Ideas for using Lingopoly cards for different language levels

BEGINNER LEVEL

The first and biggest challenge of language learning is the acquisition of vocabulary. It's much easier to do this if we learn new words spontaneously, through games. Lingopoly cards are created in pairs—each picture card has its corresponding word card. Using them, we can play Pairs or other card matching and memory games.

Another idea is to place the picture cards face down and draw them one by one, naming the pictures as you go. If you remember the word quickly, you can put the card back in the box, but if it took you some time, put it back at the bottom of the pile you’re drawing cards from.

The cards can also be used around the house—use sticky tape to stick them to the objects they represent, or if you're a visual learning type, make a mind map on the wall (body and health is a great topic to make a mind map, and you can include illnesses and remedies, too).

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

At an intermediate level, you already know how to describe yourself and others, and talk about past experiences and plans for the future. Choose a topic you're interested in and put all the relevant cards in a pile, then draw any number of cards you want. 

Then decide the number of sentences you want to put together. Look at the cards, one by one, and create a story—real or imaginary: you can talk about something that happened to someone in the past, someone's plan for the future, or make up a funny children's story. If you're playing with a friend, then one of you should ask the other questions about how the story continues. 

ADVANCED LEVEL

At an advanced level, you're already very good at chatting. You're able to express your opinion on many topics very precisely, you can carry a conversation for longer, and you can write complex pieces. Similarly to an intermediate level, you can use the cards to carry a conversation. Choose a number of cards to draw (the most difficult option is to draw only one card), then use the word(s) to talk for a set amount of time. 

If you drew more than one card (for the easier version), you can place all the cards face up and decide the order in which you're going to talk about them. Or you can draw them one at a time from the pile. Only once you've successfully used one card in your story or discussion, can you draw the next card and then work the new word into your conversation, too. 

At this level it isn't enough to simply describe a past event or future plan. You have to include a critical aspect—why is you opinion such as it is, how did something make you feel, how could someone else possibly feel different about the topic . . . Similarly, if you want to practise your writing skills, repeat the exercise, but write down your thoughts.  

I hope you find these ideas for using Lingopoly cards interesting and that you'll try them out in the classroom or at home. Do you want to find out what makes Lingopoly the best tool to learn a foreign language? Read this article.

Barbara Mikolič

How do emotional states impact language learning?

Which emotions get enhanced when playing games? 

Among the first emotions that need mentioning are definitely curiosity (which we feel when someone or something catches our attention and stimulates and pushes us to solve problems and search for answers), happiness, excitement (when our brains are in a state of activeness, but with no determined cause) and even nervousness (feeling scared that we won't manage to deal with an important situation).

While playing games, it’s very likely you’ll also feel: relaxed (low tension and excitement, with no anger, anxiety or fear), confident (when we believe in ourselves and in our abilities), satisfied (when we successfully overcome an obstacle), frustrated (annoyance and agitation when we feel as if we can't overcome an obstacle), angry (an intense feeling of annoyance and displeasure over feeling stuck, or even hatred towards something or someone we perceive as provocative), embarrassed  (when we feel as if we've violated a social norm or value, even though it wasn't intentional), and sad (when we feel that we've lost something important to us, like winning the game). 

It's important we control our reactions, depending on how well we're doing in the game. It's proven that someone who tries to laugh, despite negative feelings, will process them more easily than someone who lets the negative feelings take over. Healthy competitiveness and cooperation with our co-players are cornerstones for team buildings, which brings about a high level of motivation.   

In any case, emotions—both positive and negative—are great for the learning process. Regardless of winning or losing, it's important that the experience taught us something. So next time you experience negative emotions while playing a game, when you feel frustrated, angry or sad, remember that those feelings are also beneficial to your learning process: the stronger the emotions, the more your brain will remember. 

Barbara Mikolič 

Definitions of emotions are summarised from: https://www.psihoterapija-ordinacija.si/osebnost-in-odnosi/slovar-custev.

5 reasons why you need Lingopoly

1. It's suitable for all learning types and many language levels

People are different when it comes to learning. Some remember the things they see (visual type), some remember things they hear (auditory type), and others remember things they move and touch, or when they, themselves, are in action (kinaesthetic type). 

Lingopoly is suitable for everyone because it satisfies the learning needs of all three types of learners. The cards can also be used during all stages of learning—from simple memorisation of new vocabulary, to making sentences, combining words into stories, practising tenses, talking about our opinions and feelings . . . The possibilities are endless. 

