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

Sunday, March 18

Sentence Run - No Prep ESL Activity


What do you do to reinforce vocabulary you taught your students? Do you find yourself constantly having to repeat definitions? What if its the end of the day & your students have already sat through hours upon hours of lectures? This activity will definitely help you with all of the above!

I don't know about you, but I for one am tired of constantly having to repeat the meanings of words that I've already explained a gazillion times before. I prefer to remain sanguine & tai-chi the learning burden onto my students. You will see them desperately racking their brains or pouring through their notes for this activity! Ah... the joys of learning.

This is one of my favorite No Prep vocabulary practice activities & it never fails to wake up & engage my students. Students of all ages & levels will enjoy this one. It's a great way for students to revise the vocabulary you've taught them & practice their sentence formation skills too. Try it out & let me know how it went in the comments!

Skills Engaged: Vocabulary, Writing, Grammar, Cooperative Learning, Spelling
Materials: Whiteboard, markers, & a vocabulary list
Time: 20-30 min

Monday, March 12

Essay Strips - Low Prep ESL Activity

When you give your students a passage to read, how can you be sure that they are actually reading & comprehending the text? How do you make reading more engaging?

Created out of necessity while working with a class of students who didn't like to read & inspired by an activity on Breaking News English, here's another Low Prep activity that you might want to try out in your ESL class. Try it out in your class & let me know how it went in the comments!

Skills Engaged: Reading, Grammar, Cooperative Learning
Materials: Whiteboard, poster/easel papers, & markers
Time: 20-30 min

Sunday, March 4

The Disappearing Text - No Prep ESL Activity


This is one of my favorite post-reading activities & students of all ages enjoy it too. The best part is it engages your students for 20+ minutes & it's No Prep! Try it with your students next week & let me know how it went! =)

Skills Engaged: Reading, Pronunciation, Memory, Writing, Grammar, & Spelling.
Materials: whiteboard, marker, & eraser

Saturday, February 24

Register As Pengundi Pos Luar Negara Via Email In Just 5 Minutes!


I sent in my Permohonan Kertas Undi Pos (Pengundi Pos Luar Negara) a month ago after reading this post on my Facebook feed & was surprised that some Malaysians I spoke to thought that it would be too much trouble to bother. That's ludicrous & asinine (my latest favorite word)! Well, guess how long it took me to finish the application?

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