Vocab Building Flashcards

I designed these flashcards after starting a vocabulary flashcard routine in my class that would last all semester. Read more about the routine here. I made the cards because I wanted to give my students a bit more guidance and also prompt them to capture more word knowledge about each new vocabulary entry. The card is similar to a vocabulary chart that I have used in reading logs in the past. Students write the word and context sentence where they read or heard the word. From the context sentence, students will choose the part of speech and the correct definition to match the part of speech and meaning in the context sentence. Then, students are asked to write their own example sentence using the word with the same part of speech and with the same meaning as in the context sentence. See the pictures at the end.

I was invited by my colleague Brenda Harris who teaches at our local adult school to teach a lesson in her class about how to use these cards and do the flashcard exchange activity. I used the slides linked below to explain the activity. I had a great time leading Brenda’s class, but the best part of the experience came later when Brenda shared an extension activity she had created to help get her students ready to start the vocabulary routine. Her slides are also linked below. The basic idea of the vocabulary routine is that students will exchange their flashcard stack and then go home from class each day and create 2-3 more cards to add to the stack. They will study the stack and add an example sentence to any cards that were already in the stack. Then they’ll come back to class and pass on the cards again, always giving to the next present classmate on the roster list.

Brenda created a great activity to use when you first implement this routine to make sure students understand the cards. It’s also just a great collaborative activity to do in class. Students will work on a collaborative Google slide to practice the flashcard format  and then add example sentences to their classmates’ vocabulary slides. To use Brenda’s slides, you’ll need to make copies of slides 10 and 11 for each of your students and put their names on the cards. More directions are on the slides themselves. Brenda’s class has designated computer lab time. If you don’t have that, you could turn it into a homework assignment or potentially have students work on smartphones.

The whole experience of sharing my activity and getting in return a great idea that expands the original idea reminds me of just how powerful collaboration is and why I started TESOL Planner in the first place. It’s important for us teachers to leave the silos of our classes and share ideas with each other.

How do you teach vocabulary? What routines do you do in your class? How would you use these flashcards? Share your ideas below.


>>Vocabulary Flashcards PDF<<

>>Google Slide Lesson to introduce the flashcards<< 

>>Brenda Harris’s Extension Activity Using Collaborative Google Slides<< 

Flashcard Side 1 

ESL Vocabulary Flashcard

Flashcard Side 2 

Vocabulary Flashcard side 2

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