How to implement a Match Card System in your Classroom

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by teachersk, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

    Jun 1, 2007
    Likes Received:

    Jul 26, 2011

    Okay folks, I know there are several new posters as well as long time posters who are interested in the Match Card System. I figured I'd go through the steps of setting this up in your classroom. Although it can seem overwhelming, it's quite a simple thing that you can implement if you understand the premise behind how it works. I am going to explain all of the steps necessary, but if you already have a general idea, you can skip towards the end.

    Step 1: Independent Work
    Can your students work independently? If so, move to the next step. If not, you will have to do some reading on TEACCH work stations and how they can be implemented in a classroom setting. The TEACCH method of structured teaching is highly effective for teaching skills to students with autism and it also provides them with opportunities to gain independence in the classroom and community.

    If you click on this website from the Watson Intitute, there is a great powerpoint that details how to set up TEACCH work stations in your classroom. If you don't have the means ($$$) to purchase bookshelves, sterlite bins, shelves, dividers, study carrels, etc., you can be creative with your classroom arrangement. You can create a workstation at a table or desk with minimal materials (small shoe boxes or 9x12 envelope boxes can be used to hold tasks). You can even use ziplock bags to hold tasks if you organize them appropriately. Click on "the independent stations powerpoint presentation" to get some good ideas for setting your classroom up for independence!

    (You will note that you see "Autism" in a lot of places... this works for ALL STUDENTS! The only time you will run into challenges is if a child does not have the motor skills to physically lift up tasks or complete them).

    You will also note that you can adapt this to meet your needs. If you have kids who are higher functioning than needing separate "bins" and "boxes" and shelves for their work, you can create something similar using folders, filing systems, etc. I've had kids use "work systems" in their regular education classroom, that simply consisted of a checklist of tasks, followed by organized tasks in a binder (worksheets, etc.)

    Also, if you teach in a regular ed/inclusion/resource type setting, you can use match cards as "independent work" when they finish their assignments ("Go get your match cards to work on") and they can complete their sets of match cards to kill time. Lots of ways it can be done.

    Step 2: Determining Which Tasks to Make
    Basically, you can choose which cards are appropriate for each student. You can start simple by having some generic sets that will work for all students, and you can begin to personalize by making customized sets according to IEP goals.

    Look at your students' IEPs and determine what types of match cards you might be able to use in your classroom. You can pretty much turn any skill into "the Match Card system" if you think about it creatively.

    You essentially need to think of every IEP objective or classroom skill in terms of having a "match" -

    addition problem + solution
    sight word + picture that goes with it
    fraction + visual pie chart or blocks showing fraction
    states + abbreviations
    pictures + words
    numbers + counted objects/pictures
    questions + answers
    identical pictures (match + match)
    identical numbers/letters (match + match)
    months + abbreviations
    months + picture symbols
    words (matching words)
    action words + action pictures
    point of view (sentence "I went home" + first/second/third person)
    even/odd (numbers + even/odd cards)
    rooms in the house (where do we wash our hands? where do we cook? + pictures of rooms of the house)
    family member names + pictures
    .... the list goes on.
    Bethechange posted some samples of her activities here:

    For example:

    The very "simple" version of match cards is just that: matching.
    You can print out flash cards from any website and just print two sets and the child has to pin them all together using clothespins. This is the BEST way to start with kids who have never done match cards before. This is a task that typically takes a little bit of time and the child has to learn how to organize him/herself at his/her desk. I typically start out by teaching the child how to take one pile and lay it out on the desk and take the other pile and begin matching to the cards that are laid out.

    Moving into higher level skills:
    Objective: Answer "who" questions with a "person" response.
    This set of match cards might include several index cards with "who" questions on them, using picture supports if needed for that student. The "answer" cards for the who questions might have pictures of people, but also "distracters" that might not be people. i.e. "Who is our president?" in the pile of answer cards might be a picture of Barack Obama AND a picture of the White House, child would have to select Barack Obama to match to his question.

    __ will be able to read sight words from the Edmark Functional Word Series (Grocery Words) with increasing accuracy.
    This set of match cards might include the Edmark words on one set of cards and the pictures of those words on another set of cards. The objective would be to match the picture to the corresponding Edmark word.

    ___ will be able to answer basic comprehension questions about a text passage or story.
    This set of match cards might go with a specific story. I have made these types of things to go with Weekly Readers and stories I've printed from the internet or made up on my own. I put the story with the bin of match cards. The child has to review the story and then answer the questions using the match cards. You have to be careful that the kids don't memorize the answers - so be sure to not repeat these activities too frequently (unlike other activities where it's good to memorize the answers. :cool:)

    __ will be able to count coins up to $1.00 using one type of coin (i.e. all nickels or all quarters).
    This set of match cards might include one set of answers (coin amounts $0.06) and one set of pictures of coins or drawings of coins (picture of 6 pennies, color copy of five nickels, etc.)

