Planning idea for the TRT….

First day of term 2 and I am sick! So disappointed to be missing out on a day of the honeymoon week that is always the first week back. At my current site, we are required to write up notes for our TRT (subsitute teacher) which is often harder than just turning up. However in these COVID times, soldiering on is no longer an option. Mostly writing for a TRT is hard but doable, however sometimes, like now, my brain feels like glue and concentrating on anything for longer than 30 minutes is impossible. I texted my DP to let her know all of this and she kindly offered to find a few activities for me if I hit the wall. I was so grateful for this! I then fell back into bed where an idea suddenly popped into my brain. What if the students each created a story using their own likes and dislikes eg food, people, places?

Here is what I created:

The story then begins likes this:

I have tried to keep the language as simple as possible because my TRT usually know no Indonesian so students will be relying on their own acquisition and the word wall. My lessons are 50 mins long, so after filling in the missing words, I have asked the students to create a comic strip using only Indonesian with the reminder that names of people, places and brand names do not change in Indonesian. I added this to remind students that characters speaking in ‘Indonesian’ comics will speak in Indonesian!!

The layout could be clearer, eg putting brackets around the numbers for starters, but I still have my fingers crossed that this idea is successful for my year 6,7 and 8’s today and the TRT.

I would love your feedback on this idea and am especially keen to hear of any suggestions for improvement.
Stay tuned for an update after I return to work hopefully on Thursday.

Starting Anew

This year I have moved to a new school in a small country town to teach Indonesian. It has been extremely challenging adapting after such a long time at my previous site, but I have absolutely no regrets about the move. As I look back over the term, there are several points I’d like to explore and hopefully in this, they will help others who may be considering moving sites or have already done so.

The biggest challenge for me moving to a small town by myself was that the only person I knew here was the person I was replacing! Chatting on the phone to the wonderful Senora Anna/ Ibu Anne about my feelings of loneliness made me realise that this was the first time I had moved schools by myself! With all my previous moves, there was always someone with me; someone who was also adapting to a new place and who was also navigating unfamiliar streets, shops and people. Let me tell you, it’s super tough by yourself! I felt so conspicuous everywhere; just walking around my neighbourhood felt awkward and uncomfortable.

So, if there is anyone new at your site, please reach out to them as soon as possible. I wasn’t expecting meal invitations! I just wanted people to say hello and ask how I was going! The fact that the staff at my new site didn’t do this is not a reflection on them personally, it actually speaks volumes about their workload. They hit the ground running! So today; please take the time to smile and say hello to anyone new on your staff. It will honestly make their day!

On top of loneliness, another huge challenge has been two hundred and fifty new students. After almost eighteen years at the previous site where I knew every student as well as their families extremely well, it has been a steep learning curve for me starting again. A kind and thoughtful colleague from the previous site gave me a notebook as a farewell gift which has been invaluable. Every day it sits open on my desk and in it I jot down any thoughts I have during and post lessons. The most frequent comment I wrote to myself was; get to know the students. It was super difficult to build connections with students at first when I knew nothing about them; not even their names!! Without connections, students push back on everything. This in turn necessitated strong behaviour management routines however there are only so many students you can have in classroom timeout at any one time!! Without a doubt, the best strategies that have helped with behaviour management have been incorporating nakal/pandai points (Ibu Sharon), phoning home (Ben Slavic) and classroom jobs (Bryce Hedstrom).

Nakal/Pandai

I have blogged about this technique several times. Read here and here. As you will quickly notice, in the past I only used pandai/nakal points with junior primary students. Sharon and Hannah though, use it successfully with all ages and it has also become one of their classroom jobs. A student tallies the points as they are accrued and then at the end of the lesson, they tell the teacher the total for each in the target. language. Another aspect of how Sharon and Hannah implement this is that at the beginning of each year, they hand out a small paper rectangle to students who then each write their name on one before decorating it. These then are placed in a class envelope for a random student to be selected from if the nakal points are less than the pandai. This lucky student then has a dip in the treasure box while their name is added to the paper clip in the envelope of all those who have already had a turn! I highly recommend this as it allows you to surreptitiously ensure your ‘selection’ is appropriate. Unfortunately some classes suggested using the random option on class dojo to which I agreed before remembering the benefits of the envelope! To get around this, I have instigated a rule that any student on a step is ineligible for a dip in the treasure box for that lesson. A special mention to Sharon who raided her local shops for prizes for my treasusre box and I recieved in the courier a parcel full of goodies that have been very popular. Thank you so much Sharon!

Phoning Home

Overall my new students are great kids however in most classes there are a small group of disrespectful ones who constantly challenged and sabotaged the lesson. As a new teacher, I was treated like a TRT. This on top of managing some tricky students with special needs, was extremely disheartening. So I dug out my TCI/TPRS books for ideas on behaviour management.

In one of Ben Slavic’s I discovered his main tip for behaviour management with new students. He strongly recommends phoning parents as early as possible as this, he promises, will stop misbehaviour instantly. He also suggested offering to phone students’ parents as a reward option! I really like the idea of offering to phone home to say how well a student is progressing in Indonesian! I understand the value of phoning home but the idea of phoning new parents in a new community really pushed me out of my comfort zone! I was terrified. I imagined several scenarios where the phone call was not successful. So, in the end I do what I am very good at, I put my head in the sand, procrastinated and soldiered on.

I am so grateful to a bunch of colleagues who in week 5, travelled long distances to spend a day observing me for a day. Their support, encouragement and feedback at that time was invaluable. I will be eternally grateful for their positive comments and constructive feedback at a time when I was feeling so alone. They also reminded me again that it takes a while to settle into a new school! A very important fact that I keep overlooking!

Then in week 8, I had the ‘Week From Hell’! Everything that could go wrong did. Student behaviour dropped to an all-time low and consequently I became severely sleep deprived directly caused by the stress. A truly vicious cycle. I took Thursday off to recharge my batteries and mentally regroup but Friday was no better. In fact I burst into tears when a friend came into my room after school to commiserate on the terrible day.  I wanted to retire then and there. I shuffled dispiritedly home and spent the weekend resting and trying to regroup ready for Monday. By Monday, I was resigned to the fact that I just had to be super tough and consistently put students through the steps regardless of any consequences.

On opening my email, I discovered that parent student conferences were scheduled fot the following week. Perfect!! This was the final impetus to finally make a few phone calls. I rang one parent to ask if she was free during the week of conferences to come in and chat with me. I then rang another. The first parent returned my call and arranged a time. The second parent has yet to return my call, however her son has been significantly better behaved, so obviously the call in itself was worthwhile. As a result of just two calls and a meeting, there has been a noticeable improvement in behaviour.

In retrospect, knowing what I know now, I should have made the calls earlier. So if you too are procrastinating about ringing parents, I highly recommend making a list of the key students and then approaching other staff you trust to ask about the benefits of making the call. Best too to get a heads up on volatile parents which may have worrying repercussions for the student.

Classroom Jobs

I blogged about classroom jobs in 2015. As can be seen in the post, I first heard about classroom jobs from Ben Slavic. Bryce Hedstrom is now the go to person for thoughts and tips on student jobs.

Classroom jobs are a great example of why getting to know your students is a priority at a new site. I prefer to incorporate student jobs early in each school year and it has always been hugely successful. Until this year! In week two, I began by introducing three jobs and only got as far as choosing a secretaris and a tukang foto; both essential for Kursi Luar Biasa. I had intended to also hold auditions for the ketua kelas position as well but only did so with one class. I learned very quickly that in order for students to be invested in auditioning for jobs, they had to trust me on not only the importance and value of the job and also the selection of the ‘winner’. Thus I recommend starting with just a sekretaris and tukang foto with new students and ensure that there is an aspect of the job that makes it desirable. In my classes, it was that these two people were the only ones who could sit on the sofa! The ketua kelas will instead be introduced in other classes next term!

Once students start to ask about replacing the sekretaris and/or tukang foto, I know they finally value jobs and can see the benefits! This then leads me nicely to explaining that job holders hold their jobs for as long as they want it. I used to change job holders regularly (every 5 weeks) but doing this used to take a whole lesson!! I prefer to encourage students to think of a new and different job that supports the teaching and learning of Indonesian and they would are happy to do. I illustrate this by pointing out that while cleaning up after lessons is a useful thing to do, it does not help teaching and learning. It’s fascinating what ideas students come up with. I also make the jobs desirable by offering job holders special seating options. In past classrooms, they had first pick of the limited chairs available and this year they are the only students who enjoy a comfy chair to sit on. The comfy chairs (old staff chairs rescued from the furniture shed covered in a piece of batik) are placed at the back of the room and while not intentional, their placement has meant that students are easier to manage now that the class has three separate seating options! Comfy chairs are currently along the back wall, plastic chairs are arranged in semi-circle facing the interactive tv and the third seating option is on the floor in front of the plastic chairs.

Since my 2015 post, I have tweaked the student jobs several times in several ways; both in what they are called and what they are. I am a huge believer in using multifunctional language in the primary classroom. This language is based on the language I believe my students would find useful if/when they visit Indonesia or talk to an Indonesian/Malay person. Just so happens that there are at least two Malaysian families each owning a Malay take away food shop in two nearby towns! Woohoo! I spoke Indonesian while ordering my food and everyone I spoke to was incredibly friendly and happy for me to use Indonesian. (Note: Please be respectful and aware of the current political animosity between Indonesia and Malaysia.) A couple of weeks ago (prior to phone calls home) several of my students asked about the value of learning Indonesian. They were absolutely amazed to learn that they could use Indonesian so close to home.

So, the language I use for my jobs is simple and centres on the word ‘tukang’ (skilled expert). Last week the number of job holders started to increase significantly as interest in them grew. Not every class has the full range of these jobs yet, but it won’t take long before word gets around!

My current jobs:

  •  tukang foto – Photographer
  • tukang menulis– writes information on the board
  • tukang diam – shusher:  at a gesture from me, they stand and loudly say DIAM, 1,2,3 by which time the class must be quiet. Repeated as often as required!
  • sekretaris – secretary
  • tukang proxy – proxy (must be prepared to do any job when needed)
  • tukang kertas – hands out paper
  • tukang pensil – hands out, counts, sharpens pencils
  • tukang klipboard – hands out clipboard (great opportunity to discuss c/k
  • polisi – keeps track of behaviour – good and bad – with details
  • tukang hp – answers the class phone during lessons
  • Ketua kelas – welcomes adults to the Indonesian classroom
  • Tukang pandai/nakal – records points as they are accrued

Last week was tough with students being super excited about the Easter long weekend. However I was so relieved to see that with a few stategic nakal/pandai points, I was able to settle classes quickly and teach with minimal interruptions. I didn’t realise just how improved the students were for me until during a hand over discussion with a TRT for the second lesson, I was warned that her class had been extremely disrespectful during lesson 1. The behaviour she described sounded all too familiar, small stuff but so disruptive. I was therefore amazed when they settled almost immediately after entering the Indonesian classroom and I had no problems with anyone. Next time she is in, I will enourage her to send to me any ratbags and I will deal with them appropriately!! GRRR

Fingers crossed though that students continue being settled and respectful in my lessons next week after a long weekend feasting on sugar!! Most classes will be illustrating book pages as I anticipate that this will be all that they are capable of doing!!

