Teaching Spanish w Comprehensible Input- Haste Not Waste

An awesome blog written by Señora Hitz. The blog includes many awesome suggestions and those I believe are appropriate for Aussie teachers can be found on my TCI activities pages found on the home page in the top right hand corner. 

Posts like this, for me, help me to stop and reflect upon an important aspect of TCI/TPRS teaching. They help me to remember and appreciate what second language acquisition is truly like for my students. I hope it helps you too not only with understanding SLOW but also the many facets of SLOW. 

Read and contemplate the truths of ‘Haste a Not Waste’. 

IFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching- How To Involve The Whole Class When Storytelling

A great thread appeared overnight on the iFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching Facebook page Have you joined yet? If not, I highly recommend it. It is a global  community totally dedicated to all levels and aspects of TCI. Your own personal PLC where you can comment on other posts or ask questions about teaching with Comprehensible Input and TPRS. For those of us here in Australia, where TCI is only just taking off, this group is awesome. Whether you prefer to be a lurker or a contributor makes no difference because the other teachers here bring a wide variety of experiences and the knowledge they share is impressive. They too cover the spectrum of experience and once you take the first step and. join, you will discover what a warm and generous community it is. My only word of caution though is: go with your gut feeling. Remember that we Australians aren’t the only ones frustrated by the lack of training available here and thus interpretations of TCI vary. If a suggestion sounds a little off centre, don’t worry or stress; it is most likely because of a different understanding of what TCI actually is. If you need clarification, ask openly on the page and no doubt an experienced practioner will chime in and clarify. There are certain names to look out for and you’ll recognise them from all your readings. 

The thread I enjoyed reading this morning asked how to involve more students when reviewing a story. It was posted by a parent/teacher who has a child in one of her classes.  I remember the pros and cons of teaching my own children and this was definitely one of the pros. I totally appreciated the insights into both my teaching and the students in the classes. 

Here is her question: 

The answers to the question were awesome and most of them are worth sharing becausse they would work very well in our primary classrooms. Interestingly though, is that secondary teachers have also shared here!  

The answer below by Karen Rowan actually fits in after Grants initial comment above.


So many great ideas here to not only gets heaps of repetitions but also to keep our students engaged in the story.

Week 3 Reflections

Week 2 is always a disappointing week for me. Students are usually amazing in week 1 when they are so thrilled and excited to be back at school which is always delightful. However I then plan lesson plans for those enthusiastic students only to discover that by week 2 they did a ‘Jekyl and Hyde’ over the weekend and my lessons do not turn out quite the way I had envisaged. 

Week 3, thus is a great week by comparison! I am prepared, in fact usually over prepared, but at least this time it is strategic over planning unlike week 2 where it was head in the clouds over planning. I can’t believe I tried to do a movie talk last week with the combined year 6/7 left overs that focused on entirely unfamiliar structures! What was I thinking?? Not surprisingly it was a huge flop. Still, I learned a huge lesson from it – doesn’t matter how engaging the video  is, if it’s not comprehensible, it will not be engaging.

This week with another group of year 6/7 left overs, I showed Laskar Pelangi which was far more successful for several reasons.  

 Firstly, it was purely an English culture break and considering the film went for 3 lessons and students were engrossed right up to the end, I was happy with that. I also have to confess that it was my first time watching the movie so maybe in future years I may consider using it as a MT now that I can see the potential. The lessons progressed well in that we began with a single lesson and then 2 days later had a double. I said very little before the movie started yet before continuing with the movie in the double lesson, I talked about several aspects including a little Belitong history and providing a bit more information about the main characters. Yet it was the discussion about the symbolism that students enjoyed the most and then commented on during the movie. I spoke about the symbolism of fences (dividing communities), crocodiles (obstructions) and rainbows (happiness, togetherness and positive hopes for the future).  

This term with the other classes (ie all but the year 6/7’s), we are looking at the kancil & Buaya story. At the end of term 3, our hub group met and we simplified the story to ensure the story only incorporated a few unfamiliar structures as well as revised many of our known structures. Last week I introduced the word ‘kancil’ and largely in English we talked about their body shape, their diet and where they are found globally. Naturally it was only their diet that lent itself to circling! Kancil makan apa? This week I introduced the word ‘buaya’ using both a picture of a buaya, a soft teddy buaya and a hilarious crocodile hat I found at Savers last Sunday. As usual, using Annie’s voices, I introduced the word encouraging the students to repeat buaya over and over in a variety of ways including singing, syllablising, weird voices and generally having fun. I then held up the buaya soft teddy and circled buaya.  