2. Everything you need in one box

As a foreign language teacher, I always wondered why every single teaching aid I bought was missing something: sometimes flashcards only showed the pictures, with no words; other times the picture and the word were on the same side of the card, and I'd have to cover one or the other part with my hand to practice new vocabulary; sometimes the game was appropriate only for one language level and I could only use it in a few lessons before it became too easy; and sometimes the games were too limited to use in different situations. 

I started making my own flashcards, which was both time consuming and expensive. Making durable materials requires quality printing and lamination, which doesn't come cheap. But Lingopoly contains everything a language teacher needs: a vast number of vocabulary cards that cover a wide range of topics (which is perfect because we can cover different topics at different levels and combine them to increase the challenge) and there are two cards for each new word or phrase—one picture card and one word card. Lingopoly also provides a handbook full of game ideas, and a playing board to use the cards in a board game (Lingopoly 1 Who are they? contains the board game On a Cruise Ship).

3. An intentional design

The illustrations are amusing and nice to look at for children and adults alike. The cards themselves are adjusted specifically for people with reading difficulties, like dyslexia, dysgraphia, and scotopic syndrome, by using a specific typeface and background colour. 

4. Lingopoly is great fun outside of the classroom, too

The game is suitable for children as young as 4 years old. Despite it being a great, almost vital, tool for every language teacher because it helps make lessons more interactive, interesting, and dynamic. It's also very useful for self-learning, as well as playing with friends and family. 

5. It's the best developed language game on the market 

You won't regret buying Lingopoly with its 340 word and picture cards, covering 9 topics: family, occupations, adjectives for describing people, adjectives for describing clothes, clothes, colours, description of people and clothes, body and health, and the weather. 

Enclosed is also a lengthy, well-organised handbook that, in addition to covering all the topics and listing all the individual cards, also includes additional material, like detailed descriptions of family members and a family tree. You'll also find instructions for numerous games and conversation cues. If you don't have time to read the games' instructions, you can use the QR code to watch all the tutorials. 

Barbara Mikolič

Three ways to use Lingopoly cards for self-learning 

  1. Memorising new words
  2. Forming sentences
  3. Chatting practice

1. Memorising new words

Pick one topic and gather all the relevant cards in a pile. Then make two decks – one with pictures and the other with words. You can play a game of matching the two cards with the same meaning. 

Or, you can only use the deck with word cards. Look at the first card and try to remember what it means in your native language (this is the easier version), but if you use the deck with picture cards, try to remember the words in the foreign language you're learning. When you remember the correct word, continue with the next card. Put the cards you named correctly back into the box. Put the ones you got wrong back at the bottom of the deck, so you can keep on practicing the words you find difficult. 

You can use sticky tape to stick the word cards onto actual objects around the house. If you want to learn colours, stick the cards to things with the same colour. 

2. Forming sentences

Pick one topic, for example ''describing people'' or ''describing clothes'', and gather all the relevant cards into a pile (for ''describing people'' you can use family members, occupations, parts of the body, and adjectives, whereas for ''describing clothes'' you can use clothes, colours, and adjectives).

Use only word cards for the easier version, or picture cards for the harder version. Make a separate pile for each themed deck you include (''describing clothes'' requires 3 piles—clothes, colours, adjectives), then turn them all face down. Draw one card from each pile and create a sentence with all three words. For example: This white shirt is cheap

3. Chatting practice

Make a selection of cards (you don't have to stick to one topic unless there's one you specifically want to practice) and place the cards in a pile, face down. Then pick a number of cards and place them face up on the table. If you choose only one card, this might be ''mother Catherine''.

In this case you can talk freely about mothers in general, you can talk about your own mother, you can describe mother Catherine on the card, and of course, everything you say can be made-up. If you choose to pick three cards, you should include all of them when you talk.

For example: you turn over the cards ''painter'', ''grey'', and ''hand''. So you come up with a story about a painter who had only one hand, but he painted the most beautiful portraits. But he only painted with grey paint because he didn't have enough money to buy other colours. So he made a plan to get new colours . . . You can also draw 6 cards and decide to make a short story that has to include all six words. 

These are only a few of the many ways you can use Lingopoly cards for self-learning. The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself and feel relaxed. Learning a language in a relaxed environment makes learning seem effortless, and you remember more. Now, are you asking yourself, “but why Lingopoly?” Read more here.

Barbara Mikolič