I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.

Ursla Le Guin (1929-2018)

National Book Foundation speech, 2014

What Cards

Choice Card: What Cards
What be questions, basic pronouns plurals
elementary aged children and up
2-4 minutes
Class Size:
Energy Level:
low to moderate
pair practise
what cards, timer

This is simply a way of practising questions like:

  • What is he?
  • What is she?
  • What is it?
  • What are they?

Each pair needs a set of cards. The cards are shuffled and placed picture side down so that the symbols are face up. The first player chooses a card, points at it and asks the matching question. Their partner turns over the card and answers according to the picture. If the player doesn't know the answer they can ask other players or the teacher or simply say, "I don't know?" How many cards can the players do in one minute? After a minute switch roles.


  1. Rather than asking "What be" questions players can ask straight "Be" questions (eg "Is she a magician"). Their partner looks at the card and only reveals it when the answer is "Yes". Otherwise the partner keeps guessing. How many cards can the players get in a minute?
  2. Players start with the cards face up. The first player makes this/these sentences, eg "This is a witch". Their partner rephrases the sentence using the correct pronoun "She is a witch") and then flips the card over. How many cards can the players go through in a minute?


When first introducing these cards I usually leave out "they" and focus on he, she and it. I often use these cards as a filler, for example something to do while completing Passport Control

When players are doing something involving repetition as opposed to asking and answering questions decide whether they will just pass each statement down the line or repeat and then pass.

getfile: What Cards

PDF: A4, 2 pages), 862kb