level classes, as it allows you to continue working with students who are learning at the expected pace while providing additional support to those who need it. By building up your task card library, you can ensure that all students have access to appropriate, challenging work that helps them grow and succeed.
Now that you’re (hopefully) thoroughly convinced of the benefits of using task cards in the adult ESL classroom, let’s consider the organization of a task card library. Proper organization will help ensure that the task cards are easy to find and use and aligned with your goals.
Creating and Organizing a Self-Serve Task Card Library
library, but not sure where to start? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered! Here are a few key steps you can follow to organize your task card library and set yourself up for success:
Determine the purpose and goals of your task card library.
Before you begin creating or collecting task cards (or organizing that pile already in your desk drawers), you must clearly understand why you want to use them and what you hope to achieve with them.
This will help you to focus your efforts and ensure that the tasks you include in your library are aligned with your teaching goals.
This doesn’t mean you can’t put fact and opinion task cards with your grammar task cards, but you might want a clear labeling system to make it easy to steer students to the sets that would best meet their needs.
Select or create tasks that are appropriate for your students.
When selecting or creating task cards, consider the level and needs of your students. Make sure the tasks are challenging enough to be engaging but not so difficult that they are beyond the students’ abilities. It can also be helpful to include a variety of tasks that target different skills and concepts, such as vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, and critical thinking. Of course, if you find a set that you love but isn’t right for your students, KEEP it! You’ll probably get the right student(s) for it at some point, and then you’ll be glad you have it!
Organize the task cards by skill or concept.
To make it easier for you and your students to find and use the task cards, consider organizing them by skill or concept. For example, you might create separate folders or binders for vocabulary, grammar, and critical thinking tasks. At this point, you might also want to create a master list or spreadsheet that outlines all the task card sets in your library, including the skill or concept they teach and any relevant notes or instructions. This will make it easier for you to find task cards you need quickly.
And while you’re at the computer or have your fancy color pens out, consider adding a system for tracking which task card sets have been checked out by which students can take home for optional home practice. This can be as simple as making a note on your master list or spreadsheet, or you might want to create a more formal tracking system using software or a spreadsheet. After all, your task card library will not be helpful if depleted because no one returns sets, or you don’t know who has the set you need.
Label and code the task card sets.
Consider labeling and coding to make it easier to track and reference the task card sets. For example, you might label vocabulary sets according to their theme and grammar sets with the specific concept they address, like “present perfect.” Create and assign codes that represent levels. This code might be a number, a letter, or a combination of letters and numbers, or to make it very accessible to students browsing the task card library, use colored dot stickers. You might also want to make a list of all the sets you have and organize it in the same manner. This will help you remember what you have, which will become important as your task card library grows.
Consider using a digital task card library.
If you want to make it possible to access and use your task cards on digital devices, consider checking out the BOOM learning platform. These interactive and often self-checking digital task cards, or BOOM cards, won’t take up any classroom space or get sneezed on.
You’ll find tons of adult ESL BOOM decks in my store on BOOM.
Review and update the task cards regularly.
To ensure that your task card library remains relevant and effective, review and update it regularly. Consider adding new sets, removing outdated or ineffective sets, and revising existing sets as needed. Don’t forget to update your list at the same time.
A task card library is a valuable resource for educators working with adult ESL students. With a wide range of tasks and activities to choose from, task cards can teach various skills, from vocabulary and grammar to problem-solving and critical thinking. Whether used in a traditional classroom setting or for one-on-one tutoring sessions, task cards can provide a self-paced, interactive way for students to learn and retain new information.
So why not give them a try and see how they can help your students succeed in the adult ESL classroom?
Need some task cards to get started or to build up your library? Here are some to consider:
Keep learning more about teaching adult ESL:
- Fall in Love with Task Cards
- BOOM! Digital Resources for Adult ESL
- 9 Practical Reasons to Love Using BOOM cards in Adult ESL
- 3 Easy Hacks that will make Worksheets Exciting!
- Linguistic Investigations: an Incredible Way to Build Student Self-Reliance
- 3 Powerful Reasons to Incorporate Conversational Visits in a Speaking Activity