Monday, April 16

Chain Story - No Prep ESL Activity


Want your grammar lessons to be a little livelier? Want students to move a little bit in your class & have a little laugh after a long day? Want them to cooperate & perform peer-correction? Perhaps you should consider this engaging No Prep ESL Activity!

This is an activity that can be easily adapted for higher or lower proficiency levels! It's perfect for assessing grammar: tenses, conditionals, SVA, conjunctions, prepositions, etc.

Skills Engaged: Grammar, Writing, Cooperative Learning, Spelling
Materials: Dry-erase markers, & whiteboard
Time: 15-30 min

Sunday, April 8

Why Every Malaysian Should Send Postcards Home When Graduating Abroad

If you are a Malaysian studying abroad, I implore you to send postcards home when you graduate. Here's why...

Being able to study abroad is a luxury & a privilege enjoyed by roughly 55,000 Malaysians every year (from 2003-2013). It may seem like a big number but it only constitutes roughly 5.5% of the tertiary student population (from 2000-2010). Academically, there is not much difference between degrees earned locally & those abroad. The special-sauce is in the broadening of the mind & the ability to consider multiple perspectives after being exposed & forced to survive in a foreign culture. With a simple gesture, you can share a glimpse of what you've learned with a new generation of Malaysians with the hopes that your postcard will spark young minds & inspire them to surpass your wildest imaginations.

Send Postcards To Where You Know It Will Actually Be Used

Perhaps you can send a few back to your past schools. I'm sure the students there will be inspired by what you have achieved as an alumnus. You might need to do some liaising.

I decided to send my cards to teachers because I am a teacher & I believe teachers make a difference every day. Having taught in one of the most extreme circumstances in Malaysia, I knew that Malaysian teachers face an uphill battle every single day whilst performing their most essential purpose = preparing the next generation for 21st century challenges while climbing mountains of paperwork & mindless midnight data entry. Teachers don't often get the support they need for the work that they do. Therefore, while I was studying, I facilitated a video exchange program between the US-Malaysia. Additionally, upon my graduation, I sent postcards to 163 schools in Malaysia.

Check Out All The Creative Ways Malaysian Teachers Used Their Postcards!

Sunday, April 1

Written Charades - No Prep ESL Activity

How do you make sure your students pay attention to new vocabulary you've covered in your lessons & incentivize them to return to those from time to time? Every teacher knows charades & it's classic vocabulary game that's great for all levels & ages. But, what happens when one student/team completely dominates the game every time you play it? How do you make sure that everybody gets a chance to participate? Also, how do you know if your students can spell the words correctly?

I've figured out a No Prep way to tap into what makes the game great & engage all students without alienating those who are a little bit slow (like myself, I'm really bad at charades). Trust me, your students will frantically flip through their notes during this engaging ESL activity! Try this out & let me know how your lesson went! =)


Skills Engaged: Vocabulary, Cooperative Learning, Spelling
Materials: Dry-erase markers, & dry-erase tablets (you can make your own low-cost version by laminating white/colored paper)
Time: 15-20 min

Friday, March 30

Reflections on the 2017 Video Exchange Project

In early 2017, I wanted to connect students in Malaysia & the US to help make learning English more relevant to young Malaysians & share the wonders of multiculturalism in my moderate-Muslim-majority country with young people in the US. I considered all of the barriers for such an undertaking & figured that the best way to do this was to run a video exchange project targeting teachers as they would be able to provide mentorship & support to their students.

First, let me congratulate SMK St Thomas (Cikgu Khor), SMK Batu Lintang (Cikgu Ho), Youth Guidance (Mr Oommen), & Operation Breakthrough (Mr Rowles) for completing the project!

In this blog post, I will share publicly available pictures & videos from the participants as well as what I have learned as the coordinator of the project.

Thursday, March 29

Sentence Strips - Low Prep ESL Activity


How do you segue from reading & discussion into grammar with an activity that's engaging and cooperative? How can you squeeze more teaching out of a reading passage that you spent so much time sourcing & painstakingly adapting?

This week's Low Prep post-reading activity was created to assess/develop my students' understanding of English sentence structure & give them an opportunity to communicate while figuring out a puzzle with a partner! If you've tried this, let me know how your lesson went in the comments!

Skills Engaged: Grammar, Cooperative Learning
Materials: Paper strips, & scissors
Time: 10-20 min

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