Before I get into the game we play, I want to make sure I say that flashcards are not only useful for vocabulary activities. Here are some of the ways I use flashcards in my classroom:
Part of Speech/Example
And I'm sure you can think of many more...
One game, which was a favorite of mine as a child, is Around the World. Two students are pitted against each other in a race to provide the correct answer (posed by the teacher). The winning student then moves on to challenge the next classmate with the ultimate goal of making it around the entire classroom (world). This game is best played just before a quiz or test or to review old material because it doesn't allow for much thinking time, but it's a ton of fun for your competitive students. It also always provides a lot of laughter because students stumble all over themselves under all that pressure!
A second activity that I enjoy is called Blackout. To play, students will select a set number of flashcards from their stack to place on their desks in a grid pattern. I usually do a 3x3 or 4x4 grid depending on how many rounds we want to play. To play this game, the teacher will read one side of the card, and the students (if it's an option on their desks) will find the matching information and flip it over. This allows them to check their answer, so if they are wrong, they can just flip it back over and try again. The winner is the first person to flip over ALL their cards (although you can do this tic-tac-toe style too) and yell "Blackout!" There's some luck to this game because students select the cards they place on their desks, and I'll be honest and say that it's funny when they get mad because I call a card they didn't use.
The final flashcard game we play is Flashcard Showdown. You could play this the classic way I described before with white boards, or you could do this with a twist. Everyone takes out their stack of cards and makes sure they are facing the same direction. The first person draws one card, reads one side aloud, and places it in the middle of the table. The rest of the group has to search through the opposite side to find the match and be the first person to throw their card on top. Then, that person gets to throw down the next card. The object of this game is to be the first person to get rid of all your cards.
What flashcard games do you play with your students???