Resource Round-up – SKILLS

So before i totally forget where i’ve saved all of the excellent resources that i’ve come across in the first few weeks of my holiday, i thought i’d do a Resource Round-up.  Here is the best of what i’ve found so far; resources that i’m really looking forward to using in the next school year.


The following links are to resources that i plan to use with pre-intermediate plus classes with a focus on Exam Skills.


I follow i great blog, Read. Know. Learn. Go, which shares learning tools for the ESL classroom.  Here i came across a really useful website called Cowbird.  There are loads of stories, poems and pictures.  Some of the stories are read aloud with voice-overs and so could be used as a listening exercise.  Each story has a corresponding photograph; i think students will really enjoy personalising their stories with an image and uploading to the internet for a real audience.

Similarly, Storybird allows you to write an online story with a bank of cute animations, you can then share your story with friends and family.  However, i’ve heard that to order the books and get them printed is quite expensive.  I think this resource will work well with my Year 8 or Year 9s.  I will give them a choice of issues e.g bullying, eating disorders etc (therefore could be a tutorial task) then get them to write a story for a younger audience.  Once the book is complete they can read it aloud (using the iPads) to a small group of primary students and lead a discussion on their topic.  Credit to The Guardian for bringing this resource to my attention.


Check out EFL Shorts, graded readers for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners.  Each story has follow-up comprehension and vocabulary activities.  Great for homework tasks.

Use of English

Tower and Castle – This really useful website takes current news event and turns them into CAE Use of English practice papers.  Now that’s certainly more relevant than some of the random texts you find in practice test books.


Language Lego is a really thoughtful blog that offers reflections on Teaching  theory alongside lesson ideas.  Here is a really novel way of integrating instagram to improve students’ pronunciation – Instagram for EFL

How much do you love StumbleUpon???!!! (I’m only slightly addicted).  You’re bound to find something interesting…uh…i guess that’s the whole point!  I will use this website in the classroom ‘stumbling’ upon images that i have already saved to a list and then give students 1 minute to describe the picture.  Here is a link to my ‘cool pics’ list, then use EFL Classrooms 2.0‘s extensive list of how to incorporate images into the classroom if you’re feeling stuck.

There’s more than Speaking Activities to these haunting images: More than just photographs.  Learners can write the backstories or character monologues, read them aloud at the end of the class and other students guess which picture the stories go with.

A picture says a thousand words

A picture says a thousand words

This link, (found via Stumpleupon) is incredibly disturbing, so for use with older learners.  It outlines 10 psychological experiments that went wrong.  Depending on the group dynamic, you could even attempt a mini mock-up of the Stanford Prison Experiment and discuss how it made participants feel.  Then use the article as a gate-way to a discussion on ethics.

Another StumbleUpon find, Life’s 100 photographs that changed the World will make an interesting Team quiz.  Students have to speak about chosen photograph  for set amount of time, explaining its significance.

Tutorial Ideas

Of course the following resource can be used for any number of activities but i intend to get my tutor group, at the beginning of the year, to find a quote or motto and explain why they chose it.  Then, using Recite we ‘turn a quote into a masterpiece’ and display them around the classroom.  Quotes can also be uploaded to social media sites and students could report back on how many ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ they got.

You can't always get what you want...oh wait, wrong quote!!

You can’t always get what you want…oh wait, wrong quote!!

Massive Thank you to Topical Teaching for sharing this video of an 11 year old girl who escaped her destiny as a child bride.  The students in my tutor group are 13 and this will certainly make an interesting starting point for a discussion.

As will Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the UN.  Hopefully it will help teens to see a bigger picture.

Writing this post has certainly helped me to categorise some of the resources that i’ve saved so far.  It was originally going to be one post but the process has made me realise that it will form part of a series with at least 3 more posts: Creative Writing Resources, Cine Club Resources and Stuff for the Little ones, which i will get round to a bit later but for now the beach is calling me!!  I hope it’s been useful.  Please comment any links or further suggestions of what you use.


6 responses to “Resource Round-up – SKILLS

  1. Fantastic! I may share some of your ideas, too?! 🙂

  2. Thanks Caroline for the round-up. Lots of great resources!

  3. Thanks Rose. Next instalment coming soon!!

  4. Pingback: Teaching English in Russia: The Complete Guide

  5. Many thanks for the mention, directorschaires.

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