Updated 21 February 2019
Pelmanism (also called “the memory game” or “pairs”) is the classic TEFL card game in which students try to find matching pairs of cards from the pack spread face down across the table, just as you can try to find the seven of clubs and seven of spades in the original card game.
This variation is much easier to set up and also produces much better language. Students are given a pack of cards which are in no way designed to have pairs, and must try to find any link between the cards they turn over in order to be able to keep them, e.g. that “egg” and “napkin” are both white or that “salt shaker” and “democracy” are in most countries in the world nowadays. They can’t use the same way of linking the cards more than once per game.
As well as practicing or revising a set of vocabulary in this way, you can also add a language point that must be used to explain the link such as cause and effect, or similarities and differences.
Video describing the game here (my first vid – it shows!)
The worksheet in the video is here:
and more versions of random pelmanism are here:
Abilities of animals can/ can’t games (including random pelmanism)
Comparing places random pelmanism (comparatives with places names and adjectives, including nationalities)
20 more classic (or new classic) TEFL card games in a new article of mine on the topic here and more TEFLtastic classics here. Should anyone want to make or have already made similar videos demonstrating any of those games, I will be happy to link to them from here, because unlike what it says in the vid, I doubt I’ll ever get round to doing the rest…