If you are also new at your site, what has been helpful for you? Did you also face some of the issues I have struggled with this term? I really hope you too are starting to feel a sense of belonging and familiarity.

Kursi Luar Biasa for Junior Primary

It has just occurred to me that I have only posted about how Kursi Luar Biasa works in middle primary and upper primary classes. I also use it successfully with very young students in a much simpler format. I initially began incorporating it into my younger classes for several reasons and they are threefold: to introduce the concept of a special chair for a special person, to introduce the language ‘kursi’ + ‘luar biasa’ and as a sneaky yet compelling way to review target structures! The exclamation ‘luar biasa’ (awesome) is such a positive one that it is beaut that students are provided with the opportunity to hear it repetitively in their first year of school. It is also useful that the word for a common item of classroom furniture (kursi/chair) is introduced at this point too. Having a Kursi Luar Biasa also provides me with a designated ‘teachers helper’ in my classroom. As most junior primary teachers incorporate student jobs into their class routines and due to the fact that each class’s procedure & system differ, it is considerably easier for me to have my own system specifically for the Indonesian classroom.

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Who wants to sit in the awesome chair?

I choose the student using my paddle pop sticks using the language, “Siapa mau duduk di Kursi Luar Biasa?” following it with a comprehension check; “Bahasa Inggris? Siapa mau duduk di Kursi Luar Biasa?” and then after a student correctly translates, reply with, “Ya!! Bagus!! John pandai. Satu poin John! Who wants to sit in the awesome chair?” I repeat the English for my reception students to ensure they hear the translation clearly. I then dramatically choose a stick. I also check that the letters KLB are not written on the stick yet (this is my record system to ensure everyone gets a go) and if all is good, I make eye contact with the student and ask, “Susie mau duduk di Kursi Luar Biasa?” Naturally ‘Susie’ will nod yes and I will restate, “Susie mau duduk di Kursi Luar Biasa!” I do not circle this with reception (prep) students because of the disappointment factor, I just repeat the sentence several times as I write KLB on ‘Susie’s’ stick before returning it to the container. At this age, young’uns are still learning to understand turn taking and I strongly believe in the importance of ‘social skills pop-ups’! When I get comments along the lines of “I haven’t had a turn.”, I answer this by asking the entire class in English, “Who hasn’t had a turn yet?”, emphasising the word yet. The beauty of this question with very young students is that they either can’t remember if they actually have had a go yet or even more likely, want to sit in the chair again so much so that they pretend they haven’t sat in it yet, and also raise their hand!  This gives me the opportunity to show the student who blurted out in English that they are not the only one who hasn’t had a go YET, and then reassure everyone that there are still plenty of  weeks left in the year and everyone will get at least one opportunity. I do it in English; both to keep it short and snappy (pop-up) but also because I strongly believe in the importance of developing social skills and the necessity for this snowballs with each yearly student intake of reception students.

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The Awesome Chair: Boy or girl, Good or ok? Are you clever at running fast?

Once Susie is sitting in the Kursi Luar Biasa, I ask her a few questions based on the language structures their class has been focusing on. At the beginning of the year, the questions are simply “Susie baik baik saja atau Susie kurang baik?” & “Susie perempuan atau Susie laki laki?” With each answer (verbal &/or non verbal) I restate the answer in full. “Ya, Susie perempuan. Susie bukan laki laki.” I usually only ask 3 questions as that is as long as young students can focus. I like the final question to be quirky and incorporate the target structure. Sentences that have been successful include; “Susie mau makan hamburger?” (while holding up a huge hamburger cushion) or “Susie pandai berlari cepat?” (this awesome idea comes from Anne MacKelvie, however I highly recommend waiting till term 4 to introduce it so that you only have to race against a student for a limited number of weeks!! It’s highly compelling stuff for the students but eats into my energy reserves!) If ‘Susie’ says yes, I then wave the class back saying ‘Geser, geser’ (scoot, scoot) to create a running track along the front of the room. I gesture dramatically with my arms to ‘Susie’ saying “Ayo!” (Come here).  I then turn to ‘Susie’ and say, “Bu Cathy menghitung satu, dua, tiga. Bu Cathy berkata ‘tiga’, Susie berlari cepat ke kursi/Johnny.” (a nearby end point). I begin to count very slowly but for the first few counts, I change ‘tiga’ to a silly word. eg Satu, dua, hamburger!, satu dua Trent! Each time the student takes off I smile at them and cheekily say to them ‘nakal!’ I then count properly and pretend to run fast theatrically allowing the student to beat me. I then exclaim to the class, “Susie berlari cepat! Susie pandai berlari. Susie pandai berlari cepat.” Meanwhile ‘Susie’ is glowing with her success and struts proudly back to the Kursi Luar Biasa!

Once seated back in the Kursi Luar Biasa, ‘Susie’ takes on the role of ‘Teachers Helper’ and is my first goto person if I need help. This could be taking a message somewhere, collecting something, accompanying a student to buddy class/ the office or if we are playing a game, is automatically chosen to both demo a new game and be the first person to play!

Your Kursi Luar Biasa can be as fancy or as plain as suits you and your teaching situation. I prefer to lay my Batak weaving over a comfy chair as I do not use the Kursi Luar Biasa chair in every lesson with older classes. Sometimes, there is not enough time or it just needs to have a break to prevent it getting tired & stale. The beauty for me of using an Indonesian ‘sarong’ is that it can be whipped off quickly and is then easy enough to throw back on when you have a year 7 class sandwiched between two junior primary classes! This system is also very practical for mobile teachers as a sarong weighs very little in the ‘cart’.  Without doubt, the most impressive Kursi Luar Biasa chair I have ever seen is Ibu Anne’s. How gorgeous is it!! Her students absolutely love it. See the link below for the post I ‘stole’ (borrowed) the photo from!!

 

Have you tried Kursi Luar Biasa with your students? If you have or you just want to ask a question about this post, please write it in the comments below. All your questions and comments are greatly appreciated; not just from me but from everyone who reads this!

‘Pleased To Meet You’ by Jim Tripp – Junior Primary Lesson Outline

‘Pleased To Meet You’ is without a doubt the best story (I believe) to use as a springboard into TCI/TRPS. In my first year of using TPRS, I used the version below of Jim’s brilliant story with all year levels; R (prep) – year 7. A huge thank you to Jim Tripp for his kind and generous permission allowing me to share it with you. The beauty of this story is its simplicity, quirkiness and economic use of language.

The outline in this post is a blend of a unit of work that Ibu Sharon and I created in 2017 for conference presentations and my own classroom practise. It is designed for preliterate students however can equally be used successfully with all other junior primary year levels.  I now teach these lessons with both the straight reception (prep) classes and the composite R/1’s. Thus the year ones in these composite classes work with this story twice and I’m guessing you’ll be astonished to hear that I have not ever had a student comment about this!

If you are starting out on your CI journey and your JP students are also unfamiliar with CI, this outline can also see used successfully with all JP levels as not only does this story introduce structures vital for story telling & co-creating stories but it also is a gentle and engaging way to introduce your students to the language and expectations useful in a CI classroom.

The target vocabulary in the junior primary story version includes the following three structures:
nama saya, siapa nama, berkata (My name is, What’s your name, said)
The following are also in the story: di (at), dari (from), Astaga! (OMG!)autograph & pingsan (faints) but instead of pre-teaching these, I personally prefer to say the words in both languages (Indonesian first followed immediately with the English translation) & incorporate comprehension checks until I assess they were no longer necessary and then just use Indonesian. With my reception (prep) students I use ‘di’ & ‘Astaga!’ but not ‘dari’ or ‘pingsan’; I use ‘from’ & ‘faints’ instead. We all know our own student cohort best and you will know whether to use the Indonesian, the English or both for these ‘bonus’ words. I can’t stress enough the importance of always minimising unfamiliar vocabulary to avoid student cognitive overload. The only way you can fully understand how stressful this can be for your students is to join a class teaching an unfamiliar language as we did with Blaine Ray at the recent 2019 Australian TCI Conference. Please, please, please keep this in mind when teaching.

To personalise the story, I highly recommend using the name of familiar staff from your school in your story. Changing the celebrity name and the location to suit your current student’s interests will also ensure that the story appeals to your students.

It is also  important in all TCI stories that cognates and proper nouns (not common nouns) are used. For example ‘McDonalds’ & ’hamburger’ are easily recognisable cognates whereas ‘rumah makan’ (restaurant) & ‘nasi’ (rice) are not. Cognates & familiar proper nouns are a gift to language learners and teachers. They help us to reduce the cognitive load and facilitate the ‘narrow and deep’ mantra that underpins CI teaching.

One final note regards the intentional lesson structure I use when planning activities in my JP lessons. The younger the students, the more important it is to keep activities short and sweet and for every sitting activity, follow it with an up and moving activity. I call this the up/down/up/down format! Students this age need lots of movement and restricted sitting time!

Here is the JP story version; 

Pleased To Meet You by Jim Tripp

Taylor Swift di MacDonald’s.
Pak Taylor di MacDonald’s.

Taylor Swift berkata ‘Halo. Nama saya Taylor Swift. Siapa nama?

Pak Taylor berkata ‘Nama saya Pak Taylor.’

Taylor Swift berkata ‘Pak Taylor? Pak Taylors dari PEPS? Astaga!

Taylor Swift berkata, ‘Autograf?’
Taylor Swift faints

English Translation:

Taylor Swift is at MacDonald’s.
Pak Taylor is at MacDonald’s.

Taylor Swift said ‘Hallo. My name is Taylor Swift. What’s your name?

Pak Taylor said ‘My name is Pak Taylor.’

Taylor Swift said ‘Pak Taylor? Pak Taylor from PEPS? OMG!

Taylor Swift said, ‘Autograph?’
Taylor Swift faints

 

Junior Primary Lesson Outlines

LESSON 1. Target Structures:
nama saya 
(my name is)
ya/tidak
 (yes/no)

Welcome: (A huge thank you to Diane Neubauer for her permission to use an adaptation of her wonderful introduction here)
Halo Kelas!  Welcome to Indonesian. My name is Bu/Pak (Mrs/Mr)_____. Can you say that?
(Repeat very slowly) ‘Bu/Pak _____ . What do you think Bu/Pak means? Ya! Bu/Pak
means Mrs/Mr and if I was a man/woman, my name would be Pak/Bu ______! Pak/Bu
means Mr/Mrs.
How do you feel about learning Indonesian?
I think learning Indonesian is cool too.
Some students feel nervous/ worried about learning Indonesian. They think it is
going to be hard. Do any of you feel more like that? Thank you for telling me this.
I’m going to share with you a few things which will help you enjoy learning Indonesian and also help you learn it faster.
Go through the rules briefly:
JP – Dengar, Diam, Duduk (Listen, Quiet, sit down)
Do you know any Bahasa Indonesia?
What do you think learning Indonesian will be like?

 

TCI Activity # 1: Roll
I always begin calling the roll with the statement ‘Ayo mengabsen’.
followed quickly by pop-up English translation;  That is Indonesian for let’s call the roll.
I call the roll using class dojo.
Greet each child with a wave & a halo with their name.
Encourage students to reply with Halo Bu Cathy.

