Part 2: Apa Kabar in the JP Classroom with Class Dojo

I have written several posts outlining the various ways I use Class Dojo in my lessons across all year levels. See here and here. This post, though, I will focus on how I use Class Dojo with my 4-7 year olds to call the roll.

I strongly believe in the importance of building automaticity with answering ‘Apa kabar?’ (How are you?) as this is usually the first question indonesian visitors ask my students! Thus, calling the roll with my JP students centres on first introducing and then consolidating the acquisition of bail-baik saja (fine), lumayan (ok) & kurang baik (not so good). Once the acquisition of these structures is solid, calling the roll then becomes another awesome way to gain bonus reps on structures useful for stories e.g., senang sekali (very happy), lapar/haus (hungry/thirsty), panas/dingin (hot/cold). I have also found the absentee data useful for tracking students who are routinely removed from my lessons for music, literacy/numeracy support etc.

I always start with baik-baik saja, then add kurang baik and finally lumayan. The next structure I introduce is senang sekali. Senang sekali (very happy/excited) is included for several reasons. Firstly, it gives students the language to express how they feel about an upcoming special event e.g. birthday or maybe because they are the lucky one to sit in the kursi luar biasa (awesome chair).  Being the fourth response students acquire for answering apa kabar, it is a target structure that hopefully is transferred to long term memory in its entirety, not as two single words. The importance of this is that can in the future recall this phrase to review Indonesian word order which varies to English. I get such a buzz when my students use ‘sekali’ (very) in new situations. Today a year 2 student answered apa kabar with ngantuk sekali dan lapar sekali (very tired and very hungry)!! What joy!

Once students have acquired these 4 responses, I introduce them to my apa kabar song

which I created 20 years ago to consolidate all structures plus selamat siang (good day) and terima kasih (thank you). I enjoy creating My Talking Pet videos singing using either cute, quirky or familiar animals for added input. My students never tire of seeing their pets singing or talking in Indonesian! To do this, I invite students to email me digital photos of their pets. These photos are fabulous for reviewing past and present structures and consistently ramp up engagement even further!!

The next responses I teach do not follow any system – they are purely added according to the needs of the students and/or the upcoming story. Often, a student will ask how to say how they are feeling and if many others ask for it too, I add it to the next weeks lesson, especially if it has potential for further usage. Other responses I have taught beyond those already mentioned include; sakit (sick), gila (crazy), pusing (dizzy), kecewa (disappointed), kuatir (worried), marah (cross), sedih (sad), bingung (confused), malu (shy/embarrassed).

It is now week 7, (term 3) and I’ve just moved onto the next step. It’s now their turn to call the roll using Class Dojo. Using the random button on class dojo, a student is chosen randomly. I ask that student ‘Mau mengabsen?’ (Would you like to call the roll?) and they answer with mau or tidak mau. I am a strong believer in avoiding requiring students to ‘perform’ in front of their peers if they are not yet comfortable doing so.  I clarify to those who answer ‘tidak mau’ (and there are always a few), that their name will come up again so if they change their mind, they will get another chance.

Those that accept, begin by pressing the following to record that they will call the roll.

This then becomes a visual record of the students who have called the roll. With older classes, this is perfect for sudah/belum repetitions, but with students this year, I am really trying hard not to overload them with new vocabulary. My classes only get 50 – 60 minutes a week, and with 6 days between lessons, I aim to get repetitions on the language already covered to further consolidate its acquisition. Thus, I point to each students name on class dojo and then look at that student and say to them, “Chelsea tidak mengabsen.” following it with a comprehension check (what does ‘Chelsea tidak mengabsen mean’? or how would we say ‘Chelsea tidak mengabsen’ in English?))

When the student gets to their name on the roll, here are two options I’ve tried. The class can chorally ask the student apa kabar or the student calling the roll can ask me instead.

My students love calling the roll, loving interacting with the smart board and love the chance to ‘be the teacher’! It’s a win-win! This is as far as I usually go with my junior primary students.

Do you call the roll each lesson? I am curious to discover what percentage of teachers do and if so, how. What do you do that your students find engaging?

2022 MLTA NSW Conference – Memory

Have you realised how much I enjoy Languages education research? I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to begin my Masters of Education; Languages fulltime as it gave me time to broaden my understandings of language learning and teaching. I am also incredibly thankful that I studied simultaneously with a wonderful TCI/TPRS colleague, Bu Heather, as it allowed us to discuss various aspects of Languages research from a TCI/TPRS perspective.

