Do you have a deck of regular playing cards? Yes? Well, you’re all done and the activity is ready to go.
This is a no prep activity that you can pull out at any time, on any topic, for any language at any proficiency level.
I call this activity Special Card (La Carte Spéciale, La Tarjeta Especial).
Here’s how it works:
- Choose one card from the deck before beginning and write it down on a piece of paper. Don’t show it to students. Keep the card in the deck
- Put students into groups of 3 or 4.
- Groups will need a piece of paper or small white board if you are focusing on writing. No need if focusing on speaking.
- Tell students that they will get a question and will either respond orally or in writing. If responses are spoken each group will need individual questions each round. If it is in writing all groups can get the same question for the round.
- I make up the prompt on the spot based on the topic. You can do this in advance, but I like to keep it “no prep.” It can be novice level questions with single words answers all the way to higher levels with questions about a reading or video.
- If the response is correct, hand the group a playing card. Their points for the round are the value of the card.
- Ace is 1 point, number cards (2-10) are their face value, a Jack is 13, a Queen is 11 and a king is 12. [The Jack, Queen & King values are arbitrary. You can make them what you would like.]
- Once all cards are earned, and the deck is depleted, groups add up their points. The final move is to reveal the Special Card, which is worth 25 or 30 additional points. The group with that card earns the additional points.
- The group with the highest points wins the round.
- Collect cards back. If there is time to play another round groups can continue with their points from the previous game or start fresh.
- If you’re playing additional games, be sure to choose new special cards each time.
The topics and proficiency levels are open depending on what you are doing in your class. Here are some prompt ideas
- What are three colors, animals, days, months, seasons, articles of clothing, activities, etc.
- Questions about concrete vocabulary themes that require a 1-2 word spoken or written response.
- Where do you …?
- When do you …?
- What are your opinions about…?
- Questions about concrete vocabulary themes that require a sentence of chunked spoken or written language as a response.
- Sentence level questions about details in a story
- Questions about personal or story details that require a complete spoken or written sentence response created by the group.
- Tell me about…
- What is…
- When did
- When will…
- Questions on themes covered in the current unit that require 2-3 spoken or written sentences that are connected by transition words.
After groups read a passage together on their own…
- Specific or general questions to demonstrate understanding
- Questions on themes covered in the reading that require 3-4 spoken or written sentences that are connected by transition words and may require speaking or writing in various time-frames.
I also talk about this activity on episode 25 of the World Language Classroom Podcast.