 

TCI Activity # 1: Class Expectations
Direct student attention to the 3 monyet poster. Discuss briefly what they are doing? Sitting, listening and being quiet! Explain that the monyet are being very clever and they are reminding you of what you need to do to learn Indonesian.  Clarify that when students are doing the right thing they can earn positive class dojo points and when they are not doing the right thing, they will get a negative class dojo point.
I then refer to the poster throughout the lesson and give class dojo points to students doing the right thing!
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(see TPT for a free copy of this poster – acknowledgement to Annie Beach for her impressive artistry)

 

TCI Activity # 2:  Introduce the target structure ‘Nama saya’
1. Say ‘Nama saya’.
2. Explain ‘Nama saya’  is Indonesian for “My name is…”
3. Students echo the teacher with various voices. Voice ideas include growly, squeaky, opera, whisper, very slowly ( I really love saying the structure slowly because it provides youth the opportunity to clearly enunciate it!).
Note that ‘listen & repeat’ is strongly discouraged in CI classrooms however I have found that junior primary students thoroughly enjoy it because of the quirky voices. It is a compelling way for them to hear novel repetitions of structures and the more unusual the voices, the more engaged the students become!
4. Provide the gesture.
5. Do one more comprehension check. (what does ‘nama saya’ mean, close your eyes and do the gesture for….)

TCI Activity # 3: Circling ‘- Nama saya’ (Remember to speak SLOWLY)
Here is the script that I used with my 2018 reception classes:

Say ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy’ and point to myself.
What do you think ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy” means?
Ya; ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy” means, “My name is Bu Cathy.”
Hold up a Dora The Explorer (or any soft toy character that is easily recognisable by that age level).
Nama saya Dora.
Ya!  Nama saya Dora.”
Comprehension check: Nama saya Dora means My name is Dora!
Is that right? Is her name Dora?
Ya!!
Point to myself:
Nama saya Bu Cathy!
Ya! (thumbs up)
(Pointing to myself) Nama saya Dora?
No!! Nama say Bu Cathy
Nama saya (their teacher?)
Nama saya Jett? (Use a student’s name from the class)
No!!
Bagus!!
Nama saya Bu Cathy?
Ya!! Nama saya Bu Cathy!
Nama saya Mrs Turley or Nama saya Bu Cathy?
Bu Cathy!
Ya!!
What do you think ya means? That’s right – yes!
Hold up monyet puppet and say:
Halo kelas! (Waving his hand at them) and then:
Nama saya Big Bird??? Monyet shakes his head no.
No!! Bukan!!
Nama saya Cookie Monster??? Monyet shakes his head no.
No!! Bukan!!
Nama saya Monyet?? Monyet shakes his head yes!
Ya!! Nama saya Monyet!  Monyet nods his head yes!
What does ‘Nama saya Monyet’ mean?
Ya!! Nama saya Monyet means, my name is Monyet!
Monyet again asks, Nama saya Jett? (student from the class)
Simultaneously with the class, negate this saying bukan!
Nama saya Monyet!
Nama saya Bu (their class teacher)?
Simultaneously with the class, negate this saying bukan!
What does ‘bukan’ mean? Repeat again shaking head. Ya!! Bukan means no.
Bagus!
Monyet again; ‘Nama saya Monyet’.
Nama saya Monyet or Nama saya Jett?
Ya!! Nama saya Monyet!

Repeat this with other student names from this class and each time, Monyet waves to that student!
Continue circling with other cards/props until you feel students have sufficiently grasped the target language or the students are becoming restless.

 

TCI Activity # 4: Fun Target structure Repetitions (to get more repetitions of the target structures use games, fun rhythms or songs that do not contain any unfamiliar vocabulary.)
Choose one of the following ‘nama saya’ activities:
1. Clapping: Clap hands twice and then knees twice while simultaneously saying intimate to the clapping; ‘Nama saya Bu/Pak ______,’  then repeating the clapping rhythm for the students to echo you, in time with the rhythm. Continue using students names by going around the circle with the students echoing! In the second round, encourage individual students to say it using their own name with the class & you echoing.
2. Piccadilly Circus – students stand in a circle with one child in the centre holding a soft a ball. They walk/run to someone in the circle and say as they hand over the ball, “Nama saya _____”. The 2 students then swap places & the person with the ball then walks/runs to someone different and says “Nama saya ________”.  You can vary this game by asking students to sit down after they have passed off the ball or you can add another different coloured ball and play it with 2 balls.
3. dum dum dah dah – (replace dum, dum, dah, dah with Nama saya)

 

LESSON 2Target Structures:
Siapa nama? – What is your name?

TCI Activity # 1: Roll (Getting to know the students and familiarising them with how each Indonesian lesson begins)
I always begin calling the roll with the statement ‘Ayo mengabsen’ and again follow this immediately with a pop-up English translation;  That is Indonesian for let’s call the roll.
Call the roll using class dojo and as with the previous lesson, greet each child with a wave, a halo and their name while encouraging students to reply with Halo Bu Cathy.

TCI Activity # 2: Review & Expand Student understanding of Class Expectations
Review the 3 monyet poster and the benefits of sitting, listening and being quiet in Indonesian lessons!

TCI Lesson Activity # 3 – Nakal/Pandai
(Introduce your preferred behaviour management system. Here is a link explaining in more detail how I manage my very successful JP behaviour management system.)
Discuss nakal/pandai and reiterate what is pandai in kelas Bahasa Indonesia and what is nakal di kelas Bahasa Indonesia. Link to tiga monyet and give class dojo points to students being pandai.
Introduce and sing together the following song to reinforce tiga monyet.
satu, satu, duduk, duduk, duduk.
dua, dua, diam, diam, diam.
tiga, tiga, dengar, dengar, dengar.
satu, dua, tiga, duduk, diam, dengar.

Put a stick up on the board next to the pandai poster using blutack and again reinforce diam, dengar, duduk.

 

TCI Activity # 4: TPR (Total Physical Response)
1. Revise meanings for berdiri, duduk. (stand, sit) &
2. Introduce perempuan/ laki-laki (girl/boy).
3. Explain/translate ‘perempuan’  is Indonesian for “girl” and ‘laki-laki’  is Indonesian for “boy.”
4. Students echo the teacher with various voices. Voice ideas include growly, squeaky, opera, whisper, very slowly ( I really love saying the structure slowly because it provides youth the opportunity to clearly enunciate it!).
5. Brainstorm for a gesture for the structures (e.g. girl = hand pretending to puff up hair & boy = stroking beard or drawing a moustache)
6. Do one more comprehension check.

Here’s my script from my 2018 reception classes:
Jett (student name) laki-laki.
Jett laki-laki? Ya Jett laki-laki.
Julie laki-laki? Bukan. Jett laki-laki.
Jett laki-laki atau Julie laki-laki?
Ya Jett laki-laki.
Repeat for a female student.
Repeat using SpongeBob. SpongeBob laki-laki atau SpongeBob perempuan?
Comprehension check. and move to incorporating laki-laki & perempuan:
Perempuan berdiri.
Jett perempuan atau Jett laki-laki? Ahh, Jett laki-laki! laki-laki duduk.
Perempuan duduk.
Laki-laki berdiri.
Jess laki-laki? Jess perempuan? Ya! Jess perempuan! Jess perempuan duduk!
Laki-laki duduk!
**Comprehension check often**

 

TCI Activity # 5: Circling – ‘Siapa Nama?’
From a bag, take out 2 puppets and begin a puppet show:
Bert: Halo kelas!
Bert: Nama saya Mr Banana.
Teacher says: Is that right? No!!
Bert: OK! Nama saya Bert!
Bert: Siapa nama? (to puppet 2 – SpongeBob ). (Comprehension check)
SpongeBob then asks a student sitting at the front, Siapa nama? (comprehension check).
SpongeBob (to Bert): Nama saya Jett (repeating name given by student).
Bert: Bukan!! Bukan Jett.
Bert points to Jett and says ‘Jett’ while nodding head. Points to SpongeBob and shakes his head saying, ‘Bukan Jett’. Points to Jett again and while nodding & waving says, ‘Halo Jett!’
Repeat for several students.
SpongeBob: ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy?’
Teacher: Bukan. Nama SAYA Bu Cathy!!
Bert: Siapa nama (to SpongeBob). (Ramp it up by being theatrical!!)
Teacher: Siapa nama? (to SpongeBob & again to the class)
Encourage class to answer.
Bert & SpongeBob say together: SpongeBob!
SpongeBob: Ya, Nama saya SpongeBob

 

TCI Activity # 6: Fun Target structure Repetitions 
1. Raja Monyet (monkey king).
Students sit in a circle, with
one child in the middle with his/her eyes well covered. Select another student who will be the ‘Raja’ (king) and give them a name, which is familiar to your students. For this story, the ‘Rajas’ name would become Pak Taylor or Taylor Swift! The student in the centre is then invited to choose 3 different students (one at a time) and ask each, “ Siapa nama?”(What is your name?). All students except for the ‘raja’ answer with “Nama saya & their own name”(My name is _______) but the Raja answers with ‘Nama saya Taylor Swift.”(My name is Taylor Swift) With this answer, everyone must swap seats. Teacher can then choose a new ‘Raja’ and a new person to sit in the middle.
2. Last year I wrote a song that uses a very slow ‘skip skip, skip to my Lou‘ tune:
Siapa nama?
Siapa nama?
Siapa nama?
Siapa nama?
Nama saya Bu Cathy!
3. I also created a new game which is perfect for reps on siapa nama & nama saya with junior primary students:
Students walk together in a circle around the room in the same direction with music playing. When the music stops, each student has to drop to the ground like a rock with their eyes closed and their face facing downwards. ( It is important when explaining how to play this game that students understand that if they are not tucked up like a rock, they can’t be covered with the sarong, so I recommend before playing, ask a student to demo curling up like a ‘rock’ beforehand with their face facing the ground.) I walk with the students while the music is playing and when the music stops, and all the student are curled up like a rock, I cover one student with the sarong. As soon as I ask, “Siapa nama?”, students can sit up and walk over to the student covered by the sarong and stand around him/her without touching the sarong (or student) and answer my question. I restate every answer with ‘Nama saya (suggestion)?’ and if I say the right name, the student under the sarong jumps up! This became one of the most requested games last year!! Over the year, I gradually phased out the music and incorporated TPR language into the game and sometimes, I even covered two students with the sarong!!

 

TCI Activity # 7Farewell Song; (Tune: If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands)
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa murid-murid/ anak anak (or simply kelas _______)
Sampai jumpa Bu/Pak_______,
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa

 

 

 

LESSON 3Target Structures:
berkata – said

TCI Activity # 1: Roll
At this stage, I simply say their name and when they answer, I just greet each person with ‘halo (+ name). At this stage of the year, this is purely for me to start attaching names to faces.

TCI Activity # 2: Behaviour Management – ‘Nakal/Pandai’

TCI Activity # 3: Introduce the target structure ‘berkata’
1. Write ‘berkata’ on the board. (except for reception/prep classes)
2. Explain/translate ‘berkata’  is Indonesian for “say/speaks”
3. Students echo the teacher with various voices. Voice ideas include growly, squeaky, opera, whisper, very slowly ( I really love saying the structure slowly because it provides youth the opportunity to clearly enunciate it!).
4. Brainstorm for a gesture for the structure and choose one that replicates the one you personally want or was chosen in a previous class.
5. Do one more comprehension check, (close your eyes and do the gesture for….).

