7 ways to use flashcards in esl teaching for classroom activities and games

7 ways to use flashcards in esl teaching for classroom activities and games
[adrotate banner=”12″] Flashcards are among the materials we use most often, especially with young learners. They help visualize new vocabulary, and can be an excellent source of activities, and games. Below you will find 7 ideas on how to use flash cards in class.
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As the name suggests, what you need to do is simply flash cards in front of students. One important condition is to make sure they are watching. Their full attention is needed since you will flash a card in front of them very quickly. Show the card, and the students have to name what’s on it. Slowly speed it up, and start adding more cards.


Decide on the number of the cards depending on the age/ abilities of your students. Have for example 6 pairs of 2 cards with the same image (12 cards) spread on the floor facing up. You can line them up in rows of 3 or 4. Have the students look carefully at the card for about 20 seconds (depending on the age), and memorize the places of the cards. Students, then, take turns to flip the cards in pairs. The one who flips all the pairs first (takes minimum time) wins.
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Take about 20 cards with recently learnt vocabulary (images). Spread them around the classroom. Have a student name a card he/ she sees. The other students need to find the card. The student with most cards at the end wins.


Similar to the previous game. This time students should match card images with cards where the words are written.


Divide your students in two groups. You can choose to drill vocabulary of phrases students have just learnt. For example, a picture of a girl. The student who is first in line asks: “What is Betty wearing?” Student behind answers: “Betty is wearing a red dress, a blue jacket, and brown shoes”, then turns back and asks the same question to the student behind. The team that finishes first, wins. This can vary depending on the focus of your lesson.


Divide students into teams. One student of each team can see the card. He/ she needs to explain to the rest what the word is. The team that guessed most words, wins.


Alternative to the previous one. One student of each team sees the card. The rest of the students are asking questions in order to guess it.

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Image source: OpenClipart

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Background in Applied Linguistics and Social Studies. Likes the creative process in using an L2. Chomsky addict. Obsessive-compulsive about cats.