ESL Activty: The Envelope Game for Junior High/High School

Before exam time schools often ask their resident ESL instructor to teach a review lesson. Going over previously taught content and structure can be a little dull. I’ve done more than one review lesson which were nothing more than a series of simplistic writing drills echoing the structure found in many traditional written tests. This might…

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When a Christmas Activity Goes Sour

This is a quick post as this event just happened and I wanted to get it down while it’s still on my mind. There are times in the classroom when things do not go smoothly; where they don’t go as the teacher expected. Often these things are unpredictable but other times a drop of consideration…

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Activity: Word Trees

There are many sounds in the English syllabary that ESL students struggle with. Sounds like the ‘th’ in “this” or the ‘v’ in “va-va-voom” just don’t exist in some other languages and many students struggle to contort their mouths into the right shapes. So what can the ever-resourceful ESL teacher do to support their flagging…

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Class Sizes in Japan

There are many things that flit through the mind of someone coming to a foreign country to teach English. How will I get to school and back each day? Will students be able to follow the lessons? How many luminescent highlighter pen colours is too many? Well, I can’t answer all of these questions (except…

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The Halloween Lesson

ESL Lesson topics are often chosen based on the time of year. So students might spend some time discussing what they plan to do in Summer or what Christmas presents they’re going to buy. One of the most popular themes is Halloween. There are , here are just a few thoughts for a Halloween lesson. Short Activities…

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Teaching With A Topic

Memory plays a big part in learning. After all, what’s the point in spending all day studying something just to forget it all the next day? There are many ways to help retention. For example, I used to use a specific incense stick every time I revised for an exam, then in the test I…

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When There’s Nothing To Do

Not all of the time a teacher spends at school is occupied with actual teaching. For many foreign teachers a majority of their in-school hours are taken up with tedious desk-sitting. This is the ideal time to prepare for future classes, and that’s what most Japanese teachers and private company supervisors expect. However, what does…

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Activity: Board Games

Board games are a classic tradition that have enriched the childhoods of many and vastly improved countless rain-drenched caravan holidays. The most famous games can be found throughout the world but every country has board games of its own. In Japan it’s not hard to find someone who enjoys a game of Shogi, the Japanese…

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A Standard Lesson Plan For Junior High and Up

I’ve already written a little bit about some activities that can be used in the ESL classroom and about how to forge an effective worksheet but how do these elements come together to make a decent lesson? Here I’m going to go through a standard lesson plan for Junior High or High School based on…

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Junior High and Up Activity – Shiritori

Batman’s Utility Belt is a marvellous thing. With everything from smoke pellets to grappling guns to shark-repellent bat-sprays he’s prepared for every situation. ESL teachers can equip themselves with an equally useful, if slightly less flashy, set of tools. One of those tools is Shiritori. I call it by it’s Japanese name since learning it…

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