Author: Elaine Kirn-Rubin
Suitable for: K-8, Secondary, Young Adult, Adult
What They Are: Symbol Card Decks A-M and N-Z each contains 13 "quartets" (sets of four-of-a-kind) of matching icons (simple images) that can be classified into 26 areas of everyday meaning, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet:
A-M: • Activities • Business • Communications • Directions • Environment • Food • Games • Holidays • International • Justice • Knowledge • Letters • Math
N-Z: • Nations • Occupations • Punctuation • Directions • Religion • Safety • Traffic • Uniforms • Vacation • Weather • X-Symbols • "Yes" Symbols • Zodiac
Corresponding rationale, explanation, pedagogy, instructions, answers, and other relevant info appear in a 24-page Activities & Ideas Book.
Why You Need Them: Language instruction may begin with symbolism--the notion that graphic images can represent (stand for) utterances, words, phrases, thoughts, or ideas. In fact, with their emojis replacing words in some instances, young people may rely on symbols to convey meaning more than others do. And the very concept of language--both spoken sounds and written letters having meaning--works only when its speakers, writers, listeners, and readers grasp the vital truth that visuals can--and should--have cognitive or emotional meaning.
What They Do:
serve as flash cards for the recognition and production of 104 common vocabulary items (and their synonyms), organized into 26 practical "categories of meaning." These are useful for lessons involving image recognition, naming, association, description, classification, sequencing, and so on. They can also serve as illustrations of basic pronunciation, spelling, definition, usage, and other linguistic principles.
provide two 52-card decks of classic design (including even "Wild Cards") for learners to "play with," so that they can combine the cooperative/competitive motivation of tried-and-true card-play with educational progress. Procedures and rules are given, of course. Additional Symbols-Cards Guessing Games are likely to produce the same--or even better--effects.
display "Answer Keys" in reproducible pages that can also be used creatively for enhanced learning and fun.
suggest "Beyond the Materials" ideas (such as "Drawing Out Symbolically," "Creatively Interpreting Images," "Describing Symbols,""Designing Your Own Logos") that inspire materials users to learn at "higher cognitive levels" for modern times