Buaya? Ya buaya. 


Bukan. Buaya. 

Kancil atau buaya? Buaya.

I then opened a bag of soft teddy animals including the crocodile hat. I held the buaya soft teddy in one hand and with the other dug into the bag. I pulled out random animals and asked, ‘Buaya?’ The students loved the suspense of not knowing what was coming out of the bag and all screamed with delight when I finally pulled out the crocodile hat!  

 The hat is great because of its large mouth and which allowed me to revise makan. Buaya makan sepatu? I walked around amongst the students stating sentences like that and then having the crocodile mouth the shoe. Or I would point at my nose and say a couple of times ‘hidung’ before saying buaya mau makan hidung Joey. They just loved it and were all begging to be eaten!! It was chaotic and loud with lots of laughing. I actually had a parent looking for their child, knock and put their head in the door while I was bent over a student ‘makan sepatu’ and I’d love to know what she made of what she saw! Hopefully she asks her son! It was strange though because I felt guilty that I was having too much fun! That I should have been more serious! Oh well…. 

I did a ‘kindergarten reading’ with the story with the year 4’s where I had them sitting on the floor in front of me and I read a big book version with large colourful pictures. They were totally engrossed yet when I asked afterwards whether they preferred acting out the story or listening to it, the majority said they much preferred acting it out!! Didn’t see that coming. 

This story incorporates the numbers 1 – 10 which has been a great. Early in the week I suddenly remembered a counting song from Languages Online. Unfortunately it goes way too quickly for my younger classes, but then I had a brain wave! Instead of singing satu, dua, tiga bunga (not a familiar word), I changed it to satu, dua, tiga buaya!! Then I got even more creative and sang about kancils, penguins, orangutans and finished with murid murid! The more repetitions I can get with this song the better to cement number acquisition. 

And speaking of songs, I also ‘wrote’ this song on the weekend for later in the term:

Kancil, kancil di hutan

Tidak bisa berenang

Datang banyak buaya

Hap! Tidak ditangkap!

Can you pick the tune? Lifted from cicak cicak di dinding!

Hope you had a great week too.

Sharing Awesome Links – Membagi Ide Luar Biasa….

One of the blogs I follow is Brilliante Viernes by Maris Hawkins and often she shares links to sites she  has discovered. It is such a cool idea!! Lately I have found so many brillant posts and sites, that I really want to share them with you. If you like this format, let me know in the comment section below!

  1. My student teacher, Hannah, is keen to try a movie talk this week with our junior primary classes to introduce the target structures ‘bisa berenang’ and ‘bisa melompat’. We found a funny video of a dog (link to be added soon) jumping into a pool which will be the basis for the movie talk. Just by chance there is a current thread on moretprs about movietalk which included a link to this amazing video of Eric Herman giving a movie talk demo. I love the way he tells the story as well as seemlessly asking questions. I can’t wait to try another movie talk now!
  2. Other movie talk links include a handout by Eric Herman and posts by Chris Stoltz and glesismore. Sharon Hellman has also recommended a lovely video which I love.
  3. Look at all these amazing demo videos by Eric Herman! The reason I recommend Eric Herman is that he teaches both primary level students as well as high school students.
  4. Senor Fernie has recently published a post about story telling & writing with primary students. It includes some awesome ideas I can’t wait to try next term.
  5. I love this number lesson idea on the Adventuras Nuevas blog.
  6. This is a video demonstrating a story telling technique that I want to watch in full when I have some time because I think aspects of it could be applicable in the primary classroom!!
  7. The Indoinspired blog post about kancil’s. There is also a facebook page you can follow/like which I recommend  because  you’ll find all sorts of gems there!! You can also follow indoinspired on Twitter! 
  8. Did you hear about the tiny ‘dragon‘ discovered in Indonesia?
  9. I read this article about traveling by angkot on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a great read!
  10. Margaret & I head off next week to Sumatra to visit our partner school in Medan for the first time. We aim to develop ways our students can connect via the internet as well as explore the feasibility of organising a staff trip in 2016. Follow my travel blog (written for my students) to read about our experiences! We will be staying a week in Medan before heading off on a study tour to Jakarta & Jogjakarta. Ayo….

    Observations of TCI in The Indonesian Classroom

    What a day it was yesterday! I was incredibly nervous, because I was going to be observed by an Indonesian teacher colleague who was curious to see TCI in action after attending the TCI workshop we’d run at the Intan conference earlier this month.

