I learned the Card Game years ago from my district's world language coordinator. It sounds like a very basic activity, and quite honestly, when I first explain it to students, it sounds the stupidest game ever. However, the Card Game was one of my students' favorite activities, because it was so competitive. NOTE - because my class is deskless, it is almost impossible for me to play this game, but if I were to have desks, I would definitely play it.
- 5-6 different colored stacks of 3x5 index cards, with each stack being 20-25 cards. Depending on the number of students, you may need more or less.
- A list of 20-25 vocabulary words which students already know. Again, depending on the number of students, you may need more or less. You can also use short phrases if you want. I would not use sentences because they are too long.
- In each stack of colored index cards, write one vocabulary word VERY BIG in the target language per card. By the end, you will have 5-6 different colored stacks, with each stack having the same vocabulary words.
- As the teacher, take one of the colored stacks of cards.
- Divide the class into 4-5 different teams (depending on how many stacks of colored cards which you have left).
- Give a different stack of colored index cards to each team.
- Have each team distribute its cards to its team member. Each team member may not necessarily have the same amount of cards. Usually 5-6 words is a good amount of cards for each student.
- On the board, write the names of the colors of the cards in the target language on the board. Each color represents a team.
- Have students lay their cards out on their desks FACE UP so that they can read what is written on the cards. Each student should have between 4-6 cards.
- Now ask students if there are any words which they do not know and to ask you for the meaning. This is really important in order to establish meaning.
- Explain to the students, "I am going to call out the English definition of a word. If you have that word, then hold up the card as high as you can as quickly as you can. HOWEVER, there are 4-5 other teams who have that same word. The first correct card which I see gets a point. Also, just because I call a word once does not mean that I cannot call it again."
- As the teacher, pick a card from your stack, and call out the English definition.
- If students have that word, they are to hold up that card. Whatever team's correct card you see first will get a point.
- As the teacher, put the card back in your stack, and pull out another card. Repeat the directions - the first team which gets 10 points wins.
- At the end of the round (when a team gets 10 points), have teams switch cards within themselves, e.g., students with green cards will switch stacks between each other. Now students have a new set of vocabulary words. If students do not know the words, they are to ask the student who just had them.
- Play another round.
- After 2-3 rounds, tell students that they are to either:
- do a writing in the target language which involves the words which they have in their stack OR
- draw a picture which uses the words in their stack
- This became my students' favorite game (when I had desks). I played it as an adult when I learned it, and WOW, it is a very competitive game.
- This game is FAST, so this can frustrate the slower processors.
- What I like about this game is when students switch stacks and I call out a definition, students, who just had the card but switched with someone, can get very frustrated, because they no longer have that word. This shows me that those students know that word now.
- Although you can have students do a writing afterwards, I have found that drawing a picture was easier for students and did not require as much thought as preparing to write something.
- Because this can be a fast game and students will argue which card was held up first, I will also pick a student who will help me judge which team held up its card first.