I am really happy that my first article on the use of Trello, a project management tool, in my ESL work has provoked quite a lot of interest and response, some of which were requests to write more on the subject, and this is what I am doing with this article.

I am a teacher of English, so the following ideas are about my ESL/EFL job, but I am sure it will be easy to apply them in connection with your occupation if it has something to do with education.

Working with vocabulary as a team

When you deal with groups, and this is what usually happens in a classroom, there may be another way to handle vocabulary using a Trello board. I create a new board for every new unit of the course that incorporates several lessons. By doing this, I ensure consistency in using vocabulary, minimise the number of “lost words”, because it allows you to keep the words in view throughout the whole unit and cover vocabulary systematically. You can assign a set of vocabulary cards to each student in the group (I would call such a set “a section”). Look at the example below (click to enlarge the photo):

Ask your students to write the words and phrases that are new to them in their personal sections and encourage them to use multiple forms of defining the meaning: synonyms, translation (why not, sometimes it is useful), photos, definitions etc.  For example:

What are the benefits of that?

  • As a teacher, you can see what the most difficult words for the group are and then create activities to recycle this vocabulary.
  • The teacher can write comments in each student’s section, make necessary corrections or discuss the entries. This is great for making learning more personalised.
  • The students can also take a look inside their group mates’ sections, leave comments and start discussions.
  • As you move along the course, the number of boards increases, and it is easy for the teacher to come back to any of them to see what can be revised again, and recall the individual learning issues of each student.

Such approach makes vocabulary learning more systematic, personalised and communicative.


You can also create a separate section for discussing something. For example:

This is how it looks when you click on it:

The students then leave their comments expressing their points of view.


Trello ideally fits in the paradigm of PBL (Project Based learning). I would recommend to allocate a separate board for the project, outside your main board of the unit. Here is an example of some idea for an ESL/EFL project that I called “What news dominates mass media headlines”.

First you set out the goals of the project in the “Description” section:

Then students work in their individual sections for a week collecting data

And then you can figure out the way how to sum up the findings in the “Outcomes” sections engaging the whole group.

This is all on the topic. Write to me if you have any questions, I will be glad to answer them



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