Kursi Luar Biasa for Junior Primary

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

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Who wants to sit in the awesome chair?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the JP story version; 

Pleased To Meet You by Jim Tripp

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

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

Pak Taylor berkata ‘Nama saya Pak Taylor.’

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

Taylor Swift berkata, ‘Autograf?’
Taylor Swift faints

English Translation:

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

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

Pak Taylor said ‘My name is Pak Taylor.’

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

Taylor Swift said, ‘Autograph?’
Taylor Swift faints

 

Junior Primary Lesson Outlines

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

LESSON 3Target Structures:
berkata – said

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Lesson 3 & Beyond…

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

For older JP students other assessment tasks could include:

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

 

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

Indonesian TCI Scope & Sequence – TPT

Yesterday after about many months, I finally finished the Indonesian Scope & Sequence for beginner Indonesian TCI teachers and have uploaded a PDF version to TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers). This document began when I decided to document the order of stories I use in my classroom. The reasons for this are many. Firstly to systematically confirm that the stories did in fact build on each other from a vocabulary standpoint, that the story outcomes aligned with the ACARA Achievement Standards (as per the directive from school leadership in regards to reporting to parents), that the top ten + sudah/belum were equally encompassed and finally to create a document that could be shared with colleagues.

One of the hardest parts of beginning the TCI journey is finding a good place to start and then the second hardest part is knowing where to go next! This list of stories hopefully helps with both those issues.

The stories listed in the Scope & Sequence will be gradually added to this blog. The first set of stories have already been added. Search for them in the top bar above this post. Click on “Scope & Sequence Stories” and they will open up in the order they were listed.

I am hoping that within my blog are many ideas that you can try for each of the stories. Search in the Target Structure TCI Activities page, (look at the top of this page) or look to the right of this post and scroll down the topics list till you find the TCI Activities category where when clicked will list all my posts that contained activities that I have used with students. You can also search for story titles in the search bar.

For an idea of how I have used a story with classes, this post I wrote last year gives you an outline. It is based on the traditional story Kancil & Buaya. I prefer to pre-teach unknown target structures and it is so important that these be limited to no more than 3. Anymore than 3 students start facing mental overload and incomprehensibility. My favourite way to pre-teach new structures is using quirky pictures; the quirkier the better. It certainly ramps up engagement! Search Google Images for your target structure & add the words ‘pic + funny’ and you’ll be surprised what turns up. Be careful though doing this at school! Googling ‘terlalu besar’ (too big) images for Judith Dubois’ Jacket story is not something I recommend if students are nearby!

Thank you to everyone who purchases a copy of this document. I truly hope you find it helpful. Please contact me if you have any comments about it.

Remember this quote Margarita Perez Garcia share with us at the 2019 TCI Conference;

There isn’t good and bad CI. All CI is good!! 

 

Hand Clapping Rhyme Ideas

Luh Sriasih shared on the Indonesian Language Teachers in Australia Facebook Group a post about hand clapping rhymes and right down the bottom is a video showing how they are done!! Have a look at them all because there are sure to be ones that you could incorporate into your lessons successfully with your students either as a stop and listen strategy or adapt for sneaky reps of target structures!!

Here is the video:

 

The  cultural aspects of the video are fascinating too. Lots of intercultural understanding opportunities here. Remember the answers don’t have to be right or wrong, it is purely about encouraging suggestions that demonstrate an attempt to respectfully ponder and understand the differences between ourselves and others. The ability to put oneself in another’s shoes and regard other cultures with empathy is vital.  Differences exist all around us; even in our classrooms.
Questions could be about:
-is it a private or government school? How can you tell?
-why are the boys sitting towards the front of the class?
-Is there a gender balance?
-is the classroom similar or different to yours? why? how?
-why are the students yelling?
-why are some rhymes more popular than others? How can you tell?

 

Which ones do you think will work with your students? My favourites are the semangat and the Coca Cola rhymes! I particularly like how they clap it out so quickly!! While we can encourage students to clap this quickly, it is important that the spoken parts are drawn out SLOWLY!

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Then in the comments I found another suggestion:
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Do you have any hand capping ideas to add to this? Please add to the comments below including the age level you use them with!

I’ll finish up with some that I’ve used many times and with classes 3-7.

This one is one of several taught to us by our wonderful AIYEP visitors! We miss you all!

and finally, this one that I adapted from various sources to incorporate more high frequency vocabulary:

 

Replacing Student Books with Display Folders

Can you believe it that there is only one more week left of the Australian school year? At the end of every year, one of my routines is to ‘sort out the folders’, a statement that when made to classes guarantees a collective groan! I don’t know why because they enjoy looking back through the work they’ve done over the year as well as comparing aspects of front covers from previous years.

The student work folders have evolved into a chronological compilation of student work. The first couple of years I taught Indonesian, each student began the year with a blank lined book however by years end, I was always uncomfortable sending home a book that was not chockablock full of worksheets and other such evidence of traditional teaching.  I have never been one for worksheets or book work. After a couple of years of this, I did some research and decided to try using display folders with the idea that they can be reused year after year, thus I would only need to buy each student one display folder for their entire time at primary school. Display folders do have a downside though and the biggest one is the fragility of the spine. I have had several accidentally crushed by students walking around the room, not watching where they put their feet. In preparation for this, I keep a small pile of ‘seconds’ (folders from previous students) that are still in good condition and they are great for replacing or repairing,

The process for sorting student folders has developed over a number of years and improves with each tweak, in my opinion. The process used to begin with students completing their ‘front cover’ during the first lesson of the school year. Each year I created a new front cover in the Christmas holidays and it always includes the title ‘Bahasa Indonesia’, the year and any language necessary for the upcoming years’ aims. It was also minimalistic to ensure that it can be completed in a single 50 minute lesson, yet with plenty of scope for more creative students. The front cover is photocopied on coloured paper and each class teacher has a specific colour. Keeping the colour consistent over the years has been incredibly valuable. If a folder is left out, I can see immediately which class it belongs to and in following years, I can see too which teacher they had in previous years. On completion, the front cover is slotted into the front page of their display folder and remains there for that year. Initially, the front covers included an introduction to each term’s theme incorporating an English ‘shush & colour’ introductory activity as you can see below on the 2014 cover. From 2015, the front covers have reflected my shift to TCI; providing junior primary students with an opportunity to revise class expectations and middle primary students an opportunity to personalise the top ten Indonesian high frequency words from a ‘Kursi Luar Biasa’ perspective. 

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Showing both the progression from theme based front covers to TCI front covers and the difference between junior primary and middle/upper primary front covers.

 

A change I experimented with this year was the timing of the front cover. Previously it was completed in week 1, term 1, yet after a discussion with an amazing colleague about front covers, it was pointed out to me that this is actually the optimum time of the year where student engagement and participation is at its highest and a ‘shush & colour’ activity is a sheer waste of this window.  So, I trialled it this year in the final week of term 1; the first and longest term in the SA school calendar.  Week 11 is always a tough week and a ‘shush & colour’ activity was a godsend for me and my exhausted students. I can’t recommend this enough. It worked brilliantly. 

 

Fast forward now to the end of the school year…..

For various reasons, mostly the limited time I have with each class (50 mins per week on average), student work is rarely added immediately to student folders upon completion. I generally put it in a pile and then add it straight into each classes locker tray where it remains until the end of the school year. Last week (week 8; the penultimate week of the school year), I asked students to “Cari satu teman. Siapa ambil dua klipboard dan siapa ambil satu pensil pot?” (Find a friend. Who is getting two clipboards & who is getting the pencil pot?) I then distributed a self-evaluation sheet to each student. The self-evaluation sheet has also evolved over the years. At first it was just a back sheet to neatly package all the work completed through the year and all that was written on it was the calendar year & the year level completed by that student for that year. Imagine (or look at above pic); a blank A4 sheet with the following written in the centre in large text:

E.g.
2018
year 5

The first self-evaluation sheet encouraged students to reflect on their learning. The first self-evaluation questions asked specific questions yet many students had difficulty remembering details from earlier terms. My first questions were simply:

  • What did you learn this year that you feel was the most useful or interesting?
  • What was your favourite activity this year?

Very quickly I realised that it was too open, so I tweaked it to add prompts:

  • What are some of the structures you learned this year?

  • What were your favourite activities this year?
    *acting out class stories
    *reading activities
    *student jobs
    *kursi luar biasa
    *mengabsen
    *menyanyi
    *story based activities
    *writing your own stories
    *meeting Indonesian visitors
    * (blank for students to add their own dot point)

 

In 2017,  the following year, I left the entire process too late for many reasons and barely managed to have classes sorting out their folders let alone creating and incorporating an updated self-evaluation sheet.

This year, I edited the self-evaluation sheet once again to include the following 3 questions:
Junior Primary :
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A huge thank you to Annie Beach who has given me permission to add her gorgeous monkeys to this post!

 

Middle/Upper Primary:
Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 7.15.45 am

Considering the time of year and the energy levels for both me & my students, this version is straightforward and easy to explain. My explanations included making it very clear that this sheet required personal information and therefore there were no right or wrong answers because it was entirely about how you (the student) felt in Indonesian lessons. We read and clarified the statements together and students coloured in the face that best summed up their feeling for each statement.

While students were completing and adding final touches to the sheet (I suggested they add facial characteristics to their faces), I handed out the student folders. Students had to firstly remove the front cover and then while I am busy handing out their written work, students could choose to complete the front cover or any other work given to them. This is the first year I have incorporated this idea and it worked a treat as it kept the bulk of the students busy! 

Once all the work was distributed, students were instructed to put all their sheets together in a neat pile with the front cover on one side and the self-evaluation sheet on the other side, both facing outwards. This is then inserted into the last available empty envelope at the back of the folder. Each year’s pile of work is added this way and by the time students graduate after potentially 8 years of primary school, students have all their Indonesian work sorted chronologically at the back of their folder. Isn’t that cool?

I then travel around with a stapler and staple the sheets in to ensure they don’t fall out and go missing. This also gives me a chance to double check that the pages were sorted and inserted correctly. I insist that all the front covers face the back cover of the folder so that when sorting folders into the next years classes, it is easier to see student names. This part can be done later, but it is so much quicker to do while students are still in the room, especially with older students because they can re-sort and re-insert the pages themselves. While I am moving around with the stapler, I encourage any student whose folder is finished and in the locker tray to help classmates in difficulty. 

folders 2

Folders finished and ready for sorting into the new class configurations next year.

The final benefit of this system is that at the end of the year, when students are more focused on the fast approaching holidays & Christmas, ‘sorting the folders’ is a fabulous way to spend one of the last lessons of the years. It can be a noisy and chaotic lesson, but well worth it, I believe. 

Are you tempted to give folders a go? If so, my self-evaluation sheets are available free on teachers pay teachers. I will add my latest front covers soon too. Stay tuned….

 

Indonesian Folktale – Kancil dan Buaya

I have been focusing on this folktale this term with my year 1-3 classes. The first and last time I taught this story was back in 2015 and it has been fascinating looking back over my lesson plans from that time as it was the first year I taught using TCI.

I’ve been having so much fun with this story that I want to share with you a few of the pre story ideas I came up with for the story. Probably though, before I go any further, I should share with you the TCI version of the folktale that is based on the one that Annie, Sharon & I co-created in 2015.

Ada kancil.

Kancil tinggal di hutan.

 Di hutan ada sungai.

Kancil berjalan kaki ke sungai.

Kancil lapar.

Kancil lihat mangga dan mau seberang sungai.

Kancil tidak bisa berenang.

Kancil lihat buaya di sungai.

Buaya lapar.

Kancil berkata, “Halo buaya. Ada berapa buaya di sungai?”

Buaya berkata, “Kurang tahu.”

Kancil berkata, “Ayo buaya, antri. Saya mau menghitung.”

Buaya antri.

Kancil seberang sungai dan melompat dari buaya ke buaya dan menghitung.

 Satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima, enam, tujuh, delapan, sembilan, sepuluh!”

Kancil putar dan lihat buaya.

Kancil tertawa! Ha! Ha!

Buaya marah. Grr. Grr.

Kancil senang sekali makan mangga.

Kancil terlalu pandai.

Translation: There’s a mouse deer. The mouse deer lives in the forest. There is a river in the forest. Cancel walked to the river. Mousedeer is hungry. Mousedeer saw a mango and wanted to eat it. Mousedeer can’t swim. Mousedeer saw that there were crocodiles in the river. They are hungry. Mousedeer said, “Hallo crocodile. How many crocodiles are in the river?” The crocodiles said, “Don’t know!” Mousedeer said, “Line up so that I can count you.” The crocodiles lined up. Mousedeer jumped from crocodile to crocodile and counted. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Mousedeer turned and looked at the crocodiles. Mousedeer laughed. Ha! Ha! The crocodiles were cross. Grr. Grr.  Mousedeer happily ate the mango. Mousedeer is too clever!

Prestory telling:

My structures for this story have been:
Kancil- mousedeer
bisa – can/able to
seberang sungai – cross the river

Other structures that were covered through TPR & brain breaks include:
berenang – swim
tertawa – laugh
antri – line up

structures not covered; just translated whenever it was said;
kurang tahu – don’t know

 

To introduce the kancil/mouse-deer, I googled pics of them which I shared with the classes. There are also a few great youtube clips. This is one of my favourites:

 

Easily the best fun I had was introducing the structure ‘bisa’. My first lesson was a hoot thanks entirely to Ibu Anne. I added to my powerpoint, pictures of people doing things and then asked the class, “Siapa bisa….” ( Who can…?) When students put up their hand to indicate that they could do the said skill, I stated, “Bu Cathy mau lihat!” (I want to see it), Students happily got up and demo’d their skill in front of the class. The actions included playing violin, playing drums, gymnastics, singing (I gave them a microphone for this!), dancing (firstly waltz, secondly floss, thirdly line dancing) and then finished with flying! The flying was hilarious. In between 2 lines of  students, I placed a chair at one end and I stood at the other end with my arms out-stretched, asking, “Siapa bisa terbang ke Bu Cathy?” (Who can fly to Bu Cathy?) Everyones hand went up! Students  then one by one, volunteered to stand on the chair and fly to me! After each effort, I would sadly state, “Oh, tidak bisa terbang! (Oh, can’t fly!)” This was such a great lesson! The creativity of students to fly to me was awesome!
For the followup lesson focusing on ‘bisa’, I struck gold when I popped into the performing arts classroom and discovered receptions students learning how to do pair balances with our brilliant Performing Arts teacher, Natalie Bond. Here are a couple that I have used successfully:

https://twitter.com/chsinfantjunior/status/921033969570865152

http://year4sedgeberrow.blogspot.com/2013/09/enjoying-gymnastics.html

Google ‘simple pair balances’ and there are heaps! I have to add here though, that I was very fortunate in that Natalie did all the teaching of how to do each safely, how to work out who does what and that they each needed to take it in turns if one partner had to do a different action to the other.

My next target structure that I introduced was ‘seberang sungai’ (crossed the river). I intentionally added this into the story because it is a phrase that is so easily adaptable. It could become seberang {ruang} kelas (cross the class {room}) or even seberang jalan (cross the road). After much thought and research on the internet, I knew I wanted to have the students crossing a make believe river. Most ideas I found required equipment/props I didn’t have or would be bulky to pack up & store between lessons. I hit upon an easy yet successful substitute by fluke during one of the lessons. I noticed that as students stood up to move to one side of the ‘river’, there were cushions on the floor! Light bulb moment! I asked my star student (the one sitting on the Kursi Luar Biasa) to spread the cushions throughout the river and then told the remaining students they were all kancil who wanted to ‘seberang sungai’. I explained that they had to jump from cushion to cushion and if they fell in the river, they became a crocodile. (kancil melompat dari cushion ke cushion. Kancil jatuh di sungai, jadi (become) buaya di sungai). I add the English after words not yet acquired. This was so engaging, that students sat quite patiently waiting for their turn to seberang sungai! It also gave me heaps of opportunities to say ‘seberang sungai’ over and over again.

My follow up for ‘seberang sungai’ was to show a few pictures I found on the internet of Indonesian students crossing rivers to get to school which provided great opportunities for intercultural PQA.

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I also found a few pictures of crocodiles crossing rivers at Cahill Crossing in the NT and then cheekily finished up with this picture:

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Students were indignant when I circled ‘kancil seberang sungai’ and laughed when I explained that there is a make of car in Indonesia called a ‘kancil’!!

Look what I have also just found!! How cute! Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.32.11 pm.png

 

I enjoyed introducing  ‘berenang‘, ‘antri‘ & ‘tertawa‘ – via TPR & Brain Breaks.

‘Tertawa’ (Laugh) is in a great Indonesian song/rhyme that has been a huge hit with students of all ages. I found it on youtube originally but have adapted it significantly from a CI perspective. It goes like this:
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Here is my 2017 year 2/3 class demonstrating it:

 

Antri (line up):
For this, I incorporated ideas I learned while observing Annabelle Allen at iFLT 2019. I simply ask the class to ‘antri, tinggi sampai pendek’. (line up, tallest to shortest). This is very hard for students to do without talking, so once again, I used Annabelle Allen’s technique of stopping them and demonstrating ways in which they could achieve this using the Indonesian they know, then letting them go again. The first time I did this, I had to stop them several times to give kudos to those students who were using Indonesian – such a positive way of getting in those sneaky reps! Other ‘antri’ ideas include;
-hari ulang tahun (birthday months) – although I did have quite a few students who didn’t know theirs!
-mau punya buaya (wants to own a crocodile)
-nama, A sampai Z (by name, A to Z)
If you can think of any more – please add the ideas in the comments below. One I planned to do but abandoned because I anticipated too much English discussion was foot size. I think this would work better with older students!

 

Berenang (Swim) is easy to incorporate into TPR & mata-mata (spy). In terms 3 & 4 for mata-mata I have been trialling a variation of this to keep it novel. Students love this part of the lesson and woe betide if I forget it! It isn’t strictly great TCI as it is largely listen and repeat, but for junior primary aged students, I have found it a terrific way to begin my lessons and get them thinking in Indonesian and can also be an impressive demonstration for visitors of just how much these young’uns have acquired!
So this term, I have a slide in my powerpoint of the language we are focusing on currently. It looks like this:
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I limit the number of words so that it isn’t too overwhelming for the students with poor literacy. I then ask them each to choose one word for which they know the gesture. I remind them that they are not to speak, the class speaks. The mata-mata take it in turns to gesture and the class calls out the Indonesian word that it represents. Overall this has been a successful adaptation however there have been a few students, generally those with poor literacy skills, who misunderstand the instructions and make up their own gesture. Unfortunately this results in everyone calling out a random word, often in English! I am hoping that with lots of modelling and student demonstrations, this will gradually decrease!

Storytelling: 
I told the story towards the end of the term several times. The first time using pictures on a powerpoint and the second using student actors. The best thing about this story is that it easily accommodates an entire class of actors. I randomly choose the kancil using my class collection of paddle pop sticks, and the remaining characters in the story are acted out by whoever wants to. The remaining actor parts include:
hutan (forest)
sungai (river) &
buaya (crocodile).
I do not limit the. numbers of any of the above parts because any variation becomes an almost parallel story!! The first class acted out the story so well, I asked them to do it again the following lesson do that I could take photos of them to make a class book. The book looks amazing! My kancil was very expressive.

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It’s now the school holidays, and I am looking forward to planning fun activities based on this story for next term that will provide plenty of opportunities for assessment ready for the upcoming term 4 reports.

 

 

Kindness + Love = Annabelle Allen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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