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!

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‘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 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.

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.28.33 pm.png

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

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.34.42 pm.png

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:
Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 11.24.01 am.png

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:
Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 11.45.19 am.png

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.

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.41.04 pm.png

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.

 

 

Erin Gotwal Part 1 & 2

Here I sit, planning my 2nd week of lessons for my junior primary classes. I must keep in mind that many students are preliterate, especially the brand new reception students (5 year olds)! I have been searching online for activities suitable for preliterate students and stumbled across these 2 inspiring videos.

While Erin’s students are definitely not new reception students, I love how she supports everything she says with text and/or illustrations. This reduces the cognitive load for her very young students by supporting comprehension. Ingenious.

Erin uses so many techniques that are perfect for R-2 students. Watch and enjoy!

https://app.schooltube.com/video/2a8bccee1acf1ede4018/Erin%20Gotwals%20Part%201

http://bit.ly/oZbYDO

PS. If the links don’t work for you, google Erin Gotwals part 1 & Erin Gotwals part 2.

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!! 

Tea With BVP with Blaine Ray

Yesterday, I headed into Adelaide for the first time in months and as usual for my hour long drive, I listened to a BVP podcast

However instead of listening to episode 53, I skipped ahead to episode 57; featuring Blaine Ray.  I have been looking forward to hearing this episode ever since I heard that he had been a special guest on Tea With BVP!

It was fantastic listening to Blaine Ray again and what he had to say totally resonated with me and helped to consolidate my understandings of TPRS! My only grumble is that Bill told Blaine Ray that he hasn’t spoken to anyone from Australia yet!! How could he possibly have forgotten my call in January when we spoke about Terry Waltz presenting at the inaugural Australian TPRS conference?😜

I loved listening to this episode so much, that I listened to it again later at home so I could take notes to consolidate what I learned and to share with you all. However my notes have run to several pages, so instead I will just pull out the major points that I believe are particularly worthwhile and encourage you to listen to the full podcast yourself to fill in the gaps!!

After talking generally about the steps leading to Blaine’s discovery of Stephen Krashen’s book, The Natural Approach and the light bulb moment Blaine had reading the sentence,

Language is acquired by comprehensible input.’,

Bill made a profound statement;

Teachers not using TCI are teaching language teachers out of existence.

Isn’t that a powerful statement? It truly resonates with me because evidence shows that this is exactly what’s happening. My students move firstly to a local high school where the numbers of students choosing to continue with Indonesian are not many.  They then may choose to enrol at one of our state universities where again students are generally not choosing to continue with languages beyond semesters 1 & 2. This information was provided by an Adelaide University French lecturer, John Sooby-West, at a recent training and development meeting earlier this year specifically for language teachers. He spoke frankly about the heavy load that his beginning French language students have which has lead to significant student drop out rates. Their language work load (one that at times is equivalent to the combined work load of all their other subjects) are so onerous and unappealing that drop out rates have led to language program cut backs and in some Australian universities, whole courses have been abolished. So sad to think that all this could easily be addressed through CI. I look forward to the day when Australian language students discover how language learning can be fun, engaging and considerably less onerous.

SLA Question: This weeks SLA question was about intake which according to Corder (1967)  is the amount of input/communication that learners attach form and meaning to. It’s important to realise that while CI and TPRS maximise intake, it is not always 100% comprehensible. Student intake increases with repetition and by minimising noise (going out of bounds). Bill added that you can’t throw input at learners and hope it sticks. Teachers must manage learning time to ensure that learners gain the maximum amount of intake.

A further point of Blaine’s is timely for me, even though I’ve heard it several times; “The goal of TPRS is not to finish anything!” Blaine clarifies that the biggest enemy for teachers is teacher type thinking. Teachers have been trained to cover the curriculum – to finish chapter 10 by the end of term 2. This encourages a focus on ticking curriculum checklists off rather than truly catering for student needs. We must think more like our learners who are saying to us, “I can’t get enough repetitions & I can’t hear that sentence too many times.” I personally am sooo guilty of this. I will write this into each of my lesson plans in big bold lettering!! It’s sad how finishing a story becomes the goal of a lesson rather than teaching to the eyes and checking in with the barometer student to measure if they have ‘soooo got it’. As Blaine rightly reminds me here; the goal of a lesson is not to finish a chapter, a book or a story. Our goal is teach a sentence by focusing on that sentence by circling and adding characters to give students maximum opportunity to experience the feeling that ‘I am sooo getting this’ which is much better than just, ‘I am getting this.’

