Topic Card - What is it in your mind?

Level: Intro to Pre-Intermediate

Time: 20-30 minutes

Organization: Group of three or four students

Aim: Use the key vocabularies as cues/topics to encourage students talk about what they think on a certain topic. This activity encourages students to speak Chinese, to express themselves, and also to listen to others talking (in Chinese) about their ideas. This speaking/listening process brings out authentic communications (in Chinese) between students, builds mutual understanding and trust among students, and also gives an opportunity for teachers to observe progress that students have made in their Chinese class.

(The example of the cards is taken from Mandarin Express Pre-Intermediate Level A Teacher’s Manual.)


Preparation: Make photocopies of the topic cards


  1. Organize students into groups of four.
  2. Give each group a set of cards.
  3. In each group, one member picks up a card, and talks about something that is related to the topic word. Other members in the group can either ask some follow up questions or to share their thoughts. Then the next person picks up another card and talk about it, until all cards are discussed or the time is up.
  4. Teacher walks around the class and monitor the progress.

Follow up 1: Teacher invites one or two students from different groups to share what they have learned through the activity.

Follow up 2: Teacher asks each student to write down something that they find interesting during the activity.

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April Zhang
Chinese Teacher
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