Flashcards

Text by Jamie Treat

Sometimes when we think of flashcards, we think of pictures of single objects for students to identify.  The same cards, however, can be used to practice lots of other things. For example, perhaps you start with a set of flashcards with pictures of things found in cities: library, stadium, post office, aquarium, mall, museum…

You can use these pictures to get students to practice:

Asking about location:

Where is the _______?

Asking for directions:

Excuse me, could you please tell me how to get to the _____?

Describing reasons:

I go to the ___________ to ____________.

Describe their hometowns using the simple present tense:

My hometown has a ________.

My hometown doesn’t have a _________.

Asking about time:

How long does it take to get to the __________?

Talking about their experiences using the present perfect tense:

I have been to the _______ in Seattle ______ times.

I haven’t been to the _______ in Seattle (yet).

I (always / usually / sometimes /

rarely / never ) ____________.

He / she can’t ___________

because he / she is too ___________.

Flashcards can also be used to “spice up” drills for higher level students:

It’s __________ to __________.

__________ing is ____________.

I regret _____________ ing.

Another approach is to think of a structure that students are having trouble with or need to practice, and make a set of flashcards to give them lots of repetition with that structure.

Here are some examples:

What kind of ______do you like / have?

I like / have _____ _____.

If you have a group, each student can make his or her own flashcard using a particular structure and present it to the others. Students learn about each other, laugh about each others drawings, AND practice the language structure. It’s also a good opportunity to ask comprehension and meaningful follow up questions. Afterwards, collect the cards and review them with the group at a later time.

Courtesy of Literacy Now

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