    __ will be able to tell time to the nearest five minutes using a digital or analog clock.
    This is a basic one and would include one set of cards with times listed and one set of cards with pictures of clocks (digital and analog).

    Hopefully, this makes sense with how you can change any IEP goal into a skill that requires "two sets" of cards (question + answer).

    Step 3: Teaching the Skill
    Match Cards are meant to teach a child independence. However, we don't want to start out by giving them skills that they are unable to complete independently. The only skills that should appear in a child's work station are the skills that they have previously shown mastery in prior work sessions. When introducing a new skill to my students, I will show them how it is done. I think it works well to put mastered skills (even if they haven't mastered the FULL skill) into their work station. For example, if a child is learning to read the following words:
    boy, dog, apple, pencil, yellow, stop

    Once he masters "boy" in the teaching session, I can move it to his work station. That means his "reading" bin might only have one set of cards in it (boy + picture of boy) but this helps to maintain the skills and not have them become overwhelming. Eventually, all six words and all six pictures will be in the bin, but for now, we're starting with one. So, you can determine how fast your students learn skills and you can introduce things slowly. Just be sure that the children are only completing tasks in their work stations that they have already mastered with you.

    Some people prefer to teach the skills traditionally (i.e. you can't really "teach" comprehension using match cards) - and then use the match cards to assess this skill. This works, as long as you have taught the skill ahead a time. Just like anything, the kids will make mistakes and that is okay. You can also use discrete trial teaching, group instruction, multi sensory activities, worksheets, etc. to teach skills, and then you can reinforce those skills in their work stations. It's actually best to use several modes of instruction. I have found that kids with autism are such robotic memorizers, so the match card system works as an initial method of instruction - with opportunities to generalize later on.

    Typically, my error correction procedure is to review the cards with the child and prompt them to get the right answers. For the above example, matching pictures and words, if a child had matched the apple picture with the word "boy," I would simply pull those two cards apart and say, "what's this word? boy." and then the child would repeat, "boy," and I would say, "Where's the boy?" and point to it, and let the child get the card to pin it together. Then, the next day, I would be on the lookout for "boy" and make sure it was correct.

    Implementing the Match Cards at Work Stations or During "warm ups" or Independent work Time
    These were designed to be used at traditional "work stations" (TEACCH) in the classroom, however, as I previously discussed, the procedures can be modified to work for a resource room (cards can be filed in students' desks, hung in ziplock baggies on chart rollers, etc.)

    Bethechange had some great pictures posted of how to set up the organization in your classroom. She mentioned "checking out" the match cards for each student, etc. You can see the pictures of her awesome organization here:

    You can select a few sets to place in your students' work areas. Typically, I have three small baskets in their work bin. One has the "questions" cards, one has the "answers" cards, and one has the clothespins. This allows them to sit down and complete their work with organization in front of them. For higher level learners, you can just have a ziplock bag that has clothespins and cards in it. OR you can have the clothespins and the two sets of cards (divided by rubber bands or something).

    Data Collection
    What about taking data? Everyone's favorite. :rolleyes:
    I have found that match cards are very easy to use for data collection. I have a simple sheet for each student that has a chart....

    Objective.....5/5/11.....5/6.....5/7.....5/8 etc. you could also do it weekly if that's more your style....

    Then you would write:
    matching colors...... 80%.....10%......98%

    You can do this after checking their work at their work station, or you can do it via direct observation (i.e. call the students to your desk to demonstrate the skills in front of you or a para).

    I hope that this was helpful. The MediaFire website is so testy lately, not posting my pictures, etc. So, I didn't post any pics in this one because I figured it would just frustrate people if they couldn't see them. Hopefully, I painted a picture for you of what this looks like in a classroom setting.

    As others will tell you, I have found it to be a very successful method of teaching, maintaining, and generalizing most classroom skills.

    Let me know if you have any questions...........:cool:
  3. anewstart101

    anewstart101 Cohort

    May 20, 2006
    Likes Received:

    Jul 26, 2011

    Thank you!

    I have a teacheresk classroom!

    I have implemented morning focus ---
    match cards --

    what else am I missing????

    OMG my students love chips --

    I can do a match cards of their favorite chips ----
  4. alisa

    alisa Rookie

    Jul 25, 2011
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    Jul 27, 2011

    Thank you so much! Looks like I am going to be busy for the next 2 weeks:)
    I've been looking for a while to do something different and I love the color coding.
  5. FLTeacher

    FLTeacher Rookie

    Jul 19, 2011
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    Aug 2, 2011

    Thank you for posting!! I have been catching up with other posters as it has been discussed so much recently, but I appreciate your full description and tips!
  6. manda80411

    manda80411 Rookie

    Oct 27, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Sep 14, 2011

  7. teacher girl

    teacher girl Comrade

    May 2, 2010
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    Sep 17, 2011

    Great Tips I like your posting : ) Very informative and I will ahve to try a couple of these.

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