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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Sound Effects Theatre

Today I tried one of the many idea’s I’ve read about on Keith Toda’s blog that I’d really love to share because it was so successful and so engaging.

Firstly I asked the class to ‘cari teman’ (find a partner/friend) and then gave each pair a copy of the current class created story. Here is the class co-created story that I used with the year 3/4 class in the video below:

Anak Nakal di Kelas 3/4 Turley

Kelas 3/4 ke Bahasa Indonesia.
Ada satu laki-laki di kelas 3/4.
Nama laki-laki Bob.
Bob nakal.
Bu Cathy berkata, “Kelas 3/4 duduk.”
Kelas 3/4 pandai dengar dan duduk.
Bob nakal. Bob tidak duduk. Bob berdansa chicken dance.
Bu Cathy heran.
Bu Cathy berkata, “Astaga!” dan menangis.

 Bu Cathy berkata, “Kelas 3/4 ambil kertas dan melipat.”
Kelas 3/4 pandai. Kelas 3/4 duduk dan ambil kertas dan melipat.
Bob nakal.
Bob tidak ambil kertas dan melipat.
Bob ambil bola dan melempar ke Bu Cathy.
Bu Cathy heran.
Bu Cathy berkata, “Astaga!” dan menangis.

Bu Cathy berkata, “Kelas 3/4 diam dan dengar Bu Cathy.”
Kelas pandai. Kelas diam dan dengar Bu Cathy.
Bob nakal.
Bob tidak diam. Bob tidak dengar Bu Cathy.
Bob berdiri di kursi dan menyanyi, “Let it Go!”
Bu Cathy heran.
Bu Cathy berkata, “Astaga!” dan menangis.

Bu Turley ke kelas Bahasa Indonesia.
Bu Turley lihat Bu Cathy menangis!
Bu Turley lihat kelas duduk dan diam.
Bu Turley lihat Bob berdiri di kursi dan menyanyi,“Let it Go!”
Bu Turley heran!
Bu Turley berkata, “Astaga! Bob nakal. Ayo Bob!
Bu Turley ambil noodle.
Bu Turley pukul Bob lima kali!

 Kelas menghitung satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima bersama-sama!

With their partner, they read through the story and together agreed on a word that they both felt comfortable doing a sound effect and or an O.T.T. short, 3 second action. I next asked the pairs to ‘duduk di lingkaran’ (sit in a circle) and I went around the circle inviting each pair to tell us the word they had chosen and the action/gesture they had planned to do. This worked out well for several reasons. Firstly it gave me a heads-up on the words I would need to pause after (to allow the pair to do their sound effect/action) and to my amazement, there was only one double up on a word, which actually was not a problem! Just seemed to ramp it up even further!! Secondly it gave me an opportunity to coach the pairs if their sound effect/action was either inappropriate or based on an incorrect understanding of the meaning. The words chosen by this class were Bob, menangis, berdansa, menyanyi, pukul, nakal, Astaga, kelas 3/4 and Bu Cathy; all terrific words.

The variety of sound effects was brilliant. The ‘berdansa’ (dance) pair jumped up and each danced through the circle, one waltzed alone and the other disco danced. The ‘menangis’ (cry) pair jumped up and cried loudly. The ‘duduk’ (sit) pair jumped up and then flopped down crossed legged. The diam (quiet) pair stood up and loudly shushed. The Astaga (OMG) team jumped up with hands on cheeks loudly saying Astaga! The Bu Cathy pair, jumped up together, grabbed my arm and swung me around in a circle  This one was hilarious because it was obvious at one point during the retelling of the story that I became quite dizzy!

I began by reading the story out aloud, pausing after each of the selected words to allow time for each pair to jump up and do their sound effect.

It went brilliantly and I can’t recommend this activity enough. It was so much fun and we all just laughed and laughed.

For the first time doing this activity, it worked very well having the students in pairs, because this gave the quieter students a greater level of confidence in performing in front of their peers. With all the classes, this activity was equally popular and I had one class pleading to do it again even though there were just 10 minutes left in the lesson!

