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The Teachers' Room

Collocations 2: Cards and a Board

Dan and Sian talk about how to teach collocations using cards and a board

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Did you like that? Why not try these?

TTR 12 dictation 2.jpg News Review Teaser


Collocations: Cards and a Board

You can download all the cards and blank templates from the show here.

Pelmanism (Matching)
A simple matching game. Cut up your collocations into two piles and mix the cards into a grid. Students turn over two cards at a time. If they make a collocation pair, students must make a sentence. They can then keep the pair. If they do not match, or the sentence is wrong, they must return them. 

Divide all your collocations into two piles (part A’s and part B’s). Students must turn over their cards at the same time and put them in the middle. If the two cards make a pair, the first student to put their hand on them and say ‘Snap!’ must make a sentence.  If the sentence is correct, they can keep the pair.

Using the dominoes grid, make collocation dominoes. Don’t forget to split the pairs across different dominoes. Deal the whole set to a group of students, who take 3 / 5 / 7 depending on the number of cards or students. Take one from the pile and use it to start. Students lay connecting collocations and make sentences. If they can’t go, they must take 1/2 from the pile. The winner is the person who puts down the most correct.

Board Game
Design the game by downloading a blank board and make the cards. Deal all the cards to students. Students can move a maximum of 3 spaces to any square where they can complete a collocation. If they can make a correct sentence, they stay. If they make a mistake, they go back to the last position. If they cannot go, they may trade a card with another player or use a card which has already been played.  

Vocabulary Time-capsule
At the beginning of a course, have students write all the vocabulary they know and put it in a box. Leave the box aside until the end of the course and have them open, review and add to the vocabulary. It’s a great way to assess their progress and show them how far they’ve come.

To do

Try our quiz to see if you've picked up our tips.

The Teachers' Room Quiz

4 Questions

Check what you've learned about collocation activities by selecting the correct answer to each question.

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Get involved

Well, those were just a few ideas that we here at BBC Learning English had, but we know that you teachers out there have lots of fantastic ideas too, and we’d like you to share them with us and everybody else.

If you have a great tip or technique for teaching collocations, or anything else, please email us at Your email could be posted here on this page, or may even be mentioned in our show.

We are also looking for video tips to include in the programme. In order to do this, please include whether or not you’d like to be included for video with your tip, and we'll get in touch with you. You could be rewarded with a T-shirt for your efforts.

End of Session 4

Next up is Learners' Questions. What will this week's Learner Question be? Whatever it is, Dan's here with the answer! Join us in Session 5 to find out.

Session Vocabulary

  • Collocations: Cards and a Board

    • Pelmanism
    • Snap 
    • Dominoes
    • Board Game
    • Vocabulary Time Capsule