Secret Mission Cards

Your mission should you choose to accept it…

Who isn’t excited at the thought of a secret mission – even if it is in the classroom!

The secret mission cards are a resource that I created with specific students in mind, I think students are often the inspiration behind creative resources! All students have their own unique strengths, areas for improvements and targets. These targets could be related to behaviour, effort, literacy and so on. A way to help individual students focus on their targets and make progress in the lesson is through the fun secret mission cards.
I created a class set of secret mission cards for the different individuals in that class. Examples include the following;

  • Your secret mission this lesson is to answer three questions during class discussions. You must try to answer clearly and confidently when you think you know the answer.
  • Your secret mission this lesson is to make sure all written work is completed. To do this you must stay focused in class to keep your eye on the prize!
  • Your secret mission this lesson is to think of three questions to ask, that you would like answered and that link with the lesson.
  • Your secret mission this lesson is to spell all key words correctly. To help you in this mission you can use a dictionary, check with a peer or your teacher.
  • Your secret mission this lesson is to ensure that you have used capital letters correctly throughout your written work.
  • Your secret mission is to find out extra information about this topic and report back to the class next lesson with your findings.

The tasks can vary with each student ranging in difficulty, to suit the ability and needs of the individual. This is a really engaging method to help students achieve their target and the card acts as a reminder throughout the lesson what they need to do. I have also connected the School Vivo system with this task, to reward students who achieve or have tried their very best to complete their secret mission.

I trialled these cards a few years ago with one of my more challenging classes and first shared the idea on Twitter in March 2015. Although I originally created the cards with one specific class in mind, I then used different secret mission cards with other students in other classes, that had the same or similar targets. Another option I decided to explore was to use the secret mission cards with individual students. So not everyone in the class had a secret mission card, just certain students that I had been working with to provide further support or challenge. This can be given to them prior to the lesson or in a very subtle way in the lesson.

The students responded really well to this as there is a secretive and exciting element to the task. I have used this with key stage three classes but I know other teachers who have used this successfully in Primary Schools. After using the cards I then asked for students to provide feedback and reflect on their mission, to find out if they think the task helped them to progress, with lots of students their mission was accomplished!

My updated secret mission cards were created using the Typorama app. A blog post with Mark Anderson @ICTEvangelist sharing ten teaching and learning ideas using Typorama, can be found here. Teachers can download my secret mission cards but I suggest thinking very carefully about your students and personalising the cards to help them progress. Lots of teachers have created their own Secret Mission cards with some creating them for other teachers to complete as part of their professional development! Here is a link to 50 T&L Secret Mission cards created by Victoria Hewett aka @MrsHumanities to use with your colleagues, good luck!

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. If you’ve been inspired by any of these ideas I’d love to hear from you to find out how you’ve taken them / adapted or remixed them and used them in your classroom. Please feel free to follow my blog and leave comments below or why not just drop me a message on Twitter.

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