TCI Activity # 3: Circling
Create a powerpoint of characters who have saying that are well known for your student cohort. What worked well for me was adding an animation for the ‘saying’ to delay the text until after you have brainstormed as a class and included heaps of reps of ‘berkata’. If students can’t remember exactly what the character is known to say, I prompt with ridiculous suggestions. e.g. Dory berkata, “Let it go”? And I don’t just say ‘Let it go”….. I sing it theatrically!! Boy, does that get a great response!!
For my junior primary students the following were very successful:
Spongebob berkata ‘Krabby Patty’.
Elsa berkata ‘Let it go.’
Pikachu berkata ‘Pika, pika.’
Bob the Builder berkata ‘Can we fix it? Yes we can!’
Dory berkata ‘Just keep swimming!’
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TCI Activity # 4: Target Structure Reps Activity
To get more repetitions of the target structures and provide students with a chance to move around, use games or fun rhythms that only contain familiar vocabulary or cognates. e.g.
Students stand in a circle. Teacher says a sentence from the powerpoint and the students  each mime it. Teacher then regards the selection of actions while repeating the sentence over and over before celebrating the students who have demonstrated it creatively and theatrically. Incorporate comprehension checks when necessary.
This activity is excellent for priming students for ‘All the World’s a Stage’ which benefits from OTT actions.

TCI Activity # 5: CI Activity – Tell the Story “Pleased to Meet You’ using puppets/soft toys/actors
Using the props that you feel most comfortable with, tell the story, circling & triangle each new detail for which students require repetitions. Remember the most important tip that Blaine shared with us at the conference; add characters not new sentences!
Note: With reception aged students, I recommend telling the story and save co-creating for older students.

 

TCI Activity # 6:  CI Activity – All the Worlds a Stage
In pairs, students act out the story as it is told to them by the teacher.
Here is how I introduce All The Worlds A Stage to students for the first time:
1. Students stand in a circle. I say the sentences in order, starting at the beginning. Each student mimes that sentence exactly. I acknowledge the students who do a brilliant job of this, encouraging creativity and exaggerated actions.
2. Then I ask students to duduk before explaining that “Cari satu teman dan duduk” means “Find a friend and then sit down’ and that the last two people standing will automatically become partners. (If there is an odd number, either I will offer to be that persons partner of they will be told to join in with a pair and make a group of 3. This depends on the activity. For ATWAS – I invite the student to be my partner.) We practise finding a friend a few times to both review the language and the process.
2. Once the class is sitting down with their friend, I ask the class to watch my demo. I turn to my ‘friend’ and say in English, do you want to be SpongeBob or do you want to be Bu Cathy?” I answer their response with ok! Then I ask my ‘friend’ to do another demo. Again I ask them ‘Do you want to be SpongeBob or Bu Cathy?’ Whatever they answer with, I say sadly and pretend to cry, “Oh, I wanted to be that.” We then discuss as a class what to do when both want to be the same character. I usually model saying to my ‘friend’ you be Bu Cathy this time and I’ll be Bu Cathy next time. OK?
The best thing about doing ATWAS twice is the REPETITION!!  Score!
3. Partners choose who they will be. I then say in Indonesian, SpongeBob berdiri. SpongeBob duduk. Bu Cathy berdiri. Bu Cathy duduk. (This is largely to double check that there is one of each character in each partnership as well as being the perfect opportunity to sneak in some sneaky TPR).
4.  I then say very slowly, sentence by sentence with as many reps as possible & acknowledging awesome acting;
“Bu Cathy berdiri.
Ada perempuan.
Nama perempuan Bu Cathy.
Bu Cathy di MacDonalds.
Bu Cathy duduk.
Spongebob berdiri.
Ada laki-laki.
Nama laki-laki SpongeBob.
SpongeBob di MacDonalds.’
Bu Cathy dan SpongeBob berdiri.
SpongeBob berkata, “Halo! Nama saya SpongeBob” (pause for students to echo).
“Siapa nama?” (pause for students to echo).
Bu Cathy berkata, “Halo Spongebob.
Nama saya Bu Cathy.” (pause for students to echo)
SpongeBob berkata, “Bu Cathy? (pause) Bu Cathy? (pause again) Bu Cathy from Port Elliot Primary School? (pause again).
Bu Cathy berkata, “Ya. Nama saya Bu Cathy.”
SpongeBob berkata, “Astaga! Autgraf!”
Bu Cathy autographs (I encourage students to write on their friends hand with a finger!)
SpongeBob faints.

The above is repeated once more from step 2  but before we start, I explain that each pair needs to check if either wants to swap characters. If one person wants to swap, they must swap but if no one wants to swap, they can stay the same!

TCI Lesson Activity # 7 – Nakal/Pandai
Menghitung! comprehension check!
Count the tally in Indonesian and then if the pandai tally is more than the nakal tally, remove the stick from the board and ask the class, “Siapa nama?” Restate suggestions with ‘Nama saya Jett?” Bukan! I also throw in laki laki & perempuan here to give clues.
eg Nama saya Jett? Bukan. Saya bukan laki laki. Saya perempuan.
Once we have guessed the name of the student on the stick, they can choose an item from the Treasure Box.

Farewell Song; ( Tune: If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands)
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa murid-murid/ anak anak (or simply kelas _______) Go
Sampai jumpa Bu Cathy,
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa

 

 

Lesson 3 & Beyond…

This lesson’s main focus is the parallel story. I love to make PowerPoints from my parallel stories using well known characters and then record myself telling the story. This can then be uploaded to YouTube for students to listen to firstly in class and then repeatedly in their own time at home.

Here is  an example of one of my adult co-created parallel ‘Pleased To Meet You’ story.

 

I haven’t uploaded a junior primary one yet. The one I made last year was not successful because I used Ronald MacDonald & sadly in every class there were students who were familiar with an M rated film about an evil clown, so it won’t be used again let alone uploaded!

From this point, I usually base my lessons on TCI activities suitable for preliterate students that are fun ways to get. more repetitions on the parallel story.

I also highly recommend continuing to incorporate TPR to build up a classroom context vocabulary with words such as putar (turn), duduk di kursi (sit in a chair), berjalan kaki (walk), antri (line up), berdansa (dance), stop, melompat (jump) & berlari (run). Restrict this list of words to those that will help you minimise the use of English in the classroom and also words that you know will be necessary for future stories! There is no single list of TPR words because we all teach differently!!

 

Assessment:
At this level of schooling, open assessment of preliterate students will be based entirely on observation due to students inability to read and write.
Here are a few recommended closed assessment strategies perfect for this age group:

Listen & Draw – Teacher says a sentence from the story, students listen to the sentence and then illustrate the sentence to demonstrate comprehension. While the students are drawing, teacher observes who is drawing and who is not. By asking one of the students who is drawing to translate the sentence into English, provides evidence that the sentence was comprehended successfully while also providing a comprehension check for those who had yet to begin drawing.

 

Simon says – Teacher says a word (eg duduk) but precedes it with ‘Simon says’ (replace this with Bu/Pak & your name) if the students are to do the action. If the word is said alone, the students do not move.
Note: Traditionally, all students who do the incorrect action are asked to sit or stand out. I try to avoid this if possible and permit the students to continue playing the game. Much more enjoyable for everyone and also ensures all students are participating; thus providing more observation data!

 

Create a class book – Organise the story so that one sentence is on one page. Print the pages on A3 and distribute randomly to students – if more students than pages, arrange duplicate copies. When the illustrations are completed, reduce them on the photocopier to A4 (you’ll be amazed at how much this improves the illustrations) and then bind.
Optional – laminate each page.
Credit Annie Beach & Amy Vanderdeen for this strategy.

For older JP students other assessment tasks could include:

  1. Unjumble words from a sentence taken straight from the story.
  2. Sequence sentences from the story.
  3. Match pictures and sentences from the story.
  4. Flyswatter game.
  5. Create individual book copies – Use the booklet setting on the photocopier with a sentence from the story on each page. Students illustrate one page at a time while the teacher reads the text out. It becomes very clear very quickly which students have acquired the language.
    (Students can then take the booklet home to read to parents, siblings and pets!)

 

If you have any other CI activity ideas that could be added to this unit of work, please add them to the comments below!! All contributions gratefully accepted!

Kindness + Love = Annabelle Allen

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One of my many amazing highlights from iFLT was the opportunity to observe Annabelle Allen teaching Spanish to elementary/primary students. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t observe her until Thursday morning and then just for the 75 minutes before our scheduled coaching cohort session. I am incredibly grateful that Anne insisted I observe Annabelle. Her actual words were: ”OMG, you have to observe Annabelle Allen! She is AMAZING!” Anne was not exaggerating one teensy, tiny bit!

While I was only in her classroom for just over an hour that Thursday, it made a enormous impact on me. I will always remember the feelings of awe as I reluctantly walked out of her room, determined to return again the following day for the entire morning, which I did. Watching Annabelle interacting with her students was transformational. I will attempt in this post to explain how and why her teaching impacted on me so deeply.

As mentioned in my first iFLT post, when coaching, the two main areas of focus are
1. comprehensibility and
2. connecting with students.
In Annabelle’s classroom, the two are so tightly intertwined that at times it became difficult to separate them. The importance she places on building community is phenomenal. It starts the minute they walk through the door and continues until she bids them goodbye with love. Her care and affection for each and every one of her students is demonstrated consistently and genuinely.

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Thursday was her 3rd morning with her students and by then she’d had around 5 hours with them. Her 20 students were a mixture of ages, ranging from year 3-5 (Australian year levels) and interestingly included 4 students who were totally new to Spanish and CI methodology. The identity of the 4 newbies was kept secret until the final debrief session and by that time, observers were totally surprised when their names were revealed! Her student group also covered the typical spectrum of student behaviours and it was so touching watching her developing rapport with the students from each end of this continuum.

The room was set up with student chairs in a horseshoe facing a large projector screen. Behind the student’s row of chairs were about 5 rows of larger chairs for the observers.

It was great idea providing observers the opportunity to chat with Annabelle prior to her students arriving during the 20 minute ‘Lab Planning’ session each morning. She happily answered questions about her teaching style and lesson content while setting up for the upcoming lesson. She seemed exhausted yet answered a variety of questions about brain breaks, classroom management and lesson content positively and enthusiastically. Her observers received identical amounts of love and respect as given to her students.

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Just before her students arrived, Annabelle requested that all observers be absolutely silent during the lesson to prevent distracting her students. It was incredible watching students so highly engaged and in the flow to the point that they were entirely oblivious of the rows and rows of observers directly behind them. Towards the end of one of her lessons, a person entered noisily and then laughed and clapped loudly along with her students. I was amazed at how this interfered with the flow and focus. It distracted everyone in the room, most noticeably her students. Yet, Annabelle continued teaching, giving no indication at all that this behaviour was disrespectful and disruptive. She is an incredibly kind and generous person.

