Observations of a TPRS Colleague

Teachers at my site are encouraged to observe colleagues. Working in a department of 1, there is no one at my school who I can observe meaningfully. Classroom teachers are given a morning for observation and an afternoon for discussion.

So with delight, I accompanied Ibu Anne to Victor Primary R-7,  via Kleinigs Hill,


to spend a day in Ibu Sharon’s classroom last Thursday for my yearly observation day. So brilliant watching a fellow TPRS practioner alongside another TPRS fellow practitioner! We sat side by side at the back of the room taking notes and then chatting about ideas as they came to us and then later during lesson breaks discussed our ideas with Sharon! I was in seventh heaven!!

Sharon began her day with a year 5/6 class. She called the roll by asking the students random Indonesian questions: Siapa nama, apa kabar, Selamat siang, etc to which they students had to reply/respond appropriately. Certainly kept them on their toes and it was inspiring to listen to the majority respond so smoothly.

Sharon is focusing on the Talks too Much story by Anna Matava this term with all her classes except Receptions. Sharon identified the unfamiliar vocabulary needed for the story and has spent the past 3 weeks of term focusing on them with JP’s and just this week with MP’s. After the students and Sharon had gone through them together she invited a student to come out the front and stand with their back to the projected words facing the class. Students and Sharon then one by one said a word from the list together with it’s gesture for the brave student to translate. Sharon did this activity with all classes and we were blown away with how solidly they have acquired them. It is such a great way to revise the structures and their gestures while checking on individual students and their progress. The students loved it.

With this class, Sharon trialled the Spelling Battleships pre story activity. The stuents had to choose 5 words from the list and hide them in their grid and then to find the words they had to say the coordinates in Indonesian. We all then circulated to observe and assist. We all discovered that most students were so engaged in the game, they weren’t using Indonesian and their was almost no repetition  of the target vocabulary.


So we brainstormed at recesss to create an improved version! Instead of letters across one axis, write in the top high frequency words. This could be the words that will appear in the story or words that classes have already acquired from previous stories. Then across the number axis, instead of the stock, standard numbers 1-12, include numbers that are appropriate for your classes. They could be in multiples of 10, just the teens, all the fifties etc. We then added the final rule, that each time students discover a letter,  they have to say a word from the list and the gesture to guess what it could be. What a fun way to get in repetitions!!

After recess, Sharon taught 2 junior primary classes. The first class was a year 1. Sharon had already introduced the first paragraph of the Talks Too Much story with the JP’s and for this lesson they revised the vocabulary (in exactly the same way that she did with the 5/6 class), reviewed the first paragraph and then introduced the 2nd paragraph. The first thing I noted during this lesson was the “Spotter”. Sharon chooses a student (alternately boy/girl) to stand out the front. Their job is to watch their classmates for the best gesturer. After 5-10 minutes, Sharon asks who they chose and that person gets a pandai (clever) sticker. I love this idea because it dovetails beautifully with my behaviour management strategy for my JP’s!

With all each class, Sharon demonstrated a different activity so that we could observe a variety of ideas in practise! How thoughtful!! I wish now to apologise to those who have observed my lessons and saw the same lessons over and over!! Anne and I really appreciated the variety of ideas we came home with! I will definitely incorporate this into my day when I am next observed!

The first activity Sharon demonstrated was Reverse Bingo. Each student was given a small rectangle of paper and they had to choose a blue word from the story which was up on the smartboard. (Red words were proper nouns – another cool idea!). When they had written their word down, they returned their pensil to the pot and then stood in front of Sharon. Sharon then read out random sentences from the story and students had to sit if their word was said. She then crossed out the sentences on the smartboard as she said them. The last standing student was the winner.


Students then swapped cards and the game was replayed with a different card! What a fun and active way to play bingo.

Sharon showed us her game “buzzer” with her next class. She put 2 buzzers on the bench out the front of the classroom under the smartboard, divided the class in half and then invited one student from each team to stand in front of their team buzzer. She then asked questions about the story, the vocabulary and the first team to push the buzzer and answer correctly got a point for the team. A student kept score on the mobile white board.  The level of competition between teams was intense!

The final class working on the Talks Too Much story was a year 4 and with this class, Sharon did a TPRS version of a findaword. Instead of students working independently on it, they had to listen to Sharon’s instructions which went like this: Cari bercakap cakap dan mewarnai merah. She then invited students to come out the front and with the magic wand, they put a line through the word on the findaword projected up on the smartboard.

The final class was a R/1 class and they have been working on the Sp0ngebob story.

Spongebob mau makan crabby patty.

Patrick punya crabby patty.

Patrick kasih Spongebob crabby patty.

Spongebob makan crabby patty.

The class read through the story with all students encouraged to do the gestures because the spotter was at work again! The activity for this class was dividing students into small groups who had to work together to arrange the mixed up words of the story into order. To finish the day, Sharon offered to demo “Dimana Bobo?” with this class.  She lay out on the floor different coloured leaves. Students then had to turn around while she hid a laminated monkey (Bobo) under one leaf. Students then vounteered to guess which leaf he was hiding under.

Again, the students loved this game. I loved that it gave repetitions of the question ‘dimana’ (where) as well as colours.

After school we stood around chatting & sharing more games with each other. Anne  had a few number games which we intend to use soon. One was writing a list of numbers on the board:

satu

dua

tiga

empat

lima

On the back of the board, ask the student to write the number if necessary and then ask the class to guess the number. If wrong, the student puts a cross next to the numbers which helps to record guesses.

Another number game that would fit in beautifully with the jacket story because it uses the structures terlalu besar, terlalu kecil dan pas!  Draw on the board a line. Each time a terlalu besar number is suggested, the student writes it above the line, each time a student guesses a number that is terlalu kecil, the number is written below the line and the right number is written on the line! A great way to record the numbers guessed!!

Thankyou so much Sharon for agreeing to host both myself and Ibu Anne last Thursday. It was truly brilliant having 3 TPRS colleagues brainstorming and discussing together best practice which will inevitably benefit not only us as teachers but ultimately our students too. I’ve learned some great ideas and I can’t wait to try them with my students!

I also must thank Ibu Anne for taking a week of her precious LSL to spend a week in SA with us all because from that decision, this awesome day eventuated! Ibu Anne’s visit though is another story!! Read about it on her blog.

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2 thoughts on “Observations of a TPRS Colleague

  1. Pingback: Skype session with Fleurieu Hub | Teaching Indonesian with TPRS

  2. Pingback: EAL students | Teaching Indonesian with TPRS

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