Midterms are coming up and I started doing review with my Mathayom students this week.  As most of us probably do, I played Jeopardy for review.  It worked, but it was boring even for me.  After seeing that it wasn’t invoking excitement in the students the way it normally does, I decided to try and jazz it up a little bit (yes, jazz it up).  Basically, I took some of the aspects from my game Blake’s World (copyright pending), changed the rules, and redesigned it into the Jeopardy structure.  Any decent, God fearing American (or even Canadian, I suppose) should know the layout of Jeopardy, but if not… it’s 4 or 5 categories; each with its own column of five question boxes; questions are easy at the top of the column (100 points) and get progressively harder on down to the bottom (500 points).  If that doesn’t make sense, it looks something like this…

This BW/Jeopardy love child is only slightly different, but the students seem to enjoy it a lot more than the regular approach.  The rules are essentially the same as Jeopardy.  A correct answer wins the amount of points for that question; a wrong answer loses those points.  If a person (or team) answers correctly, they choose the next category/point amount.

The twist: not all boxes are questions.  There are tons of things you can do depending on how much time you have and the level of the students.  A few examples that I use:

I have two “Bonus Boxes” (randomly selected ahead of time), in which the team that selects that box automatically wins those points without a question being asked.  Conversely, I have two random “Kaboom Boxes” that if chosen would cause the selecting team to automatically lose those points, without a question even being asked.  Whether or not a team selects a Bonus or Kaboom is pure luck, but the students go crazy when they do.

Another thing they seem to like is when, for the easy questions (100 or 200 points) I give them a “word scramble” to figure out (i.e. sotivleeni = television), play Pictionary, or something fun like that.

The best thing I added is “Challenges”… if a team answer three questions correct in a row, they can challenge another team for all their points.  If team 2 challenges team 3, they are asked one question, the winner gets all of the other team’s points.  This makes the students go crazy!  I know that these are all tiny adjustments to the original game, but anything that changes it up from the basic question and answer format keeps the students alive and having fun with it.

When time is running out or if we get through all of the boxes, I have the equivalent of Final Jeopardy, where the students can wager their points on the last question.

Anyway, I found that little changes like this thrown into the regular style of Jeopardy can make it a lot more fun.  And as we all know, keeping the students entertained is the best way to keep them interested.

Our December Winner is…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for one lucky person!

Based on feedback from last night’s facebook group poll, I only included blog posts in this month’s blog contest.  Thank you for your helpful poll suggestions, such as “All you haters should just start commenting more,” “I should just win,” and “The winner should buy Joseph dinner.”  Very useful. I need to remember not to let you guys add your own options…

Anyhow, on with it.  So, I counted 12 entries for December:

Like last time, I went to and used the List Randomizer:

I hit “Go” and out popped the winner:

Congratulations, Ryan! (Or should I say, Papa Smelly?) Our fearless choreographer, Santa, and Turkey Trot organizer – you get an extra 500 baht on your paycheck. Thanks for blogging!

Thank you to everyone who posted this last month and shared your stories. You guys are awesome 🙂

New Years: Good Luck and GodSpeed

I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful New Years and  I hope the new one goes better than expected. I know I had a great year, and I just want to thank all the little people that got me to where I am today. Be safe in your travels and do epic things for the eve of the new year. Before you get lost in your own world of new years “eve-ing” I just want to remind you of a few things that really made 2011 special.

❤ Ryan


Shes critically acclaimed. Ugh.

#2: The best video of 2011:

My one true love, Rebecca Black.

#3: But mostly:


Excited for the fresh start, Have fun you guys.

What Blake will say to all of us this weekend.

Christmas in Samui

The greatest Christmas present by far was having my family fly half way around the world to come visit me. I know they were using it as an excuse to travel Thailand, but I appreciate it none the less. Plus it was my first visit to Samui, and it was wonderful. We had wonderful buffet breakfasts, a Christmas Eve dinner on the beach with traditional Thai dancing (which I joined in on) and wonderful massages. It was raining all weekend, but it was nice being holed up in a bar or under a balcony just hanging out, playing cards, and catching up with my parents. I can’t get out how excited I am that they came. Love you Mom Pop and Russell.

Looking all cute and stuff. It's where I get my good looks from.

My favorite student

Many of you know Day from Super English. He’s in my favorite class, 1/2.

Day is such a character. Janet taught him how to wink, so he’ll alternate eyes winking at you, he regularly comes up and hugs me in the middle of class for no reason, he gives me chocolates from his dirty little 1st grader hands (that I pretend to eat and then he gives me more), and whenever I’m walking around school at lunch time, he’s usually trying to stealthily follow me by hiding behind poles.

Occasionally if a student shows me something cool that the have, I take it and pretend that they are giving it to me by gesturing and saying, “Oh! For me?” and the kids either get a sheepish grin and shake their heads or they look slightly scared that I’m serious and then grab it back. Not Day. Every time I’ve pretended to take something from him and ask if it’s for me, he gets a shy little grin and nods yes. Of course I’ve never taken any of his stuff, but how cute is that?