I have written several posts outlining the various ways I use Class Dojo in my lessons across all year levels. See here and here. This post, though, I will focus on how I use Class Dojo with my 4-7 year olds to call the roll.
I strongly believe in the importance of building automaticity with answering ‘Apa kabar?’ (How are you?) as this is usually the first question indonesian visitors ask my students! Thus, calling the roll with my JP students centres on first introducing and then consolidating the acquisition of bail-baik saja (fine), lumayan (ok) & kurang baik (not so good). Once the acquisition of these structures is solid, calling the roll then becomes another awesome way to gain bonus reps on structures useful for stories e.g., senang sekali (very happy), lapar/haus (hungry/thirsty), panas/dingin (hot/cold). I have also found the absentee data useful for tracking students who are routinely removed from my lessons for music, literacy/numeracy support etc.
I always start with baik-baik saja, then add kurang baik and finally lumayan. The next structure I introduce is senang sekali. Senang sekali (very happy/excited) is included for several reasons. Firstly, it gives students the language to express how they feel about an upcoming special event e.g. birthday or maybe because they are the lucky one to sit in the kursi luar biasa (awesome chair). Being the fourth response students acquire for answering apa kabar, it is a target structure that hopefully is transferred to long term memory in its entirety, not as two single words. The importance of this is that can in the future recall this phrase to review Indonesian word order which varies to English. I get such a buzz when my students use ‘sekali’ (very) in new situations. Today a year 2 student answered apa kabar with ngantuk sekali dan lapar sekali (very tired and very hungry)!! What joy!
Once students have acquired these 4 responses, I introduce them to my apa kabar song
which I created 20 years ago to consolidate all structures plus selamat siang (good day) and terima kasih (thank you). I enjoy creating My Talking Pet videos singing using either cute, quirky or familiar animals for added input. My students never tire of seeing their pets singing or talking in Indonesian! To do this, I invite students to email me digital photos of their pets. These photos are fabulous for reviewing past and present structures and consistently ramp up engagement even further!!
The next responses I teach do not follow any system – they are purely added according to the needs of the students and/or the upcoming story. Often, a student will ask how to say how they are feeling and if many others ask for it too, I add it to the next weeks lesson, especially if it has potential for further usage. Other responses I have taught beyond those already mentioned include; sakit (sick), gila (crazy), pusing (dizzy), kecewa (disappointed), kuatir (worried), marah (cross), sedih (sad), bingung (confused), malu (shy/embarrassed).
It is now week 7, (term 3) and I’ve just moved onto the next step. It’s now their turn to call the roll using Class Dojo. Using the random button on class dojo, a student is chosen randomly. I ask that student ‘Mau mengabsen?’ (Would you like to call the roll?) and they answer with mau or tidak mau. I am a strong believer in avoiding requiring students to ‘perform’ in front of their peers if they are not yet comfortable doing so. I clarify to those who answer ‘tidak mau’ (and there are always a few), that their name will come up again so if they change their mind, they will get another chance.
Those that accept, begin by pressing the following to record that they will call the roll.
This then becomes a visual record of the students who have called the roll. With older classes, this is perfect for sudah/belum repetitions, but with students this year, I am really trying hard not to overload them with new vocabulary. My classes only get 50 – 60 minutes a week, and with 6 days between lessons, I aim to get repetitions on the language already covered to further consolidate its acquisition. Thus, I point to each students name on class dojo and then look at that student and say to them, “Chelsea tidak mengabsen.” following it with a comprehension check (what does ‘Chelsea tidak mengabsen mean’? or how would we say ‘Chelsea tidak mengabsen’ in English?))
When the student gets to their name on the roll, here are two options I’ve tried. The class can chorally ask the student apa kabar or the student calling the roll can ask me instead.
My students love calling the roll, loving interacting with the smart board and love the chance to ‘be the teacher’! It’s a win-win! This is as far as I usually go with my junior primary students.
