Have you heard of music theory task cards? They are exactly what the sound like- cards with tasks on them! They come in sets so that you can target a specific skill, standard, or subject. Task cards are fun alternative to worksheets because they have so many uses. We have enjoyed using them to make music theory FUN in our band classes. Hope these ideas for use will inspire you too! You can easily make your own or if you want to save time, check out some of our ready-to-print sets HERE.
1.) Scavenger Hunt/”Write the Room” Activity
Simply spread all of the cards around your classroom (or tape them along the wall or lockers) and give each student a blank worksheet to record their answers on. Have them work individually (or in pairs) walking around the room, answering as many cards as possible during the class period. You may offer a prize to the person/team that has the most correct answers by the end of class! Notice in the pictures below, the cards vary in theme depending on the season and time of year. It’s fun to add some seasonal fun to the band room!
2.) “Fast Finishers” Activity
If you are going down the row listening to students play one a time, once a student is finished playing you could give them 5-10 task cards. The students could simply record their answers on a sheet of paper. This keeps idle hands busy while the director is working with other students.
3.) Play SCOOT!
Have students sit in their regular chair. Give each student a blank sheet to record their answers and distribute the task cards so that each student has a card at their chair (or music stand). Students begin answering the card that is on their own stand. After an appropriate amount of time (maybe 1-2 minutes) the teacher says “SCOOT!” And all of the students move to the next chair, where a new card awaits them. Continue until every student has completed every card (or until you run out of time).
If you multiple task cards sets that cover different music theory concepts, consider placing them in centers around the room and kids can rotate through them. An idea could be a note name station, musical symbols/terms station, and a rhythm station. Centers give students an opportunity to work with their peers in a fun way and offer a good change of pace from the usual beginning band theory routine. Small white boards are a fun addition to centers if you have them. We all know how much students love to write on whiteboards!
5.) Board Game
You can use these with almost any board game such as Checkers, Connect Four, Chinese Checkers, etc. Students must answer the question on the task card correctly before taking a turn. Many band programs have a game day right before a holiday break. This would be a fun addition to your game day!
6.) Display on Projector
All of our Band Directors Talk Shop Task Card Sets come with a convenient PowerPoint version where you can project every single card in a large slide show format. This works great for a large class theory review or a sub plan. Simply pass out blank answer sheets to the students and then click through the slide show presentation. The students simply record their answers on the worksheet. Another idea is to project one task card daily and have the students answer the question at the beginning of class.
7.) Quiz Game
There are so many types of games that come to mind when it comes to quizzing students. One of our favorites is called “King/Queen of the Hill.” For game play, the students line up in 2 single file lines. One line is team “A” and the other line is team “B” and the two teams are competing against each another. At the start of the game, the teacher will hold up one task card and the two kids at the front of each line shout the answer when they have it. Whoever blurts out the correct answer first gets a point for their team and then they go to the end of the line. Then, the game repeats with the next 2 students at the front of the line. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins the game!
8.) White Board Activity
Let’s face it- students LOVE to write on our whiteboards. Why not give them an opportunity to write on them AND practice music theory with a fun game? You can tape your task cards (or shown below are word wall posters) and have the students record their answers below the cards. Simple, quick, fun and very little prep is required.
9.) Small groups
Small group learning is great for concepts that are more challenging and may require some discussion. Consider putting some stronger theory students in a small group with students that are struggling so that they can “re-teach” to the students in their assigned group.
10.) Seat Work
Another option for task cards is that you could place a handful of cards in baggies that students take back to their seats to work on individually. This is also a good idea for audition days, where kids have to be quiet for long periods of time. This gives them something to do while waiting that is both fun and productive.
11.) Laminate and Use Dry Erase Markers
A fun idea is to laminate your task cards, then have students use dry erase markers to write their answers on the card. Then, erase the answers and start over again. This is a great idea for centers.
12.) Sub Plan Activity
Consider adding some task card activities to your sub lesson plans for a fun activity when you’re out. With a little advance preparation, you can set up a scavenger hunt activity for your students. Or, if you have no time to prep, consider some of our pre-made task cards and PowerPoint slide show sets HERE! The slideshow can be projected from one computer for the entire class and the students record their answers on their worksheet. Our sets include answer keys so it’s easy grading for a non-music sub. Also, need more band sub plan ideas? You can find many quality band director sub plans in our SUB PLANS BUNDLE!
We hope you’ve gotten some fresh, new ideas for incorporating music theory task cards into your classroom! It is easy to make your own, but if you would rather purchase some print-ready versions (PowerPoint slideshows & student worksheets included) check out the MUSIC THEORY TASK CARDS in the Band Directors Talk Shop TPT Store!
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