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#100 Using Flashcards in your classroom (All)

100 - Getting Flashy! Using Flash cards

Flashcards are a MUST for the Second language communicative classroom. Even for adults, they add the "compulsion" and "necessity" to communicate meaningful information. Further, they can be a game and add spice and curiosity to a lesson. But the $24 question is - How? How if I don't have the money to spend on them nor the resources to get them? Further, even if I did, what would I do?

Don't worry! Problem solved. Just read on.


1.  Get flashcards by using our hundreds of Quizlet made flashcards! Choose your set and on Quizlet, scroll down under the viewer and hit print. Cut up and use! Students can return to our group and practice/perfect using the viewer and games also! Here's the handy ebook of all the flashcard sets.

2. Get vocabulary flashcards by  printing powerpoints. Look in our Resources area under Instructional Powerpoints or in our Media Fire account under Instructional Powerpoints. Lots there. Or even scroll down on our Practice page. . I really like using  - Picture Sets. One pagers of great content/vocabulary. I've included an example below.  This book has great pictures for use in class too.

You print powerpoints into flashcards by hitting File - Print Preview - and then selecting how many slides to a page (4 / 6 / 9 will do). Then PRINT! But also download them (all the work done for you) HERE. Give the pictures to your students, two sets / group [it is important to have 2 sets!!!!]. Give them scissors and get them to cut out the sets of pictures. They learn so much by doing this and you can drink your coffee :)

The print screen will look like this one.


So now you have flashcards!

Next, you can get your students to play a variety of games. Many described below. OR, you can simply ask them to come up with their own game! You'll be astonished how orderly they will play and how creative the games they come up with will be!  Further - go HERE and see my blog post with a Flashcard ebook of complete games!

1. Guessing games. These are standards. The cards are in a stack in the middle. One student is the teacher and describes the object or performs/mimes the object or draws the object. The others guess. One guess ONLY! The correct guess - gets the flashcards (one point). The student with the most flashcards (points) at the end wins.

2. Matching games. These are also very easy/common games.
A) Concentration. Two sets are turned over and spread out. A student turns over one and then another (from the other set), stating the object/verb. If they match, they continue choosing and collecting flashcards/points.
B) Bingo Shuffle the cards. Deal out 4 or 6 to each student. They turn them up and make a bingo card with them. Call out from the remainer of cards and if the students has that item/verb, they can turn over their card. First to finish their card (super bingo) wins!
C) Fish . Shuffle and deal the cards. 4 or 5 to each group member. The person uses the target vocabulary of the teacher which is on the board (ex. Do you have / Have you got / Have you ever...? / Did you ... yesterday? ) and asks one group member. If that person has a match, they say YES. They give the flashcard to the student who continues trying to get matches. If that person doesn't have a match, they say NO (or Go Fish) and the student stops asking and picks up a card from the middle. Continue until all matches have been found. The student with the most matches wins!
D) SNAP! Put one set in the middle turned up. One person describes the object / verb and the first to SNAP! and cover with their hand the right flashcard wins the match. Most matches win!

3. Language Games

A) Stories. Deal the cards to all members or put them in the middle and students draw them. The first student puts a card down and starts a story. "Once upon a time....." , using the flashcard in the sentence. The next continues and so on, until all cards are used. They can repeat and just change the vocabulary language - great for learning!

B) Question Game. Put the cards in the middle. A student turns up one card and asks another student a question using the flashcard as a prompt. All other students must do the same. The teacher can put on the board some target questions (ex. Do you like... / Have you ever .... / Do you wish ..... / Can you ... etc...)

C) Truth or Lie. Deal 3 cards to each student. One student at a time says a statement for each flashcard. 2 are true, one is a lie. The other group members must guess which is the lie! So much fun.....

D) Bragging. Put the cards in the middle. One student turns over a card and says, "My ____ is _____er / more ..... than your _______. The next student turns over a card and screams, "So what!" , My ______ is .....er / more ___ than your _______. Continue until all cards are done. This is hilarious!

So there you have it. Some of the many variations of flashcard games so important for teaching. Of course, also print big flashcards you can use with the whole class to preteach the vocabulary and do TPR with (total physical response/acting). I'd also recommend keeping the flashcards after you've made them. I store them in envelopes with the topic on each one for handy reference....

Now start being a student centered teacher and get them playing flashcard games! Also, use books like Jill Hadfield's Communication Games or 1,000 pictures for teachers to make photocopies of small pictures for use in these games above. Keep them in ziplocked bags for easy reference/use.

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