Do you call the roll each lesson? I am curious to discover what percentage of teachers do and if so, how. What do you do that your students find engaging?
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).
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!
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.
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 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.
Last holidays, I joined a class of (primary) Indonesian teachers for beginner Spanish lessons with the amazing Margarita Perez Garcia. We all shared a single aim from these lessons; to improve our own teaching practise through experiencing TPRS as learners. This was achieved while learning a totally new language (ie getting a a glimpse of the issues our own students experience) as well as gaining a deeper understanding of TPRS . Probably the single main point we all appreciated was that you can never hear target structure repetitions enough; every time Margarita circled, we lapped it up like thirsty animals at a pool of water.
This term I trialled several of the activities Margarita did with us. Two that worked incredibly well for middle primary students and totally complemented each other were ‘shrinking summary’ and ‘dictogloss’.
One thing Margarita emphasised was the power of reading. To use the class created story for reading whenever possible. Facilitating reading and rereading of the class story provides opportunities for bonus repetitions of not only vocabulary, but also grammar, word order, spelling etc. The benefits are endless for implicit learning through subtle teaching!! I began the lesson with a reading technique Margarita did with our class; the teacher reads out loud the story and whenever he/she stops at a word, the class say the next word. This was a great way of keeping their eyes glued to the text up on the screen because they had no idea where I was going to stop while also increasing their familiarity with their story’ written features.
Next using the grouping option on Class Dojo (how I love this tool), I paired the students up randomly. Each pair then was given a piece of paper and a pencil and together they had to identify 5 ONLY sentences from the projected story that could stand alone to summarise their story. These were then written them down on their sheet of paper exactly as they appeared on the screen. I encouraged pairs to work together; one reading and one writing.
From that, each pair next had to create and write ONE five word sentence to summarise the five sentences they had chosen before finishing off with pairs choosing one word from the sentence that in itself summarises the story. Thus pairs would finish with five sentences, one sentence and then finally one single word, each representing a shrinking summary! My 3/4 classes found this task incredibly challenging, especially those students with developing literacy skills. Thankfully the random pair generator tool on Class Dojo largely resulted in splitting up students of equal literacy skills. For the odd one that was not paired up with a more confident reader/writer, I was able to support them however they needed.
Dictogloss beautifully follows on from the creation of a shrinking summary because it requires students to retell the story. I created a grid of 6 squares, aiming to get six main story events. This worked out perfectly because it meant that students could draw upon the five sentences from their summary. Had I done this cold, ie without a recent shrinking summary process, I have no doubt my year 3/4’s would have baulked at a task such as this. In doing it this way, it differentiated beautifully. The majority of the class could draw upon the sentences we had focused on in the previous lesson while the ‘4 percenters’ had the opportunity to offer up extra details. If you look at the photo below, you can see that every student has a grid and a student is sitting at the computer. I had planned to write the story out myself on the board, but instead I impulsively asked my ‘tukang Komputer’ firstly if they wanted to do the typing and each one delightedly accepted. The beauty of this was that it freed me up to wander around the class while eliciting responses. It also provided an added bonus for a focus on spelling, punctuation and word order. AND, it also slowed me right down!!
Here is one created by a class tukang komputer. Note the ending! This was not the original class created ending! It came about through this task! I’ve just noticed the ‘s at the end!! Oops; a missed opportunity!!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
My students love the jobs that help me with TPRS/TCI and are very disapponted when none are needed. The variety of jobs and what they entail is constantly evolving as we fine tune what works and what supports student learning. For each job there is a laminated card with the title of the job and a matching picture. At the start of each lesson, I ensure that each job card that will be needed is blue-tacked to the white board. This sounds more complicated than it actually is because so far, only the middle and upper primary classes do jobs and as the MP & UP classes are mostly all covering exactly the same story, it only needs a tweak here and there. I have a display folder now for each class and they all are stacked on a small table near the white board. In the first page of each folder is a sheet which on one side has the year and teacher name for that class and on the back is a class list. All students who are nominated to do a job for the lesson also have the choice of sitting in first class (kelas satu) in the larger chairs along the back wall or with everyone else in kelas dua (normal sized chairs) atau ekonomi (on the floor).
