Running Dictation

A couple of weeks ago, I tried Running Dictation with my students using a recommended twist I read about on one of the many amazing TCI blogs I follow.

All year 3-7 students have been focusing on the following target Language this term:
mau – want
kasih – gives
punya – has
minum/makan – drinks/eats

Using a familiar mini story about Spongebob and Patrick, (who are without doubt the most popular celebrities I have discovered for all year levels), I pared down one of our stories down to:
Spongebob mau makan krabby patty.
Patrick punya krabby patty.
Patrick kasih Spongebob satu krabby patty.
Spongebob makan satu krabby patty.
Spongebob kenyang dan senang sekali.

I wrote each sentence in very large font and then printed it onto A3 paper. I cut up the sentences into strips and then put each sentence in different spots around the room randomly. One was on the telephone bench, one on the computer desk, one on a back table, one on another back table and one on the table near my desk.

In groups of 3, students had to nominate
a reader – the fastest and most confident reader with a good memory,
a writer – the neatest and fastest writer who is also a good speller
an illustrator – the best drawer/illustrator.

Before we started, each group needed to organise 2 clipboards, 2 pencils and have 5 sheets of A5 white paper.

The reader had to, in any order, find a strip of the story, read it, memorise it, and then run back to his/her team and retell the writer the sentence. The writer then neatly wrote out the sentence onto one of the A5 pieces of paper, checking with the reader any spelling that they are unsure about. The writer then gives the page to the illustrator who illustrates the sentence.

When all 5 sentences are written and illustrated, the group then puts the 5 pages into the correct order and hands them in to me. I then checked that
a) the pages were in the correct order
b) the sentences were written correctly with no spelling errors
c) the illustrations matched the sentence and demonstrated comprehension.
If all the above were completed, I announced a winner.

It was a terrific and fun activity which consolidated beautifully our focus these past 4 weeks on this vocabulary. I loved the illustrator job which invariably was awarded to the group member with the weakest literacy skills. The look of relief on their faces when they discovered one of the jobs was, in their minds, not literacy based, was really lovely to see. The language that the students used was fantastic and it was truly a collaborative activity. The discussion about the sentences and illustrations was awesome.

My only beef was that as it was a race, the writing and the illustrations were largely rushed. I would love to repeat this again with no time restraints so that the final product could be turned into books which could then be added to the class library.

Here are a sample:
Spongebob mau makan krabby patty
Spongebob wants to eat krabby patties.

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Patrick punya krabby patty
Patrick has krabby patties

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Patrick kasih Spongebob satu krabby patty
Patrick gave Spongebob one krabby patty.

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Spongebob makan satu krabby patty.
Spongebob ate one krabby patty.

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Spongebob kenyang dan senang sekali.
Spongebob is full and very happy.

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Can you just imagine the possibilities there are for taking this even further using these pictures!! Imagine a smart board notebook file with them all and the class matches the sentences to the illustrations, Putting the pictures into the correct order, Retelling the story, Embellishing the story….. the possibilities are endless…

Lesson 3 & 4 Reflections

Overall, the lessons ( see previous post) this week were awesome. I had a brilliant week and thoroughly enjoyed telling the story, ‘Pleased To Meet You’ with my middle and upper primary classes. The junior primary classes though, focused purely on ‘nama saya’ and Siapa nama?’, so I could get photos of my reception students and also because unlike the older students, they only have one 50 minute lesson per week.

Storytelling Reflections:
As it was the same lesson repeated 8 times in all, I had to constantly remind myself to talk SLOWLY. While I was very comfortable with the story, students were encountering both the familiar and unfamiliar vocabulary for the first time ever in this context.
The stop sign came up many times and that everyone joined in, made it easier for both the students to initiate it and for me to see it. Really helped me remember to go slowly and ask for comprehension checks.
My 2015 timetable has worked out so well. I teach mostly middle primary classes on Monday which gives me the opportunity to iron out any potential kinks in it before facing the upper primary classes the following day. This week I was ready for them. I stayed upbeat and we all enjoyed a great lesson. So much so, that with the class before recess, when the bell rang, no one moved because we were mid way through acting out the story! They wanted to see it through to the final scene!
Student reactions to the story were hilarious! The responses ranged from incredulous (Taylor Swift/Will.i.am was at McDonalds yesterday?) to disbelief (It wouldn’t have been Taylor Swift fainting!!)
Acting out the story was very popular and there were many volunteers. I tried to avoid choosing students who usually hog the limelight and gave the quieter students a chance to shine a la Ben Slavic advice.
I introduced jobs this week during the first lesson with the upper prrimary classes mainly because I wanted to film each 6/7 lesson so that I had a record of the lesson. Had it gone haywire, I would be able to watch the video and pinpoint where I’d lost my students. I am also really curious to discover what I missed! So much happens with large classes, that I either miss things totally or suddenly realise that a student I believed to have been totally focused was successfully staying under my radar by timing his/her asides well. I haven’t had a chance to watch the films yet (partly because I am dreading watching myself in action/but mostly because I haven’t had the time!) but I did have a quick look at the photos. I had hoped to use the photos for lesson # 4 to help with retelling but unfortunately the photos were largely useless: out of focus and too far away from the action. The few that were in focus were not enough. Interesting assumption on my part that all older students know how to take photos with an ipad!
The filming of one 50 minute lesson filled up an ipad, so instead of having a ‘tukang film’ for the year 5’s and 5/6’s, I introduced ‘Penghitung’, the counter. Unfortunately I forgot to introduce the jobs until too late with the year 5/6 class and the poor counter barely made it into double digits, so with the year 5 class I made sure to do it first up! I asked Sienna to count each time someone said, “Nama saya” and the final count blew us all away! In 50 minutes, Sienna counted 310 reps!! I wrote it on the board for future reference:

