Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are Task Boards useful in the classrooms ?

In New Zealand, a lot of teachers especially those who teach the Juniors--Year 1 to Year 6, use task boards to help them manage their class. The task boards are essentially a list of rotation activities that the children can do while the teacher carries out his/her micro teaching groups. Why micro-teaching? Well, the little children can not handle whole class teaching. They get lost easily and many can't bear listening to a teacher talking in front of the class for a long duration of time. The next reason which could be a more valid reason is that the children are of different abilities or levels right across the curriculum areas from reading and maths and social studies. Because of this, the children are sorted into different ability groups and hence there are small groups teaching.

How do task boards work ? Well, the children's names are listed under the names of the activities and when they are asked to change activities, they look at the chart and go to do the appropriate actitivities. In this way, all children have something meaningful to do while waiting for their turn to be called to the teacher.

When I first started teaching in my first few years, I had found that the task boards were extremely useful in the year one classes. Children at this level,--five year olds, found all activities helpful and kind. Nowadays, I have progressed so much in use of integration of e-learning that I have found the constant interruption of the rotation cycle actually break the link in e-learning. Many children are not happy to leave the computers to do another activity that is listed. Many have found out that going back to the computers later on is just not so cool because the original ideas have gone from their heads. Because of this, I have modified the task boards in a way that the children ar allowed on the computers till they have finished the projects.

I have also changed the way the task boards work. The task boards that are just lists of things on the charts that the children can do. They are encouraged to choose wisely --like attempting different activities, never overcrowd an activity (Max:4 persons). So far, this is working and I am happy that there is flexibility.


Wm Chamberlain said...

I love the ability for the students to have options and for them to have an amount of time to do their computer work that is more suited to their needs. I have often wondered if this type of small group work could be successful with younger students, now I know. Thanks for the insightful post.

Anonymous said...

I have used task boards for junior students before, but now have to do the same with Year 7 & 8 students.
If anyone has any ideas it would be really helpful as I am not sure how they are going to take it it and what ideas will and won't work.