One Off Reduced Class Lesson Ideas- Silent Movies

Anne Cedeno shared this on the CI Liftoff Facebook page today for those days when class sizes are drastically reduced due to inexplicable school events:

This idea came from Sr. Wooly’s workshop at NTPRS last summer, and might be fun and better managed with the reduced group size: Each team of 3 kids needs one video recording device (smart phone or iPad will work well); one student will film and the other two will be actors. Focus on basic verbs (super 7, sweet 16, etc.) student plan a simple, school appropriate plot for a SILENT MOVIE they can film at school during your class, using features of the school (stairway, cafeteria, window, etc) and simple props that you might provide or they can bring in if they plan one day and film the next. Filming happens in short (max 6-10 second) clips (using iMovie or AdobeClip). plot needs to focus on simple things like where the actor is, what they have, what they want (the problem) and where they go (to try to solve the problem). Since no voices are recorded, it totally eliminates bad pronunciation, and puts the emphasis on the kids to show emotion and plot through facial expression and gestures. Then the video clips need to get shortened down to the essence of what shows the essential plot and the product is a 1-2 minute silent movie for you use for movie talk, staring your own students – My kids recently got iPads, so I’m planning on doing this soon. School-appropriate humor, unexpected surprises/plot twists will be encouraged:) In years past, when my students filmed each other acting out scenes from a novel, etc. the downside was always the pressure they felt about their pronunciation in L2, which lead to many many retakes – but Sr. Wooly’s idea to make it a silent movie eliminates that pressure and lets the kids focus on the fun/teamwork to create the movie and then as a whole class we can Movie Talk 🙂

Our Week In Sydney with The Bridge Project

What an amazing week we’ve just had here in Sydney for the Bridge Project. While we sit at the airport waiting for our flight, doing a last minute catch up with Erin and Mel who are also hosting 2 partner teachers from Medan, I’ll try to give you a brief picture of our full on 4 day training and development.
Marg & I first met our partner teachers, Pak Pahot & Bu Elizawati, in the breakfast queue at the Novatel. Pak Pahot is a year 2 teacher and Bu Elizawati is a year 6 teacher at a school called SDN 025443 Medan Barat which apparently is rated number 1 in Medan. Of the 400 odd students who apply to enrol each year, only 100 are selected!


Over the past 4 days there has been a strong emphasis on collaboration, planning and communication. Presenters recommended a variety of ways in which we can achieve all 3 successfully with our partner schools and time was provided to not only make a start on them but also so that we could familiarise each other with our school calendars, so that any planned projects avoid school holidays, religious festivals and national exams.

IMG_9639We also spent time discussing cultural differences. Our partner teachers have already noticed differences with punctuality, environmental pride, traffic and the differences between Indonesia and Australia with the use of right hands to pass items.

Thursday afternoon, we were given a challenge:

IMG_9675This was a brilliant and fun way for all of us to explore Sydney. The resulting photos on Twitter were varied and the shared experiences were vast. Check out #bridgeproject!!


Another fun outing was lunch at the local Giants stadium.

IMG_9662After lunch, 2 of the stalwarts (proud muslims) explained about the various programs they run which target disengaged youth and promote education. Very impressive. Afterwards, we enjoyed a tour through the facilities:




Presenters over the 4 days included Mike Bartlett & Danielle Leggo, education officers from from Sydney Olympic Park (SOP). The program they run there is truly amazing and caters towards both local and distance students. It largely focuses on sport, agriculture & sustainability and can be accessed either face to face or by video conferencing. Thirty thousand students annually access the ranger led Australian curriculum aligned activities learning about the local wetlands and other local habitats and there is also an online Koori classroom! One great suggestion from Michael was to set up a collaborative project to study the migratory birds that fly from Siberia to Australia, transiting Indonesia! For further information about SOP, regardless where you are globally, check out their website and youtube channel. They are currently searching for non Australian classrooms interested in an international 2015 netball challenge.

