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10 Ways to Use Flashcards: Likes & Dislikes

by | February 12, 2019

Tara ten ways to use flashcards likes and dislikes banner

Have you seen ESL Library's newest flashcard set: Like & Don't Like? This inclusive set features multiple characters representing a variety of ages, genders, and skin tones, so you can easily find images that your students identify with. Each character card is portrayed with the following feelings:

  • love
  • like
  • don’t mind
  • don't like
  • hate

If you have low-level learners, we recommend printing a personal set of these flashcards for each student to use regularly in class. Your students can choose their preferred character before you print the class sets.

Tip: Print one love flashcard of each character and tape these to your board. Then have each student write their name on the character they like (or look like). Print all of the sets you need in the sizes you wish. Print a set for yourself as well. (You can decide if you want to print the words on the front or back or not at all. See video demo below.)

Here are some ways to use our Like & Don’t Like flashcard set:

Level Placement

Are you looking for new activities to help place low-level students into appropriate class levels? Break the ice with a shy or quiet student by handing her a set of the Like & Don't Like flashcards. Start with a simple theme (e.g., food, colors, animals, seasons, sports) and have the student point to or hold up the flashcard that matches her feeling about the word you say (or picture you show).

As your student becomes more comfortable, have her hold up the feeling card and make a sentence: No, I don't like apples. If the student is able to do that, you might extend the question to Why? Is she able to answer in a full sentence? Does she use any adjectives or conjunctions? If this seems too easy, think of some more difficult themes, such as entertainment genres (e.g., music, movies, famous people).

Getting to Know You

You can use a similar type of activity to break the ice with low-level learners in a new class. Choose a theme such as food and write a food word on the board (or show a flashcard). Have students walk around holding the flashcard that best expresses their feeling about this word or action. Students can then try to find like-minded people from their class.

Encourage them to learn each other's names by inviting them to share a sentence that summarizes their group’s feeling.

José: Alana, Boris, and I don't like mushrooms.

Class Surveys

Do you need to find out how your students feel or felt about something related to your class or program? Pose a question and ask your students to hold up a card that best describes their response. This will allow you to easily survey your students' feelings. Here are some examples:

  • Who liked this month's project?
  • Who enjoyed yesterday's guest speaker?
  • Who likes the topic of tornadoes?

For practice, you can then ask classmates to describe each others' feelings:

Teacher: How did Alana feel about yesterday's class?
Boris: Alana loved it.
Teacher: How about José?
Boris: José didn't mind it.

Majority Rules

Choose four of the cards from any character set (love, like, dislike, hate) and place a large-sized version of one feeling at each corner of your classroom. When you want students to show you how they feel about something, they can walk over to the appropriate corner. This will easily allow you to determine a majority and make a class decision. Again, have students practice using the language.

Teacher: Who likes playing dodgeball?
  [Students move to the appropriate corners]
Teacher: How do Boris and Alana feel about dodgeball?
José: They hate playing dodgeball.
Teacher: Does José like playing dodgeball?
Alana: No, he hates playing dodgeball.

Listening Response

Invite your new students to write and present short oral presentations about their likes and dislikes. They can also say things that they hate or don't mind. After each presentation, ask some follow-up questions to the other students in the class.

Teacher: How does Alana feel about cars?
  [Everyone holds up a 'love' card]
Teacher: How does Alana feel about spaghetti?
  [Everyone holds up a 'hate' card except José, who holds up 'like']
Teacher: José, ask Alana if she likes spaghetti.
José: Alana, do you like spaghetti?
Alana: No, I hate spaghetti.

Reading Response

The above activity can also be done to recap a story. This is especially useful for checking your students' understanding about character development. To avoid calling on the same person all of the time, call on a person who has a reaction that is surprising or different from the rest of the class.

  • How does Charlotte feel about Wilbur at the end of the book?
  • How did you feel about the ending?

Gerunds & Infinitives

Love, like, don't like, and hate can be used with gerunds or infinitives with no major change in meaning. Print some flashcard action sets, such as daily routines or job actions. Then have students practice making sentences with love, like, don’t like, and hate + gerunds and infinitives.

Question Formation

These flashcards can also be used for practicing question formation. Invite two students (Students  A and B) to the front of the class. Hold up a like or love flashcard with an action or noun flashcard (e.g., chocolate or skiing). Have Student A use the cards to make a question. Do you like/love chocolate? The other students will then hold up a feeling card that expresses their own personal answer. Student B will then choose some of the students from the classroom and express their responses: Boris doesn't like chocolate. Alana loves chocolate. Invite two more students to the front and change the question prompts to a new action or noun. Do you like skiing/like to ski?

Find Someone Who…

These cards can be easily used to create a quick Find Someone Who… activity based on a theme you are teaching. If the theme is sports, you can shout out a sport (e.g., skiing). Students then choose a card that expresses their feeling about this sport. After students have chosen their feeling, you can tell them who to find. Here are some ideas:

  • Find someone who likes/loves/hates/doesn't like…
  • Find someone who feels the same way as you about…
  • Find someone who feels differently/the opposite about…
José: Do you like skiing?
Alana: No, I don't. You love skiing?
José: Yes!
Alana: Why do you love skiing?
José: I love all winter sports.
Alana: I don't like any winter sports!


Place students in pairs or small groups and see how well they know each other. Ask a question and have students place their flashcard response behind their backs (or flipped over so their classmates can't see).

Teacher: Do you like pizza?
  [Students choose and hide their response. Then they turn to each other and try to guess.]
Boris: [To Alana] You love pizza.
  [Alana shows Boris her response: 'hate']
Boris: Really? You hate pizza. I'm surprised!
Alana: [To Boris] You don't like pizza.
  [Boris shows Alana 'don't like']
Boris: You know me too well.

You might want to put these reactions on the board:

  • I'm surprised.
  • I'm shocked.
  • I thought I knew you better.
  • I knew it.
  • I know you well/too well.
  • I'm not surprised.
  • I expected that.
  • I was close.

We hope you like these flashcards and ideas! Please share your own ideas for using this set (or practicing likes & dislikes) in the comments below.


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