Upon reflection, there are several ways in which this could be modified further to both increase it’s value to language learning and also to increase the engagement (is that even possible??). Next time I will give students the option to work in pairs or individually and I will also request that students say their word before doing the sound effect.

This game is a perfect activity for the end of the term when we are all tired and it is also perfect because it requires little more preparation than providing students with a copy of the story.

Here is just a tiny snippet of one of the lessons to give you an idea of how it ran:

Compelling Pet Videos

I have had so much fun since Ibu Anne introduced me to the My Talking Pet app. Firstly I created a video using the orangutan and the tiger picture provided within the app and showed it to my junior primary classes. It became such a hit that other classes asked to see it as well.

 

I then followed Ibu Anne’s lead and invited students to email me a photo of their pet and from the steady incoming emails, I have created many more videos. I love creating these videos because I can get repetitions of a variety of language structures including those  covered in Kursi Luar Biasa (special person interviews). My scripts include a selection of the following language:
-a hello to both the students and a special hello to the owner of the pet,
– I am a (rabbit, dog, cat etc)
-My name is
-I am (students name)’s (rabbit, cat, dog etc)
-(Students name) is in year 1,2,3,4 etc
-I like to eat (cognate e.g. hotdog, hamburger – something really crazy)
-I am clever at singing, dancing.
-Goodbye

The videos are extremely compelling for all year levels. I even showed one to a year 9 student who dropped in to see me yesterday and she too was absorbed. You just can’t help smiling while watching animals singing or talking in Indonesian!!

I began by purely creating speaking videos and have slowly ramped them up so they don’t become boring and repetitive. The ways in which the videos can be ramped up include adding headwear, facial hair or eyewear. Unfortunately beards, moustaches, glasses, eye patches, monocles and necklaces are not cognates. However the variety of hats has been perfect for reps of ‘pakai topi’ (wears a hat) & noun adjective word order e.g. topi besar/kecil (large/small hat).

I then began investigating other talking photo apps to add another dimension and discovered one more that also include singing and dancing options. Morfo provides the option of 3 dances – rock, disco & toon as well as various costume options. Generally the costume options have not been that successful with the pet owners as they tend to obscure the majority of the animal and are quite dark/gothic looking. However the dancing has been a huge hit. Here is my dancing cat video.

 

Yesterday I did some more research and trialled every talking photo app I could find on iTunes. The next best one that I have discovered and can recommend is called Talking Photos. I love that this app also includes 2 singing options that are simply hilarious. So the latest photos sent to me by students, have been made into a video incorporating the sentence; “Saya pandai menyanyi.” (I am clever at singing). It is sure to be a hit also. Here is a clip I created yesterday with the la, la, la option!

Because the free version of the Talking Photos app has a time limitation, for the cat video above, I created two videos and then combined them into one using iMovie!

This idea then lead to creating a talking video using a hand drawn character and his biodata presented to me on Wednesday by Mani, a year 3/4 student. This is what he presented me with:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and here is what I created from the above information! I hope Mani likes it!

 

If you like this idea and would like to see more of my pet videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel and you will get a notification each time I upload a new video!

 

 

Observing Ibu Anne’s Circus

I am here in Victoria this Easter enjoying a well earned break with Ibu Anne. Today was the last day of term here (SA has 2 more weeks) and I’ve taken heaps of notes while observing her lessons. If ever you are in Victoria and want to see TCI in a junior primary setting, I highly recommend a visit to her school. Her students impressed me constantly with their confident comprehension of Indonesian and at times it was hard to believe that her students are Prep’s – Year 3!

Here are my notes for each year level:

Prep Classes:-

With her Prep classes, Anne is trialling a system whereby each step of her lesson is prompted via a powerpoint page. I really liked how this worked. The first page incorporates an app Anne has discovered that allows you to add voice to a photo of a dog. Anne began her Prep classes with either a photo of her dog Kasper or a student’s dog singing her welcome song! The classes absolutely loved singing along with the dogs!

