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 Glossary of ESL terms


General Associations:

(Bear in mind that common usage is not nearly so precise as I'm making it out to be!)

Herd: Group of grazing ungulates: cows, antelope, bison.

Pack: Group of social carnivores that hunt together: wolves, dogs, coyotes

Flock: A group of birds (sheep being a notable exception): geese, seagulls, sheep.

Pod: A group of large marine mammals in the ocean: whales, dolphins, seals (in the water).

Colony: A group that has established itself at a particular location: seals, bats, ants.

Troop: A group of simians: Gorillas, monkeys, baboons.

Swarm: A mass of insects: Bees, ants, flies, locusts.

Litter: Group of newborn animals (of the same mother): puppies, kittens.

Team: A group of animals used by people for pulling.

School/Shoal: A group of fish.Herring, mackerel, tuna.

Bed: A group of animals (usually immobile) attached to one particular plot of land. Oysters, clams, mussels.


Other collective nouns found on the enrichment cards:

a gang of elk

a pride of lions

a smack of jellyfish

a covey of pheasants

a murder of crows

a parade of elephants

a mob of kangaroos

a wake of vultures

















Collective Nouns of Animals Flashcards

Herds, flocks, packs, troops, schools, and pods... These cards represent my attempt to put order into an area that defies being ordered: the collective nouns of animals.


There are many lists of collective nouns for animal groups out there, but they often contain words only found on lists of collective nouns. I tried to include collective nouns that are actually in use. I also tried to order them so that the herds I choose were all ungulates, the packs were all hunting social carnivores, the schools were all fish. That is, I tried to illustrate the 'herdiness' of herd and the 'packiness' of pack. In reality, many animals that aren't ungulates can take on the collective noun herd.


 However, flock, which is generally associated with birds, has a strong association with sheep and since this is a culturally important metaphor (think of the various religions), I used the collective noun flock for sheep as well as birds.


Games to Play with These Cards: Fish


This game plays like the game fish, but with a catch: First, they have to ask if the other student has the collective noun and then they have to ask about the animal associated with the collective noun. They have to match both collective noun and the associated animal to get the point.


S1: Do you have a pack?

S2: Yes, I do. (Or: No, I don't. Go fish.)

S1: Is it a pack of wolves?

S2: Yes, it is. (Or: No, it isn't. Go fish.)


In order to play this game, you will have to print off two sets of cards and glue them onto poster board and cut them out.





 Collective Nouns of Animals Sample Flashcard: A Pack of Wolves.

            Collective Noun: Herd

            Collective Noun: Pack

            Collective Noun: Flock

            Collective Noun: Pod

            Collective Noun: Colony

            Collective Noun: Team

            Collective Noun: Litter

            Collective Noun: Troop

            Collective Noun: Swarm

            Collective Noun: School

            Collective Noun: Bed


Option instead of school:

            Collective Noun: Shoal


Language Enrichment (intended more for language arts teachers than for ESL teachers).


pride, smack, parade, murder

gang, covey, mob, wake


Student Supplement

for Collective Nouns


There are also some supplementary worksheets for these cards:


Animal Groups Crossword Easy

Animal Groups Crossword Hard


Animal Groups Word Search Easy

Animal Groups Word Search Hard


The easy versions correspond to the basic cards. The hard versions also incorporate the language enrichment cards.