Popplet ESL Activities: Irregular Verb Flash Cards

For learners of English, there’s no getting past the past simple and irregular verb forms. Learning and confidently reproducing the most frequently used forms such as went, made, got, have… is something that English teachers should strive for early in a learner’s development. Shortly after, comes the introduction of the perfect tenses and irregular past participles, which students must also learn.

Irregular verbs can and should be studied contextually, however, learners will also benefit from studying this vocabulary by rote, and flashcards are a tried and tested method of doing this. Traditional paper/cardboard flashcards work well, however, digital flashcards created in Popplet have some advantages:

  • Less teacher time investment – students make the flashcards!
  • They are permanent so don’t get a tatty over time
  • They don’t “get lost” and end up incomplete
  • You can create a Master Popplet, and this will serve all levels – there’s no need to shuffle or use a separate pack for different levels
  • They live in your device
  • Students learn a new and useful technology – Popplet

So, unless you’re unlucky enough to lose your iPad or laptop, it’s all good – even then, your flashcards will be safe and sound until you get your device back!  Here’s what you need to do to create Irregular Verb Flashcards with Popplet

The List

With irregular verbs, there’s always a list, and you will need one before you begin to create Popplet Flash Cards. Irregular verb lists are as common as clouds, and a simple Google search will yield many. Any decent coursebook will contain an irregular verb list in its reference material, or you can create your own. The only advice is that the verbs should match the learner’s needs and level: Advanced students tend to have longer lists than Pre-intermediate students for example.

Creating a Verb Flashcard Popplet

The teacher can do this, but I prefer my students to do it for themselves because as they engage with Popplet, they also engage with the target language. They will also end up with their own copies of the flashcards for revision.

  • First, demonstrate how to create an Irregular Verb Popplet. It should start to look something like this:


  • Then, give the completed list to the students and have them create their own Verb Popplets making sure they add you as a collaborator. (Alternatively, the teacher could begin the Popplet, make templates, and add students as collaborators.)
  • Finally, check the completed Popplets for errors.

Larger verb lists are more difficult to format and are best split into two or even three column groups. To help with this, or simply to create more elegant Popplets, refer your students to the Popplet Formatting tutorials.

Adding Comments

When your students have their Irregular Verb Popplets, with corrections made and formatted to their satisfaction, you might want to add the translations of the verbs in the learner’s native language. I do this by using Popplet Comments. The translations will not show in the main popplet board but are always handy for checking when a student is stuck. To add or view a comment, click on the speech bubble in the top right-hand corner of the popple:


Using the Flashcards in Class

Popplet has two presentation modes and both can be used to present the verbs:

  1. Presentation Mode  – which allows individual popples containing a single word to be displayed full size in a predetermined order.
  2. Presentation Mode 2 – which lets you display groups of popples and good for displaying the past simple and past participle on the same slide.

I have found that the first presentation mode is the most effective for drilling irregular verb forms:

Preparing a Popplet Presentation

  • Access the Popplet, click the cog menu, select view, then choose presentation mode:screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-16-54-32
  • Select record from the pop-up, number the popples in the order you want them to appear by first selecting add:screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-16-56-10
  • Select present to display the verbs one by one:screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-16-59-14

Drilling the Verbs

  • In class: devices off, books closed, make sure all the students can see your irregular verb popplet
  • Show students the first verb, say it, and ask them to repeat it:
  • Next, ask the students to pronounce the past simple and the past participle, if they do it incorrectly, give them a chance to try again
  • Finally, toggle to the past simple and past participle and have the students repeat the verbs, then move on to the next infinitive and repeat until you reach the end of the list:screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-16-49-20

When students are studying the Past Simple or the Present Perfect, they should repeat this exercise at the beginning of each class, when they aren’t, once a week is usually enough. If you like, you can use Presentation Mode 2 to show the Past Simple and the Past Perfect together at the same time. The list can be divided, students can focus on 10 verbs each class.

Another advantage of Popplet Flashcards is that students can study them on their devices, using Popplet Presentation mode as they do in class, at home. Of course, flashcards can be created in Popplet for any topic.

Popplet is available on the web, and new users receive five popplet boards for when they sign up for a free account.  If you find you need more than five popplet boards, you can simply delete existing ones, or you can sign up for the full version of Popplet at the iTunes store. There is a free version of the iPad app: Popplet Lite, available from the iTunes Store. School and Class group subscriptions are available.

Check out the other artcicles in the Popplet ESL series:

Popplet Ideas for ESL Teaching

Popplet ESL Activities: An Introduction to Pronunciation

Popplet ESL Activities: An Introduction to Pronunciation

Popplet is a favorite tool of literacy teachers, especially those who work with younger learners. Reading, writing, spelling, and the other key elements that children need to solve the language puzzle are particularly significant in the early years since this early progress has a universal impact on their development. The methods they use closely resemble some of those employed by language teachers.

