A Teacher’s Play Card

We are full-on in basketball mode at my house as the season started a few weeks ago and my husband had his first game last night (got the W!!) We love letting our boys come early and give them a chance to play behind the scenes before the game. While we were hanging out, my husband showed me his play card he created that he keeps in his pocket during games. He showed me the categories of man sets/defenses, zone, specials, etc. and was explaining that while he obviously knows the plays, when the game gets heated, it’s nice to have this on hand. He said he looks at it for reference of what he’s already called, what would work best in the moment, and also as reminders for plays to call. I started to think, why don’t we have play cards as educators? When we’re in the heart of a lesson, it would be so helpful to have something simple to remind us of ways to bring more student voice, intentional movement, or higher level questioning to the lesson without additional prep. And, just as my husband mentioned it helps him to visually be reminded of what he’s already called, it could help in teaching to vary the strategies for engagement.

Here’s the updated version below with strategies I’ve used/blogged about, researched, and experienced myself. Most are hyperlinked to more detail and explanation, so if you’re not familiar with the strategy, you can read about it first. There is also a QR code that links straight to this play card so you can access from your phone.

Download the Play Card Here

Download an editable template here

Screen Shot 2020-04-09 at 1.39.20 PM

Finally, after a conversation with our Leadership and Well-Being department, I shared my play card idea and we decided to create this SEL version with resources from CASEL. We will be handing these out to our schools during SEL trainings and I’m excited for what they will bring to teacher’s plans.



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About ashleytaplin

I am a secondary math specialist in Texas. I taught for 8 years before becoming a specialist in 2017. I graduated in 2009 with my Bachelors in Arts in mathematics from Trinity University. In 2010, I graduated with my Masters in Arts in teaching also from Trinity. In the summer of 2013, I traveled on a Fulbright scholarship to Germany and learned a lot about curriculum, diversity, and differentiation. I love empowering teachers to build on their strengths and helping students make connections to what they're learning. When I’m not working, you’ll find me with my two boys and my husband who is a teacher and coach. We love exploring the city and enjoying foods.