    The previous day I’d attempted to ask a story for the first time. I chose one of the year 7’s classes because the older students have really blossomed with TCI. Yet it wasn’t  that successful, for reasons which are so much clearer in hindsight. I wanted the class to rewrite their own version of Catharina’s story, “Tidak ada Mulut” (No mouth). We began as I usually do by asking, “Ada perempuan atau ada laki laki?” (Is there a boy or is there a girl?), yet this class didn’t want to have a gender, so instead I introduced the word, ‘orang’ (person) which is a great word to know.  We next decided upon the names of the two characters, Lesley (a name which could be either gender) and Big Jezza.  Here is how the story began…

    Ada orang. Nama orang Lesley. Lesley tidak punya kepala. Lesley tidak bisa minum dan makan. Lesley tidak bisa menyanyi dan Lesley tidak bisa…. (There’s a person named Lesley. Lesley doesn’t have a head. Lesley can’t eat or drink. Lesley can’t sing and Lesley can’t….)

    At this stage, I was expecting them to suggest verbs from the word wall. Yet with circumlocution, one of the students pointed out (in Indonesian) that if Lesley couldn’t eat or drink, then Lesley also wouldn’t be able to pooh. The class was all in agreement. I was torn! Was I asking the story or was I telling the story? I then remembered a fellow TCI junior primary teacher saying that the most popular story topics that hook JP students are blood, teeth & selfies. As this was student led, and the word they wanted was a word that, one could argue, could be very useful when traveling in Indonesia, I gave the word a parent would use with their toddler – eh eh  (each pronounced ‘e’ as in egg). It immediately became the word of the day and became very difficult to complete the story! It wasn’t till the next lesson that I was able to guide them to finally agreeing on an ending to their story which included a little more than just ‘eh-eh’.  I had great difficulty keeping them inbounds – they were determined that there was a blockage – and unfortunately this meant the story contained a lot of totally unfamiliar vocabulary; yet the students were thrilled with the end result.

    Here is how we finished it:

    ….dan Lesely tidak bisa eh-eh.

    Ada satu lagi orang. Nama orang Jeza Besar. Jeza Besar punya tiga kepala. Jeza Besar bisa makan tiga es krim. Jeza Besarkasih Lesley dua kepala.

    Tenggorok Lesley tertutup dengan eh-eh. Lesley  mau minum kopi es. Lesley berkata, Saya mau minum.” Lesley makan kepala kedua. Tenggorok Lesley tidak tertutup lagi.


    So with that story experience fresh in my mind together with the pressure that comes from being observed, I was not totally confident to try asking a story with the other year 6/7 class. To make the story asking process smoother, I used a story I wrote a few weeks ago called “Tidak ada Kaki”. Whereas with the first class, I encouraged them to choose the missing body part, this time I stated it, which meant the level of ‘asking’ was minimised because I imagined it would be safer! Here is the story they created:

    Ada perempuan. Nama perempuan Barbie dan Barbie tidak punya kaki. Kasihan Barbie. Barbie tidak bisa berjalan kaki. Barbie bisa minum. Barbie bisa makan pizza. Barbie bisa menyanyi. Barbie tidak bisa berlari tetapi Barbie bisa bermain bola basket dan Barbie bisa merayap. Barbie bisa bermain golf.

    Ada laki laki. Nama laki laki Jonah. Barbie tidak punya kaki dan Jonah punya empat kaki. Jonah bisa berjalan kaki. Jonah bisa berlari. Jonah bisa merayap.

    Jonah baik hati. Jonah kasih Barbie dua kaki. Barbie bisa berjalan kaki. Barbie bisa berlari dan Barbie bisa merayap.


    illustrated by Ruby

    Translation: There’s a girl named barbie and Barbie doesn’t have any legs. Poor Barbie. Barbie can’t walk. Barbie can drink. Barbie can eat pizza. Barbie can sing. Barbie can’t run but Barbie can play basket ball and Barbie can crawl. Barbie can play golf.

    There’s a boy named Jonah. Barbie doesn’t have legs and Jonah has 4 legs. Jonah can walk. Jonah can run. Jonah can crawl.

    Jonah is kind hearted. Jonah gave Barbie two legs. Barbie can walk. Barbie can run and Barbie can crawl.