Phonics, or one of its variants, is the method most used by school teachers to teach children how to read. In English language instruction, we combine phonics and phonetics, along with other linguistic concepts and label this key area of English language tuition, Pronunciation.

First steps with Popplet and Pronunciation – a lesson

  1. A brief presentation about English pronunciation, with constant student feedback.
  2. Students carry out research related to the lesson and create popplets to show their results.
  3. Class discussion.

I like to introduce Popplet and pronunciation at the same time in my classes. There is no increase in difficulty, since, like any good tool, Popplet adds value to the student’s experience. More significantly, visualizing their experiences by creating a Popplet board about what they learn, enhances their learning and leaves them a visual record for revision.

All of your students will know about pronunciation. Some will have seen IPA symbols before, a few might understand them. Others will groan at the prospect a subject that has not been highly regarded these last years and may even resist. The majority, however, will be curious the moment you write Pronunciation on the board, and that is always the best place to begin a class.


Explain to the students that they are going to learn about pronunciation, and explain to them why it is important for them to study it, answering any questions that arise.

  • Begin by talking about the different types of English that exist, explain how they vary and why the often used term Standard English may forever be an elusive concept. Be sure to mention which dialect you belong to, or favor.
  • Then, Illustrate with some popular examples:

British vs American English’s legendary “tomahto” /təˈmɑːtəʊ/, “tomayto” /təˈmeɪtoʊ/, or

How the Canadian pronunciation of “about” /əˈbaʊt/, “aboot” tickles their US neighbors

  • Focus on UK Received Pronunciation (RP), the language of the Queen of England, her family, and a few other people in the world. Highlight some of the ways it differs from Scottish English or American English, for example.
  • Amaze your students by explaining that words like car /ka:/. chair /’tʃeə/, and where /’weə/ are maybe not pronounced as they might imagine. If they don’t believe you, provide more examples.
  • Introduce the class to the schwa /ə/, and reveal why this particular sound is so popular with English speakers by modeling the words chocolate /’tʃɒkələt/ and vegetable /’vedʒtəbl/. Introduce sentence stress.
  • Finally, at the risk of overwhelming your students with what they will have come to believe is the entirely illogical nature of the English language, bring up words that contain silent letters such as know /nəʊ/, walk /wɔ:k/ and talk /tɔ:k/.

Popplet Activities & Discussion

  • Research the countries where English is spoken worldwide. How many people speak English as a first language or second language? Contrast the results with other widely spoken languages like Mandarin or Spanish, Create a Popplet containing your results and add appropriate images such as charts or geographical identifiers -flags! Different groups or students could do the different languages.


  • Research the countries/places in the world where Engish is the first language or widely spoken. Which countries have the most English speakers? Create a Popplet with your results and add appropriate images.
  • Collate results, displaying the best popplets for the whole class to see, using the results to initiate a class discussion on what English pronunciation might sound like fifty years from now.

If your students can access the internet on their devices in class, they can do this activity there and then. If not, set this as a homework exercise. If set as a group exercise, students can collaborate on their work.

Students will very quickly get the hang of Popplet.if they appear hesitant or have any questions direct them to the slideshow demo, which can be accessed by clicking on try it out on the Popplet home page.  In no time at all ,students will be eagerly creating impressive visuals. Avoid lecturing on the use of Popplet, let the students discover what it can do.

By the end of the lesson, the class will be well versed in the basics of Pronunciation and Popplet creation. They will want to know more.

Popplet is available on the web, and new users receive five popplet boards for when they sign up for a free account.  If you find you need more than five popplet boards, you can simply delete existing ones, or you can sign up for the full version of Popplet at the iTunes store. There is a free version of the iPad app: Popplet Lite, also available from the iTunes Store. School and Class group subscriptions are also available.

If you find this idea useful, or if you are already using Popplet in your ESL classes then please let us know by sharing your ideas with the Popplet community on Twitter, and our Facebook page. To sign up for a free account, visit the Popplet home page.



Popplet Ideas for ESL Teaching

Popplet is a user-friendly tech tool that is popular with teachers and students of all ages and disciplines.  It is a mind-mapping application for the iPad and the web that lets you capture and organize your ideas. Popplet is versatile, with an easy to use interface and a comfortable level of functionality, but with robust features that are especially suited to learning environments.

With Popplet you can instantly add editable text, links, images, colors and drawings to connectable bubbles called popples, and connect these popples to create visually informative landscapes of information. Teachers and students can collaborate in real time, and finished work can be presented using one of Popplet’s Presentation modes.

Popplet has steadily been gaining traction with ESL educators and language teachers. It’s hands-on, visual nature lets students form connections between facts and ideas in various ways. Dynamic and fun, it has the ability to make even the dryest of grammar points much more palatable – students become a lot more interested in the finer points of the Reported Speech  if they get to make a Popplet about it on their iPads or laptops!