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Story Retell Reflections:
-The look of panic on students faces when during the second lesson, I asked for the retell to be in Indonesian was in retrospect, to be expected. But once someone made a start, the panic evaporated and it all came together. I was delighted with how students collaborated to retell the story.
-I had 2 visitors during this segment of my lesson; Marg, the year 5/6 teacher (who incorporates Indonesian phrases into her classroom day where ever possible) & Brenton, PEPS principal (& in a past life, was a Spanish teacher). I haven’t had a chance yet to ask for feedback, but I will….
-I have several year 6/7 students who rarely engage with my lessons. I successfully targeted 2 of them this week and gave them each an opportunity to shine while learning the importance of staying focused during lessons. Jesse rarely looks up, so during bola kenalkan, I firstly reminded everyone that they need to constantly watch. I then threw the ball to Jesse while he was looking downwards. He fumbled, grabbed it, responded and then returned the ball to me. After a few more students, I noticed that Jesse was once again not focused, so I gently threw the ball to him again. He looked up puzzled, returned the ball to me and said, “But I have already had the ball!!” To which I responded, “You need to watch ALL the time!” and pointed towards the expectations. I returned it to him again and asked, “Siapa nama?” and this time he caught it and returned it answering my question. I then targeted other students and if I noticed Jesse was again unfocused, I again gently passed him the ball. He loved it!! It was so lovely to see a smile on his face as he reveled in the attention. The icing on the cake was when one of the sporty boys complained that it wasn’t fair, Jesse had had the ball 10 times and he’d only had it once!!
-The other student, Drae, is one of those students who pretends he doesn’t understand so that he doesn’t have to contribute. I’m sure you all have one of those students. We had just started retelling the story and I asked him what came next. He baulked and stated he had no idea, so I asked him to translate what we had written so far. Again he baulked, so I reminded him about the stop signal. I then returned right back to bola kenalkan and passed him the ball, while asking, “Siapa nama?” Of course he could answer, so I did a comprehension check and naturally he could tell me what both sentences meant. So returning to the story, I again asked him to translate. Again he balked, so once again, I grabbed the ball and repeated the whole process. By this time, it finally dawned on him that there was no escape! He took a deep breath and proceeded to translate everything. The loveliest thing was that when he’d finished, the class erupted into a genuine and spontaneous applause! With impeccable timing, Brenton then entered the Indonesian classroom, so Drae received even more kudos!
– I introduced the job of ‘reader leader’ with all classes. Luckily I have a sound field system in my room which incorporates a microphone. This makes the job of reader leader so much easier. The reader leader reads the story at a pace that we can all read along together. Great way to get extra repetitions of the story & target language. I did have one student who had difficulty with pronunciation. At first, I corrected him and then I stopped. I suddenly remembered a post on tprsquestionsandanswers. This post included research and information about just this! I need to acknowledge that not only does it take confidence to get up and read in front of the whole class, the last thing a student needs is to be embarrassed and have his/her confidence undermined. Speaking in the target language is the most anxiety provoking form of communication. Anyone who has attempted communicating in a foreign language can relate to that! Here too is a quote from Chris Stoltz from the moretprs yahoo group:

Since I started TPRS, I stopped both pronunciation and spelling instruction . This year, I didn’t say a single word about anything in Spanish– and I got the best spelling (and pronunciation) ever. If they hear/read it and they get it, their brains seem to soak up the rules and conventions. The same is broadly true of grammar.

Free Write Reflections
-What a range of writing abilities! I was blown away with the stories students wrote. Even one of the year 3 student wrote a few sentences amongst his word list!! (see below)
-I love the concept that students can write anything as long as it is in Indonesian and they understand it. It’s simplicity appealed to all students and is a great example of how TCI differentiates for all levels of ability and confidence. The more capable wrote stories while others were challenged finding words around the room they knew.
Here are a selection of free writes beginning with a year 3 and finishing with year 7’s:

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IMG_9477I love the way the above student wrote a sentence structure and then focused on it! What great repetitions!

IMG_9479I love how Harriet incorporated kenalkan vocabulary from previous years into her story!

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Look how Illiana (above) added to the end of the story! Not an ending rewrite as such but a great example of what others could do too.

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Miranda also took the structure and built on it using vocabulary from previous years! How awesome!

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Look how Eli used dengan and suka!! Brilliant!

IMG_9504Georgia has used the story structure to rewritte an entirely original story! In 5 minutes!

IMG_9514Winter has used this opportunity to experiment with all the sentences and phrases she has learned over the primary years! How great is that!!

IMG_9516Look how the above student has spent the entire 5 minutes writing solidly!!

Aren’t they amazing! Reading through them has given me an idea! How cool would it be to read them to classes and have students illustrate them as they are read??? The drawings then would make awesome ‘Look & Discuss’ pictures. I only read about L&D recently and this could be the springboard I need to give it a try!