When Bill asked Blaine about the relationship between CI and TPRS, I was keen to hear the answer. Blaine believes that the main difference is that TPRS teachers focus on one sentence so that students feel that ‘I’m soooo getting it’ unlike CI teachers who go from sentence to sentence with minimal repetition. TPRS is one of the ways teachers can provide their students with CI.  CI is successful for some students and its highly likely that for those students, they will be successful regardless of the method! TPRS, however, is successful for everybody because of the emphasis on the sentence. The teacher doesn’t have to worry about individual differences because the net is cast so wide and so broad that every learner type, visual, auditory, kinetic, etc is successful. TPRS really is one of the most broad based and student based approaches. Everybody is getting it and everyone is engaged!

Bill rightly then makes an important point regarding watching very experienced presenters demonstrating techniques & skills that appear easy. This happened to me after the January Fleurieu conference where we were incredibly fortunate to watch Terry Waltz demonstrating circling! While she spoke to us later about the dialogue going through her head during the demos, all we saw at the time was a flawless and effortless demonstration of circling which to this day, I have yet to replicate. We have to accept that we aren’t like Terry YET! (Acknowledgment – Carol Dwek)

Tea With BVP finished with Blaine asking Bill 2?great questions. The first was about timed writes which from a teachers perspective are invaluable because they provide teachers with an insight into student proficiency through a simple word count.

Did you know that by the end of:

-Spanish 1, students can do about 70-80 words in 10 minutes.

-Spanish 2 – students can do about 100 words in 10 minutes.

Bill then clarified that timed writes don’t violate the input hypothesis because the teacher is not using the timed writes to teach language; they are an assessment tool useful to demonstrate improving levels of language fluency to leaders, parents and students themselves.

The second question Blaine asked Bill was regarding ”forcing output” in reply to the recent criticism of Blaine & other TPRS teachers encouraging actors to answer teacher circling questions in complete sentences. According to Krashen’s theory, second language students should not be forced to produce language until they are ready to do so. Blaine ask Bill to clarify how asking student actors to speak during role playing (e.g. asking, “Are you a boy/ Am I a boy?”) fits in with Krashen’s hypothesis.  Blaine explained that he expects full sentence responses from his actors for 2 compelling reasons. Firstly, to provide fellow students with ‘I/you’ input and secondly to assist teachers recognise when more repetition/input is necessary should actor responses be hesitant thus easily matching the required quality and quantity of input students receive with what is required.

Bill’s answer to this question clarified that this practise is not ‘forced output’ as defined by Krashen. Firstly, it’s the difference between talking at students and talking with students. TPRS exemplifies teaching with students. Secondly, because the teacher is not forcing the student to create language; they are merely reproducing a heavily scaffolded sentence that is visually available to them either on a sheet of paper or on the board, it is not forced output. The important distinction to make is that asking actors to speak in complete sentences is not making students talk to learn, but rather students are talking to show teachers what they’ve learned. It is an assessment tool that informs their teacher about whether to move on or to work further on that sentence.

One final point I enjoyed and would like to add from this episode was:

Irony = novice TPRS teachers need TPRS input to comprehend TPRS! 

A picture is worth a thousand words. Feeling the method as a student is the key.

Wow TPRS Sounds Awesome But Where do I Start? 

Over the past 2 years that I’ve been using TPRS in my Indonesian classroom, I’ve used many different stories, most of which have been suggested by Catharina, our wonderful mentor. We are so fortunate to have been introduced to such a highly experienced Early Years TPRS mentor who has a wealth of story recommendations focusing on any given target structure! Any story recommended by Catharina is a guaranteed ‘home run’!

After all the workshops or the conference I attended or presented at, the inevitable question from interested participants was always; “Where do we start?” This was where Catharina was initially extremely helpful for us when we first began TPRS. Each time we reached a road block and became puzzled about our future direction, she would gently and positively guide and nudge us back on track with constructive feedback, sharing ideas and activities from her own classroom practise.

