I have another free download here for you - my places in the community flashcards.
Consider them a sort of follow-up to the materials and task-based learning ideas I presented in my earlier post about the City of CleverKey!
[EDIT: I now have a 'digital rendition' that uses some of these cards. English Raven Jnr played a "guess the place" game with me and we caught it on screencast! It might be something your learners will enjoy watching and listening to. In addition to the activity described below in the blog post, on the main ER webpage I also have some simple activities described that correlate generally to Cambridge YLE test levels Starters, Movers and Flyers.]
These are typical of most of the flashcard sets I've created and used in my classes, in that they are relatively small. Generally speaking, I've always preferred to make flashcards that can be held and passed around by students for conversation-based activities and games (rather than vocabulary intros from a teacher standing at the front of the classroom). Whether that means they should be more correctly termed "game cards" instead of flashcards, I'm not sure - and don't particularly care!
Anyway, that downloadable set I gave you access to above depicts 48 different sorts of places one might find in a typical (western?) community. As with all my flashcard sets, they can be used in hundreds of ways in the classroom. I've always tried to use my cards to provide something visual and tactile which can then facilitate conversations and "finding out" tasks of various sorts.
Here is one of my favourite applications for these particular cards: Catching up with friends.
I let students choose a card from the set, or distribute them randomly. Basically, the idea is to facilitate quick coversations with (pretend) cell/mobile phones, where students give other students a call, find out where they are "about town", then use appropriate language/devices to find out more information and add conversational follow ups.
The conversation pattern I aim for looks like this:
B: Hi Sally. It's Tom.
A: Oh, hi Tom!
B: What's happening?
A: I'm at the sports store (right now), actually.
B: Oh really?
A: Yes. I'm going to buy a new soccer ball.
B: Great! You lost your other one, didn't you?
This goes a long way beyond the simple "where are you?" -> "I'm at ....." then "what are you doing?" -> "I'm _____ing" pattern (though of course this could be used for very low levels or a lead in to the Catching up with friends activity as I describe it above).
I use this sort of pattern process with the students for a variety of reasons (which I go on to demonstrate, explain or elicit from the students):
1. "What's happening?" is more open, colloquial and generally more friendly-sounding than the straight out "where are you/what are you doing?" (which can sound a little too interrogative in casual conversations).
2. Adding the "actually" can help to show the action or place is both "right now" and not a common sort of action for this person.
3. By using "oh really?", students learn to show interest and curiosity in a friendly/casual way, and again, it doesn't sound as blunt or potentially invasive/interrogative as "what are you doing there?" This is also a useful chance to show students that "oh really?" can change in meaning or inference drastically depending on the particular type of intonation used!
4. The final lines spoken by A and B help to wind up and conclude the conversation, but also give students practice with adding comments and creating contextual links with very little preparation. They will need to demonstrate an ability to pay attention to what their friends have just said to them, but also use that to create a natural connection and wind up for the spoken exchange.
Of course, the conversations can go well beyond this. Once I have students comfortable with the basic pattern above, I then work on ways to have them extend it even further. Student B can indicate where he/she is, or the information in the conversation so far can be used as a basis for arranging a meet up or follow up activity of some sort.
And yes, as I said, that is just one of hundreds of applications that can be facilitated with simple cards like this. In any case, I hope the cards give you some ideas and something attractive looking to use in your classroom!
I have dozens of other flashcard sets on my resource site, EnglishRaven.com.