Making TCI Videos

I have had so much fun making i+1 (at my students level with just 1-2 unfamiliar words) videos for my students. I was inspired to do this after watching Bu Anne’s videos on her YouTube channel Indonesian Fun For Juniors. Most of my videos on my YouTube channel were created pre-TCI and the language used is either English or incomprehensible (for my students) Indonesian. The final catalyst that resulted in me creating TCI videos was my 2017 trip to Agen when I backed myself into a corner by telling my TRT (substitute) that I would be posting videos for students to watch and Listen & Draw while I was away.

Before I left Australia, I asked a couple of classes what they’d like me to include in my videos and that really helped me include topics of student interest. Student requests ranged from pigeons to the Eiffel Tower! Taking the video was the easy part surprisingly; the most time consuming and challenging aspect is the narration.  Sometimes I really needed a word yet to be acquired by students, so I added it as a subtitle with its English translation.

I’ve since returned to Australia and have had fun exploring how to make videos from PowerPoints which are considerably easier to narrate but harder to locate appropriate visuals. My latest idea (which I will work on soon) is to use student illustrations instead, however this can only be done towards the end of a story. Then the next challenge will be to take a ‘leaf’ (cut?) from Alice Ayel’s YouTube videos and draw the pictures myself! For some reason, this is extremely challenging for me because I am the world’s worst drawer. In Indonesia, on our way home from the 2017 Agen conference, Annie & I spent a day with Ibu Mia at her school. In one class, I drew a camel – we were talking about speed humps (polisi tidur) – and my camel picture had the entire class in puzzled laughter! I had to ask for a volunteer to draw one for me!!

My latest video is called Belle Mau Punya Teman (Belle Wants a Friend). Belle is a gorgeous pup who belongs to a colleague and the idea of creating this video came to me while I was house sitting during the last holidays. Vicki lives in such a beautiful spot and has a variety of animals that it was a no brainer to collect video on my phone while I was there. Once I had the footage, I opened iMovie and started making the project. I had no idea of the video title while videoing; that came to me when going through the footage. When I make videos this way, I don’t have a script; I simply reduce the volume of the footage and narrate straight into the project and the storyline develops as I go. Consequently, the dialogue takes a lot of editing in order to keep inbounds (using only language my students know), staying SLOW and fitting the dialogue to the footage clip. Quite a tricky balance.

Have a watch and see how it turned out:

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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!

TPRS Step 3: Reading

Our Inaugural SA TPRS conference has just finished. It was 3 days full of information, explanations, demos and coaching. My brain is full to bursting and my body is absolutely shattered (note to self: participating in a language class is a physically and mentally exhausting brain workout) I am now in a particularly weird emotive state where I would just love to be heading back again this morning for another day of listening to Terry & Lizette and yet on the other hand, I am so excited to have some time to start thinking about the ways in which I can incorporate the skills that were demonstrated over the past 3 days into my teaching.

What an outstanding team Terry Waltz & Lizette Liebold are! They work together seamlessly and complement each other beautifully. Terry skills as a presenter dovetailed nicely with Lizette’s coaching skills. Combined they have countless years of TPRS teaching, in fact Lizette is one of the original pioneer TPRS language teachers who hopped on the TPRS train right back when it first began and has consequently attended all NTPRS conferences bar one!

Terry’s skills as a presenter are remarkable. While this was her 3rd consecutive Australian conference, delivering (I assume) exactly the same program, at no time did I feel that it was rehearsed or a repeat of a previous presentation. Terry’s manner assured us that she was genuinely enjoying her time with us and that we in no way compared poorly against previous cohorts. Which is exactly what happens in a TPRS classroom! While the target structure may be the same with consecutive classes, each class provides different details which lead us in different directions each and every time.

My brain is reeling with all that I heard throughout the conference and thank goodness I took notes, because right now it is still aching and overwhelmed. If I reflect on the biggest take away for me from my 3 days at the conference, it would without a doubt be the clarification of the 3 steps of TPRS. I now understand that the stories I’ve been using for the story asking are in fact the final reading text.

Terry demonstrated this with two very different languages; Hawaiian firstly and then on day 3 with Mandarin. Being unfamiliar with both languages, I was incredibly fortunate to experience the 3 steps of TPRS as a student twice. This really helped me consolidate my understanding and appreciation of the 3 steps which are:

  1. Establish meaning
  2. Story asking
  3. Reading.

Prior to the conference, step 3 for my classes was the story the class had created and revolved around various TCI activities to keep it engaging while achieving repetitions within that one story. I completely understand now the value of reading a different story (the original story or maybe another modified class’s story) for step 3.This enables students to consolidate the acquired language in a totally new setting. Depending on the level of your students, this final step also has the potential to provide your student with longer stories with a variety of the newly acquired target structures in it, each targeted separately prior to the final reading in steps one and two. This understanding is going to turn the way I plan upside down and I am sooo excited. Can’t wait to get started to experience it!

To clarify:

If the story is this one with the Lucy wants a jacket story
(credit Judith Dubois):

Ada perempuan.

Nama perempuan Lucy.

Lucy dingin.

Lucy mau jaket.

Lucy tidak pakai jaket.

Lucy lihat laki laki kecil.

Nama laki laki kecil Will.

Will punya jaket tetapi jaket Will terlalu kecil.

Lucy lihat Pak Hudson. (principal’s name)

Pak Hudson punya jaket tetapi jaket Pak Hudson terlalu besar.

