I use a lot of task cards in my classroom and LOVE them! But when it comes to organizing and storing them... well, not so much.
Here are the main issues I have with my task cards:
They get mixed up with other sets of cards.
The kids bend them.
They write on them.
They don't put them away.
Cards go missing.
I've tried so many different methods of organizing my task cards in an attempt to limit these little problems. Here's what works and what doesn't...
Don't Waste Your Time
Manila envelopes are cheap but get ruined very quickly. The clasps fall off and the envelopes get ripped. I also don't like not being able to see what's inside.
Rubber bands keep the cards together but then disappear. Usually one of the kids has taken it to shoot across the lunchroom.
Plastic sandwich bags let you to see the cards but they also rip easily. The kids usually don't get them zipped up correctly either and the cards end up falling out.
Book rings do hold each set together nicely. The downside is that you have to punch holes in your cards and the rings are expensive. Plus storing them is awkward with a big ring on one corner.
Plastic boxes with dividers like this...
This works pretty well for storing cards because you can easily flip through and see what sets you have. But, it isn't a great solution when you want to put the cards out in centers. You wouldn't want to set the whole box out because then you've got kids digging through it to get the set they want or mixing the cards up. The means you have to find something else to put the cards in when you want to leave them out at centers. This box worked okay for a while, but I didn't really like it.
Individual plastic envelopes were my next idea. I got these from Amazon:
Not bad, right? The good is that you can see through them and they're very sturdy. They're also pretty easy to store. I stood them up in a small basket and just pulled them out as needed. I could pop a couple envelopes into a center and the kids could easily clean them up. The string closure is pretty easy to deal with too.
The only thing I don't love about these is that they're kind of expensive if you have a lot of task cards (about $1.25 each).
So I've been on the lookout for something better and I finally hit the jackpot...
My #1 Task Card Storage Solution
So here it is... are you ready? Little 4x6 photo albums. They are PERFECT in every way!
They are cheap (98 cents at Walmart).
They keep the cards in order.
The kids can't bend them, write on them, or lose them.
They fit perfectly into a small basket.
You can tell what's inside because you can put a cover in the front sleeve.
What I absolutely LOVE about these is that a student can simply take an album and work through the cards by just flipping the pages. No finding which one comes next or having to put them back the right way.
You can even let them write on the cards through the sleeve with a dry erase marker. It wipes right off!
Most of these little albums have 24 pages. So you can fit up to 48 cards in each one. I like to use the last sleeve for an answer key. You just have to train your students to use it for CHECKING their work, not peeking at the answers instead of DOING their work.