Twenty More Things to do with Picture Cards

vegetable vocabulary cards

Picture cards are a valuable, fun and flexible teaching tool. The tutor tip a couple weeks ago explained how to make them. This week we’ll look at ideas for using them.  Many of the suggestions work with words cards as well as picture cards. Here are twenty ideas to get you started:

1. Hold one up to answer a question
Place a set of picture cards in the center of a table. Call on a student to answer a question, such as What do you need to buy? and the student selects and holds up the picture to answer.

2. Show me/point to
Give each student a set of picture cards. Ask them to point to a particular picture. Repeat with all the pictures and then repeat in a different order. Then ask a student to call out the words while the class points to the pictures.  

3. Match word cards and picture cards

Use PowerPoint to make a set of corresponding word cards (print six slides per page and cut each slide out) so students can match them to the picture cards.

4. Label them
If the picture cards were created using PowerPoint, print out six pictures (slides) per page and students can write labels next to each one.

5. Sort into two or more categories
One option is to provide a piece of flip chart paper with a T chart on it and have a group of students sort the cards together.  Possible categories: food groups, nouns/verbs, jobs that do and don’t require a degree, summer and winter clothes, illnesses to treat at home/go to a clinic, repair responsibilities of a tenant and landlord…

6. Play Memory
You’ll need two copies of each picture or a matching word card for each picture. Place them all face down and students take turns turning over pairs of cards, searching for matches. They keep their matches.

7.Play What’s in the Bag?
Put all the cards in a bag or box. Students take turns pulling one out and saying what it is. When there is only one left in the bag, ask students to guess what it is.

8. Play Board Bingo!
Write a list of all the picture cards on the board, or post a large copy of each picture on the board. Students choose three words and write them in their notebooks (or choose three picture cards from their own set).  Randomly choose picture cards and call out the words to the class. When a student hears their three words they call out Bingo!

9. Play charades or Pictionary
Students can play as a class or in groups. They take turns randomly picking a picture card. For charades they act it out and for Pictionary they draw a picture of it on the board or scratch paper. The classmates guess what that students’ word is.

10. Card Swap
Students each select a card and mingle with the class. They hold up their cards and tell others what they are.   Then they trade cards with a partner. Repeat the process as long as there is interest.

11. Flash card study
Students can quiz themselves individually or in pairs.

12. Ranking
Students can organize the cards according to which words are the easiest to remember or according to which ones are the most important/fun/interesting/useful.

13. Use them with sentence starters for a mingle activity
The picture card serves as a reminder of what students want to say while they mingle. An example sentence starter: I eat _________ for lunch.

14. Learner Generated Peer Dictation
Instead of dictating sentences, they randomly select picture cards and dictate them to a partner. The partner can find the matching picture card.

15. Play Pass it Along

16. Sit down for your word

17. Pack a box/bag/suitcase/cart

18. The Teacher is Wrong

19. Statement Checks

20. Picture Flash

What other ways do you use picture cards? Respond in the comments below. 

Please note: if you are viewing this Tutor Tip via email, the hyperlinks may not work. Please view the tip on the website to use the links. 

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