Another use for Index Cards

Sure you can use index cards for art, for journaling, and for to-do lists, but you can also use them for planning ahead.

I teach a number of business communication courses, and I always need good examples–or bad examples–of communication run off the rails. Sure, I can make up examples, but it’s better to use real-life examples, particularly if they glow, larger than life, from a Powerpoint.

My local newspaper is a good supplier, as are magazines and carelessly-edited books.

The trick is cutting out the paragraph with the error and taping it to an index card. Yes, I could scan it, but using the back of the index card as a list of possible examples (antecedent, syntax, style issues) gives me a faster way to choose examples for class.

(In the example above, part of the story reads, ” . . . a quail family in east Mesa that was shot and uniquely edited by her granddaughter. . .” On the front of the card, I put the source, date, page, and section of the paper so I know where it came from. When I need it, I scan the newspaper piece and can use it in class.

And easy way to get a collection of good, bad examples.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer who teaches what she knows.

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6 thoughts on “Another use for Index Cards

  1. Hmmm. I suppose if the granddaughter is skilled both with a rifle and in taxidermy, she could have shot and edited the quail family….

  2. I used to keep all my addresses on index cards. I put the name and contact info on the front along with birthday, anniversary and other info. On the back I was able to keep track of when I sent cards/letters, etc. When I had birthdays coming up, I pulled the cards and clipped to my calendar so I would have the info there for calling or sending a card.

    I’ve also used index cards for shopping lists. And for flash cards when learning a foreign language, or definitions or anything else. I cut the cards into thirds and made my flash cards and could rubber band a stack and carry with me. Anytime I was stuck waiting, I could easily pull out the cards and review them.

    Recently I’ve noticed that the index cards aren’t made with the same material they had been. They aren’t as sturdy or as smooth and I don’t like them as much. So, I buy reams of index card stock and make my own if I want to use them now.

  3. Ouch, hurts my sensitive grammarian ears every time I read that phrase. I can’t get the picture of of my head of the granddaughter, equipped with Uzi, taking care of those quails, one edit or another.

  4. I just love those grammar mishaps! And a good idea. Years ago there was an article in a news paper titled ‘Thousands of Sheep Live on Paper in Greece’. I’m not sure if the mishap translates but in the original Finnish it seemed that it was a story about how farmers feed their sheep with paper only. Poor things. Actually it was about there being thousands of imaginary sheep that existed only on paper in order to fool the government into paying extra subsidies.

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