When I was a kid, I spent hours (and lots of money), buying, trading, and organizing baseball cards.
Today, my 5 kids are into Pokemon cards.
There is something about the simplicity of a trading card….the photos, the facts, the ability to trade with others, that makes them a generational favorite.
Why not capitalize on this idea by asking your students to create trading cards for the characters in the novel you are reading or the historical figures you are studying.
Character Trading Card Lesson Plan
First, compile a list of the key figures from the period of history or the book that you are studying. You can divide the list between your students or have each student create a card for each person on the list.
As a class, make a list of the key “stats” that should be included on each card. This might include their date of birth, key contributions, personality strengths & weaknesses, etc.
Trading Card Templates
I have found that it is best to provide students with a trading card template to work from. This will (hopefully) give them more time to focus on the content of each card without the need to worry about the design.
Looking for more classroom ideas? Check out this list of 10 free templates you can use in your classroom tomorrow!
Here are three trading card templates to use in your classroom
Google Slides – I created this trading card template when I was teaching Fahrenheit 451. Students were instructed to create a character card for each main character in the novel. Google Slides is an ideal platform is you turn this into a group activity or use Google Classroom.
Canva template – The “flyer” template works very well for trading Cards. This design is a bit bigger which provides more room for information about the character or historical figure. The Thomas Jefferson example above was created using Canva.
PokeCard.net – if your students are really into Pokemon, they can use this free website to create Pokemon-like character cards. You’ll want to spend a bit more time discussing how to use the stat categories (Hit, weakness, retreat, etc) for your cards. Don’t worry, I’m sure your students will suggest ways to align these stats to historical or literary figures!
How did you use this lesson in your classroom?
Did you use this idea in your classroom? Leave me a comment and let me know how it went and if you have any additional tips you can share!
Ellen Rosaline (Rosie) Jordan says
Mr. Sowash, Good morning. I am Ellen Rosaline Jordan, a retired teacher in the Greenville area of South Carolina. I have served the Briggs, DeLaine, Pearson Foundation for the past couple of years as a curriculum writer for the first court case of Brown v Board of Topeka -namely Briggs v Elliott court case. I created sacrifice cards of the 20 brave souls that signed the Third Test Lawsuit for school buses…plus many others that suffered so very much for integration. The idea is that the 8th grade teachers in Greenville South Carolina would used these cards to created social media posts for some of these people. Is it okay if I put a link in the inquiry that brings them to this website? Like this?
Sowash, John R. Free Trading Card Template: perfect for social studies and language arts!
Thank you, sir, for your consideration.
John R. Sowash says
Yes, certainly. I would be honored if you linked to my blog post!
If you have any student examples you can share, please feel free to link them as a comment!
Janine B Snyder says
Hi! I wanted to check out your Canva template but it just takes me to Canva and not the specific template.
John R. Sowash says
I recommend using the “flyer” template category for the trading card project. After clicking on the Canva link, pick the template that most accurately matches the complexity of your project. There are some templates that are simple and others that have a lot of detail.
Ahsoka Tano says
Hey, there! Where are the templates for the trading cards for Canva? My name is Ahsoka Tano and I’m trying to make a Star Wars trading card.
John R. Sowash says
I use the “flyer” templates in Canva.