Word Race Stories

I had thought I would ask the story early in the term just like I have done in the past and just have the unfamiliar vocabulary written in a list on the board so that when it came up, I could ‘point and pause’ it. At our last hub meeting, Sharon suggested introducing the word ‘bisa’ during the first lesson as a lead up to telling/asking the story in the next. However, with the late introduction of the gesture in week 1, I decided to spend the next lesson on ‘bisa’ as well to introduce and consolidate the target structure and gesture.

My second lesson then became the pre-story lesson with a mini focus on the vocabulary that would be used in the story. I scrolled through the marvellous Martina Bex’s blog, The Comprehensible Classroom, and found her suggested activity called Word Race Stories.

I created a word cloud with the vocabulary from the story:

word cloud bisa story

This activity starts with me calling out a word in English and they had to find its Indonesian equivalent. The competition between the students in their pairs was fierce yet everyone engaged with this activity. Such a fun way to review vocabulary. The first time I played this, it was chaotic as I followed Martina’s suggestions exactly. Sharon’s idea for students to purely point at the word with their finger was heaps more manageable than students trying to be the first to highlight it with their pen!

With my middle primary students, we finished off the activity by each pair looking at the words in the word cloud and then writing a sentence they thought could be in our new story. Yet with my year 6/7’s today, I tried for the first time the followup suggestion that Martina suggested. In their pairs, students had to think about the words in the word cloud and then write a sentence that could start a story using only words from the word cloud. Once everyone had finished their first sentence, they had to swap pages with another pair. Each pair then read the previous sentence and wrote a second sentence below that followed on from the first and used only words found in the word cloud. We then repeated this about 6 times. Each sheet was then returned to the original authors whose job was to edit the story and write the final sentence. I then read out as many stories as I could which everyone enjoyed! This was a very interesting exercise for several reasons even though I need to state that TPRS/TCI programs are about student receiving heaps and heaps of input and activities such as these should not be the backbone of our teaching.

Here are some of the stories that were produced:

story one

John dan Lucy punya hotdog.

Lucy berkata, ‘John, saya mau hotdog.”

John kasih Lucy dua hotdog. 

Lucy tidak mau dua hotdog.

Joh makan satu hotdog.

story two

Ada laki laki.

Nama laki laki Lucy.

Nama perempuan John.

John mau mencium.

Lucy tidak mau mencium

John kurang baik.

story three

Ada laki laki dan perempuan.

Nama laki laki John dan nama perempuan Lucy.

John dan Lucy makan dua hotdog.

Lucy berkata, “Saya mau minum.”

Lucy dan John mencium.

Overall the stories were written with correct word order and demonstrated a good grasp of all vocabulary, even mencium which we haven’t talked about yet. The most interesting point from all the stories was how little ‘bisa’ was used!! In total it was used twice! I wonder if this will change once we have told the story?

Now that we have had 2 lessons focused on bisa, I would like to organise my next lesson on ‘mencium’. The meaning of this word is a great opportunity to talk about intercultural language. While non Indonesians use the word ‘mencium’ to mean to kiss, its meaning is also to smell because that is how female friends traditionally ‘kiss’. You put your cheeks together on one side and sniff gently before repeating on the other side. Have you watched Indonesians smell babies too? Australians do it too, yet we don’t truly inhale the baby scent as an Indonesian does. There is a real skill to it, I believe!!

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