Amongst the students in her class were 4 boys, all very good friends. They enjoyed sitting together and often distracted each other either with side comments, goofy actions or blurting. It was wonderful watching how she managed them without them even realising they were being targeted. During the first lesson I observed, Annabelle separated the students just as the lesson began by asking all students to stand up and organise themselves into a line according to their shirt colour (from dark to light) and then to sit back down in that new order. The previous day, Anne told me, she asked the class to order themselves in height order. She then told the class to sit down on the chairs in that order. How clever is that to separate students unobtrusively! Then if a couple of more tweaks became necessary, she would ask students to swap seats with someone else; but the clever thing about this is that the class had no idea who was being targeted because she moved both quiet and noisy students equally and the first student moved was never one of the students who needed to be moved! It was genius.

 

Her behaviour management was a very impressive aspect of her lessons. Considering that she was still getting to know her students and amongst them were students who needed considerably more scaffolding, as well as a couple of irrepressible ones, Annabelle remained positive the entire time. Students were never singled out publicly, instead the class as a whole was reminded with a gentle pointing to the rule being addressed. When an individual student did not respond to the gentle whole class reminders, a subtle whispered conversation in their ear kindly and successfully helped them rein in any unhelpful behaviours.

On the walls were variety of posters that helped with classroom management. The most important one stated clearly her 3 rules:

  1. Respect – you, me, everyone
  2. Spanish, Spanish, Spanish – no English
  3. Participation

She referred to these constantly, especially when students blurted in English. I loved how she reminded students that the teacher is the only person who can speak English in Spanish class; everyone else speaks Spanish.

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Another useful ‘poster’ on her wall was actually a list of percentages written up on her white board with 100% at the top down to 10% at the bottom. This ties in with both rule number 3 and her point system. In each lesson, students have to work together to reach 200 points and the main way they can earn points is when all students demonstrate 100% participation. If only a couple of students responded to a question, Annabelle pointed to the 30% and reminded them that she only gives points when there is 100% participation!

Other posters included large sheets of important vocabulary to help students stay in Spanish. These posters included one for target structures, one for out-of-bounds yet important vocabulary that had come up in class, a hundred chart, a selection of rejoinders, useful adjectives, circumlocution suggestions, colours and the inevitable question word posters. Up also amongst the posters were 8 individual rejoinder posters. They had a large emoji in the middle and underneath the Spanish phrase to represent it. She also had doubles of these posters on her desk which she handed out to individual students who demonstrated a good understanding of and/or a connection to a phrase. This then became their personal rejoinder poster for holding up whenever they felt it was appropriate during the lesson. Not only did this help build a connection with the student because as soon as they held up the poster, Annabelle looked them in the eye and smiled warmly at them, but it also is an invaluable tool for comprehensibility and SLOW.

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Everything that happened in Annabelle’s lessons centred on student relationships and comprehension. Right from the beginning when students first arrive into class. Music was playing in the background while Annabelle greeted them each at the door speaking in either Spanish or English incorporating a mixture of language covered in class and cognates.

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I also really love that she shares with students her unicorn obsession. It added a sense of light hearted quirkiness blended tightly together with non judgemental trust. Unicorns were embedded into lessons in a variety of ways. Her ‘happy unicorn sparkles’ are in a large plastic shaker container and brilliantly support student actors kindly as needed. If student actors needed a gentle prod (a reminder to freeze, to offer the actor another opportunity to enact a scenario or to rewind the acting) Annabelle sprinkles the glitter over their head while giving the instruction. (Luckily for Spanish teachers, there are so many cognates to assist with this.) On FridayAnnabelle blamed unicorn pee for changing the colour of her hair! I loved how she also asked one of the very quiet students if that was why her hair was also the same colour as Annabelle’s! Relationships, connections, rapport in spades!

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Another important way in which Annabelle developed a close sense of community was the way in which she picked her battles in regards to the ongoing blurting in English by a few of her students. She explained during one of the lesson debrief sessions held after the students had left that day, that she accepted a lot more blurting at the beginning of the school year because the main focus in the beginning is building and consolidating student relationships. Thus at this point, instead of saying anything directly to the students who were blurting, she largely either ignored it and spoke over it or restated it in Spanish. This was then followed by enthusiastically acknowledging a student who responded in Spanish with joy and positive reinforcement! Annabelle had a number of students who were so engaged in the lesson, their enthusiasm to participate constantly resulted in blurting. It was fascinating having an opportunity to watch individual students blurting from an observers perspective. As a teacher, I find blurting frustrating yet was fascinated that Annabelle did not once shut a particular student down by rebuking him for his enthusiastic contributions in English. I could clearly see that this student was literally on the edge of his seat he was so engaged and so desperately wanted to contribute that he didn’t take the time to think about how to say it in Spanish. Later when Annabelle revealed that he was one of the 4 beginner students, it all became clear! Not only was he madly processing Spanish (and doing an amazing job) but he was also grappling with fitting into the established pecking order. The big ‘aha moment’ I got from this is that I need to assess the value of rebuking students in class for disrupting the flow. It now seems to me that a public reproach not only interrupts the language flow, but is also detrimental to student self-esteem and thus destroys the important sense of community being created!

If you ever get the opportunity to observe Annabelle, I highly recommend you jump in with both feet. I guarantee you’ll be inspired by her love and kindness.

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Follow Annabelle’s Blog. if you aren’t already doing so!

Sound Effects Theatre

Today I tried one of the many idea’s I’ve read about on Keith Toda’s blog that I’d really love to share because it was so successful and so engaging.

Firstly I asked the class to ‘cari teman’ (find a partner/friend) and then gave each pair a copy of the current class created story. Here is the class co-created story that I used with the year 3/4 class in the video below:

Anak Nakal di Kelas 3/4 Turley

Kelas 3/4 ke Bahasa Indonesia.
Ada satu laki-laki di kelas 3/4.
Nama laki-laki Bob.
Bob nakal.
Bu Cathy berkata, “Kelas 3/4 duduk.”
Kelas 3/4 pandai dengar dan duduk.
Bob nakal. Bob tidak duduk. Bob berdansa chicken dance.
Bu Cathy heran.
Bu Cathy berkata, “Astaga!” dan menangis.

 Bu Cathy berkata, “Kelas 3/4 ambil kertas dan melipat.”
Kelas 3/4 pandai. Kelas 3/4 duduk dan ambil kertas dan melipat.
Bob nakal.
Bob tidak ambil kertas dan melipat.
Bob ambil bola dan melempar ke Bu Cathy.
Bu Cathy heran.
Bu Cathy berkata, “Astaga!” dan menangis.

Bu Cathy berkata, “Kelas 3/4 diam dan dengar Bu Cathy.”
Kelas pandai. Kelas diam dan dengar Bu Cathy.
Bob nakal.
Bob tidak diam. Bob tidak dengar Bu Cathy.
Bob berdiri di kursi dan menyanyi, “Let it Go!”
Bu Cathy heran.
Bu Cathy berkata, “Astaga!” dan menangis.

Bu Turley ke kelas Bahasa Indonesia.
Bu Turley lihat Bu Cathy menangis!
Bu Turley lihat kelas duduk dan diam.
Bu Turley lihat Bob berdiri di kursi dan menyanyi,“Let it Go!”
Bu Turley heran!
Bu Turley berkata, “Astaga! Bob nakal. Ayo Bob!
Bu Turley ambil noodle.
Bu Turley pukul Bob lima kali!

 Kelas menghitung satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima bersama-sama!

With their partner, they read through the story and together agreed on a word that they both felt comfortable doing a sound effect and or an O.T.T. short, 3 second action. I next asked the pairs to ‘duduk di lingkaran’ (sit in a circle) and I went around the circle inviting each pair to tell us the word they had chosen and the action/gesture they had planned to do. This worked out well for several reasons. Firstly it gave me a heads-up on the words I would need to pause after (to allow the pair to do their sound effect/action) and to my amazement, there was only one double up on a word, which actually was not a problem! Just seemed to ramp it up even further!! Secondly it gave me an opportunity to coach the pairs if their sound effect/action was either inappropriate or based on an incorrect understanding of the meaning. The words chosen by this class were Bob, menangis, berdansa, menyanyi, pukul, nakal, Astaga, kelas 3/4 and Bu Cathy; all terrific words.

The variety of sound effects was brilliant. The ‘berdansa’ (dance) pair jumped up and each danced through the circle, one waltzed alone and the other disco danced. The ‘menangis’ (cry) pair jumped up and cried loudly. The ‘duduk’ (sit) pair jumped up and then flopped down crossed legged. The diam (quiet) pair stood up and loudly shushed. The Astaga (OMG) team jumped up with hands on cheeks loudly saying Astaga! The Bu Cathy pair, jumped up together, grabbed my arm and swung me around in a circle  This one was hilarious because it was obvious at one point during the retelling of the story that I became quite dizzy!

I began by reading the story out aloud, pausing after each of the selected words to allow time for each pair to jump up and do their sound effect.

It went brilliantly and I can’t recommend this activity enough. It was so much fun and we all just laughed and laughed.

For the first time doing this activity, it worked very well having the students in pairs, because this gave the quieter students a greater level of confidence in performing in front of their peers. With all the classes, this activity was equally popular and I had one class pleading to do it again even though there were just 10 minutes left in the lesson!

Upon reflection, there are several ways in which this could be modified further to both increase it’s value to language learning and also to increase the engagement (is that even possible??). Next time I will give students the option to work in pairs or individually and I will also request that students say their word before doing the sound effect.

This game is a perfect activity for the end of the term when we are all tired and it is also perfect because it requires little more preparation than providing students with a copy of the story.

Here is just a tiny snippet of one of the lessons to give you an idea of how it ran:

Observing Ibu Anne’s Circus

I am here in Victoria this Easter enjoying a well earned break with Ibu Anne. Today was the last day of term here (SA has 2 more weeks) and I’ve taken heaps of notes while observing her lessons. If ever you are in Victoria and want to see TCI in a junior primary setting, I highly recommend a visit to her school. Her students impressed me constantly with their confident comprehension of Indonesian and at times it was hard to believe that her students are Prep’s – Year 3!

Here are my notes for each year level:

Prep Classes:-

With her Prep classes, Anne is trialling a system whereby each step of her lesson is prompted via a powerpoint page. I really liked how this worked. The first page incorporates an app Anne has discovered that allows you to add voice to a photo of a dog. Anne began her Prep classes with either a photo of her dog Kasper or a student’s dog singing her welcome song! The classes absolutely loved singing along with the dogs!

The second page was calling the roll and with this year level, Anne simply encouraged them to answer with ‘ada’ & ‘tidak ada’ (here/not here).  No wonder the students at her school have acquired ‘ada/ tidak ada’ so solidly! She calls the roll using class dojo, marking the absences immediately and at the end, asks, “Berapa tidak ada?” (how many students are away?) which provided her with an excellent opportunity for students to count together with her!!

After the roll, Anne turned off the smart board to focus on the retelling the harimau (tiger) & Elsa story. She began this with ‘mata-mata’ (spy), using the 2 pandai (clever) students (1 laki-laki/boy & 1 perempuan/girl) selected during the previous lesson and invited them out to the front with her to choose two new pandai students while Ibu Anne revisited all the structures from the current story. I love using ‘mata-mata’ with preliterate students as it is a terrific brain break on one hand and a useful way to observe & assess levels of acquisition. Once or twice I have assumed a class was familiar with a structure only to discover during mata-mata, they definitely hadn’t!