Joedy Wallis from AEF, divided the group so that the Australian teachers and the Indonesian teachers could each focus on their own curriculums to identify areas compatible for collaboration as well as identifying goals and outcomes for student learning. She pointed out the areas of the curriculum covered by the bridge project include:
ict capability
critical and creative thinking
personal and social capability
ethical understanding
ICL (Intercultural Understanding)
which together create successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active informed citizens.
Joedy outlined some history behind the inclusion of the ‘Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia’ priority in the new Australian curriculum. The global shift which has lead to policy changes and the Melbourne Declaration, first signed in 2008 (changes advocated by AEF) provided the impetuous behind our Bridge partnership meeting this week. This promotes student acquisition of 21st century skills. all beneficial for Australia; socially, culturally and economically.

Joedy promoted twitter to all, encouraging all teachers to sign up and discover just how amazing it is for professional learning and sharing. She also promoted the AEF website (which is currently undergoing a huge update to become even bigger and better), the AEF newsletter and #AEFchat on twitter (details on the website) which currently run monthly but will happen more frequently if the number of teachers on twitter increases.

Julie Lindsay from Flat Connections presented on Thursday for 2/3 of our day focusing on the challenges connected with our partnership schools beyond face to face and how to sustain global connections and collaborations. She raised an important point about the need for deep global learning and the importance of constructing a legacy. Encouraging teachers to think deeply and creatively so that whatever project our students create, it will be their legacy.
Julie suggested a variety of online tools through which this could be achieved:
1. (not free) which is a multimedia networking tool was recommended highly by Julie for asynchronis communication if both schools can not be online at the same time.
2. – highly recommended. students can record their voices along a given video/photo
3. Wikispacess – where students and teachers can collaborate on projects
4. blackboard collaborate – students present for 1-2 minutes about their learning to an international audience.
5. asynchronous global debates between classrooms
6. wevideo
7. Animoto
8. Edmodo – private; great tool for creating discussions)
9. Hangouts
10. Skype
11. Padlet – a private forum for groups to share

Before any actual planning, it is critical all teachers agree on a cyber safety policy and have in place an agreement to monitor all students.
Projects could be based on a range of activities:
research (joint?)
problem solving – kerja sama tentang kebanjiran?? find something in common and explore issues!! eg rivers, sea,
artifact and co-creating (eg making video alone or by collaborating with partner students)

Most of the suggested project ideas would be entirely undertaken in English which would create opportunities for deep ICL for classroom teachers. Julie suggested students take the learning home (al la flipped classroom style although she didn’t name it!) which gave me the idea of tasking students to record themselves teaching their parents ‘siapa nama’ & ‘nama saya”. Could create a funny yet educations video about specific target language!
Other flipped ideas that arose over the 4 days included a flat Stanley project whereby students make a puppet of themselves and then send it to their partner school who then takes it with them in their every day life photographing everything and creating a journal which is then returned to their partner school either digitally or by snail mail. Another idea I really love which would be perfect for a look and discuss activity is called, A View From Your Window. Tasking students to take a photo from a window at home and then writing a caption about it.
Julie’s presentation was chocker block full of suggestions with little time to fully explore and trouble shoot. Most teachers felt totally overwhelmed and this confirmed for me just how fortunate we are at PEPS to not only have had a ICT Coordinator for the past 3 years but to have someone of Kathy’s high expertise and dedication in the position. Teachers were also concerned about poor tech support on return to their schools, which again for Marg & I, is rarely an issue!! Our highly capable tech team of Darryn & Kathy is second to none! What they don’t know isn’t worth knowing!! One principal told us about a class set of computers still in boxes at their school because they only get 2 hours of tech support per week!!
The second part of Julie’s time with us was task based. We had to create a digital story with our partner teachers. I quickly wrote a script which I then typed up in Pages and emailed to Marg, Pak Pahot & Bu Eliza. Using Puppet Pals, we quickly made a film entirely in Indonesian about the transport we used in Sydney yesterday which Pak spiced up with some evil laughs!! We uploaded it to Youtube and then pasted the link on the Bridge Padlet to share with everyone.


