Trading Cards App: Jazz Up Traditional Flashcards

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 6.49.49 PMTrading Cards is an app that allows students to create a trading card (which is different from a flashcard because it’s much more detailed) about a person, place, object, event, or a vocabulary word. The app, created by ReadWriteThink has many applications for classroom use. View this quick introductory video offered by ReadWriteThink.

How it Works

Trading Cards is designed like a baseball card.  Here’s an example of what a card looks like:


Front of card

There are seven different types of cards you can create (e.g. real person, fictional place).


On each of the seven cards, there are pre-determined fields that allow students to fill in information about the topic of the card in 120 characters or less. When a student taps within one of the pre-determined fields to begin typing, a Guiding Question appears that helps students determine what  to discuss within that field.


When students have finished their trading cards, they can be saved to the camera roll, sent as an email, or they can also be printed.


The only drawback to using this app is that fields within each type of card cannot be changed. If a field does not apply to the topic being covered on the card, however, there is no requirement to fill it in. Additionally, teachers can tell the students how they should answer the Guiding Question  On the plus side, the app allows for multiple users, which is great for classrooms where the iPads are shared.

Content Area Connection

While the Common Core Standards addressed using this app are Language Arts standards, content standards easily apply when using this app. The following are some suggestions for how the app might be used in the different subject areas:

  • History: Students can create Trading Cards around a unit of study, including the people, places and events during that time period. They can use the cards to solidify their expertise on the topic and teach their classmates about the topic in a jigsaw fashion.
  • Science: Students can create Trading Cards about scientists, concepts, or unit vocabulary. Cards could also be made about objects students might find in a particular unit of study (such as rocks and minerals or matter).
  • Literature: Cards can be created about the characters in a novel or short story, the setting of stories, and events that took place. Students could also use Trading Cards as a pre-writing exercise for a narrative they will write.
  • Mathematics: Students can create Trading Cards for mathematics vocabulary or concepts. Younger students studying shapes could also create “object” cards

Common Core Connection

There are a few Common Core State Anchor Standards for Reading that are addressed with the Trading Cards app. If you look at the appropriate grade level in the Common Core State Standards for Reading Literature, you will be able to determine the exact standards your students need to achieve.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. 
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3: Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Trading Cards in your classroom?

*all images in this post are screenshots from the Trading Cards app*

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