After mata-mata, Anne then used colourful magnetic pictures attached to the smart board to retell the story, Elsa dan Harimau that the students found highly engaging. I don’t think we utilise puppetry enough anymore! It is novel for youngsters today! She then retold the story using the magnetic pictures, encouraging the students to gesture and speak with her.  fullsizeoutput_141c.jpegNext, Ibu Anne asked for two actors to come out and help her retell the story once more. The tiger mask was a huge hit and enabled her to have several pairs act out the story, one after the other! I love the “Aduh” (Oh no!) at the end of the story because it allow the entire class to join in the finale. Ibu Anne finished by showing her video of this story on her Youtube channel which again was the same story presented slightly differently which maintained student interest! Wow – how many reps of the story did Ibu Anne manage? Amazing.

As the class had been sitting for quite a while by this time, Ibu Anne did the following brain break: she played a familiar Indonesian children’s song and asked the students to walk around the room while it played.  When the music stopped, she asked her students to freeze and listen to her say one of the following words from the story: harimau, pohon or rumah. If she said rumah (house), students had to stand and make a triangle roof over their heads with their arms, if Anne said harimau (tiger), they had to drop to their hands and knees and if she said pohon (tree), they had to stand up tall with their arms out, hanging like branches. I really enjoyed the added bonus of having an Indonesian song incorporated into this brain break because it allowed a break between the actions!

The target structure Anne revisited next with her Prep classes was “Ada apa?” (What is there?) She had a calico bag full of  objects (all cognates). She pulled each one out, one by one, stating ada truk (there is a truck), ada burger (there is a burger), ada es krim(there is an ice cream) etc, before setting each down on a table where the students could see the display. Each item provided a perfect opportunity for reps of ‘ada’ (there is)! Once the bag was empty, the class and Ibu Anne counted the total number of props together – altogether there were 15. Ibu Anne then put the items back in the bag and asked the class again, “Ada apa?” to see if they could remember them all.  Each time, a student correctly remembered an item, she drew a picture of their answer up on the board, circling each while incorporating ‘ada’, counting the total after each correct suggestion. The students thoroughly enjoyed counting the drawings together.

Ibu Anne then handed out a worksheet with pictures of a variety of cognates and students had to listen and circle only the ones that Ibu Anne pulled out of the bag. Students then coloured all the pictures that were circled. Ibu Anne recommends using pulling out exactly the same objects for each class to make marking easier.IMG_6075.JPG

Kelas 1

All year one classes are held in the Indonesian room. Class teachers bring their students to the room where Ibu Anne greets each student as they enter her room. Students then walk to the front of the room and sit quietly waiting for her to finish. Ibu Anne follows the last student into the room and with this class, she picked up her ukulele and began playing it. This immediately and beautifully focused the students however as the ukulele was out of tune, Ibu Anne quickly and surreptitiously tried to tune it but the students collapsed about with laughter. Even to their ears, the ukulele sounded strange. Once tuned, the ‘duduk diam dengar’ (sit down, be quiet, listen) song sounded gorgeous on the ukulele. It was a highly compelling way to begin a class.

Roll
I loved how Ibu Anne sings the Selamat siang song (see kelas 2 observations for details) with her older students. It begins with the usual Selamat siang, Apa kabar, baik, baik saja, lumayan, kurang baik and then included lapar sekali, sedih sekali, marah sekali. The success of this song was evident during the roll call as many students used this language.

After mata mata, Ibu Anne worked on the song, Aku Seorang Kapiten, for an upcoming competition for Victorian students. This competition isn’t compulsory for her students, but hopefully many will bravely try out and blow everyone away with their proficiency. I can’t remember what else students have to do, but if you are interested in learning more about it, ask on one of the Facebook pages!

Kursi luar biasa
Ibu Anne has created a Kursi Luar Biasa powerpoint for each year level, each one building on the language they have acquired from the previous year level. All slides provide many opportunities for the student being interviewed to shine. Students can either tell the truth when answering questions such as:
Tinggal dimana? (Where do you live?)
suka makan apa? (What do you like to eat?)
Mau apa? (What do you want?)
Siapa nama? (What is your name?)
Apa kabar? (How are you feeling?)
Punya binatang apa? (What animals {pets} do you own?)
On each page, Anne has pictures that incorporate everything a student of that age would relate to. I learned about LOL dolls, magnetic slime, 3D pens just to name a few! Also on the pages were a few quirky pictures to keep it compelling.

Brainbreak
This year level also enjoyed writing their names with their right and left hand, left/right siku (elbow), hidung (nose) & (pusar) belly button. Lots of laughter.

StoryTelling
Ibu Anne showed a PowerPoint that she had made called, “Buaya Suka Makan Donut” (The Crocodile Likes to Eat Donuts). The ingenious part of this powerpoint were the video clips embedded into each page of the naughty buaya snatching donuts from various staff members including the principal.  The students loved watching the expressions on the faces of the principal & their teachers and requested watching it again and again! I highly recommend copying her idea!!

Assessment
Anne had planned an assessment task based on this great story, but with a school wide subway lunch delivery, the class had to return to their room early. This is the task Ibu Anne had planned to do: Anne had drawn up a grid and in each box was a different pic from the Buaya (crocodile) story. Students would need to look at each one of the pics which were in no order. To demonstrate that students could retell the story in the correct order, they needed to write a number in the box by each drawing. IMG_6227.jpg

Kelas 2:-
Anne began her lesson with the Selamat Siang song that included panas sekali, capai sekali, dingin sekali, marah sekali, sakit sekali before finishing with sampai jumpa.

Here is the song – (sing to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Selamat siang
Apa Kabar
baik baik saja
lumayan
kurang baik
senang sekali
marah sekali
sakit sekali
dingin sekali
panas sekali
terima kasih/sampai jumpa

English translation: 
Good day
How are you?
Just fine
ok
not so good
very happy
very cross
very unwell/sick
very hot
thank you/goodbye

Then when Anne called the roll, the students confidently answered with a variety of answers fluently. When discovering that a student was absent, she would ask the class, “kenapa?” (Why?) If students said, family holiday, she would ask, “Liburan?” (Holiday?) If they again answered “Yes/Ya”, she would walk over to the dimana poster and point and pause before asking ‘Di mana?” (Where?) I loved this as it provided the perfect opportunity to get reps on ‘dimana’ as well as saying the names of various countries in Indonesian. It was interesting to hear the number of students who were currently holidaying in India, Queensland, Malaysia and Japan. Totally represents the multicultural population at Annes school!

Mata-Mata
It was great to see Sharon’s ‘mata-mata’ happening in Victoria slightly differently to the way Sharon and I do it (and we both do it slightly differently as well!) My students enjoy mata-mata (spy – along the lines of the Indonesian police) and it was great to see a way to keep doing it yet with a twist. Anne uses the 2 winners from the previous lesson to be the next mata-mata; a boy and a girl. The girl must choose a boy and the boy must choose a girl. I am definitely going to incorporate this into my next lesson plan. Currently my students choose their friends which are generally the same gender – so this idea would encourage them be more selective! I also loved the way Anne asked the mata-mata, “Ada laki laki/perempuan pandai? Siapa nama?” (Was there a clever boy/girl? What is their name?) Great way to sneak in a “siapa nama” rep!

Anne did a brilliant brain break with this class which she acquired from a colleague, Jodie Underwood.  All the students stood up and followed Anne’s instructions:
Tulis nama pakai tangan kanan (Write your name with your right hand)
Tulis nama pakai tangan kiri (Write your name with your left hand)
Tulis nama pakai siku kanan (Write your name with your right elbow)
Tulis nama pakai siku kiri (Write your name with your left elbow)
Tulis nama pakai hidung (Write your name with your nose)
Tulis nama pakai pusar (belly button) (Write your name with your belly button)
By the end of it, everyone was in fits of giggles and totally relaxed. It was so lovely.

Kursi Luar Biasa (The Awesome Chair)
Anne has made up power-points for each year level; each incorporating the language she needs reps with. The questions circle suka (like), nama (name), apa kabar (how are you), mau (want) and have really significantly helped her students to acquire this vocabulary. Anne has painted a chair in brilliant eye catching colours and patterns which a student sits on to answer Anne’s personalised questions.
After asking the person in the kursi luar biasa the questions, Anne then invites the other students to say one thing that they heard about that person. This is such a great opportunity for the 4%ers to shine and also to measure student acquisition. Anne accepts answers both in Indonesian and English, praising both with the English restated in Indonesian. She then adds tallies to the kurang pandai/pandai (clever/not so clever) points; 2 points for Indonesian and one for English. Separately she notes who spoke in Indonesian correctly and after the  lesson, takes a photo of her notes to add to her assessment checklists.

StoryTelling
After Kursi Luar Biasa, Anne showed the class a powerpoint she’d made about Pak Eh-Eh (Mr Pooh). The story itself was very short – perfect for this age group – and had them 100% engaged! In Anne’s story, Pak Eh-Eh went to the Western Treatment Plant (local) searching for a friend. I loved how Anne explained simply what happens at the plant while getting heaps of reps of eh-eh! It was a great story to introduce the structures teman (friend) & banyak (many)!

Anne finished this lesson by showing the class her YouTube channel (Indonesian Fun For Juniors) and encouraging students to watch the Pak Eh-Eh video and others over the holidays.

Kelas 3 –

Ibu Anne started her year 3’s with a powerpoint that had her dog, Kasper, singing her welcome song (see kelas 2 for lyrics) to the class. Her students went into raptures, but not as much as Ibu Anne did when one student shared that she too has a schnauzer – a mini salt & pepper schnauzer named Abbie. Ibu Anne then dug deep to re-channel her thoughts away from Abbie and back to the lesson! (If you ever want to see this – just casually drop the word schnauzer into your conversation with Ibu Anne and watch the dreamy transformation appear on her face!)
Ibu Anne’s roll calling procedure differs slightly for her year 3 students. Whereas with her younger students, Ibu Anne calls the roll; her year 3 students take it in turns to call the roll. I love how they use a long pointer with a pointy finger on the end to point to the names as they work through the names on class dojo. I also loved how when the student reached his/her name, the class together asked the student, ‘Apa kabar’!

The brain break Anne then did was the “buka tutup” (open/closesong. It’s super awesome observing students in another school having fun with songs my students also enjoy!

Free Write Assessment Task
I was really pleased Ibu Anne included a demo of how she does free writes with her students. My students struggle with free writes and I also struggle with presenting them in ways that don’t instantly raise up their affective filters.
Ibu Anne began by having the class watch the Buaya Makan Banyak Donut video. She then asked the students to brainstorm for words from the story and wrote them up on the board with cute pics to support comprehension. The students found this incredibly helpful for many reasons. A student I stood behind was not a risk taker with her spelling and while happy to write, baulked at writing words if she wasn’t 100% confident with the spelling! Other students appreciated it because the words became writing prompts for parts of the story they had overlooked!
Anne next showed the class her free write master sheet and explained how to use it;  write one word per line and not to miss any lines as this helps when counting the total number of words.
She further added that students were to use only the words that are in their brain; they were not allowed to ask for the translations of any unknown words and that everyone will start writing at the same time and to keep writing until the timer goes off. If students finish the retelling, they could start writing a new story or make up their own sentences using the words in the board.
Ibu Anne next explained that there are different ways to write free writes:
Level 1 – put the brainstormed words into sentences.
Level 2- retell the story.
Level 3 – retell the story with added original ideas.