Pak Donny, the Indonesian translator and coordinator, constantly stressed in his translations, that the partnership is all about our students and should benefit them not the teachers and that all projects must keep that in mind! There was also a huge push to encourage Indonesian teachers to review their learning style (methodology) so as to adopt more western aspects. I can see that encouraging students to ask questions, to be more confident in exchanging opinions has benefits but it is a huge cultural shift and with it comes other aspects of western culture. Other factors which must be considered is that class sizes at our partner school are enormous. Classes range from 34 to 46, Class rooms too are not large and school furniture is also not conducive to more ‘creative’ styles of learning. I can see benefits in encouraging a methodology shift but would like to explore ways in which it can be done that are more sympathetic culturally. It makes me feel like a missionary rather than an educator.
It had been an amazing week, meeting teachers from almost every state. We have swapped email addresses and Skype handles as well as following each other on twitter so that we can keep in contact and help each other with any upcoming challenges this year as well as sharing our successes. Marg in particular was brilliant with this. She has already arranged a Skype call with Mel & Erin this coming Friday!! Another teacher has offered to set up a Facebook page for us all and Aaron will create another Padlet too. The September study tour will be a reunion for those of us who sign up for it!

Goodbye Sydney!

IMG_9673Thank You so much to everyone involved for such a memorable week and in particular to Pak Aaron, Ibu Bonnie & Pak Donni.

WordPress Statistics for 2014

Yesterday, it seems, all WordPress bloggers received their statistics for 2014 for each of their blogs. As I have 3 blogs, I received 3 reports and all were just as I would have expected.

My 3 blogs are:
1. Indonesian Teacher Reflections – my professional journal
2. PEPS Indonesian Allstars – My class blog
3. Jalan Jalan With Bu Cathy – My 2013 Indonesian travel journal

Of my 3 blogs, the one I posted to most often this year was without doubt my professional blog. I thoroughly enjoy writing about what I have been doing in my classroom and hope that other Indonesian teachers will also be inspired to blog their teaching journeys. It’s the perfect way to keep a digital portfolio.
Here are the posts which received the most views:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a1e/48203868/files/2014/12/img_9366.png Great to see that 2 of my posts about TPRS pedagogy made the top 5!!
The traffic for my professional blog comes largely from Australia, USA and Indonesia

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a1e/48203868/files/2014/12/img_9368.png which is exactly the same as my travel blog, however in reverse order. With my professional blog, I experimented with one of the ‘publicize’ (sic) options to utilise Twitter, so look out for that if you too are on Twitter!

Needless to say, my third and final blog was one I didn’t post to at all this year, yet it still received a steady stream of traffic in 2014. Interesting to see which posts are still popular 12 months on:

It was while scrolling through this report that I first saw the option to ‘publicize’, so I curiously followed it and this is where it took me:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a1e/48203868/files/2014/12/img_9370.png I am pretty sure at this point, I stopped. I am confident that I didn’t tap any buttons. So, I have no idea why suddenly my stats last night skyrocketed. It was so extraordinary that WordPress sent me a congratulatory notification! Have a look at yesterdays activity:

The following is the data outlining the origin of the traffic:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a1e/48203868/files/2014/12/img_9364.png I am still puzzled and look forward to learning about why my views spiked so dramatically yesterday. Did anyone else experience anything odd after viewing their statistical data?

Class Dojo in The Indonesian Classroom

I have been using Class Dojo in my room for about 2 years now and while the program has had some bad press lately ( see here) I have loved it.
If you are not familiar with Class Dojo, here is a brief outline:
1. It is an online behaviour management tool which can be either accessed through your pc or by tablet/phone through an app. The app syncs constantly with the pc, so it is cool walking around with your ipad giving verbal feedback while simultaneously giving points. The points immediately are added or subtracted to the students score with an audible noise and are visible when projected up onto the smart board. The noise isn’t intrusive, just enough to prod those students who need that gentle reminder to return to task!
2. The student point tallies can either displayed with the positive tallies separate from the negative tallies or both can be combined. I prefer the latter, to reinforce that behaviour can be turned around.

3. Each student has an avatar which previously could tweaked (to change the colour, body features etc) but now the only option available is a completely new avatar. Still, this feature is incredibly popular with all ages.
4. Access codes are available for parents so that they can access their childs data if they wish and just as importantly, all behaviour data is stored and would be useful data for parent interviews.
5. The teacher decides on the behaviours to be included (how great would that fit in with discussions about class rules at the beginning of each school year). I love this feature because I can use either Indonesian or English!
6. Class Dojo is completely free!

