I don’t know about you, but I like making the process of learning Italian as enjoyable as possible.
(Like wine in hand and listening to a beautiful sounding Italian man while translating texts kind of fun.)
So when I found out about FlashSticks, a way to learn Italian that I could actually touch, I was thrilled because I knew I could make it into something fun.
What I didn’t know then was how effective FlashSticks are on a scientific level if you let them be that way.
The idea behind a deck of FlashSticks is that you have one vocabulary word per Post-It note.
Each note comes with the spelling of the word, how to pronounce it, a picture, and in our case, the gender and the part of speech – so verb, noun, adjective, etc.
It also is marked by color, so blue notes are masculine and pink notes are feminine.
For me, I love them because this world is becoming so technologically driven, which is fantastic on some fronts, but I do miss being able to physically interact with the things I’m learning.
Sticking notes in my room, my bathroom, and generally in places where my eyes tend to wander make the experience that much more fun for me.
Scientifically, the act of constantly seeing a word again and again has basis in spaced repetition, which is a learning technique that has been proven to enhance your memory.
For those of you who have FlashSticks but aren’t sure how to use them OR are thinking about getting FlashSticks but want to know that they’ll be useful, here are seven ways to use your FlashSticks to help you remember the word and make learning Italian into something more reminiscent of a party.
7 Ways to Use Your FlashSticks
1.) Tell a story
This one you can do by yourself or with a friend.
By yourself: Randomly choose ten notes from your deck of FlashSticks. Close your eyes, mix them up, and them stick them to a wall.
In that exact order, create a story where those words MUST show up.
If you’re a beginner, tell the story to yourself in English and place the Italian words where they should be.
If you’re up for more of a challenge, tell the story to yourself in Italian.
With a friend: Do exactly as you would by yourself but whoever has the most ridiculous story wins the round.
2.) Stick a note on your forehead, and guess what the word is by someone else describing it to you.
With this game, you need a friend.
They randomly choose a note, and stick it on your forehead. Then they begin to describe whatever the note is without saying the word.
Your job is to guess what word it is, but you can only guess the word in Italian. No English allowed.
Beginner level: Listen to the descriptions in English.
Upper levels: Listen to the descriptions in Italian.
Then, switch roles. This way you both get a good workout speaking and listening in Italian.
3.) Stick a post on your back and ask yes or no questions to find out what it is.
Similar to #2, have a friend stick a random note on your back and you have to ask them yes or no questions to figure out what the word is.
Once you think you know the word, you can only guess in Italian. No English allowed.
Here’s an example. Let’s say the word on my back is scarpa.
I might ask:
- Am I a verb?
- Am I a noun?
- Okay. I’m a noun. Do people play with me?
- Okay, no. Do people wear me?
- Great. Do people wear me on their heads?
- No, okay. Do people wear me on their legs?
- Yes, great. Do people wear me on their thighs?
- No, okay. What about their feet?
- I’m thinking that I’m a scarpa.
Beginner level: Ask all of your questions in English.
Upper levels: Ask all of your questions in Italian.
4.) Create simple sentences in Italian using that word.
This one you can do by yourself or with a friend. The goal is to choose ten notes and then create sentences around them.
You can make this even more entertaining by choosing a theme.
For example, today’s theme is the circus, so every note that I make a sentence about has to have something to do with the circus.
5.) Make a word search puzzle with your notes.
After learning 10-20 words from your notes, create a word search with them by using this site: Puzzle Maker
Print it out, and solve the word search.
6.) Play charades.
Use your notes to play the classic game of charades.
Have one person choose a note and act it out to the at least one other person.
As you guess each word must be in Italian.
7.) Play reverse charades with a group.
Use your notes to play this spin on charades. Instead of one person acting out a note, an entire group of people acts out the note, and one person guesses.
Just like in #6, all of the guesses must be in Italian.
Have any other creative suggestions for how to use FlashSticks? Leave them in the comments below!
A loving disclaimer: FlashSticks is a sponsor for the 30 Minute Italian podcast. They are not paying me to write this article, but I did it because I want everyone to know about them. If you want to try out a deck, you can get 15% off by entering the discount code iceberg. To get your deck of FlashSticks for Italian, go here.