Sunday, May 21, 2017

Callan's Flashcard Set - a Review

Out of the blue, Nancy Callan was nice enough to send me a free sample of her new set of matching flashcards for beginners (28 illustration cards, 28 word cards), so I thought I would share my impressions.

The cards are a nice size at approximately 10 by 13 cm or about 4 by 5 inches.  Mark Perrault has done a lovely job on the illustrations. The grey scale images are well drawn, clear, and attractive. 

Three details immediately impressed me: illustrations of people represent a variety of ages and ethnic backgrounds; the illustration for the word map does not centre around North America; the font is one that even literacy students will find easy to read--with no squirrelly lowercase a or g to confuse them.

My only reservation in fully recommending the card set stems from wondering how well the cards will stand up to repeated classroom use over time. At my workplace, we still have a flashcard set that has been in the teachers' lending library since the 70s and has no stains or dog ears because of the sturdy, laminated material on which the cards were printed. Callan's cards are printed on a nice glossy heavy stock; I expect they will withstand a lot of handling. Still, I wonder how much it would add to the cost for her to offer a laminated version.

The set is listed at $16 CAD on the ESL Jigsaws website along with a companion BINGO card set that sells for $14. CAD. I will leave a comment under this blog post once a few teachers and I have tested these out with our learners.

What do you think? Might you use these?


  1. Update: I used these this week with CLB 1L - 2L and found that a) the students loved matching them; b) the students did not understand the importance of not bending them and not writing the words on the pictures after matching. Lamination is a must. --K

  2. Thanks for your feedback, Kelly. Will definitely look into the cost of lamination and may offer some sets laminated, but anticipate the cost will be prohibitive.

  3. I have been using unlaminated cards for 22 years (20 of which with very low levels) and haven’t had problems. I do, however, talk to the students about not writing on them and not bending them. I hold the pen and say “No writing” and demonstrate putting it away. I found that the students are always respectful especially if they know the cards are my own.

    1. I'm so glad that works for you. My seniors are particularly lacking in ability to follow such directions. Or perhaps I am to persnickety. If 90% follow the directions but one bends a corner, I fret. I'm sure I'll find an inexpensive way to laminate this set before too long. Every once in a while the lamination sheets go on sale. We have the machine. --K