August 21, 2019

Vocabulary on the Cheap: Two Easy Hacks Using Simple Index Cards

Need a cheap way to get your students involved in spelling and vocabulary activities? Read on to find out how easily simple index cards can get the job done.

The classroom supply budget is a major concern to everyone in education. So is getting the kiddos involved in ways they can feel excited about. One of the easiest, most affordable ways I’ve found to do this over the years is with index cards. Bonus? These ideas work at multiple grade levels. While the list itself is slightly longer, I’ve found all of the ideas fall into two basic categories. Ready?

The two-sided approach.

Write one story word on the front of each card, and the corresponding definition on the back. This enables you to assign the good old fashioned writing down of the terms and definitions in a way that is meaningful for the students. It produces an end product they can use to practice with at home or with a buddy. Using them as flash cards during parent study support is one way to go. So is having the glossary on hand as a cross reference tool while learners put all of the words face down and have to guess the term by reading the definition.

Pair ‘em up.

With this approach, you’ll need two same-size index cards per vocabulary term. By writing the words on one set of cards and the definitions on the other, you open yourself up to a more diverse set of study options. Partner-based flannel board matching activities using the glossary as a cross reference tool, mixing them up in two columns on the board and sorting them together as a class, or mixing up both sets and arranging them upside down in rows on student desks to play “vocabulary memory” by trying to remember where matching sets of word cards are after repeatedly flipping them over for review and returning them to their original position.

As you can see, multiple options using only one traditional (and affordable) classroom supply item. What I love about index cards is their flexibility. In my opinion, they are right up there with file folders and craft sticks in the diversity department. Here are more index card ideas for your convenience. Happy teaching, everybody!

Photo Credit: Karindalziel

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