Building Vocabulary with SAFMEDS

SAFMEDS is an acronym for flashcards. It stands for “Say All Fast Minute Each Day Shuffled.” This acronym was applied by Ogden Lindsley, the creator of the Celeration Chart. It is a memorization method that has worked well for school and college students. On flash cards, you put the word on one side, and a brief answer (definition) on the other side of the card. Stack the cards. Go through them as fast as you can in a minute, putting aside the cards you do not know. Practice them. Then do it again. Chart your results.

Flash Cards

SAFMEDS is a flash card method to learn vocabulary.

CyberSlate presents SAFMEDs using the grid. You see the word or the short definition. Say the word that is presented. Try to recall and say the word that should be on the other side of the flash card. Then press the Space Bar and see if you are correct. Press the correct or x key. At the end of the minute, you can see your score, and check your chart to see if you accelerated your performance.


The word or definition appears. Say it and its opposite. Then press the Space Bar to check your match.

You can select the practice screen prior to the minute, and rehearse the words and definitions using the same set of keys.

CyberSlate keeps track of the unlearned selections and those that are mastered. At each session, it selects a mixture of the unlearned items and a few of the mastered items, shuffles them and presents them to you in random order.

CyberSlate has a small dictionary of pre-selected SAFMEDs words and definitions.  You email us the words and short definitions you wish to use, and we make up your card pack for you.  If you are a CyberSlate Scholar, this service is free. Otherwise, the cost is $10 per pack (after the original CyberSlate registration.)

The key to successful vocabulary building is relevance. Do not build decks of words that are “grade level”, but rarely used in your student’s classes. In content classes, find out when each section will be covered in class, and introduce the relevant deck a week or two prior to those classes. Use the practice option before each session until your scores are above 20 items per minute.