Vocabulary Cards Routines

1.

What's Missing?

PAIRS

Student A picks three vocabulary cards from the set and shows them to Student B. Student B closes their eyes while Student A removes one of the cards and hides it from view. Student B opens their eyes and tells Student A which card is missing.

2.

Word of the Day

WHOLE CLASS

Choose a “word of the day” and display the vocabulary card in the classroom. Over the course of the day, have students use the word in a sentence, draw pictures relating to that word, and practice writing the word.

3.

Pass the Cards

GROUPS / WHOLE CLASS

Place the vocabulary cards in a bag and have students sit in a circle. Play music and invite students pass the bag around the circle, stopping the music at intervals. The student holding the bag when the music stops should pick out a vocabulary card, stand up, and use the word in a sentence.

4.

Alphabet Game

INDIVIDUALS / PAIRS

Have students place the vocabulary cards in alphabetical order. Students can start by looking at the first letter of the words, and then looking at the second letter, if any of the words start with the same letter.

5.

Whack-a-Word

INDIVIDUALS / PAIRS

Lay out the vocabulary cards in front of you and invite a student to sit opposite. As you call out one of the words, the student has to put their hand on top of the appropriate card as fast as they can. This game can also be played with pairs of students. Challenge students to be the first to place their hand on top of the card.

GROUPS / WHOLE CLASS

6.

Whisper Words

Lay out the vocabulary cards. Have students stand in a line (with the cards at one end of the line). Choose one card from the set and whisper the word to the student farthest from the cards. That student should then whisper the word to the student next to them, and so on, until the word reaches the student who is closest to the vocabulary cards. This student should pick out the correct card. Put the card back in the set and reorder the line of students, so that different students are at the start and end of the line. Repeat the game.

GROUPS / WHOLE CLASS

7.

Charades

Ask one volunteer student to select a vocabulary card from the set, take a good look at it, and then put the card back. Lay out the full card set in front of the other students. Invite the volunteer student to describe the selected card using actions only, while the other students guess which card is being acted out.

GROUPS / WHOLE CLASS

8.

Go!

Use adhesive putty to stick the vocabulary cards around the classroom. Call out one of the words and invite students to locate the correct card by standing next to it. To test the students’ listening and comprehension skills, you can make the activity more complex by describing the card rather than simply calling out the word e.g., “A bright object in the sky that gives out lots of light and heat” [Sun].

PAIRS / GROUPS

9.

Target Practice

Lay out the vocabulary cards in a grid formation on the floor. Use masking tape to create a starting line a few feet from the grid. Invite students to throw a beanbag (or similar object) onto one of the cards, have them name the word, and then use it in a sentence. If the student is successful, they can pick up the card. If the student is unsuccessful, the card stays on the floor. Whoever has the most cards at the end of the game, wins.