This post hopefully will give you an idea of where to start if you are at the beginning of your TPRS journey. I teach students from Reception (Prep/Transition) to year 7 and as most TPRS stories are written for middle years students, the cohort we initially had the greatest difficulty adapting TPRS to were the junior primary students, hence my focus in this post. However, don’t change the channel just yet, because first time learners are largely the same regardless of their age. The major difference, I’m sure you will all agree,  is their attention span! Everything else remains identical. 

My stories are in Indonesian (what a surpise) however they can easily be translated (back) into other languages using google translate. We received them in a variety of languages before translating them into Indonesian incorporating high frequency vocabulary where possible and eliminating any language we felt our students were not ready for or that did not work in Indonesian. Also, if the story is too simplified for your cohort, add detail and language to ensure it is more suitable yet remember to always keep it comprehensible with no more than 1 – 3 (unfamiliar) target structures. NO MORE THAN 3!

The first ever story we started with is Catharina’s adaptation of Jim Tripp’s, “Nice to Meet You.” This story is without doubt, in my humble opinion, the best place to begin a CI journey for either students for whom this is their first ever contact with the language you are teaching OR for a teacher who lacks confidence in his/her CI skills &/or language skills & is about to begin their first ever CI unit of work.

The original story:

Target structures: 

-meets

-My name is ______ 

-gets really nervous 

-nice to meet you 

Lindsey meets Channing Tatum. Lindsey says to him, “Hi, my name is Lindsey.” Channing Tatum says nervously, “Nice to meet you.” He gets more nervous and says, “My name is Luke Skywalker.” Lindsey says to him, “Nice to meet you Luke.”

The simplified adapted version:

Target Structures;

  • berkata,
  • nama saya,
  • siapa nama?

Other: di, dari, astaga (point & pause only)

Taylor Swift di MacDonald’s.

Bu Cathy di MacDonald’s

Tayor Swift berkata, “Nama saya Taylor Swift. Siapa nama?”

Bu Cathy berkata, “Nama saya Bu Cathy.”

Taylor Swift berkata,”Bu Cathy? Bu Cathy dari PEPS?”

Astaga!

Autograf!!

(Taylor Swift faints)

Suggested sightly more difficult version:

Kemarin, Taylor Swift di Macdonald’s.

Kemarin, Bu Cathy di Macdonald’s juga.

Tayor Swift berkata, “Nama saya Taylor Swift. Siapa nama?”

Bu Cathy berkata, “Nama saya Bu Cathy.”

Taylor Swift berkata,”Bu Cathy? Bu Cathy dari PEPS?”

Astaga!

Autograf!!

(Taylor Swift faints)

As you can see the original version is not suitable for young learners because there are significantly more than 3 target structures for students to acquire. I also like the way Catharina has tweaked it to make it more appealing. Adding a faint at the end is ingenious! I have story asked this story with staff too at a staff meeting! It is such an awesome story for beginner learners and appeals to all ages with its simple language and unexpected ending!

Once you have chosen your new story and identified the target structures, you are ready to start. At the conference, Terry began by story asking mini stories based on each of the target structures, focusing on one at a time. I personally prefer a technique I read about on Ben Slavic’s website called Visual Personalised Questions and Answers (VPQA).  This has been very engaging for my students and is also helpful for teachers new to circling and story asking because VPQA provides teachers with our own personal brain break!! It relieves some of the stress by giving a tiny breather in which we can regroup and get the TPRS juggling balls back in the air again. 

If the target structure is ‘berkata,’ I start by  creating a powerpoint. I begin with a google image search for quirky images that will appeal to my students and give me opportunities to ask my students personalised questions and answers. This upcoming week, my reception students will be revising Nama saya (my name is) & Siapa nama? (what’s your name?) while introducing ‘berkata’ (said/say/says). Using Ibu Sharon’s awesome idea, I have found pictures of characters familiar to my young students (Elsa, Pikachu, Donkey, Bob the Builder – to name a few) all of whom have a phrase that they are known for saying. E.g. Elsa berkata, “Let it go.” On each page is a picture of the character with his/her/its given phrase. This allows me to ask, “Siapa nama?” and then circle the name (Nama saya Elsa? Nama saya Bob the builder atau/or Nama saya Elsa?) I can then circle the target structure; “Dory berkata, ‘Keep on swimming” atau Elsa berkata, “Keep on swimming”? Because each picture is different, VPQA keeps them on the edge of their seat wondering what the next picture will be! While PQA & VPQA is technically personalised questions about the students, at this early stage, to keep the language in bounds it may be necessary to restrict the circling just for now to just ask about the characters on the screen. I would definitely not recommend using any new question words this early in their learning! The language used must, must, must be in bounds. To ask, “Pak Taylor berkata apa?” will immediately raise their affective filter and could potentially derail that lovely calm, comprehensible atmosphere you have created. If Pak Taylor does have a phrase that he is well known for, then ask, Pak Taylor berkata, “Let it go?” atau Pak Taylor berkata, “Howzat?” Ya, Pak Taylor berkata, “Howzat!” (Does Mr Taylor says, “Let it go” or does Mr Taylor say, “Howzat?”) Stick to the language they know!! It is too early (especially for very young learners) to toss them new and unfamiliar vocabulary. 

Once I feel that students have  largely acquired the target structures, I move to story asking. I don’t worry too much if there are students who have not fully acquired the target structures yet for several reasons. Firstly we will hit them (oops – the target structures!) repeatedly during the story asking process and secondly most target structures will be repeated over and over in future stories. This would have to be the single best factor of TPRS and is why it triumphs over the way I used to teach. The structures we target now are specifically chosen for communication in a classroom context (and hopefully useful on their next family holiday to Bali) and thus will be used often unlike previously where from term to term, my thematic vocabulary was rarely revisited.
The above stories are the skeleton and all the words underlined are the words you can ask for student input depending on their age. Usually I ask for an ‘aktor’  and then ask the class, “Laki laki atau perempuan?” before asking, “Siapa nama?” However for my young (brand new to school)  reception students, I have planned to tell their first ever  story to them using cut out pictures with magnets on the back moving them around on my mobile white board. Then, once they are more familiar with me and my teaching style, I will ask for their input — usually they’ll be ready by the next story!

When planning for young students, the best advice I ever received was to plan activities so that the students move up, down, up, down throughout the lesson. The younger they are, the more frequently the teacher changes the activity. Thus, once the story has been asked (a ‘down’ activity), it is time for the students to stand up and do an ‘up’ activity. This can either be a brain break, TPR or could be an activity based on the story. My favourite activity post story asking is called ‘all the worlds a stage”. Students get into pairs and duduk (sit). I then explain (in English for now but soon will be in Indonesian) that one of them is Pak Hudson (our school principal) and one of them is Superman (the 2 characters in our story). I will then say, “Superman berdiri. Superman duduk. Pak Hudson berdiri. Pak Hudson duduk.” This incorporates TPR and also ensures that each pair has agreed on who is each character. At this point there will inevitably be a pair who both want to be the same character. At this point I promise the whole class that we will be doing this activity twice and the second time they will be changing characters. I then allocate characters to the pair who need help, reassuring the one who compromised, their turn is coming next! Depending on their level of compliance with my decision, I distract them totally by choosing them to be my demo pair which is usually a highly successful tactic! I then say the first  line from the story and ask them to act it out, giving them pandai points for great acting, for only acting out what I said and for not going ahead or adding in their own details. All very important information that needs to be clarified right from the beginning. If my demo pair demonstrated that they understood the task, I invite all the Superman’s and Pak Hudson’s to berdiri and then we begin again right from the beginning. It will probably be chaotic the first time we do this activity, but it is well worth persevering because later in the year with practise it becomes smoother and is such an excellent ‘up’ activity while getting in heaps of repetitions of the story and with comprehension checks!

One final note: If you absolutely need to say a word students have yet to acquire, say it in English for this first story. This is how I tackle the ‘other’ word list. I need these words for the story but they are not target structures. The first time I story ask, I say the ‘other’ words in English. Then slowly introduce them in Indonesian, quickly followed by a comprehension check. If the comprehension check is met with blank confused looks, I know immediately they are not ready for it yet – the students need more repetitions of the story – and I’ll try again later. 

This is the very first TPRS story I started with and initially taught it to all year levels. It worked with all my classes. Now, though, I just use it with my reception classes. I still remain totally convinced that it is the best story to start with, regardless of the age of the students.

Do you have a favourite story you begin with? I’d love to hear it. Feel free to write it below in the comments!