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Lesson Plan

Picture This: Student Created Online Vocabulary Flashcards

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Picture This: Student Created Online Vocabulary Flashcards

Grades 7 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathy Wickline

Kathy Wickline

Tolono, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



As an activity before reading a literature unit or novel, students are assigned vocabulary words that they will teach to the class.  They will accomplish this by creating sets of online flashcards which feature visual images, the vocabulary words, and the definitions.  The students prepare the class for reading each section of the literature unit by sharing their flashcards sets prior to the actual reading.  Then the students can use these sets for reviewing vocabulary.

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  • Flashcard Machine:  Students will use this online tool to create flashcards that feature the vocabulary word, definition, and visual image.


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The link between vocabulary and reading achievement is well documented; therefore, Curtis and Longo believe teaching vocabulary is one of the most important components to improve students’ reading comprehension.  However, they also point out meaningful vocabulary instruction can be difficult to create.

Hagood seconds the difficulty of creating interesting vocabulary lessons when she reports on two middle school teachers who had delivered SAT vocabulary through PowerPoint.  Although the method was efficient, both teachers reported this technique did not engage the students.  Therefore, the teachers brought into the classroom visual examples of the SAT vocabulary in advertisements, slogans, magazines, and movie scripts and requested students do the same.  The teachers discovered this method connected with the importance of visual images in the lives of students.

Furthermore, as Burke points out, flashcards appeal to a variety of learners. Because flashcards are interactive, the students can shuffle the cards so that the students do not always view them in the same order.  They can remove the cards they have mastered while still working on other definitions, so that the students are the ones who are accessing what they know.  Additionally, flashcards are suited to most content areas so that students are learning a study skill that will help them across the curriculum.

Another significant area in the lives of students is their use of Internet.  A recent Pew Internet Project reported as of September 2009, 93% teens ages 12-17 used the Internet.  In this lesson the attraction of using the Internet is combined with value of visual images to motivate students to learn vocabulary.

Further Reading

Curtis, Mary E., and Ann Marie Longo. "Teaching Vocabulary to Adolescents to ImproveComprehension." Reading Online. International Reading Association, Nov. 2001. Web. 14 July 2012. http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=curtis/index.html.

Lenhart, Amanda, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, and Kathyrn Zickuhr. "Social Media and Young Adults." PewInternet. Pew Research Center, 2012. Web. 15 July 2012. http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults.aspx.

Burke, Jeff.  “It’s All in the Cards.”  Voices from the Middle 10.1 (Sept. 2002).


Hagood, Margaret C. “Risks, Rewards, and Responsibilities of Using New Literacies in Middle Grades.” Voices from the Middle 19.4 (May 2012): 10-16.



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