    Beforehand, we had organised some props: a wheelchair, a sarong to cover Barbie’s legs and a pair of stuffed stockings. The story progressed beautifully. As usual, I had no trouble sourcing volunteers for the actors. Firstly Cooper was Barbie and he happily sat in the wheelchair with a sarong covering his legs. He acted his part beautifully. Beth (not her real name)  then jumped at the chance to be the second actor. Her face dropped slightly when I brought out the stuffed stockings, yet she bravely continued and helped tie them around her waist. The girls were madly gesturing to her to pull the ‘legs’ to the side so they didn’t hang in front of her legs. The boys meanwhile, were in hysterics. Beth was such a good sport; she continued to act out her part even though she realized that the whole class (and teachers) were laughing so hard, we all had tears in our eyes. With 2 long shapes swinging around her legs, she walked and ran back & forth on the narrow catwalk through the audience, but it was the demonstration of the crawling that undid the audience. There is no way I can describe it to you and do it justice. I was just so happy I had 2 other adults in the room who can verify just how funny this acting of this story turned out!!

    After the 6/7 lesson, the day continued well with all classes beautifully demonstrating why I love TCI. Students gestured whenever I said something they didn’t understand (& also when they did understand because they enjoy the attention they get for gesturing!), students of all ages asked, “Boleh saya Bahasa Indonesia?” if they wanted to say something that was beyond their level of Indonesian and in particular, that all classes can now respectfully greet visitors in Indonesian.

    I was on such a high afterwards. It was brilliant that the lessons had all gone smoothly and also that Kay was so impressed with what she’d observed. Her feedback was generous and very encouraging. Yet, I do wonder just how my interpretation of TCI compares with officially trained TCI teachers in the USA. I hope I’m not too far off the mark and until I can attend one of the conferences, I console myself with the famous TPRS quote; “Bad TPRS is better than no TPRS”!!

    Learning how To Circle

    At our (Indonesian Teachers Hub Group) last meeting, Annie mentioned that she is focusing on the skill of circling at the moment. Circling is an integral skill in TCI and I suddenly realized that it had not been a focus lately in my recent lessons. I then decided that I too needed to hone my circling skills and so determined to incorporate more circling into my lesson plans.

    I refreshed my understanding of it by reading various sites and as always, I started with Martina Bex’s website. There she has a link to a pdf she created about circling. Here are 2 great sentences from the pdf to clarify the definition and purpose of circling:

    Circling is the instructional practice of asking a series of prescribed questions in the target language about a statement in the target language.

    Circling is used to provide students with contextualized repetitions of target structures.

    Circling has a recommended format yet it is not set in stone. It must be driven by the students so that teacher input is compelling (i.e. truly interesting) and thus relevant to the students. Here is a recent moretprs post from Dr Krashen about ‘compelling’ and ‘relevance’:
    krashen pic

    Circling is a powerful TCI strategy which ensures students are engaged and acquire language totally without realising!

    The circling format includes the following:
    3 for 1
    Ask a detail
    [Optional are:
    Who, What, When, Where, Why]


    courtesy Martina Bex’s Website

    Using this format, I wrote circling questions into my lesson plans focusing on each of the above steps to prompt my memory and help develop my circling proficiency. I tend to find that when I am in front of a class, my mind goes blank whenever improvisation is needed!! Hopefully this is something that will reduce as I gain confidence and experience with TCI methodology.
    I initially had the above poster up on the back wall but it didn’t help. For example I would see the word ‘interrogative’ and just freeze like a rabbit in the spotlight! So instead I incorporated a circling mini block into each lesson:

    Circling # 1 –

    Junior Primary

    a) Indie perempuan. (statement)
    b) Indie pakai sepatu? (ya) Ya, Indie pakai sepatu.
    c) Indie pakai sepatu atau Indie pakai jaket? (either/or) Indie pakai sepatu.
    d) Indie pakai topi? (ya/tidak) Bukan. Indie pakai sepatu.
    e) Indie minum/makan sepatu? (3 for 1) Bukan! Indie pakai sepatu, Indie tidak minum sepatu!

    Middle Primary & Upper Primary
    1. Flick berkata. (statement)
    2. Flick berkata? (ya) Ya, Flick berkata.
    3. Flick berkata kepada Ella. (ya/tidak) Ya. Flick berkata kepada Ella.
    4. Flick berkata kepada Ella atau Flick berkata kepada Thomas? (either/or) Flick berkata kepada Ella.
    5. Kenapa Flick berkata kepada Ella? (extra detail) Flick berkata kepada Ella karena ? (mau ke McD, dingin,)
    6. Circle new detail.
    This amount of detail was so helpful. I could refer to my notes at any point to ensure I covered all aspects when/if necessary. Writing it too helped clarify in my mind so that my response should always be either the initial sentence or include the initial sentence!
    I felt that at last I was getting a handle on circling! Then with brilliant timing, several TCI teachers wrote blogs posts specifically about circling. Keith Toda posted on his blog, Todally Comprehensible Latin, Circling – The Art of Questioning and Chris Stoltz posted on TPRS Q & A his post  ‘What is Circling and How Do I Do it?’ Both are great and I highly recommend you read them to grasp the finer details of circling.
    After reading Chris Stoltz’s post I asked him a question and he replied:

    tprs q a

    When I first read his reply, I was taken aback by its brevity and once I had recovered,  I started to think about his point. If I was to circle only what students didn’t understand, then I was going about “circling” the wrong way.
    The next thing that happened was again by coincidence. I had emailed Ben Slavic about micro stories suitable for primary (elementary) students. He replied with an attachment of his draft chapter called Super Mini Stories. In this chapter, Ben focuses in great detail on the skills needed to tell a story. Reading this with my trusty highlighter was illuminating. Chris’ statement ‘Circle what the students don’t understand” suddenly gelled.
    Circling has to be done in context and more importantly, stories must have input from students. This is what makes TCI compelling.

    Last week I trialed it and discovered the truth of the above statement. This is how I did it:

    With the classes 3-7, I arranged the chairs into a circle and in the middle of the circle I put a pile of clothes for this story: (underlined words signify where I asked for student input.)

    Bobby dingin. Bobby berkata kepada Ibu,”Saya dingin.”
    Ibu kasih Bobby satu jaket.
    Bobby pakai jaket di kaki.

    Bobby masih dingin. Bobby berkata kepada Bapak, “Saya dingin.”
    Bapak kasih Bobby satu baju.
    Bobby pakai baju di kepala.

    Bobby masih dingin. Bobby berkata kepada Kakek, “Saya dingin.”
    Kakek kasih Bobby dua sepatu.
    Bobby pakai sepatu di tangan.
    Bobby tidak dingin lagi.

    Prior to last week, I’d told the story with actors and the other students just watched and listened. However, this week, I used circling to ask for student input and it was highly compelling. Here is why:
    I began with:
    Siapa mau menjadi assistan Bu Cathy? (Who wants to be Bu Cathy’s assistant?)
    I looked around the circle and chose someone who would be a good actor, someone who could be a ham if necessary and not get embarrassed. I then asked them to ‘berdiri’ (stand.)
    Next I asked the class, “Caden perempuan atau Caden laki laki?” The class invariably answered “Caden perempuan.” To which I checked in with my actor, “Caden laki laki atau Liam perempuan?” If he answered, “Caden perempuan”, I would then confirm, “Caden perempuan!” Next I asked students, “Siapa nama Caden? ‘Caden’ nama laki laki!” Sometime, classes came up with a hilarious female version of the name (Luke became Lukette, Kody became Kodella) and sometimes they would come up with a name that has been bandied around lately. For some reason Jeff and Bob are hilarious names!! Go figure!
    I then began the story:
    Ada perempuan. Nama perempuan Delilah.(students decided that Caden would become his twin sister!)  Delilah dingin. Delilah berkata kepada???? Delilah berkata kepada siapa? (laser pointer to ‘siapa’ poster up above the whiteboard) If students suggested the name of a fellow student, I would answer, “Bukan nama murid di kelas ini.” Because I wanted them to come up with some quirky suggestions. I would settle on the suggestion that got the most catcalls!! Justin Bieber and Tony Abbott were up there!! I next asked, “Siapa mau….. Justin Bieber?” That actor was also asked to ‘berdiri’.
    I would then recommence my story from the start to throw in some sneaky repetitions.
    Ada perempuan. Nama perempuan Delilah. Delilah dingin. Delilah berkata kepada… Delilah berkata kepada Justin Bieber, “Saya dingin.” Justin Bieber kasi Delilah???? At this point I rummaged through the pile of clothes on the floor and repeated the sentence several times adding the word for the article of clothing I held up, looking at ‘Justin Bieber’ to gauge both his/her reaction and the class’. “Justin Bieber kasi Delilah jaket? Justin Bieber kasi Delilah sarong? Justin Bieber kasi Delilah topi? Justin Bieber kasi Delilah jilbab?” OOnce the class agreed on the item of clothing (majority rules), I then handed the item of clothing to “Justin Bieber” and then turned to the class and asked, “Justin Bieber kasi Delilah satu jilbab atau Justin Bieber kasi Delilah dua jilbab?” Depending on their collective answer (if too noisy, I asked ‘Angkat tangan kalau Justin Bieber kasi Delilah dua jilbab”, repeated sentence again or satu jilbab, while counting in Indonesian the number of hands) then we continued the story:
    Justin Bieber kasi Delilah satu jilbab.
    I then stopped the acting, asked Justin Bieber to ‘duduk’ then turned around to face the class again and asked, “Delilah pakai jilbab di kaki (pointing to my foot)? Delilah pakai jilbab di tangan (pointing to my hand)? Delilah pakai jilbab di leher (pointing to my neck)?” etc until I got a popular consensus. I then repeated the sentence and the actor acted out the story. In this case it was:
    Delilah pakai jilbab di kepala. Delilah masih dingin.
    We continued till the end of the story this way. It was hilarious and totally compelling!! I love that TCI provides me with ways in which I can laugh with my students while teaching!!
    During the day on Monday, I wrote a few notes in my notebook that I keep handy to record my reflections and this is what I wrote:
    1. Circle what they don’t know!!
    2. Don’t forget to ask quantity of clothing! E.g. dua sepatu!!
    3. Go SLOW!! Don’t rush!! Slow and steady is how students comprehend and acquire the target structures. Make the most of each repeititon.
    4. Try to make circling sound like natural speech using familiar vocabulary while incorporating all the facets of circling. E.g. negative, either/or, 3 for 1, asking for extra detail. 

