Bluey

A recent PLC conversation prompted me to create a ‘movietalk’ based on the Bluey episode “Grannies”. My young students absolutely adore this TV show (search ABC iView) and honestly, my Mum and I do too!! For background on this TV show, see here. There are many things I love about Bluey and without doubt, the top most reason is the assumptions we all make about gender; even for very young students. It certainly is an excellent show for discussing gender stereotyping.

My movietalk went incredibly smoothly! When I opened the powerpoint, my students actually cheered! The students recognised the episode and many agreed with me that it was one of their favourite episodes too. A colleague, shout out to Julie M, asks her young students to share their favourite episodes from the past week! Isn’t that a great idea as a starting point to determine which episodes will connect with your learners!!

This episode has as usual, stories within stories, and most of the plot is outside the vocabulary acquisition of my reception (preppy) students, so I just focused on the mini plot that Nanna’s can’t floss dance. Unlike my attempt at storytelling last week where students chatted constantly (mostly to comment on my hilarious lack of drawing skills), you could have heard a pin drop they were so engaged! I am still gobsmacked at how successful it was.

To create a movie talk, I watched the episode and took screenshots of the main action. I then went through them all and eliminated all that required vocabulary my students have not yet acquired. Being fourth term, it is guaranteed that this will be a messy term (swimming, bookweek, etc), so I usually plan around consolidating what students already know through unfamiliar texts. I tossed up whether to use ‘nenek’ (Grandmother) in my text and decided not to. Instead I stayed with Nanna. Next week I plan to use this to kick off a conversation about the different names we call our grandmother and link this to Indonesia where ‘grandmother/nenek’ is also not the same word grandchildren call their grandmothers and that the names Indonesian grandchildren use also varies greatly.

I identified 15 pictures that had the potential for a mini story. I worried during the planning that this would be too many and so added in a TPR break in the middle to give them wiggle time, but it was totally unnecessary!! OMG I could get used to this!! Here is a snap shot of the screenshots and text I used.

I added text to my images to help me to stay in bounds with the story telling. I also believe that including text for junior primary students adds a level of complexity for my more literate students who enjoy reading along with me. (As I have learners throughout the school with developing literacy skills, I firmly believe it is vital that we support our students through using easy to read fonts eg. century gothic.) I discovered just how many were reading the text whenever I had inadvertently included an error. In copying and pasting text from one page to another, I had forgotten to change character names!! Nothing like teacher errors to inspire more to read and check for further mistakes!! A sneaky way to increase input through reading for meaning!!

The icing on the cake for this mini story was finding colouring pictures on the Bluey website and other unofficial sites. I used several colouring pictures to create a listen and match worksheet. Students needed to listen to a sentence, colour the matching text box with a certain colour and then link it to the appropriate illustration. The lesson finished with students colouring in the illustrations which they absolutely loved doing. With my first class, the colouring in was done together to get reps on colour vocabulary, but I gave my last class time to choose their own colours. Not convinced yet of the value that a single lesson has for revising more than two colours is for young learners.

A final step I will be taking is creating a book from the powerpoint pages to add to my class library. As Amy Roe recommended, laminate all pages to make the books last longer!! It also makes them look fantastic . Make sure you use matte laminate though – glossy laminate needs to be banished from all schools and classrooms! Order through Officeworks. Orders over $55 are delivery free which is basically the cost of one packet!! Awesome for those of us in non-metro areas!! Matte laminate is more expensive but worth every cent because posters become accessible to all learners regardless of where they are in the classroom! No reflections!!

Term 3 Update: R-7

I must begin by apologising profusely for the limited posting over the past 12 months. My goal this year is to try to post more regularly to share my successes and failures. Hopefully this benefits you as much as it does for me in that it provides me with the opportunity to clarify and work through what and how I am teaching as well as documenting it all. It is amazing how quickly I forget ideas and then by scrolling through past posts, rediscover them!!

This term, my reception classes are finishing off Judy Dubois’ Jacket story, my 3-5’s are starting Anna Matava’s Talks Too Much story and my one and only 6/7 class is looking at the song ‘Lupa, Lupa Ingat’. See my Scope and Sequence Stories Page for more information on these stories.

Most classes have two 50 minute lessons a week except for one 3/4 class which has three, and one 3/4 class and my 6/7 class which have only a 65 minute lesson. The difference between the ones with only a single lesson and the others is predictably vast.

I still love using PowerPoint as a teaching tool for my reception students, however I no longer use them for the older year levels. My reception PowerPoints mainly aim to support preliterate students while also providing challenge (aka differentiation) and learning opportunities for those with developing literacy. This is done through limited text with quirky illustrations or giphy/gif’s (is there a difference?) that effortlessly prompt L2 discussion and circling that ONLY requires familiar and understandable L2, i.e. Indonesian in my context. For example, at the moment I have just introduced cepat and pelan (fast and slow) through TPR (Total Physical Response). In introducing it, I found gifs of people, familiar characters (Spiderman, SpongeBob) and cats walking/dancing/jumping fast/slow. This ensured that the only unfamiliar language was pelan and cepat. Avoiding working memory overload in a language classroom is SO important for both comprehension and acquisition as this helps to keep the affective filter (e.g. anxiety levels) low. When the affective filter is high, the flight or fight response can kick in, thus severely impacting on language acquisition for most learners.

My JP PowerPoints include slides on behaviour expectations, kursi luar biasa, picture talk, VPQA (Visual personalised questions and answers), brain breaks, TPR, songs and a CI task e.g. ‘All the Worlds a Stage’, Listen and Draw. See the Preliterate TCI/TPRS CI Activities page for an explanation of these and others. See this link to view a recent JP powerpoint I used with my receptions for this story. To break up the repetition for me, I love creating video clips for the students to either listen to or sing along with. Most are uploaded to my YouTube channel and if you are interested in getting notifications each time I upload a new one, subscribe to and like my channel!! Another ‘video’ idea is to take photos of students and then create a slideshow from them. We had a dress-up day recently and I walked around the school yard before school taking photos of students in their costumes. I got many fabulous photos and the slide show was perfect to help students transition to learning Indonesian at the beginning of the lesson. It also ensured a consequence for those that dawdled and an encouragement to get to the next lesson on time when I planned to replay it!! My next project is to take photos of students skate-boarding on the basketball court tomorrow morning before school!

This week will be the last week for the Jaket story and next week, I will begin Elsa & Buaya, a story based on one of Carol Gaab’s creations. The language for this story includes lapar (hungry), berlari (run), ke (to) and revises lihat (look/see) and makan (eat). All structures can effortlessly be incorporated into TPR which will be hilarious when added to pelan/cepat!! I can feel a new slideshow idea coming on…..

My middle primary students will begin acting out the Bercakap-Cakap Terus story tomorrow. Usually I story ask the complete story using actors and student input, but tomorrow I am going to try an idea based on Laurie Clarcq’s embedded reading workshop I watched yesterday at the Agen Online Conference. I pared the story right down to the basics after identifying that the key language was bercakap-cakap terus (constantly chats), pergi ke (goes to) and keluar (go outside). Here is the skeleton of the story we will work with tomorrow:

John pergi ke Victa Cinema.
Di cinema, John bercakap-cakap terus.
Fred marah.
Fred berkata, “Keluar’.

Having a significantly reduced story skeleton will hopefully allow me to focus more on acquisition through quietening the annoying ‘teacher’ voice in my head pressuring me to go faster to beat the bell. It will also allow the class more opportunities to suggest/add more detail and personalise their class story to a greater level than is usually done! Then, I will hopefully have greater scope for creating embedded readings for the class to read post story creation. If you are interested in learning more about embedded readings, I highly recommend visiting Laurie’s comprehensive blog.

I am also planning to use an embedded reading with the 6/7 class but this one wasn’t so easy to create. The target structures are lupa (forgot), ingat (remember), kunci (key), cari (search) and ketemu (found). The best I have created so far is:

John mau pergi ke Adelaide.
Dimana kuncinya?
John cari dimana-mana.
John ketemu kuncinya di piano!

The main problem with this is the amount of unfamiliar language. We have covered lupa and ingat so far, so I just hope it isn’t expecting too much of the kids. In the embedded reading workshop, Laurie recommended pre-reading activities which gave me the idea of using the memory game to help with acquiring lupa & ingat! I have created a short PowerPoint containing a few tongue twisters Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 11.17.46 amand memory game Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 11.17.41 amimages from google.

Last lesson, I played the song version showing just the lyrics ( I save the band video till later to ensure the distraction of the band’s costumes and makeup doesn’t interfere with enjoying the song) and asked the students in pairs to choose a verse and then when it played, their group had to stand up and sing along. I was impressed at how well they actually did this!! In their next lesson I have planned to repeat this before again hitting ‘lupa’ & ‘ingat’ through stopping the song randomly and asking groups to sing the next line from memory! The going on a picnic concept might work too but I am still trying to come up with a phrase that will support students to stay in Indonesian. Maybe, “Saya ingat kata XXX.”

Not sure where I am heading yet with this class and this song. With previous classes,  recreating a video of the song was successfully done but it took so much work. This time I am thinking of using an app like video star (does it still exist?) where the students sing along to their verse but when it replays, they are just miming, and the original artists sound-track is all that is heard! Here is an idea of what it looks like! I think a project like this would be significantly easier to edit.

It seems odd to be posting about face to face teaching when the rest of the world is still largely teaching online. In most states of Australia, we have taught face to face through the entire pandemic. Was it stressful? Hell Yes! Still is actually; especially with the second wave now flowing through.  Please stay safe and look after yourself!

If you want to comment or share your ideas, I would truly appreciate hearing from you.

My 2020 Brain Break List has started…

Once school starts, I usually find it so hard to find decent brain breaks. Here are a few ideas I have found today that will be the beginning of my 2020 brain break ideas to try this year. If you try any or have one of your own that you can recommend, please add details/feedback in the comments below. I would truly appreciate it.

A variation of Buzz; 3,6,9 clap from ultimate camp resource In a circle, students one by one count upwards but on multiples of three, clap instead of say the number.

Catch the bunny from ultimate camp resource; two balls, one small and one large are passed around the circle. The small ball represents the bunny and the larger ball represents the farmer. The balls are passed around the circle until one person ends up with both balls representing the farmers catching up to the bunny. Obviously the aim of the game is to ensure the farmer does not catch the bunny!

Catch, don’t catch from ultimate camp resource; a person stands in the middle of the circle and before throwing the ball, says catch or don’t catch. The person receiving the ball has to do accordingly!

Category clapping game from ultimate camp resource; leader starts with a hand clapping rhythm and then to the beat of the hand clap states the category. The next person says something from that category to the beat of the clapping. The round ends when someone can’t suggest an idea. They suggest that this person is out, but in a class situation, I do not like to punish students who make a mistake. Instead, I look for ways in which to give them another go without encouraging others to also err. Category ideas could include American states, countries, animals, girls/boys names, plants, food.

Kitty wants a Corner game from ultimate camp resource; a circle game with one student, the kitty, in the middle of the circle. They kitty wants to join the circle. The kitty will ask those in the circle to swap places. The person asked can choose to swap (and become the new kitty) or not. If this person does not want to swap, they say “Ask my neighbour.” Meanwhile, behind the kitty’s back, students who make eye contact with each other can swap places. If the kitty cis quick enough, the kitty can jump into a vacated spot and the person in the middle becomes the new kitty.  To get all moving and changing seats, the centre person can call out ‘Kitty littter’!

Pass the Banana from Ultimate Camp Resource; students sit together in a tight circle with their knees up and their hands tucked under their legs. One person is in the middle and tries to locate the banana as everyone else is moving the banana secretly under their legs.

Laser Tag from Ultimate Camp Resource

Ah, Soh, Gi from Ultimate Camp Resource – I like the idea of this game but am not entirely taken with the three words. Wondering what a culturally sensitive substitute could be for the Indonesian classroom.

No /sir, Not I sir from youth group games; this game has lots of language potential and I can’t wait to try it. The phrase for this version of the game is ‘The prince of Paris has lost his hat and number _  has it” This could easily be adapted depending on the age of the students. It is a game of concentration and counting with the added complication of student numbers changing each time someone gets out. I also like that when students are out, they are still in the game. Follow the link above for the detailed instructions! I also love that they include ideas for making the game even more challenging!

Slap, Clap, Snap from ultimate camp resources; Assign everyone in the circle a number starting with one. Teach the slap, clap, snap rhythm and keep it going at a reasonable pace that matches the ability of the group. When the rhythm is set, starting with the person who is number one, they say their number each time they slap and clap however when they snap they say the number of another person. This continues until someone makes a mistake. when this happens, that person moves to the end of the line (ie next to number 1) and everyone not only shuffles up space wise, they also shuffle up numerically!

Food, Friends, Fireworks from Ultimate Camp Resources; this game is one I have used successfully in my classroom with target structures. The more exaggerated the action for each word, the better. Pairs stand back to back and count together to 3. On 3, they both jump around and instantly do the action they have decided. The goal is to do the same action. If they do, an air punch is done and if not, a ‘duh’ gentle slap to the forehead.

 

Five Finger Fling from Ever Active Schools – A great physical game that incorporates additional and subtraction.

Death Ball from Youth Group Games; a great sitting

 

Brain Gym ideas – from Ultimate Camp Resources. OMG these are so tricky!! https://youtu.be/39ma0PLhvHY

Clap, Snap, Stomp from ExpertVillage. Start with students standing in a circle. Begin by numbering off 1,2,3,1,2,3 all around the circle. Then go around the circle but this time replace the one with a clap. Repeat again replacing the 1 with a clap and the 2 with a snap. The third time around the circle, add in replacing the 3 with a stomp.

 

8 Things from Hoopla
Someone jumps into the middle of the circle. They are given a category of things to say 8 of. They say 8 things in that category as quickly as they can, with everyone shouting encouragement for each one and a round of applause at the end. It’s important that everyone enthusiastically supports every suggestion, this helps the group trust each other that ever offer will be supported. They are encouraged to say the first things that come to them, the game isn’t called 8 Right Things afterall! For instance:

Brian – Hi everyone I’m Brian
Everyone – Hi Brian!
Director – 8 types of holiday
Brian – Skiing!
Everyone – ONE!
Brian – Beach!
Everyone – TWO!
Brian – Safari!
Everyone – THREE!
Brian – Naked skinny dippinng holiday!
Everyone – FOUR!
Brian – Cheese museum holiday!
Everyone – FIVE!
Brian – Weston super mare!
Everyone – SIX!
Brian – Staycation!
Everyone – SEVEN!
Brian – Mountain climbing!
Everyone – EIGHT! Those were 8 things! (dance and applause).

 

Shakedown by ExpertVillage; a great counting backwards and movement activity.

Ikan Besar, Ikan kecil (Big Fish, Small Fish) by Improvencyclopedia; Students stand in a circle. One student starts by saying ikan besar and showing with their hands the length of a large fish. The next person either repeats both the phrase and the action or says. ikan kecil while showing with their hands the length of a small fish. If the latter is said, the direction around the circle changes. I love this idea purely because of the potential for any noun/adjective phrase to be used.

Chopsticks – Don’t even know where to start explaining the rules, so here is a video that explains it clearly and succinctly;

 

Ide Bagus; Kursi Luar Biasa

As I think about the upcoming new school year, I have found three links full of great ideas for kursi luar biasa (special student interviews). I just love the concept of interviewing star students as it is the best way to meaningfully focus on the vocabulary required for introductions, In an Indonesian context, the questions included in this replicate those that will actually be used when. meeting someone in Indonesia for the first time. Learning about others helps to find connections that will consolidate friendships. I will never forget a drive with my adopted Mum in Bali and listening to her conversation with our driver. Neither had met each other before this drive, so the conversation centred on getting to know each other to find out what they had in common. Accepting and learning about the diversity and commonality of others for mutual respect meshes beautifully with intercultural understanding from The Australian Curriculum.

This first link by the wonderful Cécile Lainé is excellent because it begins by acknowledging Bryce Hedstrom for developing the concept of interviewing a student. In most language classes it is called Special person, a term I tried but for some reason it just didn’t gel. Cecile’s post is a great place to start as she writes succinctly and breaks her information into 3 useful questions
1. what questions to ask
2. student note taking ie student participation
3. what to do afterwards ie assessment and post activities.

The next link leads to Señora Chase’s blog post about how this works in her classroom. Interestingly, she uses Michelle Whaley‘s term ‘star of the week’ instead. I did also consider this word, but unfortunately for Indonesian teachers, the word for star, bintang, is a brand name for popular Indonesian beer and consequently is widely believed by most tourists to mean ‘beer’! This post is excellent too as it contains links for delivery ideas. I particularly like her powerpoint and the idea of incorporating exclamations such as ‘me too’ (saya juga). With this exclamation, those who choose to say it, raise their hand and the ‘star’ walks around high fiving those people. I have tried this before and while it was engaging, it was also very rowdy; so be prepared! Señora Chase also includes many links to explain other strategies for ramping up star of the day. One idea she didn’t mention which I have found to be hugely successful when working with older students, is encouraging them to ‘lie’ about their details. Since by year 6/7, they know each others information to the last detail, making up new information becomes fascinating and intriguing because you never know what will be said next!!

The final link I found is by Dmsspanish. The first thing I learned (with envy) is that her students come to Spanish more than twice a week! OMG, I only dream of that. She includes in this post a YouTube video of herself teaching a lesson that includes a student interview. I love watching these videos as observing others teach is incredibly valuable.

I hope there are some useful ideas within the links I have shared. Please feel free to leave a comment or a question if there are any details I have not clearly explained!

Self-Regulated Learning (SRL)

One of the many intriguing concepts I investigated last semester was self-regulation (also known as self directed learning). I love, love, love the idea of helping learners take on the responsibility of their own learning. For so long, I thought it was my job to help my learners self regulate and I now realise that this is so not helpful. The research seems clear that explicitly teaching self regulation is enormously beneficial yet I have wondered how it actually works for specialist subjects, especially those limited to single weekly lessons. If you are incorporating SRL (successfully or unsuccessfully) into language lessons, I would really appreciate your comments (please, please write below)! This post hopes to pull together the learning I have done to date and exploring how it could potentially be adapted into a CBLT classroom.

 

What is Self-Regulation? 

Zimmerman in his article, Investigating Self-Regulation and Motivation: Historical Background, Methodological Developments, and Future Prospects, says SRL research was initially concerned with discovering how students master their own learning processes. And, probably it still does!!

Here’s a quote from this article to begin unpacking SRL:

SRL is viewed as proactive (my bolding) processes that students use to acquire academic skill, such as setting goals, selecting and deploying strategies, and self-monitoring one’s effectiveness. (Zimmerman, 2008).

Cynthia White in her article, Language Learning Strategies in Independent Language Learning: An Overview (2008), explains that:

“self-directed learners have an understanding of how to deploy self-management strategies, know how they learn best, and have the necessary procedural skills to set up optimal learning conditions.”

 

Thus SRL is concerned primarily with metacognition (not academic ability), ie, thinking about thinking. For SRL, metacognition has individual students reflecting on how they best learn to pinpoint strategies needed for their successful learning. It then becomes each students’ responsibility to proactively employ these strategies during learning. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?

 ‘Zones of Regulation’
While googling SRL for an assignment, I found a website called Zones Of Regulation. Leah Kuypers, an American OT, designed this curriculum “to help students identify their feelings and emotional reactions and learn sensory and perspective taking strategies that encourage better self-regulation”. There is so much here that really resonates with me for classroom use. Please note that the materials are copyrighted, but thankfully there are many blogs and images that provide snapshots to explain the main concepts.
I really love the concept of coloured coded zones representing the four main states of mind and that it can include a list of strategy suggestions for students to use to help them move from one zone to another for successful learning.

Apparently several Australian schools are implementing this program and if you teach at one, I’d love to know how it’s working.

The reason I am attracted to ‘Zones of Regulation’, as a possible way in which to embed SRL into CBLT lessons, is largely due to its succinctness and transferability across student ages. Incorporating explicit strategies to help facilitate smooth transitioning from quieter listening activities to active brain breaks (and visa versa) is very appealing.

As you can see in the first Zones image above, strategies that support students transitioning between the zones is negotiable and would thus vary significantly from a general classroom to a language classroom. My overall goal when first establishing the list of strategies would be to ensure students understand the importance of learners remaining in the Indonesian classroom and that all strategies must be silent and unobtrusive to avoid interfering with the learning of others.

Here is a terrific video to watch where Leah Kuypers talks about the Zones framework. She makes many great points.
Note to Australians, I recommend speeding up the speech rate. Go to settings, then playback speed and choosing a faster rate. Makes it so much more appealing.

 

A huge thank you to Laura Wimsett & Penny Coutas for their contribution to this discussion on the TCI/TPRS Indonesian Facebook page.

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the JP story version; 

Pleased To Meet You by Jim Tripp

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

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

Pak Taylor berkata ‘Nama saya Pak Taylor.’

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

Taylor Swift berkata, ‘Autograf?’
Taylor Swift faints

English Translation:

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

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

Pak Taylor said ‘My name is Pak Taylor.’

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

Taylor Swift said, ‘Autograph?’
Taylor Swift faints

 

Junior Primary Lesson Outlines

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

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

 

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

 

TCI Activity # 1: Class Expectations
Direct student attention to the 3 monyet poster. Discuss briefly what they are doing? Sitting, listening and being quiet! Explain that the monyet are being very clever and they are reminding you of what you need to do to learn Indonesian.  Clarify that when students are doing the right thing they can earn positive class dojo points and when they are not doing the right thing, they will get a negative class dojo point.
I then refer to the poster throughout the lesson and give class dojo points to students doing the right thing!
Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 11.12.04 am.png

(see TPT for a free copy of this poster – acknowledgement to Annie Beach for her impressive artistry)

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

LESSON 3Target Structures:
berkata – said

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

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

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

TCI Activity # 3: Circling
Create a powerpoint of characters who have saying that are well known for your student cohort. What worked well for me was adding an animation for the ‘saying’ to delay the text until after you have brainstormed as a class and included heaps of reps of ‘berkata’. If students can’t remember exactly what the character is known to say, I prompt with ridiculous suggestions. e.g. Dory berkata, “Let it go”? And I don’t just say ‘Let it go”….. I sing it theatrically!! Boy, does that get a great response!!
For my junior primary students the following were very successful:
Spongebob berkata ‘Krabby Patty’.
Elsa berkata ‘Let it go.’
Pikachu berkata ‘Pika, pika.’
Bob the Builder berkata ‘Can we fix it? Yes we can!’
Dory berkata ‘Just keep swimming!’
screen-shot-2019-02-04-at-11.28.18-am.png

 

TCI Activity # 4: Target Structure Reps Activity
To get more repetitions of the target structures and provide students with a chance to move around, use games or fun rhythms that only contain familiar vocabulary or cognates. e.g.
Students stand in a circle. Teacher says a sentence from the powerpoint and the students  each mime it. Teacher then regards the selection of actions while repeating the sentence over and over before celebrating the students who have demonstrated it creatively and theatrically. Incorporate comprehension checks when necessary.
This activity is excellent for priming students for ‘All the World’s a Stage’ which benefits from OTT actions.

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Lesson 3 & Beyond…

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

For older JP students other assessment tasks could include:

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

 

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

Meeting Judith Dubois in Agen 

I’m sitting in a cobbled street at Quarts Coffee Kitchen enjoying the cool breeze blowing from behind me. It’s a very warm day today – probably around the mid thirties. The chair and table I’ve chosen is out of the sun and smaller than the others. I was offered the option of directors chairs with a larger table but because I am unsure which way the sun will move (nor how to ask the lovely waitress this question) I chose to sit here. I am waiting for Judith Dubois to join me. She is due any minute from the 12:30 train. This meeting is momentous for me because it marks my  unofficial beginning of the TPRS conference – the whole reason I am here in Agen. Judith will be the first of many TPRS legends whom I will meet face to face for the very first time, with the only exceptions being Stephen Krashen & Blaine Ray, who I very fortunately met during their recent visits to Australia. 
The next day……

Wow! Wow! Wow! Can’t believe how generous Judith is! With less than a week leading up to a major international conference with a million thoughts chasing around in her head and a list of jobs a mile long, she took time out to warmly (literally – both from her heart and on a 35+C day) welcome me to Agen and show me around while seemlessly ticking off a few of the jobs from her job list. 

After a delicious lunch with Judith at Quarts Coffee Kitchen, we met a journalist from a local paper who interviewed Judith (in French) about the upcoming conference. It was fascinating ‘listening’ to the conversation which included an explanation of TPRS. Listening to a conversation about a familiar topic in an unfamiliar language! I could pick out a few familiar words and draw some dots but it was hard work sitting there in the heat concentrating on a largely incomprehensible conversation. My experiences as a beginner language learner have definitely begun!! 

After the interview and a few other jobs, we enjoyed a cuppa (pot of earl grey tea) in an air conditioned cafe (boy was the air-conditioning welcome!) and a terrific conversation about several TPRS topics including teaching adults (4-6 is the ideal class size), teaching word order via ‘Kim’s Game’ ala Rudyard Kipling (also known as ‘memory’). 

Judith explained how perfect Kim’s Game is for repetitive & correct noun/adjective word order input. I hope I have interpreted her instructions correctly! 

Put together a collection of props that are similar except for size and colour! How awesome is this!  Eg. A big red snake. A small pink snake. A big red shoe. A small red and blue shoe. A large red pencil. A small blue pencil. A large pink monkey. A small blue monkey. Etc. Put them all together in a covered basket/container. One by one, take one out and circle it focusing on reps of noun/adjective word order. Once the basket is empty, pick up the props one by one again, repeat what is (a big blue hat) and then return it to the basket. Once all the props are back in the basket, ask the class if they can remember what is in the basket. As a prop is suggested by a student, pull it out and once again confirm it’s description to consolidate further the noun/adjective word order! 

This would be an engaging activity for all students and a great way to get reps on not only word order but also any nouns covered in stories. 

A huge thank you to Judith for spending time  with me yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you at last and truly appreciated that you took an entire afternoon out from your hectic schedule to spend time with me. I thoroughly enjoyed our various TPRS related conversations and the impromptu history tour! Merci beaucoup!! 

Speaking Indonesian in France 

I am in 7th heaven because today I enjoyed 2 Indonesian conversations!! To be honest, they both were achieved intentionally. Since booking my trip to France, I wondered about my chances of meeting an Indonesian person. This curiosity increased with my nervous first attempts using French. It’s so foreign for me to be overseas and to be unable to communicate smoothly. As soon as I get flustered, Indonesian just pops out of my mouth! So one of the first things I did on my first jet lagged day in Paris was to google Indonesian restaurants in Paris and was thrilled to discover there are 4 listed on TripAdvisor. 

Today while traveling on the batobus, I noticed Indonesian writing on a fellow passengers t-shirt. Feeling like a stalker, I wandered over to where he was seated and sat next to the 2 women travelling with him. I introduced myself in Indonesian and when they both did a double take, I enjoyed their reaction!! They were all from Jakarta, although one lives and works in Denmark now! It was so lovely chatting with them both before getting off at the next stop. They happily permitted me to video them introducing themselves to my students!! Their kindness and generosity in providing me with a much appreciated Indonesian language fix will stay with me for a long time. 

​Mid afternoon, feeling hungry, I decided to try to locate one of the Indonesian restaurants I’d discovered online. I chose Restaurant Indonesia because it looked the most straight forward to get to from the Batobus circuit. I headed up Rue Saint Michel towards the Luxembourg Gardens and found it easily on a side street. It has a small alfresco area outside – largely smokers – as well as a row of tables inside. The decor is definitely Indonesian although slightly dated. I saw the waiter and spoke to him in Indonesian. He stated matter of a factly that the only languages he can speak are French and English and that the only person here who speaks Indonesian is the chef! I was taken aback with his abrupt response. I found a seat close to the front windows and sat down before asking for the menu which listed a variety of delicious traditional Indonesian dishes including nasi goreng, soto ayam, sate, lumpia and pepes ikan. I ordered urap and gado gado both of which were absolutely delicious even though the vegetables used were unusual. The urap used long thin carrot ribbons and was arranged on a bed of baby spinach but the spices were truly amazing. 

Half way through my meal, I asked the waiter if he would ask the chef if she had any time to chat with me. He strutted out to the kitchen and relayed my request. The chef came out immediately and we chatted for ages in Indonesian. Sheer bliss!! Her family have lived here in France since 1965, a significant date that fully explains her family’s unspoken backstory. The restaurant, the very first Indonesian restaurant in France, is run by a cooperative and has done so ever since it was opened by her father 35 years ago. All profits are shared equally amongst those on the cooperative and they also happily provide work opportunities for people with minimal experience. The waiter would definitely be a recipient of this. His waiting skills were definitely lacking. The most bizarre thing he did was ignore totally a broken glass jar that fell off the bench onto the floor. He purely walked over it crunching the glass up underfoot each time. 

Enjoy my video of Ibu Anita introducing herself and speaking about her restaurant:

I’ve since reflected upon my desire to speak Indonesian so early into my trip and I’m still not exactly sure why I needed it so urgently. It’s funny that I craved an Indonesian conversation rather than an Australian one!! I’ve heard and seen a few Aussies but the idea of starting up a conversation with them is not appealing at all. Was it my way of dealing with culture/ language shock? A self confidence booster? I don’t speak French but I can speak another (not English) language? Whatever the underlying reason, since leaving the restaurant, I felt significantly more comfortable with my lack of French. Which is why, no doubt, that I had a whole conversation at a boulanger all in French on the way back home!! It went something like this: Bonsoir. Un baguette s’il vous plaît. Merci. Au revoir. I floated on air all the way back to my Airbnb thanks to the lovely encouraging lady at the boulanger. 

Meeting Blaine Ray in Sydney

Annie and I are heading home after 2 unforgettable days in Sydney with Blaine Ray. What an amazing time and I still can’t believe how fortunate we have been.


Firstly how lucky were we to have Blaine Ray to ourselves almost for 24 hours! We did share him on Tuesday with Stef and her son Daniel, but considering that she is heading up to the conference in Brisbane this Friday, this was a bonus! We were able to pepper him with questions and then listen to his explanations while taking notes. It felt like our own personal workshop specifically tailored for our needs and level. Words simply cannot express how amazing this was and we’ll always be indebted to Blaine for his kindness and patience. 

Secondly, we were able to practise our note taking skills ready for next week’s inaugural TPRS conference on the Fleurieu Peninsular with Terry Waltz & Lizette Liebold! It has been fascinating comparing our notes and seeing the huge gaps in my notes where at times I must have become so engrossed in the conversation I forgot to write anything down! Annie has diligently cross referenced both sets of our notes and created a version that incorporates everything and then on top of that has presented it out beautifully.

(This is from Blaine’s advice that whenever you get universal agreement with a response, never accept it. Choose the opposite and surprise them! Never accept the obvious; eliminate the expected!) 

And thirdly, it was simply a lovely break spending 2 nights in Sydney and being a tourist in such a beautiful city with like minded people. We spent most of our time together either walking or eating along the scenic waterfront. Except for the initial trip to our hotel from the airport, all of the travel we (Annie & Cathy) did in Sydney was either by ferry or by train and this is definitely the best way to travel. The ferry system is efficient and relaxed. It was just lovely sitting or standing on the ferries enjoying the gorgeous scenery and the cool breezes with the added occasional bonus of sea spray. The trains too were great. So much quicker and took us directly to the domestic terminal which was in direct contrast to our long and tiring trip on arrival which took at least an hour of zig zagging throughout the CBD streets of Sydney. I’m so grateful that Annie talked me into exploring alternative travel options for our return to the airport!


What a generous and gracious person Blaine Ray is. He happily and enthusiastically shared his knowledge with us and was genuinely impressed to discover that we are 2 of 3 language teachers on the south coast who have been teaching with TPRS in since 2014. He told us afterwards that he had presumed we had only recently heard about TPRS and therefore surmised that our discussions would lack any deep TPRS connection. In fact we spent every single minute chatting about various aspects of TPRS and Blaine answered all of our questions and gave many demos to illustrate his points. He also encouraged us to share all that we learned; a huge relief because I couldn’t wait to write up this post!  I particularly appreciated his personal stories which clearly illustrate his open mindedness towards improving TPRS, unlike others who have created a successful model and then constantly ‘protect’ the model/concept fiercely. Blaine told us of several instances where he had witnessed or discussed with a practising TPRS teacher a successful idea of theirs, which he  immediately saw the value of incorporating it into TPRS procedure and then gave that teacher full credit for that update! Alina Filipescu is one such teacher and after seeing several of her youtube videos, I fully understand why Blaine Ray would be impressed by her teaching.

His explanation and demonstration of the 5 steps of teaching a sentence is a procedure I aim to focus on this upcoming term. I particularly would like to work on this to ensure that I am story asking rather than story listening. I can finally understand how we can create a class story based on the target structure. His advice of writing out a script beforehand with a few planned surprises (should the student ideas be too predictable) would help as my mind goes blank when I am in front of a class. He did reassure us though, by saying that once you get started and students get the hang of suggesting the unexpected, we will begin to build up a bank of great surprises perfect for our cohorts that can be drawn upon when needed. I liked his mantra of rejecting the expected; I can fully understand now that choosing an idea that is sooo off the planet ramps up the class stories to make it even more compelling. Blaine demonstrated this with us all at Watson’s Bay with a sentence about a chicca called Annie. He circled this sentence using his 5 steps with us as the class. Whatever we suggested, he would shake his head and reject it with a disappointed look on his face and so we would dig deeper to outdo each other to come up with even better unpredictable ideas. However he continued to reject our suggestions and would then use his own which were always better than ours. I also loved his comeback when I told him that his story didn’t make sense to me; “This is my story and if you don’t like it, go and write your own story.”

Here are the 5 steps of teaching a sentence:

  1. Annie was a girl.
  2. Annie, are you a girl?
    (If the actor doesn’t have the language to answer in the target language, she/he can either read it or mouth it while the teacher provides the voice.)
  3. Yes, I am a girl.
    (The actor must answer in complete sentences confidently as this provides input for the class and is also a clear indicator of the extent to which the whole class ‘gets it’. Any errors or hesitation are indicators that more repetition is necessary.)
  4. Yes, you are a girl.
    (teacher verifies the response)
  5. Class, Annie was a girl.
    (Teacher speaks to the whole class)


This leads on nicely to Blaine’s comments about actors. He made it very clear that choosing good actors is critical. He explained about having auditions to select the best actor which is an idea I’ve tried but not while focusing on the target structure which would be an awesome way in which to add additional input, rehearse the structure and develop student confidence. A good actor must be enthusiastic, must want to try and must have the mindset that this is a cool class. We loved his line that actors have the opportunity to be in the movie rather than to just watch it!

If however, the actor is not performing (maybe he/she is shy or reluctant to act in an exaggerated fashion), try whispering in their ear hints or even demonstrating the required action and if they are still unable to act in the engaging manner required, it may be necessary to replace them. Choosing a bad actor gives negative messages to all the students about our subject. Blaine’s statement that every teacher has a battle for the students hearts resonates for me in my school where we can have up to 5 specialist teachers on top of their class teacher and other support staff. He says the way to win their hearts is through comprehension and play!


Our meals with Blaine were spent juggling our plates & cutlery with our notebooks & pen. Meal times were perfect times to focus on specific aspects of TPRS. The first evening, Annie took notes while I hesitated to pull out my book. Afterwards back at the hotel, I quickly wrote down all that I could remember and was horrified at how much detail I couldn’t remember. From then on, as soon as Blaine began talking, I would whip out my note book and note down the salient points using some of the shorthand I haven’t used since teachers college lectures! 


Over our first al fresco breakfast in Pyrmont, Blaine discussed circling. Questions are the backbone of TPRS and are the key difference between TPRS teaching and everything else. He told us of studies which showed that TPRS teachers ask 3-4 questions a minute whereas legacy teachers rarely ask ANY questions. Questioning is critical because it gives students the opportunity to rehearse while giving the teacher the opportunity to get repetitions on just one sentence.

Here are his 7 rules of circling:

  • Never circle in the same order (too predictable)
  • Use either/or on any part of the sentence (subject, verb, object)
  • Always have a bias towards asking negative questions as they are more challenging
  • Use your question words and point and pause to give processing time
  • Add information to the sentence to create a new sentence. Either circle the longer sentence or part of the longer sentence; whatever is necessary for your students and this is evident through your actor. Eg. Girl wants a monkey, Girl want a big/small monkey, Girl wants a big monkey that speaks Chinese/dog,
  • add a new character (parallel character)
  • add yourself (teacher)

It’s all about asking different people different questions based on the same structure. If it feels boring, ramp it up by adding another character, a celebrity, a celebrity’s pet cat. Adding something new makes it more interesting. Speak to each character. Eg. Are you a cat? What languages do you speak? You are very clever. Each new piece of information can be added to the sentence being circled or just circle the new addition depending on the level of actor confidence and continue till the actor ‘sooo gets it’! If a student actor hesitates or has errors in their answer, this indicates that the class also needs more circling on that sentence. Blaine requires actors to respond in complete sentences to provide further output for the class however class responses are limited to one word responses. In this YouTube video you can see him demonstrating this:

 https://youtu.be/9DRblDN2sXY

Just as critical though are student responses. He told us about Alina Filipescu who coaches her students to give powerful responses. I am definitely going to investigate that idea as I agree it is a skill that needs explicit teaching. 

Answering questions demonstrates comprehension and understanding.
Blaine has 3 procedures for evidence of student engagement

They are:

  • Respond to new statements with ‘ahh’.
  • If I ask a question, respond in the target language.
  • If I ask a question and you don’t know the answer, guess in the target language. Surprise me with your guess and if you don’t surprise me, I will surprise you!

This conversation led us neatly onto the 2 Rules for Students in class:

  • NO social talking
  • Never speak negatively about this class.Regarding point 2, Blaine recommends teaching early on a phrase such as, “I like this class” (Kelas Bahasa Indonesian keren) and whenever a student speaks negatively about the lesson or class, insist they repeat this phrase while reminding them of rule no 2. Personally I can’t remember anyone stating publicly in class that they dislike my classes or lessons, I just get occasional glowering glares or disengaged expressions which I usually do not draw attention to and work harder to turn their attitude around. For one student this happened when she became the class artist.

 

A major theme that underlay every discussion we had with Blaine was student confidence and teacher patience. He highly recommends all language teachers experience learning a totally new language to fully enable us to  empathise with our students. Teacher thinking about language learning is usually wrong. We have forgotten just how it feels to be a learner and why students want and need patience from their teacher. Teachers can not make their students learn any faster, the only way we can help with their acquisition is to provide more repetition.

Always respond with love and patience until your students CAN:

C= Confidence

A= Accuracy

N= No hesitation.

 

We want new language learners (slow processors) to become confident fast processors which is the goal of TPRS. Writing translations up on the board can make a big difference with this. Did you realise that your brain starts from the point where it is confident? How much sense does that make! It explains why we can hear the same talk/ explanation several times and yet pick up different facts each time! This is relevant for language learners too! Each time we repeat a structure, it solidifies in the learners mind and helps them become more confident. Every learner is different and begins at a different point. TPRS students are at one of the following stages:

~ understanding

~ getting it

~ soo getting it.

Obviously it the final stage we are aiming for with our students!
 

Post Script:

This post is my grasp of Blaine’s explanations. I hope it is true to his understandings and should there be any errors, I fully accept that they are evidence of my ongoing and constantly developing comprehension of TPRS.