IMG_6079.JPG

Sharing
After 10 minutes of quiet writing, Ibu Anne stopped the class and invited them all to “Duduk di lingkaran’ (sit in a circle). Students brought their writing to the floor where they sat in a sharing circle and Ibu Anne explained the ‘Ripple Effect’ ( Robyn Cotter). She invited students to each read one of their sentences out aloud into the silence. She further clarified that if it’s quiet, just start reading. Do not speak if someone else is talking and finally, you can only read once.
This was absolutely beautiful. Students took it in turns to read and listened respectfully to each other. They stopped if they heard someone speaking at the same time and waited for the next silence. Next Ibu Anne encouraged those people who hadn’t had a go yet. She explained to the others who were keen to read a 2nd sentence, that there were still people in the class who had yet to read and then encouraged the others who had not read yet to have a go. It was unbelievable the number of quiet ones who were empowered to share into the respectful silence. One of the last sentences shared was about their class teacher made us all laugh! Buaya makan Bu Kip (The crocodile ate Mrs Kip)!

As the free writes were collected, students got quite restless so Ibu Anne silently held up a sign that said: ‘please show me that you are ready to listen’. Students were instantly intrigued and focused on reading the message. They then re-settled very quickly. A terrific quiet way from ( Robyn Cotter) to engage and refocus literate students! I highly recommend it!

 

Thank you so much Ibu Anne for encouraging me to visit your school so that I could observe you once again. I’m especially grateful considering that it was the last day of term 1 for you and that you were dead on your feet. Considering all of this, I was blown away with the high level of student engagement in all year levels!  Not bad (actually it was impressive) for the last day of term 1. I love how you have incorporated student interests into Kursi Luar Biasa e.g. current popular toys, running competitions and popular hobbies e.g. naik skuter! The slide in your kursi luar biasa PowerPoint asking the awesome student if they can run fast (bisa berlari cepat?) and then challenging them to a race at the front of the classroom in front of their classmates – (allowing them to win) is ingenious!!
I learned so much from this brief visit; from both the teaching observations and from our many conversations where we shared and built on our ideas. I enjoyed implementing many of the above ideas into my teaching and it gave me the energy to get through the last 2 weeks of our term 1.

Terima kasih dan salam hangat,

Bu Cathy

PS; Acknowledgement to Ibu Anne for the title of this post!!

 

 

 

What has Changed In My Classroom Since Agen?

Anne asked me this morning this question! It’s a good one because so much has changed as a result of my week in Agen and yet it is hard to pinpoint exactly.

Spending a week in Daniel’s Breton class is one of the major reasons why I’ve adapted various changes into my teaching. Becoming a learner of a language as a beginner is something I urge all language teachers to try because if you are like me, I can’t remember what it was like anymore. Experiencing the importance of repetitions and needing EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I no longer begrudge saying words over and over again anymore. I am no longer concerned about a repetition being boring. I know that each and every time I speak, there is someone in my room who needs to hear that word once again.

One more change I am working on is speaking slowly. I am now even more aware of the importance of this. While I really like Robbert Harrell’s tip of tapping slowly on your leg,  like a metronome, I have yet to try it in class. One day, I’ll remember! As a learner, I really needed Daniel’s slow pace. It was vital for comprehension, it kept the affective filter low and also gave me enough time to scan the word wall when necessary.  While on the topic of slow, I also would like to mention how Daniel would occasionally challenge the fast processors by speaking directly to them at a slightly faster pace and then turn to us slower processors and repeat it slowly! Repetition followed by slow! We lapped it up!

Daniel would ask students for suggestions while story asking and each one was written up on the board if necessary. This practise differentiated and valued each and every suggestion. My suggestion of a kangaroo was a cognate and did not ever need to be written up on the board but dianvasou (stranger) definitely went up! I now do this too! Through this practise, I can point and pause which is a useful tool that helps to slow my speech down! Previously, in avoiding going out of bounds, I avoided incorporating new words into our story asking/ kursi luar biasa, but now I embrace it and have started collecting words that appear frequently and/or are useful for student engagement and would be great to incorporate into future stories!

Probably the biggest area of change is that I am incredibly more relaxed about my lessons. After watching Daniel, I have more confidence now following student led directions in lessons. With my older classes, since my return, I now spend each lesson focused on kursi luar biasa. One student sits in the kursi luar biasa (the awesome chair) and I interview them. I make it clear before we start that the student may choose to tell the truth or lie! As soon as that is established, you can feel the ripple in the air of engagement and immediately the rest of the class are on board. We start off with nicknames. I ask the student seated in the kursi luar biasa if he/she has a nick name and then ask the class what they are, checking after each if it is one of their nicknames. It’s hilarious! One class came up with 12 nicknames for Shaun – one of which was Sunday! It was so left field we all collapsed on the floor laughing! It is so exhilarating teaching like this! We incorporate all sorts of things into the interviews including grammar, pronunciation, intercultural comparisons (ACARA requirements) – it is awesome. Once I’ve done a few more, I am going to create a reading using the sekretaris notes and maybe incorporate one of Laurie Clarq’s embedded reading ideas and finish with an uplifting clip from youtube. Cool hey?

Another thing that has changed for me is that in meeting such an amazing bunch of people, I know there are many people in this world who have my back. It is the most amazing feeling being in and amongst CI/TPRS colleagues and feeling that sense of support and community. I definitely felt it with our PLC and online before Agen, but to feel it in another country was truly incredible. Knowing that I am a member of such a warm global community gives me the confidence that supports me each and every day before I step into my classroom! When you are amongst TCI legends who validate and encourage, you feel invincible. This is what gives me the confidence to incorporate all of the above into my teaching.

Where Am I Going Wrong?

I had a truly tough week the week before last – one of those weeks where every day was a struggle. After nights of tossing and turning in bed, I woke each morning, dreading the day ahead feeling little motivation or excitement for what I’d planned. Each afternoon, as the final bell rang, I’d sigh with relief and head home as quickly as possible to collapse on my bed. Why? All due to a horrible combination of back pain and sleep deprivation! Incredibly debilitating.

The final straw for me was when the last class of that week (year 6/7’s) arrived into my room pleading not to ‘do any more stories’. That statement gutted me. However, I deftly avoided any discussion about it because I wasn’t in the right place to deal with it rationally and instead asked them what they would prefer to do, insisting that all suggestions had to be language orientated. It came down to a vote between grudge ball and Bop! & grudge ball won. I couldn’t find their story, so instead used another class’ story (same target structures based on the same movie talk) asking for translations of random sentences into correct English. It was still worthwhile and enjoyable, although in hindsight I should have also randomly awarded points to various groups for behaviours such as having a go, working as a team, staying positive etc. because as soon as one group appeared to be too far in the lead, several students found it difficult to remain positive!

Since that lesson, I have been self-evaluating to try to understand why stories have become boring &/or unappealing. Now that the pain and lack of sleep fog have reduced (thanks to my wonderful physio and remedial masseuse – you both rock) there are several issues that I have to address in order to get myself and my students back on the fun and enjoyable TPRS train.

 

Student Motivation

While this is the start of their 3rd year of TPRS, older students have just as much need for up/down based lessons as do the younger students. Expecting them to sit for the majority of their lesson (movie talks, story asking) has been unrealistic. I honestly believed that student performances would be sufficiently compelling and engaging to counter balance this but it just isn’t the case. My students would benefit from and appreciate a variety of frequent activities incorporating movement and unpredictability that provide more repetitions of the target structures. Whereas brain breaks provide learners with time out from heavy duty concentration, active tasks provide students with kinesthetic ways in which to consolidate language acquisition. These tasks need to become an integral part of my lessons. My aim now is to search for suitable activities that would serve this purpose and if you look back on the home page, you’ll see that I’ve added a new page titled ‘Target Structure CI Activities’ and as I find them, I’ll add new ones to the collection (any help building up this collection will be greatly appreciated).

 

Classroom Management

My classroom management system has relied up till now on students and has been in place with minimal changes for 2 years. I offer a variety of jobs that students can try out for and these include sekretaris, polisi, mendistribusi kertas, pensil dan clipboard, menghitung waktu, tukang foto, menghitung kata just to name a few. The polisi is tasked with monitoring the blurting yet this is not happening consistently across all classes. I need to incorporate a few more classroom management ideas to ramp it up. I really like Annabelle Allen’s idea of having a competition between teacher & class. I am definitely going to trial it next week. However, do I offer a reward if the students win? If so, what could it be? Or do I save this for later in the term/year in case once again, I need to ramp things up again to increase student engagement?

Another idea I have used in the past (I’m sorry that I can’t remember where I read this and thus can’t credit them) is to have an object (soft toy/prop) that is passed around the class to the person who blurted last. The idea being that whoever is holding it when the lesson finishes has a consequence. When I first used this idea, I struggled with the consequence but not anymore. I am going to bite the bullet, be tough and insist on output from that student! If that student has so much to say, then they can do a 5/10 minute free write or even better, record their voice reading/retelling the class story in their own time. Hopefully this will give me a sneaky insight into their level of acquisition in a way that also gives me the opportunity to speak to them about their behaviour and how it impacts on other students.

One further aspect that requires immediate action is ensuring that job holders understand that they play a vital role in our lessons. They are there to help us to be successful in Indonesian lessons (both teachers and students!) and if they are not able to do that, then there are plenty of others who would happily replace them. This would require me to be firmer and clearer with the expectation of those interested in filling these roles with the ultimate consequence being that students will be sacked if they are not consistently fulfilling their obligations. (By the way, how do I say in Indonesian, “You’re fired!”?)

 

Brain Breaks

I also must incorporate more brain breaks into my lessons for a variety reasons. Not only will this increase student activity but also give students a chance to relax, take a break and have fun. All students appreciate fun, regardless of their age! There is no good reason why brain breaks are an important component of my junior primary lessons and yet not for my older students. Up till now, I have tended to include a list of brain break ideas at the bottom of each lesson plan just in case students need one. The main reason (I think) that I have avoided incorporating more brain breaks into my older students lessons is that I worry about ‘wasting’ their precious lesson time. Some classes only get one 50 minute lesson per week and therefore each minute is precious. I need to turn that thinking around and acknowledge the value of frequent & short brain breaks and be prepared to relinquish class time in order for students to learn the skills necessary for seamlessly moving into and out of brain breaks. Surely the benefits in the long run outweigh the negatives. Maybe I could tie it in with Annabelle Allen’s classroom behaviour management technique? Adding tally points to me if they are too slow or for the students if they regroup quickly and quietly afterwards. I now understand her comment that brain breaks should be done before they are needed and if you wait till students need the break, you waited too long.

 

Setting Class Expectations

As usual during week one, the specialist teachers at my school all combined and addressed this as one team to students via games and activities in the gym. In week 2, I jumped straight into a movie talk, which I continued over the next few weeks, in between various absences due to my back. It was a hodgepodge start to the year. Some classes didn’t have an Indonesian lesson until week 4! While we are always wiser in hindsight, I realise now that this was a shabby start to the new school year especially considering I attended a TPRS conference during the holidays! I should have known better. One should never assume anything and as a consequence, I will need to go right back to basics starting next week. I plan to do that by reminding them of how they can become successful language learners  and then regularly asking them to show me a quick honest self-assessment using their fingers (out of 5) to show how many of the questions below were ya.  This will also include the reminder to job holders of their responsibilities and the possible consequences should they be failing this.