There, I think that is a basic explanation. More details can be found on their website
At first, I found using class dojo time distracting; familiarising oneself with anything new is incredibly time consuming! It was clunky and seemed at first to distract both students and myself from our focus, but as we all got used to it, the benefits far outweighed the negatives. It is particularly useful for the really young students as it is a short sweet behaviour management tool. In the past, I would have to stop and address the negative behaviour, now I just give that student a negative and keep going. The ding/dong sound generally is enough to put a hasty stop to the behaviour especially considering it is usually accompanied by disapproving looks from peers!
One of the best features of class dojo for me is that it helps me focus on the ‘good’ behaviour instead of the negative. I give points for participating, using Indonesian, helping others etc, and for some students this really gives them the opportunity to shine. One quiet student loves asking, “Boleh saya pinjam pensil/penyerut/penghapus?” and at times she must have up to a dozen pencils on her table!! Usually this use of Indonesian is unrecorded. The result has been a huge increase in students using these phrases repeatedly and appropriately in the Indonesian classroom!
At the start of term 4, 2014, I began using class dojo for students to call the roll. In the past, I have called the roll at the beginning of each class to instill “Apa kabar?” (How are you?), a phrase I believe every student learning Indonesian needs to know and be able to respond to automatically. However, I realised recently that I needed to hand over this routine to students (middle and upper primary) if they are to successfully and completely internalise this specific phrase. Being able to answer “Apa kabar?” is only half of the interaction.
To ensure this part of the lesson did not go any longer than it absolutely needed to and also to really push for an automatic response, I added the complexity of a timer. Students would call the roll very quickly and the rest of the class would be encouraged to answer instantly. I recorded the scores for each student and then dangled the best scores in front of other classes to encourage them to achieve an even faster result. The record score by week 8 was 27 seconds! Not bad considering initial scores were well over a minute! Out of all the MP & UP students, I only had 2 students who flatly refused to call the roll! Both had very good reasons, so I didn’t push them. One of my other students, a real struggler in Indonesian, dug deeply and gave it her best shot and was the first student in the school to get a score in the 20’s!! That result gave her such a huge boost that her confidence in all other aspects of language learning totally backflipped for the rest of the year. It was awesome!
Towards the end of the year, I gave roll caller the option of being timed and what I really enjoyed seeing was that responses remained short and sweet even when the timer wasn’t being used. It will be interesting to see if that continues after the summer holidays!
With my use of TPRS/CI in the classroom, I want to encourage students to stay in Indonesian as much as possible, I am planning to investigate using the timer on Class Dojo to again harness the competitive nature of my students in 2015. Senor Howard’s blog and video (see here) shows how this is done and I am looking forward to investigating this using the class dojo timer this way.
Telling stories and using class dojo, for me, are tricky to combine, so now in each lesson, I have a designated helper. Whoever called the roll is asked first and to be honest, this person has yet to refuse! Their task is to record any positive behaviour (i.e. participation). (I record negative behaviour separately with the warning that 3 strikes and that student is ‘out’ – off to buddy class.) The best thing about having a recorder is that it ensures I SLOW down so they can keep up and it also tells me at a glance who I need to do a comprehension check on. Students love having their input recorded and at times it can be a bit hectic if someone’s input was over looked. Hey wouldn’t that be a perfect mini story to start with next year to ensure students can fix this without lapsing into English.
Have you discovered Class Dojo yet and if so, how do you use it in the Languages classroom?