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Top Popplet! – What RIGHT Means To You

Welcome to Top Popplet! We choose one of our favorite popplets, say why we think it’s great, and share it here so that everyone can see just how great it really is. Our hope is that Popplet people everywhere will  be inspired to similar feats of popplet excellence.


The creative and industrious Popplet community are selfless in their efforts, sharing thousands of examples of their fine work every week. Numerous blogs, a multitude of Twitter and Facebook posts, and our very own Public Popplets section mean we are completely spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing Top Popplets. Nevertheless, choose we must, and this week we choose What RIGHT Means To You.

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Popplet Halloween Ideas

Halloween can be about so much more than Trick or Treating. This traditional annual celebration of all things spooky is an opportunity for children to learn. The importance of traditions, history, the differences between fact and fiction and storytelling. They can also study how people from other cultures celebrate their Halloween.

At Popplet we love Halloween. At times like this, we get a good look at how incredibly creative our most avid users are. Check out some of their ideas.

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Top of the Popplets! – September 2016

September has seen more than its fair share of inspiring ideas and we endeavor to bring the best of them to you here. In Top of the Popplets, our monthly roundup of the popplets shared by the Popplet community. This month the cycle of life is explored in How an Apple Tree Grows, there’s a Soccer Lineup, we learn all about Johnny Appleseed, and young grammar fans will love learning more about Proper Nouns.

How an Apple Tree Grows

Photographs of student drawings (easily uploaded to Popplet) and text come together naturally to form a simple, informative visual in this lifecycle popplet. This popplet looks like it would be a lot of fun to make. Lifecycles and processes look good on a Popplet board, and you can make a popplet about almost anything. Thanks to Mrs. Bunch’s class for sharing this fine example on Instagram:

We used the app @poppletny to show how an apple tree grows!

A photo posted by Mrs. Bunch (@mrsbunchsclass) on

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Popplet: The APPliance of Science

Popplet is a popular app with professors and students in the science classroom and in the laboratory. It has all the versatile, intuitive features favored by inquisitive minds. This ensures Popplet a position at the hub of all the best school and college science projects. Popplet has a role to play at every stage of the discovery process, from the initial ideas (brainstorming) stage through to the presentation of results. 

Why is Popplet so popular with scientists? Because there are so many ways to use it in scientific work. With Popplet you can:

  • Brainstorm thoughts and ideas – What do we know? What do we want to know? How are we going to find out?
  • Plan practical work and experiments
  • Record observations during practicals using text, photos, and video
  • Collate and present results
  • Collaborate on project work in real time…or anytime
  • Classify and make visuals of pretty much anything: animals, insects, plants, planets…
  • Create cool visuals that demonstrate learning
  • Produce great presentations of results

Let’s put Popplet under the microscope and observe its behavior in the areas of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

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Top of the Popplets! – August 2016

Good, practical Popplet ideas have been the hallmark of August, and we have chosen the best of the bunch for this month’s roundup of inspiring Popplet ideas. Our favorite August popplets are The Mexican Revolution, Orchestra Instrument Families, Storytelling with Popplet, and Using Emojis. And if none of these popplets grab you, there are a lot more on our Twitter, and Facebook page, and in Public Popplets.


Storytelling With Popplet: The Fisherman and his Wife


The very first thing you have to do is click this seesaw link. Done that? – Ok. Now that we’re all on the same page, there really isn’t any need for me to explain just how awesome this storytelling popplet is. The Fisherman and his Wife; created by one of Miss Larnerd’s 2nd-graders breaks down easily into Characters, Setting, and Plot. Add to this mix some very cool drawings (you could try the Popplet Drawing Tool for these) uploaded as images, the text of the story, and last but not least an impressive narrator’s soundtrack – provided by the student of course – and the result is an impressive, creative audiovisual presentation. How much fun is this? Thank you so much for sharing.

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Innovate With iPad: Lessons to Transform Learning in the Classroom

Have you ever wanted a book about teaching with the iPad that is light on jargon, gentle on the brain, with tried and tested lesson plans, valuable didactic information, and clear advice all included?  Did you even know that such a book existed? Well, it does, and it’s called Innovate With iPad: Lessons to Transform Digital Learning – if only all technology books for teachers were like this one. Innovate with iPad is an immensely practical, but at the same time considered work that is immediately accessible to all Primary School (K-3) teachers, whether they are beginners or experts in the world of iPads and digital classroom technology.

“Innovate with iPad: Lessons to Transform Learning in the Classroom is the book you and every educator with access to iPad needs to make a fast transition to using iPad for learning.”

/Users/genesiskohler/Desktop/ITWiPad/Final cover/ITWI cover w pi

Don’t skip the Foreword and Introduction because like the main body of the book, they are worth the time. The Foreword is only a few paragraphs and sets the tone nicely. In the Introduction, the creators of Innovate With iPad, experienced primary school teachers Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen, share their thoughts and explain the layout of the remainder of the book. So far, so good, that didn’t take long at all, and we really wanted to read more.

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