    Term 2 Story – Lucy Mau Jaket

    This term we have been working towards the story recommended to us by Catharina. We are about to head into week 5 and not counting week 3 (our cultural break with Ibu Mia), we have been working towards this story for 3 weeks. Here is my version of the story:

    Ada perempuan.
    Nama perempuan Lucy
    Lucy dingin.
    Lucy tidak punya jaket.
    Lucy mau pakai jaket.
    Lucy lihat laki laki kecil.
    Nama laki laki Will.
    Will punya jaket tetapi jaket Will terlalu kecil.
    Lucy lihat Pak Hudson. (Our principal, who has kindly lent us an enormous jacket especially for this story)
    Pak Hudson punya jaket tetapi jaket Pak Hudson terlalu besar.
    Lucy lihat Jane.
    Jane punya jaket dan jaket Jane pas.
    Jane kasih Lucy jaket.
    Lucy pakai jaket.
    Lucy berkata, “terima kasih Jane.”
    Jane berkata, “Sama sama.”

    The names of the 2 central characters are flexible and when I first told the story last week to classes I chose names of students who were prepared to act out the story and for whom the props would fit according to the story! Naturally this didn’t always go to plan, but mostly the students pretended and went along with the story!!

    In the first weeks of term, I introduced the structures terlalu besar, terlalu kecil and pas, trialing the concept of visual PQA which I read about on Ben Slavic’s website. See this post for more information. I continue to refer to and add to the notebook file as I go along. It truly has been an engaging  technique for introducing and/or reviewing structures.

    After I was reasonably confident students had acquired the above structures, I then introduced the cognate, jaket and the verb ‘pakai’. As I also want students to be aware of the vocabulary for other forms of clothing preparation for their freewrite next week, I chose ‘topi’ as in term 4 when we have a compulsory hat wearing policy and ‘sepatu’ because with winter almost here, I need to prepare for the seasonal after recess & lunch JP student requests to remove muddy shoes!

    Thus I introduced the structures:

    pakai topi
    pakai jaket &
    pakai sepatu

    and established gestures that represented each. I have now incorporated a TPR session into all my lessons to both reinforce and review the gestures we have established so far. As Catharina has found with her students, Simon says (Bu Cathy berkata in my case) is one of their favourite games and once students become complacent, Catharina recommends ramping it up by saying one thing and doing the gesture of another. My students ABSOLUTELY love it too!! Go figure!

    A fun activity I did was put together a collection of soft teddies, monkeys and orangutans as well as a pile of baby clothes. In small groups, students had to dress a teddy and then come to a consensus about whether the clothing was terlalu besar, terlalu kecil or pas. It was hilarious and students from all year levels had a ball. While there was a lot of English in the overall dressing of the teddies, the discussion about the clothing was 100% in Indonesian which was awesome. I also had a ‘tukang foto’ who took photos of groups once they had all agreed on the clothing size/fit. If we had time, I asked groups to show us their teddies and then tell us all what was terlalu besar, terlalu kecil atau pas. Some groups incorporated the vocabulary of other forms of clothing using the posters I had up on the white board but the main aim was to get repetitions on the target structures. The following lesson, I put up some of the following  photos taken  by the tukang foto on the smartboard to provide an opportunity to combine the reps of all target structures while circling.