Bring on 2015……

I am so fortunate to ‘work’ with such a wonderful group of Indonesian teachers. “Work” is in inverted commas because as Senorfernie puts it, we are largely “departments of 1″and work at different school sites. Fortunately the primary Indonesian teachers down here in our neck of the woods are just as passionate about teaching Indonesian as I am. All the more impressive as they also manage family commitments and businesses on top of their teaching load! I salute them.
Our hub group meets every holiday to plan upcoming units of work, to share ideas and resources and for Australian Curriculum training & development. We have noticed how our sharing has changed significantly over the past few years. Originally we would come to our meetings laden with text books, worksheets and video/DVD’s. Now we bring laptops and/or iPads and everything we swap is digital! Sharon introduced us all to the beauty of hard drives and now we can’t imagine how we coped previously without one!
We met yesterday (mid term!) for ACARA T & D. Our mission was to plan a unit of work that aligns with our new curriculum for term 1 2015, so that we can collect work samples from our students for moderation. When Annie first raised the plan, I had misgivings because I was unsure how it would fit in with my TPRS plans for 2015. I was worried that I would have to choose between collaborating and TPRS. Then I changed my mind and considered the possibility and benefits of being able to collect data to compare TPRS methodology with traditional non-TPRS methodology.
Imagine my surprise and delight when all teachers present at the hub group meeting yesterday expressed interest in learning more about TPRS and are really keen to start incorporating it into their teaching in 2015!! A fellow teacher who has also recently discovered TPRS has described our passion for TPRS as bordering on obsessive and that we are more like evangelists. Even though I was severely sleep deprived yesterday, advocating TPRS proved to be an instant antidote!
Together we planned an 8 lesson unit which will lend itself beautifully to a TPRS introduction as well as consolidating the language students will need for introducing themselves during skype sessions with our sister school that we are hoping to participate in ahead of their visit in September. The assessable task we have planned is for students to create a dialogue using specific targeted language and then in groups of 3 make an iMovie which will be assessed by their peers.
It aligned beautifully with the Indonesian Curriculum and the discussion we had finalising this was useful as it helped us all refresh our knowledge of the new curriculum terminology as well as sharing pointers we have picked up recently at either conferences or from school based training.
The day flew by and when Sharon mentioned she would have to leave soon to do the school pick up run, we all were amazed to realise that except for a very brief lunch interlude (thank you Annie for the delicious chickpea salad) we had been working solidly for 5 hours!

Term 4 Teachmeet

I can’t believe we thought holding our second Teachmeet in term 4 was a good idea! Not only that, but in week 5!! I had 4 teachers RSVP to say they would be able to attend and I also had a few RSVP to say that couldn’t due to teaching commitments. Those of us that did turn up agreed that we are all exhausted and while it is valuable to meet and share, we all had to dig deep to do so. Consequently, we agreed that once a semester is enough and our next Teachmeet will be week 5, term 1 in 2015 and the final one for 2015 will be week 5, term 3.
While the topic was; bring along something you have used successfully in your classroom, our focus mostly centred on using iPads in the classroom.

Sharon shared the following apps:
Languages Online – very large app but useful because you can track student progress.


Sharon also mentioned that she had noticed that there were recent Indonesian story apps available. Kris immediately searched and found:

IMG_0878.PNG if you search cerita anak, the number is very impressive and most are free!! Just need to download them and assess their suitability now…… Definitely a summer holiday job!!

Other apps Sharon recommended include
Cari kata and Indonesian word search:

Moji Jam


Buzz Monster – made by the same people who made Futaba, so guaranteed to be worth the cost.


Kris shared next:
Three ring – good for collecting and storing student assessment data.

Pass the parcel- looks like a fun game-


Kris also reminded us about the Web2 for Language Teachers wikispace she developed and now maintains. If you have any suggestions (apps etc) that could be included, don’t hesitate to contact her.


Sharon next shared a few resources she found on her recent visit to Bali. First she shared a book she’d found which has great illustrations about significant cultural events from all over Indonesia.

And also a DVD called Didi Tikus. We watched part of the first episode which would definitely appeal to young students. The videos have very little language, are slap stick and reminded us all of Mr Bean.


I shared how I use class dojo in my classroom. Up until recently, I called the roll myself asking every student, “Apa kabar?”. Previously in term 4 of every year, students would be invited to call the roll, but it was agonising as it took so long. So I came up with the idea of timing students and having each class work together to achieve the school record. It has worked very well. So, now individual students call the roll using class dojo; one student asks everyone in their class, “Apa kabar?” while I time and record their answers. The fastest time is held by the year 7’s with 32 seconds! The student then completes the absences, lateness and assists me during the lesson recording points.


Astaga! What A Story!