IIf you are interested in reading more about student jobs, Ben Slavic has a very comprehensive list on his website that I highly recommend.
Here are the jobs that I have tried so far:
Sekretaris – At the start of each lesson, I nominate the sekretaris by looking at the notes made on the class list by previous sekretaris’ to see who has not yet been sekretaris or who has not done as many jobs as everyone else. The job of the sekretaris is to write a student name against each of the jobs on the board (with a few exceptions), again choosing students who have yet to complete the same number of jobs as everyone else. (I used to do all this, but it was so time consuming and led to a lot of unnecessary blurting in English) Once this has been completed, the sekretaris sits in kelas satu (sekretaris has the most luxurious chair) and then completes the checklist by writing against the students name the jobs that they were allocated to do. The sekretaris is also responsible for collecting any student work (quizzes, freee writes ect) fromm the lesson and putting it neatly in the class folder.
Penghitung Waktu – The person who does this job uses the timer on an ipad and records how long the class can stay in Indonesian. The timer is stopped each time a class member (or Bu Cathy) uses English. This job is awesome because it lends itself to so many student repetitions of – ‘Boleh saya pakai Bahasa Ingriss?’ (to which the other students invariably shout out “Tidak boleh!”) and also the asking of the time keeper, “Berapa minut?” and then listening for the answer which must be given in Indonesian.
Polisi – This student sits next to the penhitung waktu and every time someone uses English, they squeeze a plastic pig dog toy (not the most appropriate object for oh so many reasons….) to inform the penghitung waktu to stop and reset the timer.This job lends itself to the questions, “Siapa pakai Bahasa Ingris?” and then “Harry pakai Bahasa Indonesia atau Bahasa Indonesia?” to which the student generally asssures us all that it was in fact Indonesian!! Yeah right! These two jobs complement each other and in particular because it keeps the penghitung honest!
Twitter – The twitterer has to move to the PC 5 minutes before the end of the lesson and then write a 140 character (or less) sentence about something significant/memorable we covered in our lesson. While we get the hang of the job, I am accepting English, but next term I will be insisting that all tweets are written in Indonesian.
Penulis – The penulis has to keep track of the class story for me!! The story I receive from the penulis invariably isn’t complete for many reasons, but it’s usually enough for me to remember by the end of the day the gist of their story. This person usually focuses so intently and acquires so much more than anyone else!!
Penghitung kata – This job counts the number of times I say the target structure we are focusing on during that lesson. It is a very popular job as they get to use a hand held counter (or if more than one, they tally on a piece of paper but this is nowhere as accurate) and I love it because it helps to keep me focused on what I should be repeating. I will check in with the penghitung kata by asking ,”Berapa?” and from their answer I know whether I have covered the structure enough or not. It is fascinating how quickly the count skyrockets when a class gets hooked on the discussion!
Mendistribusi pensil dan kertas – Responsible for distributing pencils and paper for quizzes. Two names go against this job and then I ask each of them, “Harry mau mendistribusi pensil atau Harry mau mendistribusi kertas?” while miming handing out things to the students sitting in economy. There job is to check that the pensils are sharp and that there is enough A5 paper for each student ready for the quiz.
Pembaca – This is my reader leader. Their job is to use the microphone and lead the class in the reading of the story.