Yesterday I attended the 2022 MLTA NSW conference with one of my brilliant colleagues, Bu Asti. We were delighted to hear Steve Smith speak. I first heard him talking on Liam Printer’s The Motivated Classroom podcast. I highly recommend listening to Liam’s podcasts– they contain a great balance of research and practical ideas for language teachers working with middle primary aged students and above. Can you imagine how ecstatic I was when Steve Smith began his webinar by introducing us to memory research and how it applies to Languages!

Staying on top of research requires not only considerable time but also a certain headset. In this post, I will focus generally on outlining how memory works through teasing out iconic research, some of which dates back to 1885! I hope while reading this, you can reflect on your own teaching practise to determine the extent your practice aligns with accepted understandings of memory.

This post attempts to explore aspects of the research Steve discussed in his webinar. I have found memory research so useful and I wished I had known more about it earlier in my teaching career. I have expanded on several of the points Steve made using either the book ‘Cognitive Psychology and Instruction’ (Bruning, Schraw & Norby. 2011) or relevant SLA (Second Language Acquisition) research. I hope this post is readable and most of all, helps you understand why informed practice leads to sucessful learning!

 Steve Smith has taught French in the UK for 30+ years. He has co-authored several books with Gianfranco Conti, one of which is “Memory; What Every Language Teacher Should Know’ ($45.54 on Amazon). What a great title! Here he is with his wife talking briefly about this book.

Ebbinghaus

Steven began the webinar by explaining Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve which illustrates how quickly newly introduced information fades over time. Isn’t it astouding!

Ebbinghaus also hypothesised on the link between stress and remembering; something I think we would all agree with. Removing stress from learning is imperative. For many students, speaking/writing (output) can be stressful. For me, as a new learner, speaking in the target language produces an instant memory blank! Stephen Krashen‘s theory of second language acquisition is based on five hypotheses; one of which is the Affective Filter Hypothesis.  This hypothesis states that several factors including low motivation, low self-esteem, anxiety, introversion, and inhibition impact on acquisition. Thus, the ideal state for language learning is when the affective filter is so low that learners are completely unaware that they are immersed in the target language.

For language teachers, being aware of Ebbinghaus’ research is critical. To avoid new vocabulary fading, fast, quirky repetitions will significantly help to delay the ‘decay’. In a TCI/TPRS lesson, this can be achieved through numerous comprehensible questions and answers in the target language to incorporate the target structure in ways that appeal to and/or are meaningful to the learners. With my young learners, I love doing this with quirky images of cognates that faciliatate discussion incorporating the target structure.

Knowledge

Steven then outlined the two types of knowledge; explicit (declarative) and implicit (procedural) and how each leads to either language learning or language acquisition. Explicit knowledge is that which is learned explicitly e.g. the rule i before e except after e. Implicit knowledge is that which we learned unconsciously e.g. the specific order of adjectives for English. Steven then asked us if declarative knowledge can become procedural knowledge, i.e. will explicitly teaching grammar rules help students communicate in the target language? To answer this question, I encourage you to try this: speak in your first language without using the letter ‘a’. Try it for a few seconds and then reflect on the hard work your brain did to achieve that!! Stephen Krashen’s Monitor Hypothesis explains that learning rules explicitly creates an ‘editor’ which monitors output through planning, editing, and correcting. It made your output considerably more onerous, doesn’t it? Could you feel your brain planning, editing and correcting while speaking? Thus, implicit learning ie, listening to comprehensible target language will lead to acquisition whereas teaching language rules is only necessary for language learning. Through understanding the difference between explicit and implicit teaching, we can determine if our main teaching goal as a language teacher is building proficiency or building knowledge! Both have value, but the balance is heavily weighted towards implicit teaching if proficiency is the goal.

Memory Models

The scientific study of memory began with Ebbinghaus (1850-1909). While no one yet knows precisely how the brain stores memory, most memory researchers agree on several points:

  • Working Memory and Long Term Memory are separate systems.
  • Attention is extremely limited. The mental energy necessary for thinking and understanding is huge and overloading working memory will impact learning.
  • Cognition includes both automaticity and controlled processing (implicit/explicit).
  • Processing information is influenced by many factors including prior knowledge, context, emotional state etc.

Memory models vary in many ways. Consider the following model:

Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968

The modal memory model (see image above) is easily the most commonly understood model of memory. There are significant variations between models yet all agree that the dotpoints outlined earlier are vital for planning and teaching. I believe they should underpin all our teaching and if we do not understand or implement the research findings, we are likely failing our students.  
Blunt but true!

Memory Understandings

Here is a summary of the research regarding the three major systems of memory (ie Sensory Memory, Working Memory and Long Term Memory). While reading the following, consider the implications for language learning:

The main systems of memory are Sensory Memory, Working Memory, and Long Term Memory. Information is first stored in Sensory Memory then moved to Working Memory where with attention, it can be cogitated upon &/or manipulated to make sense. (Remember when you spoke without using an ‘a’? That all happened in Working Memory!) Long Term Memory is where information is stored for long periods and can be retrieved consciously (explicit memory) or unconsciously (implicit memory).

1. Sensory Memory and Working Memory both have an extremely limited capacity and time limit for holding information. Miller (1956) suggests that adults can hold approximately 7 plus or minus two pieces of information in working memory. Interference, decay and new information impacts the time input remains in these two memory systems. Atkinson and Shiffrin (1971) claim that new information stays in Sensory Memory and/or Working Memory for just 15 – 30 seconds. New information can only be kept in Working Memory longer through rehearsal e.g., repeating them verbally.

2. There is are two subsystems within Working Memory that each either manage verbal or visual input, distributing the processing load equally and operating simultaneously without impacting on the other. If anything, they appear to increase the likelihood in moving information from Working Memory to Long Term Memory. Consider the value of using images and/or props when introducing target structures!

3. Teaching that fails to recognise the characteristics of Cognitive Load Theory (overloading Working Memory) results in cognitive overload. Cognitive overload is when the brain hits the wall because the brain was given too much new information with insufficient rehearsal/repetition opportunities. The implications of cognitive overload impact not only on decreased student outcomes but will also negatively impact on student motivation and engagement levels.

After outlining relevant memory research, Steven then offered many suggestions for activities that will help learners build memory. Here are a few of his ideas for building phonetic memory:

  1. Track the Sound – read a text to students who listen and count each time they hear a particular phonetic blend.
  2. Minimal Pairs – words with similar sounds (e.g. ada/apa) are used in comprehensible sentences for students to identify which one was said.
  3. Correct Transcription – provide learners with a close (text with words missing) and for each missing word, provide several answers for students to choose from. Gaps are filled in while listening to teacher read.
  4. Mind Reading – Brainstorm (retrieve) target structures and teacher writes them on the board. Teacher writes one a mini whiteboard and students choose the one they guess the teacher chose.
  5. Sentence Chaos – teacher writes a number of sentences on the board. Students in groups of three appoint a referee. The job of the referee is to read the sentences from the board in a different order. The other two take it in turns to say the sentences in the new order.

Steven recommends teaching ‘chunks’ rather than single words and states that phrases are more useful for communication and also strengthen the likelihood of retrieval. To support retrieval, he recommends using sentence builders as a ‘Do Now’ activity. I have used ‘Do now’ tasks with older classes as they keep students occupied if I am greeting students at the door or setting up for their lesson. ‘Do Nows’ are a type of warmup that helps student brains move into the flow of Indonesian. Here is a French example that Steve shared (apologies to the fellow sitting in front!). For this task, Steve instructs students to work with a partner to create sentences using the ‘chunks’ in the grid. They can add or change one or two new details or change the tense.

If you are interested in further ideas for retrieval practice, check out here episode 6 from Liam Printer’s podcast titled ‘Retrieval Practice: 11 zero-prep strategies for an engaged classroom’.

Once again, a huge thankyou to the wonderful MLTA NSW committee for delivering a fabulous conference with quality local presenters (shout out to Katherine Brownlee) and international presenters.

If you too enjoy research and would like to chat about something you’ve either discovered or read about in this post, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Wrangling – Teaching Preliterate Students – Part 1: Classroom Management

This poster underpins my classroom management system and I gratefully acknowledge the wonderful Annie Beach for her brilliant illustrations. These three verbs, I believe, are structures that successfully guide all students to become successful language learners. They are thus, a great place to start with preliterate learners and right from the start, help the teacher work towards staying in the target language during lessons.

I introduce the above poster during the very first Indonesian lesson and the language is reviewed every lesson. To facilitate acquisition, the structures are introduced both orally and with hand gestures e.g. duduk = two hands palm down pushing down towards the ground, diam = pointer finger in front of the mouth & dengar = hand cupped behind an ear. Movement opportunities for young preliterate students are beneficial for both acquisition and engagement. Engagement is vital for successful learning.

Initially, I put no demands on student expectations beyond duduk, diam, dengar. However once calling out in English needs to be addressed, I introduce the structures, ‘nakal’ and ‘pandai’. The following three slides demonstrate how I introduced my behaviour management system this year.

nakal/pandai = clever/naughty

satu stick = one stick
count the points

The first two slides are placed at the beginning of each lesson whereas the third is almost at the end and becomes the final task we do before singing sampai jumpa (goodbye) to each other. I have blogged about this system several times previously, so hopefully I won’t repeat myself too much. This post is a good one, however I no longer finish with the treasure box. I originally chose the structures nakal/pandai as they fit so well into the stories included in my scope and sequence. However, times have changed and while I’d feel extremely uncomfortable using the words clever/naughty in an English context, I have kept nakal/pandai because they are just so typically Indonesian. I have though, recently changed the images to represent nakal/pandai. I feel that having monkeys adds humour, continues the monkey theme Bu Annie created and also avoids gender/cultural stereotyping. I haven’t and don’t translate the word ‘stick’ because it is such low frequency and reflecting upon my travels throughout Indonesia, cannot ever remember needing the word paddle pop stick!! Again, I introduce the new structures of nakal/pandai with gestures (pandai = tapping the side of the head with the pointer finger & nakal is the age old pointer finger going up and down with a frown) and then starting from the following lesson, the two structures are reviewed frequently during Kursi Luar Biasa (KLB); see here. The second slide early in first term, includes only the structures students have acquired to that point ie ‘satu’ (one). As soon as ‘mau’ (want) has been introduced, I add it to the slide. All written language on the PowerPoint slides is kept to a minimum and always includes a pictorial comprehension clue to support developing literacy skills.

As mentioned an earlier post, each class has a bundle of paddlepop sticks with a student’s name written on each. I now choose a different colour for each class to make it easier to reunite missing sticks to their correct bundle. From the container of paddlepop sticks, I select one stick, checking firstly that student is not absent. It is then stuck to the board near the two magnetic laminated mini posters of nakal & pandai with bluetak ensuring the students name facing the board awaiting the reveal at the end of the lesson.

Locating the stick together with the mini nakal/pandai posters is important. I am finding that each year, I face increasing numbers of young learners with minimal self-regulation skills. I am a strong advocate for the Zones of Regulation program which brilliantly helps students identify and regulate their emotions and also explicitly equips them with skills to self-regulate. Conversations about self-regulation in my lessons always occur in English not just because young students do not have the target language necessary, but also to ensure the conversation is succinct and comprehended. Lesson time is precious and my goal remains to maximise target language input opportunities within the constraints of working with each cohort.


The finale of my classroom behaviour system has so many benefits I barely know where to start! We still count the trallied points (see above) together. This process has been incredibly helpful for students developing strong knowledge and understanding of the Indonesian number system, including noticing that an Indonesian 7 is written differently to an Australian 7. Counting the points is hands down better than a number worksheet! Eventually with time and more stories, other structures can be incorporated into the counting routine eg big/small, which one, how many, biggest/smallest etc.
Once we’ve counted both tally sets, my spiel goes like this: 
Bu Cathy mau lihat stick (Bu Cathy wants to look at the stick)
Siapa? (Who is it?)
Class then suggests a students name. If incorrect, I negate saying, “Bukan Bob!” thus providing input on negating nouns in Indonesian. If the lesson is short of time, I add a clue e.g. laki-laki/perempuan (boy/girl). Now some students are asking me this!! Woohoo.
When the students’ name is guessed, I ask that student, “Mau duduk di kursi Luar Biasa?” (Would you like to sit in the awesome chair?) and will work towards the answer, “Mau/tidak mau” but also accept ya/tidak. I very rarely insist students participate in lesson tasks, so if a student declines, I assure them in English that it’s totally ok however I will ask them again during the year because they may change their mind!! I then choose another stick. Engagement and participation are not mutually compatible. The most important aspect is always input; not output! I really love, love, love that the ‘reward’ for a greater number of pandai points offers an experience rather than an object.
However, it also needs to be added, that if there are more nakal points, the stick goes back into bundle, and no-one knows whose stick it was. The follow-on consequence of this depends on the class. If they really need a consequence to emphasise my expectations to duduk, diam, dengar, then no-one sits in the chair the following week and instead, I invite an adult to sit in it instead! I love this as it gives the adult the opportunity to demonstrate how much Indonesian they have acquired!! Conversely, if the adult is new to our lessons, it then gives the students the opportunity to impress the adult by translating my questions!! Win/win! An alternative to this, is offering the current person a bonus week sitting in the kursi luar biasa! No-one has yet refused this!! Kwk, kwk

Wrangling – Teaching Preliterate Learners

Introduction

I thoroughly enjoy teaching junior primary! Teaching young learners Indonesian is enjoyable for numerous reasons including that they

– are highly motivated and engaged

– are keen volunteers

– are super inclusive and mutually supportive of each other

– adore anything wacky and quirky

– are not hormonal

– believe their teachers are superstars

– frequently mention how much they love learning Indonesian

Conversely though, as a TCI teacher, this would have to be one of the most challenging cohorts to work with. Especially if you are a teacher who is just beginning to explore using TCI or TPRS.  There is almost nothing available commercially or professionally, to either guide or support you on this journey unless you teach Spanish. Tweaking content written for older students doesn’t organically transition smoothly to a JP classroom context.  Teaching pre-literate (emerging literacy skills) learners is a whole new ball game. I would like to give a special shout out here to Amy Roe, creator of the ‘Storytellers Corner’ , and to Maestra Anna (aka Bu Anne ). While both are Spanish teachers (Anne also teaches Indonesian), they are both extremely approachable and I highly recommend reaching out to either or both if you like their resources but don’t teach Spanish.

However, finding appropriate resources is only one aspect of the challenging nature of working with preliterate students. Here are some of the other challenges:

  • Extremely short attention span
  • Inability to focus for more than 5-10 minutes
  • Emerging literacy skills – most are preliterate
  • Developing self-regulation skills
  • Developing understanding of personal space
  • Egocentric

My JP lessons now are taught via PowerPoints. I will admit though, that the initial ones took hours to create but eventually it became easier. Once a successful master has been created, each consecutive PowerPoint only requires slight tweaking. At the end of each story, PowerPoints can be easily saved till the next time that story is taught.

I began using PowerPoints after attending the ‘1000 Words; Using Picture Talk’ online workshop with Amy Roe. I immediately realised the huge advantages for using PowerPoints. Initially, it was to ensure lesson content was delivered consistently across like year levels. I found that when stressed and/or exhausted, I skipped parts of my written plan. Using PowerPoints stopped this in its tracks! Now if I skip something, it is intentional. Other advantages include being able to embed images and videos onto slides, removing the need to turn my back and all that potentially follows. If you are tempted to try using PowerPoints, I highly recommend investing in a wireless presenter so you can progress slides from anywhere in the classroom!

To overcome challenges while maximising the benefits, my PowerPoints aim to:

– limit the amount of text on slides,

– limit the number of target structures,

-maximise opportunities wherever possible to get repetitions of past and present target structures,

-balance the ‘up/down’ (see below) and

-include frequent movement opportunities.

Managing the input of L2 (Indonesiann for me) as well as the output of energy can extremely challenging with preliterate learners. Successful acquisition for preliterate learners requires very short engaging activities that are ’up/down’ in nature. ‘Down’- that which requires students to ‘duduk, diam, dengar’ (sit, shush, listen) and sandwiched between the ‘up’ that which is basically anything that gets learners standing up and moving around.

In building up this collection of pre-literate active input ideas, I am particularly grateful to Catharina G. As a long-time teacher of pre-literates, she has a wealth of knowledge and experience which she has shared generously in her role as my mentor and for that, I will be forever grateful to Ben Slavic for introducing us!

In upcoming posts, I plan to explain my teaching through the slides of a recent kindergarten (5-year-old) PowerPoint. I have broken this lesson into several posts to ensure I can comprehensively cover each aspect as well as emphasise the importance of limiting the judicious selection of structures for both current and future classroom management and stories.

Upcoming posts will cover:

Part One – Classroom Management

Part Two – Mengabsen using Class Dojo

Part Three – TPR

Part Four – Target Structure Review Activities

Part Five – Target Structure Introduction Activities

Part Six – Brain Breaks

If you can think of a topic that you would also like me to include, please comment below!!

Create Awesome GIF’s of your Pet!

Searching today for a GIF that is both appropriate for my young learner cohort and engaging, I had a sudden inspiration to google how to create my own. Turns out, I can make them easily on my iphone!! No app required! I discovered the increased level of engagement last week through a recent my talking pet video creation of my daughters’ cat singing.

https://youtube.com/shorts/SyTTw1E7r94?feature=share

Students were thrilled to discover that it was actually ‘my’ cat and not just a cat image available through the My Talking Pet app. Generated a lot of interest! Thus, to capitalise on this, I created a GIF of Lelo and it was so easy, I am inspired to share with you how I did it!! I am sure this can be done on android phones too!!

Here is a video of explaining how to do it!

It was so straightforward!!

I did notice though, that when I imported the GIF into my powerpoint, the loop feature was disabled but it was easy to fix that. In playback, I clicked on the ‘loop until stopped’ box.

Starting again….

I have just finished my first week of teaching Indonesian at my new site. Yes, that’s right, I’ve moved again, and it was the best decision I ever made. After resigning from DECD SA and on the advice of several good friends, I applied for and won a job in Sydney! It has been refreshing working with staff who have my back!!

The main attraction of this job (other than being in NSW), was the potential of being a dedicated TCI/TPRS junior primary teacher. I absolutely love working with JP students – their motivation and engagement is off the chart and consequently their progress is insane. They don’t get hung up on making mistakes, and they give everything and anything a go. It is so rewarding beginning with students usually start with no Indonesian and yet by semester two, our lessons can be 95% in Indonesian!

As always, I have started with Jim Tripp’s “Pleased to Meet You” story. It’s the perfect story to start with – regardless of age – for laying the foundation for future lessons being 95% in Indonesian.

I also love TPR (Total Physical Response) as both a means for keeping students moving and for acquiring verbs. Our first lesson this week introduced berjalan kaki (walk), stop and duduk (sit). Offering young students’ frequent opportunities to move is the secret to increased focus. It sounds like an oxymoron but frequent brain breaks effectively manage wriggles. TPR is a brilliant brain break as not only does it get students up and moving, but also introduces students to structures that will eventually occur in stories e.g. pelan/cepat (slow/fast), berdansa (dance), menyanyi (sing), berlari (run). TPR is a win:win!

Another aspect I introduced last week into my first lesson is calling the roll with Class Dojo. Assessment wise, the data is incredibly helpful for students who are regularly absent from lessons (MiniLit, MultiLit, extra curricula), but it also has another major advantage. It provides me with regular opportunities to target “Apa kabar?” (how are you?) which is usually the first question my students are asked when greeted by Indonesian friends and colleagues. I begin with the basics; firstly baik-baik saja (fine), then lumayan (ok) & finally kurang baik (not so good). These three structures are incredibly versatile and thus are excellent foundation structures.

I strongly believe that we should choose early structures wisely. Look for ones that are easy to say (consider the difference between pronouncing paham and mengerti for early learners), ones that provide a base upon which future structures/ grammar popups can be based e.g. senang sekali (word order) and for intercultural understanding opportunities e.g. kurang baik (less than good). I love ‘lumayan’ (so-so) as it is amazingly versatile. Not only is it useful for explaining how you’re feeling, but is also can be used with adjectives e.g. lumayan besar (sort of big).

Thus, once the basics have been acquired, the roll is the perfect way to introduce other feeling structures that will come up in future stories e.g. lapar (hungry), haus (thirsty), panas (hot), dingin (cold), ngantuk (sleepy) etc.

With JP classes, the aim of the roll is purely acquiring a wide variety of structures, however with MP & UP classes, the aim changes to building automaticity. This is done through adding challenge by timing classes. This starts with classes each lesson trying to beat their own class high score before introducing a whole school challenge to see which class can call the roll the fastest. Can you see the structures needed for this? Brilliant hey?

I really hope that even though my posts will now come from a JP perspective, you will gain ideas regardless. Maybe, in reverse, you will see ways in which what I write about could be adapted into meeting the needs of your cohort. In actual fact, all language learners have the same needs regardless of their age!

2021 Reflection

Going through the Indonesian iPad yesterday before handing it back brought back so many memories of my year at KAS. I’d really like to share a few with you!

In first term, I did the ‘Murid Nakal’ story with middle primary. I absolutely love this story – great for acting and also perfect for reviewing behaviour management structures in the target language! I did change the ending this year because being at a new school and not knowing the staff or community, wanted to avoid recrimination for using a story that includes smacking! My 2021 version changed the hitting to push ups which worked but was nowhere near as funny! Here are some pictures of a lesson where we used Martina’s freeze frame idea.

In term 2, the next story middle primary did was the Tutup Pintu story. The students absolutely loved acting with the wigs my daughter gave me. Acting out the story is enjoyable as it not only provides the students with the opportunity to create their own class version but also gives the more outgoing students a chance to be outrageous which is extremely entertaining. In fact, being entertaining is one of my criteria that any student auditioning must demonstrate. Other criteria include following the storyline exactly as it is determined by the class and only speaking when your character has a line. Here are some of my amazing actors:

Year 6/7 Movie Talk – Hadiah

Year 5/6 Movie Talk – Hadiah

Year 4/5 Tutup Mulut

Year 3/4 Tutup Mulut
Year 2/3 Tutup Mulut

Kursi Luar Biasa

All year levels love KLB! I’ve particularly had success this year with JP classes. It is the perfect vehicle to spotlight one student with quirky questions using target structures. This term they did Catharina’s Ular story, so I enjoyed asking students ‘mau’ sentences incorporating ‘ular’ , ‘atau’ and alternatives based on previous story structures or cognates. I have two snake props, so students could choose between ular besar dan ular cobra! Another question that worked this term was introducing the concept of sarong. This provided discussion about the difference between sarongs for males/females. To begin, I just asked if students , “Mau pakai sarong laki-laki atau sarong perempuan?” After a few weeks, I added the question, “Mau pakai sarong ungu atau sarong kuning?” Great way to limited colours in a meaningful way. I then added the alternative of glasses. “Mau pakai sarong atau kaca mata?” While ‘kaca mata’ is not a cognate, I chose it because not only do I have a selection of different colours but as someone who was embarrassed to wear my glasses at school, I love ways to connect with those students who also wear them!! In the last photo, you’ll notice a Foundation student wearing a sarong and a pair of glasses. He answered my question with, “sarong DAN kaca mata!!” I was thrilled!!

Tepuk Tangan – TPR

I’ve had fun this term experimenting with hand clapping with my junior primary classes. As my JP lessons almost always involve TPR (Total Physical Response), I am constantly looking out for new ideas to do this. TPR in my JP lessons usually centres around walking, swiming, dancing and hopping. While it only takes a few minutes, it is a great way to get young learners up and moving while listening to target language input. Where possible, I add structures from the current story; this term students vomited a lot from Catharina’s ular story!

I am constantly on the look out for new ideas to help keep TPR novel. While scrolling through my photos recently, I rediscovered my audio recording of a fun warm up/ice breaker called tepuk tangan pramuka shared by Indonesian international students at Flinders Uni in 2019. I found a YouTube clip to help me master it so I could demonstrate it to my classes.

I prefer this clip because it includes three variations of the tepuk tangan pramuka rhythm which, once my students had mastered, helped them suggest some other variations. That too was fun. They had so many ideas including single fingers, fists, back of hands (ouch) and fingers on palms.

To take advantage of its success, I next searched YouTube for other clapping ideas. This video has several great ones.

The first, tepuk semangat, I didn’t feel was right for my students but the following two have been perfect. There are several others that appeared to have potential too, e.g. tepuk koboi, but unfortunately include rifle shooting gestures. The tepuk ikan has greater potential but I think I would repeat ‘berenang’ rather than use the language ‘kenyang’; a Balinese word I typically avoid as it has the potential to cause embarrassment!

Instead, I think the following language would be fun:

clap, clap, clap
berenang,
clap, clap, clap
cari makan,
clap, clap, clap
berenang,
clap, clap, clap
diam!

The first one I introduced was the tepuk hoi, which is the second one on the above clip (fast forward to :27). This was an instant success and has become a successful call and response option.

The tepuk jempol (follows straight after tepuk hoi) was the second one I tried and it too has been popular. I particularly like how much slower it is.

The third and final tepuk tangan I taught the classes this year was the tepuk nyamuk. This one is just great fun!! Fast forward to :41 for tepuk nyamuk. Be warned though, the students in the clip below are shouting, which might be off putting.

On this clip, I also like the ting tong jus (1:30), tepuk jam dinding, (:52) and tepuk coca cola (1:03). The only thing with these is that they are one line short, so I’d tweak them to maintain the pattern.
eg Ting Tong Jus
clap, clap, clap
ting, ting,
clap, clap, clap
tong, tong
clap, clap, clap
ting, tong,
clap, clap, clap
ting, tong jus

While there are hundreds of variations, those that use either familiar vocabulary or incude onomatopoeia are the ones I find the most suitable. Brain breaks work best when only acquired language or quirky sounds are used eg tepuk nyamuk using the sound a mosquito makes when buzzing around your head. These clapping rhythms have been incredibly popular with my JP classes and I’ve had many students tell they enjoyed also teaching them to their younger siblings and parents!!

Overcoming End of Term Chaos with Gimkit

Do you also find term 10 incredibly challenging as a specialist teacher? For the past two terms, Gimkit has saved my sanity. By week 10, students are just so tired, most can do nothing beyond collapsing on a chair which is why online games work so well at this time. For the rest of the term, I believe their value is limited and a poor use of precious lesson time. Also, I have found, in saving them purely for week 10, their appeal snowballs leading to increased engagement and motivation at a time of the year when both are rare.

At my current site, students in term 1 constantly begged for Kahoot. I have to admit (eek – sorry), I am not a Kahoot fan. While I have used it a lot in the past, there are much better games available now that do not rely on students being the fastest to touch the correct answer. This can be highly disengaging and demotivating for struggling students. My goto online game now for students in week 10 is hands down Gimkit. For a specialist teacher though, you will probably need a subscription to play this with all classes, but if you were going to invest in just one game, this one is well worth it and will not break the bank.

I introduced classes to Gimkit last term in week 10. They had begged for Kahoot, so I prepared both a Kahoot and a Gimkit game based on the language from their class created text. I then made a deal with them. They had to play a game of each but could choose which one they’d play first. Naturally they grumbled when it came time to play the Gimkit game and afterwards when I asked which they prepared, most loyally elected Kahoot. However this term, right from the start, even before I had mentioned my plans for week 10, they were begging for Gimkit! Students before, during and after school came up to me begging for it!! When I suggested also playing Kahoot, they scoffed!

I recommend when using Gimkit for the first time, start with the classic mode where students compete independently. This gives them the opportunity to explore the way the game works and introduce them to some game features, particularly upgrade/sabotage options in the shop.

Depending on the age of the class, for middle primary, I recommend trying next the Humans V Zombies where students are randomly assigned to the team Humans or the team Zombies and them work together to outlast the opposition. My older classes also enjoyed this mode but it was not their first choice!

For upper primary and secondary classes, their first choice is the Trust No-one mode. As this is based on ‘Among Us’ (yet more appropriate), it was very popular. It can invite very loud discussions throughout the game with chatty classes and insisting on silence for the follow up game works well too. My major gripe about Trust No-one is that students can misuse the voting aspect to target less popular students. If this is also a problem with your students, I recommend a discussion before playing another round.

Reflections

A huge plus for Gimkit over Kahoot is that Kahoot rewards the fastest students and everyone is answering the same question at the same time increasing the chances of cheating and invalidating the data collected; with Gimkit, each student works at their own pace and the questions appear randomly with answers rarely in the same order from student to student.

However, the downside of this means that struggling readers do not gain any benefit at all if working independently with Gimkit. If there is just one struggling student, it helps to sit alongside them to read the questions. Otherwise, pairing students up may work. This also means that Gimkit is unsuitable for preliterate learners. Sad face (Edit :See Postscript # 2 below for an update to this observation) .

I highly recommend keeping questions simple at this time of the year. I prefer simply to ask the meaning of structures used during the term and try to include one ridiculous answer to make them smile!!

POSTSCRIPT

Senora Ana and I were chatting yesterday about Gimkit & Charlala and it suddenly occured to me that I forgot to mention this important hack. At least one student per class will inevitably accidently sign out of the game mid way through. All they need to do when this happens is to press the refresh key once and they will be returned immediately right back where they left off!

POSTSCRIPT # 2

I’ve learned (Terima kasih banyak to Pak Tim) that there is an option within Gimkit for questions to be read to players. Unfortunately, if you leave the pronunciation to Gimkit, the Indonesian pronunciation is so inaccurate, it is mostly incomprehensible.

Here are the instructions for turning on the read to me option:

1. Open the menu

2. Open the cog.

3. Switch on read to me.

Rather than leave the pronunciation to Gimkit, an easy option when creating questions, is to record the audio for each question word and then it will play automatically for each player. Thus as Pak Tim recommends, players requiring audio will need to play with headphones.

To add audio to your questions, click edit ,add audio and then save:

Two Great Brain Break Videos

During a recent PLC meeting, the wonderful Ibu Karen shared these two YouTube videos. My students adored them from the start, so I want to share them with you too, ready for term 4.

I have used this video with my two junior primary classes and they were singing along with it right from the start. I love how it gets reps on the structure ‘lingkaran’ (circle), numbers and besar/kecil (big/small). Be warned, if you play this song at the end of your lessons (highly recommend that you do), you will hear it go down the corridor as it is definitely an earworm tune.

The second video is a brilliant brain break. This link is for a Learning station song video called Ram Sam Sam which apparently was originally an Arabic song/rhyme from Morocco. I encourage you to initially play this video to your students without saying anything at all and I bet they can not help jumping up and joining in!! It is very challenging both mentally and physically.

Post script

Forgot to add this tip also shared with the PLC by Bu Karen. When using YouTube links in class, look at the link in the search bar. Between the word watch and the ?

type

_popup (one word)

and magically there will be no ads!

Here is the video with complete details. Credit to this YouTuber for the brilliant hack: