Blog for Parents

A List of Index Cards Games for Memorizating & Reinforcing Content

One of the most effective teaching strategy groups that is simple to implement involves inexpensive index cards. Whether students keep guided notes while they read text or keep a dictionary of new words in an index box, the following strategies offer ways to reinforce the content in an active manner.

The basic principle of the index card strategy group is for students to write something down on an index card from their guided notes. Or, they can create a dictionary of new words by adding a card for each new word, with a definition and a drawing of some kind.

Using one of the strategies listed below, students select a few of their cards and organize them in a way to share with someone else. Or, they can select a card, get out of their seat and share their information with a partner. Then their partner shares that information with them. Once completed, both students find new partners and repeat the process.

These are excellent reinforcement games:

  • Acrostics: Create an acrostic from the notes or cards.
  • Best Choice: Select five index cards or notes. Pare the choices down to 3. Then pare them down to the best choice.
  • Body Mnemonics: Use fingers to memorize a fact sheet, set of notes, or words.
  • Carousel Brainstorming: Place four of the student’s words from their index cards on separate charts around the classroom. Have cooperative groups of students walk from one chart to another brainstorming the use of that concept, term, or word.
  • Categories: Place each card or note into a specific category.
  • Chronological Order: Place notes or cards in order.
  • Concept Attainment: Create categories on the spot from students’ cards or notes. Have them generate the titles for each category. (Hilda Taba)
  • Concept Maps: Create connections from words or notes using a bubble format with string.
  • Crossword Puzzle: Design your own crossword puzzle from ___ number of cards/notes.
  • Emotion: Group words or notes according to an emotion.
  • Emotional Flashes(on cards):  Students draw a picture or diagram on the index card, trying to evoke an emotional response that they get while reflecting on the term, concept, or word. The pair is given 3-5 choices of emotions and the viewer tries to guess what the artist tried to convey. (Life Science Secondary School)
  • File Cabinet: Design a file cabinet for the notes or words.
  • Gallery Walk: All notes or illustrated cards are placed in order for someone to view them as if they were in a gallery or museum.
  • Grab Bag: Each student places a few cards or notes in a paper bag. Pair the kids. Their partner picks out a card from their bag and reads the definition. The original author tries to guess the word. If they get it right on the first try, they receive 3 points. If they get it on the second try, they get 2 points. If they get it on the third try, they receive one point.
  • Hidden Word Puzzle: Design a multi-pop or hidden word puzzle.
  • Identity Crisis: Each student has a word, person, or concept placed on their back. Then they have to ask questions of other students to determine the word or concept.
  • Imagery Map: Create an imagery map from the cards, notes, or items with pictures
  • Just Like Me: Have students find five notes, terms, or words that reflect their personality.
  • Linking: Find a note or card and link it to your personal history.
  • Location: Group words according to place.
  • Longest Sentence Ever!: Write a sentence using as many terms or index cards as possible.
  • Mad Libs: Fill in the blanks with words from cards or notes.
  • Mixed-Up Files: Place notes or cards in a mixed-up order. Have a partner explain why this would or wouldn’t work. (math solutions, sequential order of a story, timeline in history)
  • Most Important Point: Students find the most important term or card and state their reasoning.
  • One-Minute Speech: Make a one-minute motivational speech from the notes.
  • Paired Verbal Fluency: Students take out five notes, concepts, or words and study them. They find a pair and have to rattle off as much information about those words that they can muster in 45 seconds. Repeat the same procedure with the same batch of words to the next partner, but only have 30 seconds. Lastly, repeat the procedure with a new partner for only 15 seconds.
  • Pluses and Wishes: Make a list of those cards or notes that you wish to have in your life.
  • Poster: Select and decide the most important point, item, or card that you would want to put on a poster for advertising purposes.
  • Question Box: place a note or card in the box and attach a question to it. Have the class answer them. (Life Science Secondary School)
  • Scrambled Sentences: Place 5 cards in a sequence to create a sentence. Scramble them. Have a partner try to place them in order. Compare your results.
  • Slogan: Make a slogan from the notes or cards.
  • Spinning Game:(Purchase re-writable spinners): Place each term on a section on the spinner and a person in the pair spins it. They have to respond to the note, term, or word on the spinner based on a set of questions that are written on the board.
  • Time Travel: If you were to travel through time, select an item or souvenir that you would take with you. For what reasons did you make that selection?
  • Timeline: Place cards in a timeline.
  • Trash Can: Determine the note or card that can be trashed (create a real situation, such as: due to space restrictions from the publisher)
  • True/False: Categorize by “true” and “false” under certain conditions.
  • Viewpoint: Locate the most important note or card from a specific person’s viewpoint.
  • Write Your Own: Formulate your own question and have your partner answer it.

(c) 2012 Andi Stix, Ed.D

Do you have a strategy that you would like us to add to the list?  Andi Stix is an educational consultant & coach who specializes in differentiation, interactive learning, writing across the curriculum, classroom coaching, and gifted education. For further information on her specialties or social media, please email her on the Contact page.