    This week we are going to focus firstly on the story via retells, readings, and then in the second lesson, I might try one of these TCI activities that I have found in my emails from the moretprs listserve. The activities are:

    1. Draw & Guess – Each student to choose one line from the story and then illustrate it on a clear board. When all are finished, students will be invited to come to the front of the class and the rest of the class have to guess which line from the story it illustrates! Source: Niki Tottingham
    2. Flyswatter – choose 4 (or more) illustrations from the above activity. Arrange them on the floor in the middle of a circle. Hand out flyswatters to 4 students. Say one of the sentences from the story and students have to swat the picture that matches the line from the story. Best of 3 wins. Source Todally Comprehensible Latin
    3. Noisy Pictionary –  2 teams  – Everybody is in one of the teams and everybody participates. One artist from each team comes to the board. Show them  a sentence from the story. They then run to the whiteboard and draw the phrase for their team mates who scream out the sentence it is. Point to the team who first match the sentence with the illustration. (While this sounds a great game – I am wondering if it might be easier to manage if each group takes it in turns and they are timed. I also like the  idea of drawing it on the smartboard so that I can save a digital copy of the illustrations!) Source: Bryce Hedstrom.

    Our Week In Sydney with The Bridge Project

    What an amazing week we’ve just had here in Sydney for the Bridge Project. While we sit at the airport waiting for our flight, doing a last minute catch up with Erin and Mel who are also hosting 2 partner teachers from Medan, I’ll try to give you a brief picture of our full on 4 day training and development.
    Marg & I first met our partner teachers, Pak Pahot & Bu Elizawati, in the breakfast queue at the Novatel. Pak Pahot is a year 2 teacher and Bu Elizawati is a year 6 teacher at a school called SDN 025443 Medan Barat which apparently is rated number 1 in Medan. Of the 400 odd students who apply to enrol each year, only 100 are selected!


    Over the past 4 days there has been a strong emphasis on collaboration, planning and communication. Presenters recommended a variety of ways in which we can achieve all 3 successfully with our partner schools and time was provided to not only make a start on them but also so that we could familiarise each other with our school calendars, so that any planned projects avoid school holidays, religious festivals and national exams.

    IMG_9639We also spent time discussing cultural differences. Our partner teachers have already noticed differences with punctuality, environmental pride, traffic and the differences between Indonesia and Australia with the use of right hands to pass items.

    Thursday afternoon, we were given a challenge:

    IMG_9675This was a brilliant and fun way for all of us to explore Sydney. The resulting photos on Twitter were varied and the shared experiences were vast. Check out #bridgeproject!!


    Another fun outing was lunch at the local Giants stadium.

    IMG_9662After lunch, 2 of the stalwarts (proud muslims) explained about the various programs they run which target disengaged youth and promote education. Very impressive. Afterwards, we enjoyed a tour through the facilities:




    Presenters over the 4 days included Mike Bartlett & Danielle Leggo, education officers from from Sydney Olympic Park (SOP). The program they run there is truly amazing and caters towards both local and distance students. It largely focuses on sport, agriculture & sustainability and can be accessed either face to face or by video conferencing. Thirty thousand students annually access the ranger led Australian curriculum aligned activities learning about the local wetlands and other local habitats and there is also an online Koori classroom! One great suggestion from Michael was to set up a collaborative project to study the migratory birds that fly from Siberia to Australia, transiting Indonesia! For further information about SOP, regardless where you are globally, check out their website and youtube channel. They are currently searching for non Australian classrooms interested in an international 2015 netball challenge.

    Joedy Wallis from AEF, divided the group so that the Australian teachers and the Indonesian teachers could each focus on their own curriculums to identify areas compatible for collaboration as well as identifying goals and outcomes for student learning. She pointed out the areas of the curriculum covered by the bridge project include:
    ict capability
    critical and creative thinking
    personal and social capability
    ethical understanding
    ICL (Intercultural Understanding)
    which together create successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active informed citizens.
    Joedy outlined some history behind the inclusion of the ‘Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia’ priority in the new Australian curriculum. The global shift which has lead to policy changes and the Melbourne Declaration, first signed in 2008 (changes advocated by AEF) provided the impetuous behind our Bridge partnership meeting this week. This promotes student acquisition of 21st century skills. all beneficial for Australia; socially, culturally and economically.

    Joedy promoted twitter to all, encouraging all teachers to sign up and discover just how amazing it is for professional learning and sharing. She also promoted the AEF website (which is currently undergoing a huge update to become even bigger and better), the AEF newsletter and #AEFchat on twitter (details on the website) which currently run monthly but will happen more frequently if the number of teachers on twitter increases.

    Julie Lindsay from Flat Connections presented on Thursday for 2/3 of our day focusing on the challenges connected with our partnership schools beyond face to face and how to sustain global connections and collaborations. She raised an important point about the need for deep global learning and the importance of constructing a legacy. Encouraging teachers to think deeply and creatively so that whatever project our students create, it will be their legacy.
    Julie suggested a variety of online tools through which this could be achieved:
    1. Ning.com (not free) which is a multimedia networking tool was recommended highly by Julie for asynchronis communication if both schools can not be online at the same time.
    2. voicethread.com – highly recommended. students can record their voices along a given video/photo
    3. Wikispacess – where students and teachers can collaborate on projects
    4. blackboard collaborate – students present for 1-2 minutes about their learning to an international audience.
    5. globalyouthdebates.com asynchronous global debates between classrooms
    6. wevideo
    7. Animoto
    8. Edmodo – private; great tool for creating discussions)
    9. Hangouts
    10. Skype
    11. Padlet – a private forum for groups to share

    Before any actual planning, it is critical all teachers agree on a cyber safety policy and have in place an agreement to monitor all students.
    Projects could be based on a range of activities:
    research (joint?)
    problem solving – kerja sama tentang kebanjiran?? find something in common and explore issues!! eg rivers, sea,
    artifact and co-creating (eg making video alone or by collaborating with partner students)

    Most of the suggested project ideas would be entirely undertaken in English which would create opportunities for deep ICL for classroom teachers. Julie suggested students take the learning home (al la flipped classroom style although she didn’t name it!) which gave me the idea of tasking students to record themselves teaching their parents ‘siapa nama’ & ‘nama saya”. Could create a funny yet educations video about specific target language!
    Other flipped ideas that arose over the 4 days included a flat Stanley project whereby students make a puppet of themselves and then send it to their partner school who then takes it with them in their every day life photographing everything and creating a journal which is then returned to their partner school either digitally or by snail mail. Another idea I really love which would be perfect for a look and discuss activity is called, A View From Your Window. Tasking students to take a photo from a window at home and then writing a caption about it.
    Julie’s presentation was chocker block full of suggestions with little time to fully explore and trouble shoot. Most teachers felt totally overwhelmed and this confirmed for me just how fortunate we are at PEPS to not only have had a ICT Coordinator for the past 3 years but to have someone of Kathy’s high expertise and dedication in the position. Teachers were also concerned about poor tech support on return to their schools, which again for Marg & I, is rarely an issue!! Our highly capable tech team of Darryn & Kathy is second to none! What they don’t know isn’t worth knowing!! One principal told us about a class set of computers still in boxes at their school because they only get 2 hours of tech support per week!!
    The second part of Julie’s time with us was task based. We had to create a digital story with our partner teachers. I quickly wrote a script which I then typed up in Pages and emailed to Marg, Pak Pahot & Bu Eliza. Using Puppet Pals, we quickly made a film entirely in Indonesian about the transport we used in Sydney yesterday which Pak spiced up with some evil laughs!! We uploaded it to Youtube and then pasted the link on the Bridge Padlet to share with everyone.


    Pak Donny, the Indonesian translator and coordinator, constantly stressed in his translations, that the partnership is all about our students and should benefit them not the teachers and that all projects must keep that in mind! There was also a huge push to encourage Indonesian teachers to review their learning style (methodology) so as to adopt more western aspects. I can see that encouraging students to ask questions, to be more confident in exchanging opinions has benefits but it is a huge cultural shift and with it comes other aspects of western culture. Other factors which must be considered is that class sizes at our partner school are enormous. Classes range from 34 to 46, Class rooms too are not large and school furniture is also not conducive to more ‘creative’ styles of learning. I can see benefits in encouraging a methodology shift but would like to explore ways in which it can be done that are more sympathetic culturally. It makes me feel like a missionary rather than an educator.
    It had been an amazing week, meeting teachers from almost every state. We have swapped email addresses and Skype handles as well as following each other on twitter so that we can keep in contact and help each other with any upcoming challenges this year as well as sharing our successes. Marg in particular was brilliant with this. She has already arranged a Skype call with Mel & Erin this coming Friday!! Another teacher has offered to set up a Facebook page for us all and Aaron will create another Padlet too. The September study tour will be a reunion for those of us who sign up for it!

    Goodbye Sydney!

    IMG_9673Thank You so much to everyone involved for such a memorable week and in particular to Pak Aaron, Ibu Bonnie & Pak Donni.

    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:


    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:





    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!


    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.



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

    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!