On a high after my first lessons exploring TPRS pedagogy, I was really motivated to take it one step further and explore the skill of storytelling. A google search quickly confirmed that I would need to write my own story (Mainly Spanish and European Language stories available) so that it contained the exact language I wanted to target as well as incorporating already familiar vocabulary and sentence structures from previous unit of work.
After much thought, the story came to me one evening while walking the dogs! This is always the perfect time for me when thinking about any aspect of my writing, I work through blog posts, student dialogues, film scripts, in fact, just about anything and everything – and the best thing is that because it is just me with the dogs, once the idea has gelled, I can then say it aloud and hear how it sounds.
I wanted my story to ;
1. incorporate some language from terms 1 & 2 (myself & school),
2. incorporate some of the language we had circled the previous week (kenalkan),
3. be succinct
4. incorporate students
5. have a twist at the end
6. be easily performed
When it came together, I was so excited. I quickly returned home so that I could write it down while it was still fresh in my mind.
Here it is:
astaga digital

Before the first lesson, I identified the vocabulary that would be unfamiliar yet vital for comprehension:
tidak boleh
mari &
and wrote them up on the board before students arrived for class.

We then began the first lesson by focusing on the pronunciation of these new words. I next wrote the meaning for each word alongside it and asked the class to suggest a gesture for each. This was lots of fun and students were very creative. The gesture I particularly liked was for ‘piket’ (yard duty) which was the enactment of putting the duty vest on. Simple yet effective. Once the gestures were each firmed in our minds, I began circling with, “Saya bermain hoki.” Colby bermain kriket? Tayla bermain apa? Once students had relaxed with this familiar line of questioning, I invited a student to become my first actor, with, “Mari!” I then asked him, “Oscar bermain apa?” to which he replied, “Saya bermain futball.” As a class we then repeated this using gestures for each word. I then began the story and asked Oscar to mime each sentence. The first sentence included the word, “aspel” (asphalt) – vocabulary from 2nd term – and at that point in time I was surprised that not one student remembered this word which to my ears, even sounds like asphalt!! However later it became clear that as they knew it was against the rules to play football on the basketball court, they had automatically disregarded that option!! Funny really as this was the basis of my story!! (i.e. A student doing the wrong thing!)
Next, a second actor was invited to the ‘stage’ and we began the 2nd line of the story. As a class we agreed on which teacher the actor was portraying and then she mimed the gestures as I spoke the next aspect of the story.
The third line, being an action word, also hadn’t been added to the initial list of vocabulary because it was oenapapatic and I had correctly assumed that students would easily work out its meaning.
At this point in the story, I stopped and repeated these 3 lines of the story with a fresh couple of actors. Once the first actors had demonstrated the action, others became keener to volunteer which was pleasing. For the next actors, we changed the sport, the teacher on duty (pop-up for Pak & Bu with this point) and the location.
This repetition was valuable, however as our lessons are 50 minutes, I started to run out of time. So unfortunately the latter half of the story was not circled anywhere near enough for my satisfaction and consequently we didn’t even cover the final stage of the story where the twist was! Oh well….

For the second lesson (and final lesson for term 3), I instructed students to form groups of 2-3, and then gave each a cloze of the first part of the story.
astaga cloze

Even though I only had this one lesson of 50 minutes to achieve quite a lot, I have discovered that having a tight timeline when working with iPads, actually motivates most students to stay on task.
Their task for the lesson was:
complete the cloze
use the app puppet pals to create an enactment of the dialogue.
use themselves as the characters (not the clipart looking characters provided by the app)
upload to camera roll when finished.

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with this extension activity with the story – mainly because of the enormous amount of oral language each student was uttering. While most groups did not finish the task, I wasn’t too disappointed with that aspect. For me, the main aim of this lesson, was to provide students with an engaging way of manipulating and repeating the sentence structures we had worked on till it became firmly entrenched in their minds. Walking around and listening to groups recording their voices reinforced just how successful iPads can help in achieving this. Some groups edited and edited and edited, each time having to repeat their lines over and over and over again until each group member was satisfied with not only the pronunciation and expression but also importantly that the actions matched the words! Even now, 3 weeks on, students still remember lines from the story. Yesterday Jamie, clutched his leg and claimed, “Saya dikena Oscar!”. How awesome is that! (linguistically not the fact that Oscar had actually deliberately bumped his leg!)
Now enjoy a few of the finished projects: