I must begin by apologising profusely for the limited posting over the past 12 months. My goal this year is to try to post more regularly to share my successes and failures. Hopefully this benefits you as much as it does for me in that it provides me with the opportunity to clarify and work through what and how I am teaching as well as documenting it all. It is amazing how quickly I forget ideas and then by scrolling through past posts, rediscover them!!
This term, my reception classes are finishing off Judy Dubois’ Jacket story, my 3-5’s are starting Anna Matava’s Talks Too Much story and my one and only 6/7 class is looking at the song ‘Lupa, Lupa Ingat’. See my Scope and Sequence Stories Page for more information on these stories.
Most classes have two 50 minute lessons a week except for one 3/4 class which has three, and one 3/4 class and my 6/7 class which have only a 65 minute lesson. The difference between the ones with only a single lesson and the others is predictably vast.
I still love using PowerPoint as a teaching tool for my reception students, however I no longer use them for the older year levels. My reception PowerPoints mainly aim to support preliterate students while also providing challenge (aka differentiation) and learning opportunities for those with developing literacy. This is done through limited text with quirky illustrations or giphy/gif’s (is there a difference?) that effortlessly prompt L2 discussion and circling that ONLY requires familiar and understandable L2, i.e. Indonesian in my context. For example, at the moment I have just introduced cepat and pelan (fast and slow) through TPR (Total Physical Response). In introducing it, I found gifs of people, familiar characters (Spiderman, SpongeBob) and cats walking/dancing/jumping fast/slow. This ensured that the only unfamiliar language was pelan and cepat. Avoiding working memory overload in a language classroom is SO important for both comprehension and acquisition as this helps to keep the affective filter (e.g. anxiety levels) low. When the affective filter is high, the flight or fight response can kick in, thus severely impacting on language acquisition for most learners.
My JP PowerPoints include slides on behaviour expectations, kursi luar biasa, picture talk, VPQA (Visual personalised questions and answers), brain breaks, TPR, songs and a CI task e.g. ‘All the Worlds a Stage’, Listen and Draw. See the Preliterate TCI/TPRS CI Activities page for an explanation of these and others. See this link to view a recent JP powerpoint I used with my receptions for this story. To break up the repetition for me, I love creating video clips for the students to either listen to or sing along with. Most are uploaded to my YouTube channel and if you are interested in getting notifications each time I upload a new one, subscribe to and like my channel!! Another ‘video’ idea is to take photos of students and then create a slideshow from them. We had a dress-up day recently and I walked around the school yard before school taking photos of students in their costumes. I got many fabulous photos and the slide show was perfect to help students transition to learning Indonesian at the beginning of the lesson. It also ensured a consequence for those that dawdled and an encouragement to get to the next lesson on time when I planned to replay it!! My next project is to take photos of students skate-boarding on the basketball court tomorrow morning before school!
This week will be the last week for the Jaket story and next week, I will begin Elsa & Buaya, a story based on one of Carol Gaab’s creations. The language for this story includes lapar (hungry), berlari (run), ke (to) and revises lihat (look/see) and makan (eat). All structures can effortlessly be incorporated into TPR which will be hilarious when added to pelan/cepat!! I can feel a new slideshow idea coming on…..
My middle primary students will begin acting out the Bercakap-Cakap Terus story tomorrow. Usually I story ask the complete story using actors and student input, but tomorrow I am going to try an idea based on Laurie Clarcq’s embedded reading workshop I watched yesterday at the Agen Online Conference. I pared the story right down to the basics after identifying that the key language was bercakap-cakap terus (constantly chats), pergi ke (goes to) and keluar (go outside). Here is the skeleton of the story we will work with tomorrow:
John pergi ke Victa Cinema.
Di cinema, John bercakap-cakap terus.
Fred berkata, “Keluar’.
Having a significantly reduced story skeleton will hopefully allow me to focus more on acquisition through quietening the annoying ‘teacher’ voice in my head pressuring me to go faster to beat the bell. It will also allow the class more opportunities to suggest/add more detail and personalise their class story to a greater level than is usually done! Then, I will hopefully have greater scope for creating embedded readings for the class to read post story creation. If you are interested in learning more about embedded readings, I highly recommend visiting Laurie’s comprehensive blog.
I am also planning to use an embedded reading with the 6/7 class but this one wasn’t so easy to create. The target structures are lupa (forgot), ingat (remember), kunci (key), cari (search) and ketemu (found). The best I have created so far is:
John mau pergi ke Adelaide.
John cari dimana-mana.
John ketemu kuncinya di piano!
The main problem with this is the amount of unfamiliar language. We have covered lupa and ingat so far, so I just hope it isn’t expecting too much of the kids. In the embedded reading workshop, Laurie recommended pre-reading activities which gave me the idea of using the memory game to help with acquiring lupa & ingat! I have created a short PowerPoint containing a few tongue twisters and memory game images from google.
Last lesson, I played the song version showing just the lyrics ( I save the band video till later to ensure the distraction of the band’s costumes and makeup doesn’t interfere with enjoying the song) and asked the students in pairs to choose a verse and then when it played, their group had to stand up and sing along. I was impressed at how well they actually did this!! In their next lesson I have planned to repeat this before again hitting ‘lupa’ & ‘ingat’ through stopping the song randomly and asking groups to sing the next line from memory! The going on a picnic concept might work too but I am still trying to come up with a phrase that will support students to stay in Indonesian. Maybe, “Saya ingat kata XXX.”
Not sure where I am heading yet with this class and this song. With previous classes, recreating a video of the song was successfully done but it took so much work. This time I am thinking of using an app like video star (does it still exist?) where the students sing along to their verse but when it replays, they are just miming, and the original artists sound-track is all that is heard! Here is an idea of what it looks like! I think a project like this would be significantly easier to edit.
It seems odd to be posting about face to face teaching when the rest of the world is still largely teaching online. In most states of Australia, we have taught face to face through the entire pandemic. Was it stressful? Hell Yes! Still is actually; especially with the second wave now flowing through. Please stay safe and look after yourself!
If you want to comment or share your ideas, I would truly appreciate hearing from you.