[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Classroom activity

This is an ESL activity idea using one of the English class’s most valuable tools: flashcards. This post uses animal flashcards as an example, but the activity is adaptable to a variety of topics. It is best suited for nouns, however, as it requires the application of adjectives.


Take two sets of flashcards, such as animals. To make this work, you need two of each animal.

Firstly ask the student to put the animals in size order (let the student decide this), and then draw the animals in order on the board, (smallest on the far left, biggest on the far right), so that you have something to refer to during the game.

The teacher takes one set of cards, and the student the other. They shuffle their sets, and then lay the cards out in a line, on the floor. Turn the first card of each line over.

The student looks at the teacher’s first card (let’s say it’s a cat), and guesses whether the next face down animal is bigger or smaller. If they think it is smaller, they say, “It is smaller than a cat”. If they are right, they can continue with the next card, and so on until they either, get to the end of the line and win, or they get it wrong. If they get it wrong, all the cards that have been turned over get shuffled and replaced face down. The teacher then has his or her turn. After that, the student then starts from the beginning again. If halfway along the line, the student is not sure, they can say “Stick!”, and stop where they are.

The teacher then has his/her turn. After this, the student starts from where he stopped, but must take one of the previously turned over cards at random, to turn over and use to start again.

Adapting this ESL Activity Idea

Though the above example uses animals, any set of flashcards describing nouns is usable. The game is mostly the same, except that the adjectives used to compare the flashcards would vary based on what words are being described.

For additional practice, use more difficult comparatives (i.e. better/worse, more beautiful, etc.) or restrict the use of simple adjectives.

The activity can also be adapted to practice superlatives if 3 or more sets of the same flashcards are available.

Want more activity ideas? See these ESL reading and writing activities.

Do you have any ESL activity ideas or other ways this activity can be applied? Tweet @ShaneSchools with your thoughts!

Originally printed in Shane English School Taiwan’s Teachers’ News, Volume 5, Issue 1[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1534752216040{background-color: #ededed !important;border-radius: 2px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

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