Five Effective Ways To Use The Index Cards In Your Classroom

The use of index cards in the classroom

For those of you who have heard about index cards for the first time, index cards are small cards on which you can write information. Typically, You can store information, ideas, and notes alphabetically on them. They are amazing tools that organize your information in classrooms, at home, or at work.

Their very small size makes them quick for referencing and easy to carry them with you to different places.  Index cards have proven to be very useful in classrooms. They can be used in many different ways. Here are five effective ways you can use them with your students.

The first way you can use index cards is when trying to teach productive skills, especially speaking.

For instance, you can bring some index cards and jot down on them the names of some famous people. You can then give each student a card and ask him/her to talk about a celebrity in a few words.

If your students are not totally familiar with the celebrity, they can exchange the cards with other students. This technique can be useful to you when dealing with beginners and intermediate students.

The second way is using index cards to teach vocabulary.

When teaching new items to students, you might wish to check understanding. In this case, you can use index cards as a game. You can write the item on one card and the definition or the meaning on another card. Your students should try to match the items with their meaning. When students succeed, they can try again.

The third way is using index cards to teach prepositions.

You can have different colored cards. Each card represents a color, for instance, blue means on, black means between…..etc. You may ask your students to put the cards on, next to, or under the table or in different positions to signal the meaning of the preposition.

This is a good way that shows learning by doing. Your students grasp the meaning of different prepositions not only by hearing you explaining them, but by also being physically involved in the environment and pointing to different positions that correspond to different prepositions.

The fourth way is using index cards to teach some vocabulary authentically.

This way works, but with intermediate and advanced learners. You take a newspaper and search for inspiring and relevant words, cut them out from the headlines or sub-headlines, and stick them on the index cards.

Have each of your students select two to three cards randomly. They have to put the words together in a meaningful sentence or the original newspaper headline.  After they get it right, have your students write an article or paragraph about the headline.

The fifth way can be used when teaching reading comprehension or speaking skills.

Give two cards to your students. Ask them to write a question that starts with “WHY” on one card and write the answer starting with “BECAUSE” on the other card.  You collect all the “WHY” cards in one stack, shuffle them and do the same for the “BECAUSE” cards. Then, take one card from each stack and read them together.

You will find that some of them result in funny combinations. This a great way to add humor to your class. After reading all of the cards, you can ask your students to match questions and answers.

What about you dear teachers? Have you ever used index cards in your classrooms? What way(s) did you employ? I hope this post is beneficial. Please share this post with someone who might need it. 


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