Creative ways to use flashcards with ELLS

Flashcards can conjure up images of boring, repetitive, kill-and-drill activities.  However, they don’t have to be used this way!  Flashcards are a GREAT tool for the esl/efl classroom, and can be used quite effectively cooperative and interactive learning.  Here are some ideas:

  • Around the world:  A classic competitive game which keeps students on their toes!  Follow basic directions here for around the world, except substitute vocab for spelling.  Show students flashcards to elicit the word in the target language.
  • Conversation starters:  Pass out flashcards and have students discuss the pictures with a partner.  Have them ask and answer questions about the picture.  This could be a timed activity where pictures are rotated and students discuss new pictures as they go around the class.
  • Memory: Have students match word to picture.
  • Writing prompts:  Give each student a flashcard and have them journal, freewrite, or brainstorm about the picture.
Like these ideas?  Here’s a whole HUGE list of more!!!

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