How I Use It
I used Trading Cards with 4th graders to summarize their understanding of rock types. Students worked in groups of threes and created one card each for igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Each group's finished cards were grouped into a collection. This lesson was only moderately effective because many of the Guiding Questions did not fit the topic.
A different lesson where students chose a European explorer to feature was more successful. The prompts mostly made sense, but we still had to modify some. For example, we were not able to find quotes by the explorers, so the students created their own. The Personal Connection prompts were challenging for my 4th graders. They require synthesis of ideas and a depth of reflection that younger students may need help with.
ReadWriteThink's Trading Cards app is great for presenting information about a given subject. Students can demonstrate their understanding of a person, character, or topic. Each card has a series of guiding questions that will summarize a student's learning. One of my favorite features is that a pop-up text box appears next to each field that rephrases the question and gives more information. This has been especially helpful to my ELL students who may not understand the initial prompt. Completed cards can be organized into collections that support a single topic, such as main characters in a book, or European explorers. Each response is limited to 120 characters so students must learn to be concise with their answers. The trading cards can be saved to photos or e-mailed. No log-in is required and the app supports multiple users if you are not in a 1:1 environment. Students can upload images from the camera or photos. I don't like that the cards are not very visually appealing and there is no option to modify or customize the cards.