Cramberry Flashcards

Cramberry is a fantastic tool for creating on-line flashcards. The best thing about the software is that  not only can you view the flashcards on your PC  you can also download the software as an app for iPhones and  iPod touches so you can take your flash cards with you wherever you go.

I’m going to make an English grammar themed set to help me revise for the CELTA course that I’ll be starting soon but you could also use the software with your students. Your students could create their own flashcards, use the ones made by you (if you make your cards public), or they could choose from millions of flash cards made by other Cramberry users from around the world.

Here’s an example of a ready-made flashcard for advanced English vocabulary.

AP English 11 Vocabulary 1

CELTA Interview Teaching Task – Descriptive Writing

Today I had a sucessful interview for the Cambridge Celta course which I hope to start in May.

As part of the interview we were asked to complete a 5 minute micro teach on a subject of our choice. Last week, as part of my PGCE, I was shown a really good lesson idea for descriptive writing and as I’ve been dying to try it out I decided to explain the idea as part of the micro teach.

Here’s the idea:

  1. Each student is given a postcard which they’re not allowed to show the rest of the class. (As the micro teach was a surprise I didn’t have any postcards  so I improvised and tore pictures from the Metro newspaper).
  2. Once the students have a postcard each they  write down 10 words related to it.
  3. Still without show the image to their class mates, the students swap their words with their partner. Using the word list each student creates a short piece of descriptive writing. This could be a story, a poem or a letter etc.
  4. Once complete the students then read aloud their pieces of writing and reveal their postcards to their partners.
  5. They then discuss the similarities and differences of the piece of writing and the postcard.

An extension activity could then be to write the next chapter of the story or to write another piece of descriptive writing inspired by the imagery on their postcards.

Creativity Workshop – Food

I recently took part in a creativity workshop at the University of Huddersfield. I was placed in the food group and we were given the task of producing a bank of creative numeracy, literacy and ESOL resources around the theme of food.

We rose to the challenge and had a fantastic day showing off our home-made resources.

Rebecca, Kate, Gemma, Christine

The Food Table

Celebrity Shopping Baskets

As I’ve just started teaching numeracy to students aged 16+ I decided to create a maths related resource. I wanted to produce a worksheet related to my learners interests and as they are all teenagers and are interested in popular culture I was inspired by the idea of celebrity shoppers.  It’s currently the RBS 6 Nations and as I teach in Leeds, a city where rugby is more important than football, I chose Mike Tindall as one of the shoppers as he is captaining England for this tournament. The other two celebrities are Cheryl Cole, as most of the learners are attracted to her, and James Corden as all of my learners share his sense of humour.

For the first task the students have to match the shopping basket to the celebrity. The worksheet becomes progressively harder as the students need to use their  ICT and numeracy skills to research the cost of the food contained in the shopping baskets and then add up the total amount. I like to embed life skills into my lessons so further tasks look at budgeting money as the learners to roll a money dice in order to produce a budget and then use Asda online to work out what they could afford and how much change they will get.

If you would  copy of the worksheet I produced it can be found by clicking on the following link.

Food Worksheet

My colleagues also produced a lot of interesting and creative ideas. A summary of which are contained below:


Animal Biscuits

Using the internet research animal facts and write sentences about your findings.

Use alliteration to tell your partner more about the animals – for example Leroy the lovely lion was lonely.

Use one of the animals in your packet as a basis for a story.

Think about the sizes of the animals and use for maths related activities.

Strawberry Laces

Make letters and words out of them.

Make shapes – measure the perimeter and area of the shapes.

Explain what they are to an alien (describe the ingredients, texture, shape, the way they make you feel etc)


Kate brought in a world map and a collection of food including chocolate, lychee and bananas. The learners could pick a piece of food and then answer questions about it including;

  • Take a piece of food and try to guess which country it comes from. You can eat it if you want to.
  • Imagine you are someone from that country. Write a piece about a day in their life. Use what you already know and the internet to research your piece.
  • What have you found out about your country? Was the food fair trade or not? Use the internet to find out more about your country and fair trade.


Dodge the Pulp

Christine’s Instructions

I made a game board to depict food as a game.  I use the tomatoes which were squashed and were forfeit or dares.  The eggs were fried eggs and they were forfeits or if you landed on these you would go back two places.  I used ladders to moved the players on through the game quickly as if you landed on these you could go down the ladder.  There were 15 hand-made forfeit cards which you took if you land on a tomatoes. I  drew squares on a board and then coloured them in with contrasting colours in this case green and then added numbers up to 100.  I made counters out of buttons and added two coins one silver and one bronze and the bottom I stuck on coloured tissue paper red and green to make them distinctive and added a dice.

Game Cards

Glogster – create interactive posters online

Social networking has had a profound effect on the way in which people use the internet to learn. As I work part-time in a FE college most social networking sites are blocked on their computers therefore I needed to find a new social application to share this experience with my students. Luckily yesterday afternoon, as I scannned Twitter for useful links, I came across Glogster.

Glogster is an online tool that can be used to create and share interactive posters and pages. You can embed videos and music, upload photos and border/design them. You can print attractive pieces of text then share them with a webpage link.

A quick search for the term ‘esol’ produces three pages of results. Here is a one that I found relating to Cultural Awareness.

There are a number of ways in which you could use this web page with your students. You could click on the flower and play the interactive vocabulary games. The students could read the descriptions of the stories and then choose one of the books to read, or you use the page as a starter for a discussion about cultural awareness where each student describes what they know about a partners original culture.

As well as viewing other students pages your learners can also sign up to the service for free and begin creating their own pages. Glogster Edu has been specifically designed to be used by tutors and students. With Glogster Education you can create class projects, assign home work, create student portfolios and manage student accounts.

In this video you will see how Glogster can be used as a support tool for short oral presentations.

Teaching Recipes

Today I found a really useful lesson sharing community called Teaching Recipes.

There are tonnes of ESOL/literacy lesson plans, games, ideas, videos and PDFs.  You can download other tutors lesson ideas and even upload you own.

I  particularly liked this Word Collocations activity based on a the ‘Words’ video by RadioLab.


Words Video Activity

Words Video Activity Answers

Being interviewed for the University of Huddersfield 2011/2012 post graduate prospectus

Today I took part in an interview for the University of Huddersfield 11/12 Post Graduate Prospectus. I was asked about my background, my opinions on the PGCE and what my plans are for the future. The interview will be available via the universities website but in the mean time here’s a sneak peek from todays filming.