2019 Post-PT3 English Day Activities

Post-PT3 students interacting in English with a presenter during a gallery walk.
Before my arrival, the different language teachers under the Language Department worked together to plan & run activities for a Post-PT3 Language Day. Many hands made light work. However, last year, I noticed that, instead of practicing their English during the English segments of the day, students would revert to BM/BIban. This reflects their low English proficiency & highlights the critical need for more practice & exposure to English.

Therefore, this year, I asked for English to have it's own day & the surprised reaction I got indicated that I was likely the only teacher to ask for more time with the post-PT3 students. Therefore, I'd like to thank my colleagues, Cikgu Gan & Cikgu Amy, for going the extra mile by leading their own segments & providing support to the students during my sessions.

Special thanks to Dr. Tamas Kiss who designed Activities 2 & 3. He is a highly qualified & cited ESL teacher-trainer who is currently in Kuching hoping to make Sarawak his home, but surprisingly struggling to find employment locally. He has some hilarious stories about being "interviewed" without the intention of hiring & getting brain-picked instead. Come on la, Kuching! If I had a school, I'd hire him in a heartbeat. He will be a great asset to the development of English language education in Sarawak. He is currently expanding his job search beyond Sarawak &, if he leaves, it'll be our loss. Nonetheless, I'm hoping to work with him on some unofficial projects for Sarawak next year.

Here, I'd like to share the communicative activities conducted during the day. Do give me feedback on how to improve them.

Activity 1: Writing - PostcardX with ASEAN Countries

Cikgu Gan, an English teacher at SMK Tabuan Jaya, helps students with their postcards.
7:00-9:00am. After attending a YSEALI workshop with representatives from other ASEAN countries earlier this year, I asked if any of them wanted to do a postcard exchange between their classes & mine. I received enough affirmatives to pair every class at my school with a different ASEAN partner.

Here's how the 2-hour session was run:
1. What is ASEAN? In pairs, name all 11 ASEAN countries. Announce postcard exchange activity & ASEAN partner pair-ups for each class.
2. Brainstorm & write on wb appropriate topics for the postcard. Focusing on "Sarawak": culture, food, music, festivals, etc.
3. Elicit & write on wb specifications for the 3 paragraphs ss must write. (Include sentence starters for weaker ss)
-- Para 1: salutation + greeting + names + school + class.
-- Para 2: choose 1 topic + examples (local terms with English explanations written in brackets, pansuh [chicken cooked in bamboo]) + descriptions (based on 5 senses).
-- Para 3: I hope you will visit Sarawak, because... + Thank you + signatures
4. In groups, write your drafts based on the framework. Remember that this is an English activity, so speak as much English as possible.
5. After draft is checked & approved, ss choose a color paper & a postcard. Crop the paper according to the size of the postcard. Paste it on the writing-side of the postcard. Copy revised draft onto the paper.
6. After completing postcard, t takes team's photo (with postcard) & collects postcard.
7. T sends photos to ASEAN partner & mails postcards via school.

Recess: 9:00-9:30am

Refresher 1: Speaking - QnA Bingo (by Cikgu Gan)
9:30-9:45am. Ss ask "Have you...?" questions based on the prompts on a handout. Write down names of ss who answered affirmatively in an attempt to achieve a bingo on the handout.

Activity 2: Speaking & Listening - My Ideal Room

Post-PT3 students sit back to back for one part of the communicative activity.

1. Hand ss 1 piece of paper each (I recycled paper from the rizo room). Fold in half. Mark one side, A, & the other, B.
2. Elicit & write on wb items ss would like to have in their ideal room (laptop, tv, projector, bed, etc). Fill up half of the wb.
3. Choose 10 items from the list & draw a rectangle on the wb. Inside the rectangle, draw the selected items one y one while eliciting vocabulary related to position (north, south, east, west, at the corner of, above, below, under, on, in, beside, to the left/right, in the middle of, etc) & write them on the wb.
4. Individually, ss choose 10 items from the list on the wb &, on Side A of their papers, draw where the items are in their ideal rooms.
5. Ss pair up & sit back-to-back. Decide who speaks first. The partner will listen & draw accordingly on Side B of their paper. Remember that this is an English activity, so speak as much English as possible.
6. After 3 minutes, switch roles.
7. Only check each other's drawings at the end.
8. T asks "Whose partner did a great job?" "Whose did a horrible job?" "What did you learn from this activity?"

Refresher 2: Listening - Telephone
10:45-11:00am. I have never been able to do this activity right with low-proficiency students. They tend to huddle up (instead of standing in line) & find ways to avoid making mistakes (like asking the first person to tell them the sentence directly). Part of what makes this activity so great is ss willingness & propensity to make mistakes.

How have you made this activity work? It's likely I'll write this one off for low-proficiency students.

Activity 3: Speaking & Listening - Rearranging The Zoo

Post-PT3 students displaying their rearranged zoos for the zoo inspector.

1. Ss get into groups of not more than 5. Each group receives 1 handout (available below), 1 mahjong paper, & 2 markers.
2. Ss imagine they are new managers of a zoo. The zoo is currently poorly arranged, so they will need to rearrange the animals according to the specifications on the handout.
3. In groups, ss discuss how to rearrange the animals in the zoo. Ss draw the new layout on a mahjong paper. Remember that this is an English activity, so speak as much English as possible.
4. Gallery walk: Ss need to explain how & why they rearranged the animals. Switch presenters after 8 minutes. Not more than 5 listeners at each poster. Remember that this is an English activity, so speak as much English as possible.
5. Zoo Inspector: Which group followed the instructions? Gather the groups & posters. T plays the role of zoo inspector. Read the specifications on the handout one by one & inspect each poster after each reading. Eliminate plans that failed to follow the instructions. (They sit down.) At every round, celebrate the groups that pass. (Those still standing.)
6. T asks "What did you learn from this activity?"

Refresher 3: Vocabulary - Word Chain (by Cikgu Amy)
12:15-12:30pm. Ss come up with a new word that starts with the last letter of the previous word. Eg., snake, elephant, tarantula, etc.

Cikgu Amy, an English teacher at SMK Tabuan Jaya, conducts a Word Chain vocabulary-building activity.

Hope you found this useful! Let me know in the comments section if you've used any of the activities!

These pictures of the 2019 Post-PT3 English Day with give you a better idea of how the activities were conducted: https://www.facebook.com/pg/jarodyjk/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2271243106338422


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