Student Success

I’ve just finished a webinar with Terry Waltz which for me mid-way through writing this post, was very timely! I did feel guilty at first for taking one of the very limited spots, but now I am very grateful that I did. One point she raised which fits perfectly into this post is about students feeling successful with their language acquisition. Terry suggested this could be done through exit quizzes, quick quizzes etc where the students always do well because for TPRS, its all about setting our students up for success. There is never a focus on incorrect answers, incorrect pronunciation, incorrect word order etc. It’s all about positive reinforcement and student high fives and it’s the major reason I heart TPRS. Students are never asked to revisit mistakes, never made to feel ‘dumb’ unlike in other subject areas where students are asked to walk through back their mistakes to understand where they went wrong! This is reflected in our class ‘bell curves’ when plotting data, because they are never ‘normal’. TPRS bell curves are heavily weighted towards the higher end of available grades/percentages unlike other subjects where it is more central.

 

Deconstructing Student Plea of ‘No More Stories Today!’

While spending quite a few hours trawling through fantastic TPRS blogs this morning (including those by Martina Bex & Keith Toda) looking for novel activities to get reps on target structures, it suddenly dawned on me that it wasn’t the story itself that the students were objecting to! It was all of the above issues that together created endless & predictable lessons with minimal spontaneity. Martina mentioned in one of her posts that all CI activities should not last more than 10 minutes, Terry Waltz also mentioned it yesterday in her webinar – I’ve heard and read this many times yet why do I feel compelled to keep going even when all the signs are telling me to STOP? It’s for a multitude of reasons yet the best thing of all is that I’ve finally realised what I believe was the unspoken message underlying my students plea.  I can now begin to address improving my effectiveness as an Indonesian teacher through incorporating more variety and movement into my lessons and thus re-engage my students.

 

NB: New goal – Overhaul lesson plans to incorporate all of the above points.

 

Wow TPRS Sounds Awesome But Where do I Start? 

Over the past 2 years that I’ve been using TPRS in my Indonesian classroom, I’ve used many different stories, most of which have been suggested by Catharina, our wonderful mentor. We are so fortunate to have been introduced to such a highly experienced Early Years TPRS mentor who has a wealth of story recommendations focusing on any given target structure! Any story recommended by Catharina is a guaranteed ‘home run’!

After all the workshops or the conference I attended or presented at, the inevitable question from interested participants was always; “Where do we start?” This was where Catharina was initially extremely helpful for us when we first began TPRS. Each time we reached a road block and became puzzled about our future direction, she would gently and positively guide and nudge us back on track with constructive feedback, sharing ideas and activities from her own classroom practise.

This post hopefully will give you an idea of where to start if you are at the beginning of your TPRS journey. I teach students from Reception (Prep/Transition) to year 7 and as most TPRS stories are written for middle years students, the cohort we initially had the greatest difficulty adapting TPRS to were the junior primary students, hence my focus in this post. However, don’t change the channel just yet, because first time learners are largely the same regardless of their age. The major difference, I’m sure you will all agree,  is their attention span! Everything else remains identical. 

My stories are in Indonesian (what a surpise) however they can easily be translated (back) into other languages using google translate. We received them in a variety of languages before translating them into Indonesian incorporating high frequency vocabulary where possible and eliminating any language we felt our students were not ready for or that did not work in Indonesian. Also, if the story is too simplified for your cohort, add detail and language to ensure it is more suitable yet remember to always keep it comprehensible with no more than 1 – 3 (unfamiliar) target structures. NO MORE THAN 3!

The first ever story we started with is Catharina’s adaptation of Jim Tripp’s, “Nice to Meet You.” This story is without doubt, in my humble opinion, the best place to begin a CI journey for either students for whom this is their first ever contact with the language you are teaching OR for a teacher who lacks confidence in his/her CI skills &/or language skills & is about to begin their first ever CI unit of work.

The original story:

Target structures: 

-meets

-My name is ______ 

-gets really nervous 

-nice to meet you 

Lindsey meets Channing Tatum. Lindsey says to him, “Hi, my name is Lindsey.” Channing Tatum says nervously, “Nice to meet you.” He gets more nervous and says, “My name is Luke Skywalker.” Lindsey says to him, “Nice to meet you Luke.”

The simplified adapted version:

Target Structures;

  • berkata,
  • nama saya,
  • siapa nama?

Other: di, dari, astaga (point & pause only)

Taylor Swift di MacDonald’s.

Bu Cathy di MacDonald’s

Tayor Swift berkata, “Nama saya Taylor Swift. Siapa nama?”

Bu Cathy berkata, “Nama saya Bu Cathy.”

Taylor Swift berkata,”Bu Cathy? Bu Cathy dari PEPS?”

Astaga!

Autograf!!

(Taylor Swift faints)

Suggested sightly more difficult version:

Kemarin, Taylor Swift di Macdonald’s.

Kemarin, Bu Cathy di Macdonald’s juga.

Tayor Swift berkata, “Nama saya Taylor Swift. Siapa nama?”

Bu Cathy berkata, “Nama saya Bu Cathy.”

Taylor Swift berkata,”Bu Cathy? Bu Cathy dari PEPS?”

Astaga!

Autograf!!

(Taylor Swift faints)

As you can see the original version is not suitable for young learners because there are significantly more than 3 target structures for students to acquire. I also like the way Catharina has tweaked it to make it more appealing. Adding a faint at the end is ingenious! I have story asked this story with staff too at a staff meeting! It is such an awesome story for beginner learners and appeals to all ages with its simple language and unexpected ending!

Once you have chosen your new story and identified the target structures, you are ready to start. At the conference, Terry began by story asking mini stories based on each of the target structures, focusing on one at a time. I personally prefer a technique I read about on Ben Slavic’s website called Visual Personalised Questions and Answers (VPQA).  This has been very engaging for my students and is also helpful for teachers new to circling and story asking because VPQA provides teachers with our own personal brain break!! It relieves some of the stress by giving a tiny breather in which we can regroup and get the TPRS juggling balls back in the air again. 

If the target structure is ‘berkata,’ I start by  creating a powerpoint. I begin with a google image search for quirky images that will appeal to my students and give me opportunities to ask my students personalised questions and answers. This upcoming week, my reception students will be revising Nama saya (my name is) & Siapa nama? (what’s your name?) while introducing ‘berkata’ (said/say/says). Using Ibu Sharon’s awesome idea, I have found pictures of characters familiar to my young students (Elsa, Pikachu, Donkey, Bob the Builder – to name a few) all of whom have a phrase that they are known for saying. E.g. Elsa berkata, “Let it go.” On each page is a picture of the character with his/her/its given phrase. This allows me to ask, “Siapa nama?” and then circle the name (Nama saya Elsa? Nama saya Bob the builder atau/or Nama saya Elsa?) I can then circle the target structure; “Dory berkata, ‘Keep on swimming” atau Elsa berkata, “Keep on swimming”? Because each picture is different, VPQA keeps them on the edge of their seat wondering what the next picture will be! While PQA & VPQA is technically personalised questions about the students, at this early stage, to keep the language in bounds it may be necessary to restrict the circling just for now to just ask about the characters on the screen. I would definitely not recommend using any new question words this early in their learning! The language used must, must, must be in bounds. To ask, “Pak Taylor berkata apa?” will immediately raise their affective filter and could potentially derail that lovely calm, comprehensible atmosphere you have created. If Pak Taylor does have a phrase that he is well known for, then ask, Pak Taylor berkata, “Let it go?” atau Pak Taylor berkata, “Howzat?” Ya, Pak Taylor berkata, “Howzat!” (Does Mr Taylor says, “Let it go” or does Mr Taylor say, “Howzat?”) Stick to the language they know!! It is too early (especially for very young learners) to toss them new and unfamiliar vocabulary. 

Once I feel that students have  largely acquired the target structures, I move to story asking. I don’t worry too much if there are students who have not fully acquired the target structures yet for several reasons. Firstly we will hit them (oops – the target structures!) repeatedly during the story asking process and secondly most target structures will be repeated over and over in future stories. This would have to be the single best factor of TPRS and is why it triumphs over the way I used to teach. The structures we target now are specifically chosen for communication in a classroom context (and hopefully useful on their next family holiday to Bali) and thus will be used often unlike previously where from term to term, my thematic vocabulary was rarely revisited.
The above stories are the skeleton and all the words underlined are the words you can ask for student input depending on their age. Usually I ask for an ‘aktor’  and then ask the class, “Laki laki atau perempuan?” before asking, “Siapa nama?” However for my young (brand new to school)  reception students, I have planned to tell their first ever  story to them using cut out pictures with magnets on the back moving them around on my mobile white board. Then, once they are more familiar with me and my teaching style, I will ask for their input — usually they’ll be ready by the next story!

When planning for young students, the best advice I ever received was to plan activities so that the students move up, down, up, down throughout the lesson. The younger they are, the more frequently the teacher changes the activity. Thus, once the story has been asked (a ‘down’ activity), it is time for the students to stand up and do an ‘up’ activity. This can either be a brain break, TPR or could be an activity based on the story. My favourite activity post story asking is called ‘all the worlds a stage”. Students get into pairs and duduk (sit). I then explain (in English for now but soon will be in Indonesian) that one of them is Pak Hudson (our school principal) and one of them is Superman (the 2 characters in our story). I will then say, “Superman berdiri. Superman duduk. Pak Hudson berdiri. Pak Hudson duduk.” This incorporates TPR and also ensures that each pair has agreed on who is each character. At this point there will inevitably be a pair who both want to be the same character. At this point I promise the whole class that we will be doing this activity twice and the second time they will be changing characters. I then allocate characters to the pair who need help, reassuring the one who compromised, their turn is coming next! Depending on their level of compliance with my decision, I distract them totally by choosing them to be my demo pair which is usually a highly successful tactic! I then say the first  line from the story and ask them to act it out, giving them pandai points for great acting, for only acting out what I said and for not going ahead or adding in their own details. All very important information that needs to be clarified right from the beginning. If my demo pair demonstrated that they understood the task, I invite all the Superman’s and Pak Hudson’s to berdiri and then we begin again right from the beginning. It will probably be chaotic the first time we do this activity, but it is well worth persevering because later in the year with practise it becomes smoother and is such an excellent ‘up’ activity while getting in heaps of repetitions of the story and with comprehension checks!

One final note: If you absolutely need to say a word students have yet to acquire, say it in English for this first story. This is how I tackle the ‘other’ word list. I need these words for the story but they are not target structures. The first time I story ask, I say the ‘other’ words in English. Then slowly introduce them in Indonesian, quickly followed by a comprehension check. If the comprehension check is met with blank confused looks, I know immediately they are not ready for it yet – the students need more repetitions of the story – and I’ll try again later. 

This is the very first TPRS story I started with and initially taught it to all year levels. It worked with all my classes. Now, though, I just use it with my reception classes. I still remain totally convinced that it is the best story to start with, regardless of the age of the students.

Do you have a favourite story you begin with? I’d love to hear it. Feel free to write it below in the comments!