The second page was calling the roll and with this year level, Anne simply encouraged them to answer with ‘ada’ & ‘tidak ada’ (here/not here).  No wonder the students at her school have acquired ‘ada/ tidak ada’ so solidly! She calls the roll using class dojo, marking the absences immediately and at the end, asks, “Berapa tidak ada?” (how many students are away?) which provided her with an excellent opportunity for students to count together with her!!

After the roll, Anne turned off the smart board to focus on the retelling the harimau (tiger) & Elsa story. She began this with ‘mata-mata’ (spy), using the 2 pandai (clever) students (1 laki-laki/boy & 1 perempuan/girl) selected during the previous lesson and invited them out to the front with her to choose two new pandai students while Ibu Anne revisited all the structures from the current story. I love using ‘mata-mata’ with preliterate students as it is a terrific brain break on one hand and a useful way to observe & assess levels of acquisition. Once or twice I have assumed a class was familiar with a structure only to discover during mata-mata, they definitely hadn’t!

After mata-mata, Anne then used colourful magnetic pictures attached to the smart board to retell the story, Elsa dan Harimau that the students found highly engaging. I don’t think we utilise puppetry enough anymore! It is novel for youngsters today! She then retold the story using the magnetic pictures, encouraging the students to gesture and speak with her.  fullsizeoutput_141c.jpegNext, Ibu Anne asked for two actors to come out and help her retell the story once more. The tiger mask was a huge hit and enabled her to have several pairs act out the story, one after the other! I love the “Aduh” (Oh no!) at the end of the story because it allow the entire class to join in the finale. Ibu Anne finished by showing her video of this story on her Youtube channel which again was the same story presented slightly differently which maintained student interest! Wow – how many reps of the story did Ibu Anne manage? Amazing.

As the class had been sitting for quite a while by this time, Ibu Anne did the following brain break: she played a familiar Indonesian children’s song and asked the students to walk around the room while it played.  When the music stopped, she asked her students to freeze and listen to her say one of the following words from the story: harimau, pohon or rumah. If she said rumah (house), students had to stand and make a triangle roof over their heads with their arms, if Anne said harimau (tiger), they had to drop to their hands and knees and if she said pohon (tree), they had to stand up tall with their arms out, hanging like branches. I really enjoyed the added bonus of having an Indonesian song incorporated into this brain break because it allowed a break between the actions!

The target structure Anne revisited next with her Prep classes was “Ada apa?” (What is there?) She had a calico bag full of  objects (all cognates). She pulled each one out, one by one, stating ada truk (there is a truck), ada burger (there is a burger), ada es krim(there is an ice cream) etc, before setting each down on a table where the students could see the display. Each item provided a perfect opportunity for reps of ‘ada’ (there is)! Once the bag was empty, the class and Ibu Anne counted the total number of props together – altogether there were 15. Ibu Anne then put the items back in the bag and asked the class again, “Ada apa?” to see if they could remember them all.  Each time, a student correctly remembered an item, she drew a picture of their answer up on the board, circling each while incorporating ‘ada’, counting the total after each correct suggestion. The students thoroughly enjoyed counting the drawings together.

Ibu Anne then handed out a worksheet with pictures of a variety of cognates and students had to listen and circle only the ones that Ibu Anne pulled out of the bag. Students then coloured all the pictures that were circled. Ibu Anne recommends using pulling out exactly the same objects for each class to make marking easier.IMG_6075.JPG

Kelas 1

All year one classes are held in the Indonesian room. Class teachers bring their students to the room where Ibu Anne greets each student as they enter her room. Students then walk to the front of the room and sit quietly waiting for her to finish. Ibu Anne follows the last student into the room and with this class, she picked up her ukulele and began playing it. This immediately and beautifully focused the students however as the ukulele was out of tune, Ibu Anne quickly and surreptitiously tried to tune it but the students collapsed about with laughter. Even to their ears, the ukulele sounded strange. Once tuned, the ‘duduk diam dengar’ (sit down, be quiet, listen) song sounded gorgeous on the ukulele. It was a highly compelling way to begin a class.

Roll
I loved how Ibu Anne sings the Selamat siang song (see kelas 2 observations for details) with her older students. It begins with the usual Selamat siang, Apa kabar, baik, baik saja, lumayan, kurang baik and then included lapar sekali, sedih sekali, marah sekali. The success of this song was evident during the roll call as many students used this language.

After mata mata, Ibu Anne worked on the song, Aku Seorang Kapiten, for an upcoming competition for Victorian students. This competition isn’t compulsory for her students, but hopefully many will bravely try out and blow everyone away with their proficiency. I can’t remember what else students have to do, but if you are interested in learning more about it, ask on one of the Facebook pages!

Kursi luar biasa
Ibu Anne has created a Kursi Luar Biasa powerpoint for each year level, each one building on the language they have acquired from the previous year level. All slides provide many opportunities for the student being interviewed to shine. Students can either tell the truth when answering questions such as:
Tinggal dimana? (Where do you live?)
suka makan apa? (What do you like to eat?)
Mau apa? (What do you want?)
Siapa nama? (What is your name?)
Apa kabar? (How are you feeling?)
Punya binatang apa? (What animals {pets} do you own?)
On each page, Anne has pictures that incorporate everything a student of that age would relate to. I learned about LOL dolls, magnetic slime, 3D pens just to name a few! Also on the pages were a few quirky pictures to keep it compelling.

Brainbreak
This year level also enjoyed writing their names with their right and left hand, left/right siku (elbow), hidung (nose) & (pusar) belly button. Lots of laughter.

StoryTelling
Ibu Anne showed a PowerPoint that she had made called, “Buaya Suka Makan Donut” (The Crocodile Likes to Eat Donuts). The ingenious part of this powerpoint were the video clips embedded into each page of the naughty buaya snatching donuts from various staff members including the principal.  The students loved watching the expressions on the faces of the principal & their teachers and requested watching it again and again! I highly recommend copying her idea!!

Assessment
Anne had planned an assessment task based on this great story, but with a school wide subway lunch delivery, the class had to return to their room early. This is the task Ibu Anne had planned to do: Anne had drawn up a grid and in each box was a different pic from the Buaya (crocodile) story. Students would need to look at each one of the pics which were in no order. To demonstrate that students could retell the story in the correct order, they needed to write a number in the box by each drawing. IMG_6227.jpg

Kelas 2:-
Anne began her lesson with the Selamat Siang song that included panas sekali, capai sekali, dingin sekali, marah sekali, sakit sekali before finishing with sampai jumpa.

Here is the song – (sing to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Selamat siang
Apa Kabar
baik baik saja
lumayan
kurang baik
senang sekali
marah sekali
sakit sekali
dingin sekali
panas sekali
terima kasih/sampai jumpa

English translation: 
Good day
How are you?
Just fine
ok
not so good
very happy
very cross
very unwell/sick
very hot
thank you/goodbye

Then when Anne called the roll, the students confidently answered with a variety of answers fluently. When discovering that a student was absent, she would ask the class, “kenapa?” (Why?) If students said, family holiday, she would ask, “Liburan?” (Holiday?) If they again answered “Yes/Ya”, she would walk over to the dimana poster and point and pause before asking ‘Di mana?” (Where?) I loved this as it provided the perfect opportunity to get reps on ‘dimana’ as well as saying the names of various countries in Indonesian. It was interesting to hear the number of students who were currently holidaying in India, Queensland, Malaysia and Japan. Totally represents the multicultural population at Annes school!

Mata-Mata
It was great to see Sharon’s ‘mata-mata’ happening in Victoria slightly differently to the way Sharon and I do it (and we both do it slightly differently as well!) My students enjoy mata-mata (spy – along the lines of the Indonesian police) and it was great to see a way to keep doing it yet with a twist. Anne uses the 2 winners from the previous lesson to be the next mata-mata; a boy and a girl. The girl must choose a boy and the boy must choose a girl. I am definitely going to incorporate this into my next lesson plan. Currently my students choose their friends which are generally the same gender – so this idea would encourage them be more selective! I also loved the way Anne asked the mata-mata, “Ada laki laki/perempuan pandai? Siapa nama?” (Was there a clever boy/girl? What is their name?) Great way to sneak in a “siapa nama” rep!

Anne did a brilliant brain break with this class which she acquired from a colleague, Jodie Underwood.  All the students stood up and followed Anne’s instructions:
Tulis nama pakai tangan kanan (Write your name with your right hand)
Tulis nama pakai tangan kiri (Write your name with your left hand)
Tulis nama pakai siku kanan (Write your name with your right elbow)
Tulis nama pakai siku kiri (Write your name with your left elbow)
Tulis nama pakai hidung (Write your name with your nose)
Tulis nama pakai pusar (belly button) (Write your name with your belly button)
By the end of it, everyone was in fits of giggles and totally relaxed. It was so lovely.

Kursi Luar Biasa (The Awesome Chair)
Anne has made up power-points for each year level; each incorporating the language she needs reps with. The questions circle suka (like), nama (name), apa kabar (how are you), mau (want) and have really significantly helped her students to acquire this vocabulary. Anne has painted a chair in brilliant eye catching colours and patterns which a student sits on to answer Anne’s personalised questions.
After asking the person in the kursi luar biasa the questions, Anne then invites the other students to say one thing that they heard about that person. This is such a great opportunity for the 4%ers to shine and also to measure student acquisition. Anne accepts answers both in Indonesian and English, praising both with the English restated in Indonesian. She then adds tallies to the kurang pandai/pandai (clever/not so clever) points; 2 points for Indonesian and one for English. Separately she notes who spoke in Indonesian correctly and after the  lesson, takes a photo of her notes to add to her assessment checklists.

StoryTelling
After Kursi Luar Biasa, Anne showed the class a powerpoint she’d made about Pak Eh-Eh (Mr Pooh). The story itself was very short – perfect for this age group – and had them 100% engaged! In Anne’s story, Pak Eh-Eh went to the Western Treatment Plant (local) searching for a friend. I loved how Anne explained simply what happens at the plant while getting heaps of reps of eh-eh! It was a great story to introduce the structures teman (friend) & banyak (many)!

Anne finished this lesson by showing the class her YouTube channel (Indonesian Fun For Juniors) and encouraging students to watch the Pak Eh-Eh video and others over the holidays.

Kelas 3 –

Ibu Anne started her year 3’s with a powerpoint that had her dog, Kasper, singing her welcome song (see kelas 2 for lyrics) to the class. Her students went into raptures, but not as much as Ibu Anne did when one student shared that she too has a schnauzer – a mini salt & pepper schnauzer named Abbie. Ibu Anne then dug deep to re-channel her thoughts away from Abbie and back to the lesson! (If you ever want to see this – just casually drop the word schnauzer into your conversation with Ibu Anne and watch the dreamy transformation appear on her face!)
Ibu Anne’s roll calling procedure differs slightly for her year 3 students. Whereas with her younger students, Ibu Anne calls the roll; her year 3 students take it in turns to call the roll. I love how they use a long pointer with a pointy finger on the end to point to the names as they work through the names on class dojo. I also loved how when the student reached his/her name, the class together asked the student, ‘Apa kabar’!

The brain break Anne then did was the “buka tutup” (open/closesong. It’s super awesome observing students in another school having fun with songs my students also enjoy!

Free Write Assessment Task
I was really pleased Ibu Anne included a demo of how she does free writes with her students. My students struggle with free writes and I also struggle with presenting them in ways that don’t instantly raise up their affective filters.
Ibu Anne began by having the class watch the Buaya Makan Banyak Donut video. She then asked the students to brainstorm for words from the story and wrote them up on the board with cute pics to support comprehension. The students found this incredibly helpful for many reasons. A student I stood behind was not a risk taker with her spelling and while happy to write, baulked at writing words if she wasn’t 100% confident with the spelling! Other students appreciated it because the words became writing prompts for parts of the story they had overlooked!
Anne next showed the class her free write master sheet and explained how to use it;  write one word per line and not to miss any lines as this helps when counting the total number of words.
She further added that students were to use only the words that are in their brain; they were not allowed to ask for the translations of any unknown words and that everyone will start writing at the same time and to keep writing until the timer goes off. If students finish the retelling, they could start writing a new story or make up their own sentences using the words in the board.
Ibu Anne next explained that there are different ways to write free writes:
Level 1 – put the brainstormed words into sentences.
Level 2- retell the story.
Level 3 – retell the story with added original ideas.

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Sharing
After 10 minutes of quiet writing, Ibu Anne stopped the class and invited them all to “Duduk di lingkaran’ (sit in a circle). Students brought their writing to the floor where they sat in a sharing circle and Ibu Anne explained the ‘Ripple Effect’ ( Robyn Cotter). She invited students to each read one of their sentences out aloud into the silence. She further clarified that if it’s quiet, just start reading. Do not speak if someone else is talking and finally, you can only read once.
This was absolutely beautiful. Students took it in turns to read and listened respectfully to each other. They stopped if they heard someone speaking at the same time and waited for the next silence. Next Ibu Anne encouraged those people who hadn’t had a go yet. She explained to the others who were keen to read a 2nd sentence, that there were still people in the class who had yet to read and then encouraged the others who had not read yet to have a go. It was unbelievable the number of quiet ones who were empowered to share into the respectful silence. One of the last sentences shared was about their class teacher made us all laugh! Buaya makan Bu Kip (The crocodile ate Mrs Kip)!

As the free writes were collected, students got quite restless so Ibu Anne silently held up a sign that said: ‘please show me that you are ready to listen’. Students were instantly intrigued and focused on reading the message. They then re-settled very quickly. A terrific quiet way from ( Robyn Cotter) to engage and refocus literate students! I highly recommend it!

 

Thank you so much Ibu Anne for encouraging me to visit your school so that I could observe you once again. I’m especially grateful considering that it was the last day of term 1 for you and that you were dead on your feet. Considering all of this, I was blown away with the high level of student engagement in all year levels!  Not bad (actually it was impressive) for the last day of term 1. I love how you have incorporated student interests into Kursi Luar Biasa e.g. current popular toys, running competitions and popular hobbies e.g. naik skuter! The slide in your kursi luar biasa PowerPoint asking the awesome student if they can run fast (bisa berlari cepat?) and then challenging them to a race at the front of the classroom in front of their classmates – (allowing them to win) is ingenious!!
I learned so much from this brief visit; from both the teaching observations and from our many conversations where we shared and built on our ideas. I enjoyed implementing many of the above ideas into my teaching and it gave me the energy to get through the last 2 weeks of our term 1.

Terima kasih dan salam hangat,

Bu Cathy

PS; Acknowledgement to Ibu Anne for the title of this post!!

 

 

 

Week One Brain Breaks

At our school, specialist teachers combine to present a week one program. You can read more about it here. This will be the third year that we have done this program together and it’s such a great fun way to begin the year. The specialist areas at our school this year are Indonesian, Performing Arts & PE and also joining us next week will be our amazing counsellor, Karen, and librarian, Ruth.

The program runs over 3 days and each day is based around one of our 3 school values of confidence, respect & community. Again we will be based in the gym and in each lesson time, we will have between 3 – 5 classes to work with. Most lessons are singles, but we also have a few doubles and over the 3 days,  most classes will join us for 3 lessons. Consequently we have to have a few ideas up our sleeves each day that both fit the overriding theme for the day & are suitable for a mixed R-7 group of students.

I have been scouring YouTube this morning searching for activities that tick all the boxes and in doing so discovered the Ultimate Camp Resource.  What an amazing collection of fun activities! I have created a week one folder on my YouTube channel for activities that I think will be great for our week one specialist teachers program but they will also be super brilliant for tweaking to become awesome brain breaks too! Here are a few to show you what I mean!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I particularly love the Whoosh Game because the language could be tweaked so easily to:
Whoosh = kasih (give)
Whoa = tidak mau
Boing = melompat
Zap = zap (I believe strongly that only familiar words should be used & some fun words still incorporated!)
Freak out = Gila
Super freak out = Gila sekali

Intercultural Understanding & TCI/TPRS

After writing the post about the South Australian Education Minister’s visit to my Indonesian language classroom, I sent both the minister, Susan Close, and the Premier, Jay Weatherill, a link to the post. Last month we received the following email from the DECD Chief Executive, Rick Persse, in a reply on behalf of Jay Weatherill.

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Isn’t it wonderful that as a direct result of us attending the Country Cabinet, all levels of DECD are now familiar with TPRS pedagogy! How exciting is that?

We decided to concentrate on his concern that TPRS does not completely address the intercultural understanding aspect of the Understanding strand within the Australian Curriculum: Indonesian. We began by taking up his offer to contact Maribel Coffey, which we did both by phone and email. She promptly replied to our email with a kind offer to put us in contact with Gianna DeLeo and Rosa Garcia, 2 Languages Project Officers from her team.

Gianna and Rosa readily agreed to come out and spend a day with us to help us identify the intercultural learning gaps we may have and then provide practical strategies that will help us improve our teaching practise in this regard.

In preparation for their visit, both Gianna and Rosa researched TPRS which we truly appreciated. They were familiar with Stephen Krashen; every TCI teacher’s hero. Having an understanding of Krashen’s hypotheses and TCI meant that Gianna & Rosa could focus specifically on intercultural understanding in a TCI context without needing a TCI 101 along the way.

We arranged that Gianna & Rosa would visit us each in turn to observe us teaching a lesson, finishing up at Victor R-7 where we would all gather to discuss their observations and feedback.

For my lesson, I demonstrated ‘Kursi Luar Biasa’ (KLB) – largely because Annie & Sharon encouraged me to do so – but also because it is one of the most engaging ways I know to cover many of the curriculum content descriptors. Because KLB involves asking students personal questions, it provides students with a platform to talk about themselves, either truthfully or not! I actually prefer it when students lie (suggest bizarre answers) because it ramps up the engagement a hundred percent and makes it totally compelling!

Thanks to the wonderful sharing community that TCI is, I have now incorporated a PowerPoint into my KLB lessons due to Ibu Anne‘s generosity. Last term I visited her in Victoria to observe her teaching (and co-present at the Victorian Language Teachers Association Conference) and was blown away with how much more compelling her KLB lessons were with the written and pictorial visuals. Here is a page from my powerpoint to give you an idea:

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Overall I was satisfied with the way in which I demonstrated how I incorporate intercultural understandings into my teaching. For example, the snake and dog pic in the above slide are included because they are 2 animals most of our Indonesian visitors have been significantly frightened of!

After the last lesson, I packed up my room quickly and raced over to Victor R-7 where everyone was already waiting for the conversation to begin.

Firstly Gianna & Rosa began by stating how impressed they are with the teaching that they had observed in our classrooms. They used adjectives like ‘exemplary’!! They both too commented on the high levels of student engagement in our rooms and the large amount of spontaneous Indonesian spoken by our students in class!

We then began to deconstruct ‘intercultural understanding’ using examples that Rosa & Gianna had observed in our classrooms throughout the day.  They firstly congratulated us on how well we already integrate intercultural understanding into our TCI lessons and then offered us advice on an additional aspect that if incorporated, would elevate our practise to an even higher level.

Rosa handed us each a copy of the Investigating Pedagogies for Language-and-Culture Learning (see link below) which aims to outline the relationship between the TeFL Framework, ACARA: Languages & The Shape document and “in doing so highlights  the intercultural orientation to language learning” (page 1).

This paper outlines the characteristics of language learning incorporating Intercultural Understanding – referred throughout as intercultural orientation.

Intercultural language learning is an orientation to language learning that represents a change in both the stance (the way we conceptualise language learning and the thinking that informs practice) and practice in the teaching and learning of languages and the pedagogy that supports such a change.

This intercultural orientation:

  •   respects the diversity of learners, teachers, contexts, languages
  •   focuses on the act of learning: student learning, teacher learning, community learning
  •   recognises teaching and learning as social (both intrapersonal and interpersonal), cultural (both intracultural and intercultural) and cognitive
  •   highlights both participation/action and reflection on the part of students as participants in communicating in the context of diversity
  •   recognises the powerful role of language and culture in learning; in fact, as  the foundations of all learning
  •   sees both the process of communication (as the major goal of language learning) and the process of learning as interactive processes that entail the reciprocal interpretation of meaning
  •   recognises the integral relationship between teaching, learning and assessment
  •   understands learning, teaching and pedagogy to support language learning as including processes of inquiry for both learners and teachers.This intercultural orientation shapes the three key concepts that inform Languages education: language, culture, learning, and focuses on developing capabilities that are essential in the 21st century.

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The specific skill that Rosa & Gianna recommend we hone centres around providing students with opportunities for intercultural and intracultural reflection. Rather than providing explanations to students about differing cultural practises, throw it back at the students and encourage them to consider the reasons themselves. An example of this could be around Indonesian etiquette which requires objects to be received and passed with your right hand, never your left hand. My students have often commented on this and previously I simply explained the reasons. Rosa recommends that instead, teachers could ask deeper questions to encourage students to look beyond the difference and instead consider it objectively and rationally. Questions could include asking why Singaporeans use their left and right hands but Indonesians don’t. Is this practise practical and when would it be sensible in Australia? Is the use of toilet paper or water better for the environment? Why do Australians use a water based toilet system when we are the driest continent in the world?

In other words, asking rich and thought provoking questions that encourage students to develop self awareness and self understanding through honest reflections around not only the comparisons between different cultures but also the differences within cultures.

 

…reflection is not a simple process of commenting on things such as the enjoyment or not of an activity. Specifically, it involves reflection on such matters as:

  •   the processes of interpretation – how we interpret/understand things as we do
  •   the assumptions that provide the basis for interpretation – why we   interpret/understand things as we do
  •   our perspectives in relation to those of others
  •   our positioning in relation to that of others
  •   our expectations in relation to those of others
  •   our judgments in relation to those of others.

This kind of reflection is a necessary part of stretching students’ intellectual thinking and of ‘fostering deep understanding’ and exploring the construction of knowledge (3.2 and 3.3 of Domain 3 of the TfEL Framework).

 

Thus the teacher helps students navigate through multiple conceptions, assumptions, perspectives and personal understandings to help them arrive at new understandings that take into account the perspective of others in a productive way. This document acknowledges that this is an intricate process because student reflections happen spontaneously in the moment and requires engaging with specific student responses and ideas. as such it can’t be planned in advance but needs to be managed as it arises.       (page 46)

Rosa explained too about flipping information to help students look at a cultural practise from another perspective. The example she gave was the western tradition of birthday cakes. Imagine a culture that puts fire on decorated food and then gives it to a child who then has to extinguish the fire by putting it out themselves by blowing on it before it can be eaten by anyone! Sounds quite bizarre when stated like that!

We were assured that these classroom conversations do not necessarily need to be long and detailed but more like a grammar pop-up and in doing so would become an engaging brain break. I really like the idea of prompting students with ‘why’ questions to encourage them to consider the reasons underlying different cultural practises. It truly resonates with me and I look forward to impromptu opportunities whereby I can ask deep and meaningful questions to encourage rich reflective and reflexive student thought. It is definitely an expertise I intend to develop! Surely this is how schools create open minded and respectful global citizens.

Thank you so much Maribel Coffey, Rosa Garcia & Gianna DeLeo. We really appreciate the support and encouragement we received from you all. Rosa and Gianna are both wonderful ambassadors of the Languages team. The entire experience was invaluable and we are so grateful that both Rosa & Gianna could spend time with us to work on addressing intercultural understanding in a TPRS classroom context. The conversations we had were thought provoking because developing cultural respect and empathy in students is of a critical importance in relation to global relationships. We are all excited to implement the advice given to us and develop our expertise in asking reflective questions.
We also really hope that early next term, Rosa & Gianna can visit us again to provide us with feedback on our updated practise and understandings to double check we are on the right path.  We will also be scrutinising our school calendars to ascertain when our next Partnership Closure day is before inviting Rosa to again share her impressive expertise about intercultural understanding with the Fleurieu TCI PLN.

 

To finish up, I just had to share this quote from page 4 f the Investigating Pedagogies for Language-and-Culture Learning! If we could just tweak it slightly though so that the first ‘learn’ is changed to ‘acquire’……

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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!!