Pembantu – This job was only introduced recently and is still being honed but so far it has been a huge hit. The job of the pembantu is to echo me each time I say a specific TPR phrase. At the moment we are focusing on ‘angkat tangan’ so I bought a hulk hand at Savers especially for this. Every time I say ‘angkat tangan’ the pembantu has to echo me loudly (silly voice encouraged) and thrust the hulk hand up into the air. It is hilarious and has been very successful for sneaking in extra repititions. I also incorporated the concept of auditions after reading about them on Ben Slavic’s website. The person auditioning is given the microphone and the hulk hand and we get some reps in while students audition for the job! Ingenious isn’t it! Now that students understand the job, I think it will work better and smoother without the microphone.
Mengabsen – This job is chosen by the random option on class dojo. This student has to call the roll using class dojo while I time them. I introduced the timing aspect to keep the roll call succinct and also for the added spice of interclass competition. The current chamapion, Cambell (year 6/7 Turley) called the roll in 33 seconds last week. Calling the roll provides me with useful data and for students it provides them with a comfortable routine that helps them transition into Indonesian.
PenulisQuiz – The quiz writers job is to choose 7 or 12 sentences from the story that the class is currently working on. The number is 7 if the quiz is out of 5 or 12 if the quiz is out of 10, with a couple of spares in case one or two of the sentences are not suitable. The quiz is a true/false quiz (benar/salah) and thus the sentences written by the penulis ujian can be either taken directly from the story (benar) or tweaked (salah).
Here are a few quizzes some of the penulis ujian’s wrote this week based on our current story:
One of emphases of TPRS/TCI is for the whole class, including the teacher, to stay in the TL (Target Language) and in the USA, there is a 90% target! We don’t have any such emphasis in the Australian Curriculum, in fact our curriculum appears to largely expect teachers will teach in English.
In order to not only record our progress of how many minutes each class stayed in Indonesian in each lesson without blurting (speaking in English) but also to add a level of competition between classes, I introduced the student job of timing just this. A student in most lessons now sits at the back of the room with an ipad, next to the Pembantu Guru, whose job it is to squeeze a plastic pig loudly each time any English is spoken. This is easily the most favourite job we have so far explored! Each time the pig is squeezed, the timer (Penghitung Waktu) stops the timer and records the time. At the end of the lesson, if a new record was achieved, it is added to the board. The second number alongside is the total number of repetitions we get in a lesson of the target structures.
Here is the first photo I took in week 4 with the very first scores:
And here is week 5:
Here is week 6:
And finally last weeks:
The funny thing about this latest shot is that 6/7 Turley came in to class and were determined to beat their score. They agreed it was pathetic that the 6/7 class had the lowest time. They tried and tried and yet someone would blurt out in English after just a few minutes. Finally with 11 minutes to go, they all realised this was their final chance and it was so impressive how they all dug deep to keep a lid on their blurting. It was such an accomplishment for them. The very next class though, was the other 6/7 class. When they walked in and saw that they were the only class yet to beat their initial score, they all decided then and there to not only set a new PB, but to also totally thrash the other 6/7 class. And boy did they ever!! 33 minutes was far in excess of what I was expecting from any class in first term!! I had actually said to classes all I’d really hoped for was 10 minutes!! What made me smile though was that whenever a 6/7 student asked, ‘Boleh saya Bahasa Ingris?” The rest of the class would shout “Tidak boleh!”
So now there is a huge inter class competition between the two year 6/7 classes!! I don’t know who is more challenged by this determination of the two classes to only use Indonesian in class; them or me!! My challenge is that whatever I say has to be 100% comprehensible to each and every student!! No easy feat I can tell you! Today because 6/7 Clark wanted to reach the target of 40 minutes, we went into recess slightly and ensuring comprehension remained, I had to resort to a few quick written translations on the board so that I could continue without blurting myself!! Made me feel a little guilty but it is sooo hard when we have only been using TCI properly for barely 8 weeks!!
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.
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:
I love the way the above student wrote a sentence structure and then focused on it! What great repetitions!
I 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!
Georgia has used the story structure to rewritte an entirely original story! In 5 minutes!
Winter has used this opportunity to experiment with all the sentences and phrases she has learned over the primary years! How great is that!!
Look 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!