Lucy lihat Jane.

Jane punya jaket dan jaket Jane pas.

Jane kasih Lucy jaket.

Lucy pakai jaket.

Lucy berkata, “Terima kasih Jane.”

Jane berkata, “Sama sama.”

The first task is identify the target structures your students will need to acquire to read and comprehend this story. When I do this story, the target structures are grouped and ordered like this:

Group One

  1. topi
  2. sepatu
  3. jaket

Group Two

  1. dingin
  2. panas

Group Three

  1. terlalu besar
  2. terlalu kecil
  3. pas.

Because my students have acquired the remaining language from previous stories, I can incorporate it into fun songs and TPR activities to target each group of target structures one by one. I usually begin with panas/dingin which is easily incorporated into the roll call if the weather is extreme and the students come in hot and sweaty or conversely wet and cold! My lessons generally begin with a roll call asking “Apa kabar?” This in itself is an awesome opportunity for circling. Kelas, Joe panas! Joe dingin atau joe panas? Joe dan Mary panas dan Betty dingin!

If you look back through this blog, you’ll find various songs that I’ve made up which my students have enjoyed singing and then acting out. The one I love the most is sung to the tune of baa baa black sheep:

Lucy dingin.

Lucy mau jaket.

Will panas.

Tidak mau jaket.

Will kasih Lucy.

Lucy pakai jaket.

Lucy berkata, “Terima kasih Will.”

(NB names are substituted with the names of the actors)

These type of activities are then repeated for each list of target structures. which are each targeted separately because each set may take several weeks till acquisition.  For target structures like the ones in group 3, I love looking for weird and wacky pictures on google images that incorporate familiar and popular characters from recent films/books/tv programs and then use them to create a powerpoint. Harry Potter is reliably popular and easily identifiable by all year levels at my school so one powerpoint had a page with harry potter wearing a tiny hat, the next page with him wearing an enormous hat and the following page showed Harry wearing a hat the perfect size! Thus I was able to consolidate ‘topi’ while introducing new structures! The following pages were pictures of familiar characters or cognate animals (orangutan, komodo) wearing oversized, undersized or perfectly sized jackets, hats or shoes. My students are generally riveted to the screen, wondering what kooky picture will be next. It also provides opportunities to circle using mau and punya. Billy punya topi pizza besar? Billy mau punya topi pizza besar?

After the structures have been acquired to my satisfaction, I move on to step 2 – story asking – using actors. The actors help in a variety of ways; they make the story engaging for the class (& me), they help me circle each part of the story (especially if the acting requires more expression – I love OTT acting – sneaky way to get reps), they can also be a tool for me to measure class acquisition. Story asking is incredibly important as it allow classes to create unique stories through collaboration, its how students buy into the story. Afterwards, the class story can be written up to be used in a variety of ways as listed on the TCI activities page.

Then finally step 3 (the one I will work on this year) is reading together the original story as printed above. I loved how Terry did this. She had a powerpoint ‘book’ that the class could read together and each page had a line of text with a quirky picture that provided opportunities for circling, popup grammar, funny stories/gestures to help students remember conjunction words (eg. tetapi = point to your but) or other useful words that need a boost. (imagine the ‘cultural’ story you could create for bercakap-cakap!!).

For me as a student, this final step was incredibly powerful. It made me feel super confident that I could read it and understand the story even though the characters and setting were not familiar. With those changes, the story felt foreign yet still achievable. Soo cool. It truly demonstrated for me the concept of  i+1. Fully comprehensible yet stretching my acquisition just the right amount.

With this text, there are a variety of reading activities that can be done with students to further consolidate acquisition. With Terry, we choral read the book on the tv screen, firstly in pinyin and then with Chinese characters. Boy, did this hit home for me how fortunate both my students & I are that Indonesian is a roman alphabetic language!!

Here are a list of the reading activities & games  that Terry shared with us:

  • kindergarten reading
  • whole class choral reading
  • group reading
  • Echo reading (teacher reads in TL and students read in English)
  • volley ball reading
  • paired repeated reading
  • readers theatre

Reading games:

  • Musical readings – students in pairs each reading a sentence each one by one with each student double checking the sentence was read correctly & if not, the sentence is reread. The teacher plays music and when the music stops, whoever is not reading gets a point.
  • Reading Bingo – each student has a 3×3 =grid. In each box, the student writes a different word from the story in each square. Students cross out the word when they hear it.
  • Stupid Teacher (Guru Gila?) teacher reads the story and deliberately says a word not in the story or changes one word. Students in pairs, competing against each other, tally up the mistakes and compare tally at end of reading.
  • Comprehension Questions – to measure comprehension, ask the questions in English. They could include true/false questions, short answer questions, multiple choice questions, cloze from story with multiple choice options for each cloze empty space.

Now all I have to do is decide which story I want to begin with this term!! What story are you using?

Two Introductory TCI/TPRS Workshops -MLTASA & CLTSA

Over the weekend, Bu Annie, Ibu Sharon & I attended 2 conferences; 1. MLTASA (Modern Languages Teachers Association SA) in the morning and 2. CLTASA (Chinese Language Teachers Assoc) in the afternoon. When we first heard that both associations were holding their annual conference on the same day, we were incredibly disappointed as we were committed to present at MLTASA while Ian & Caitlin (2 TCI Chinese teachers from QLD) were presenting at CLTSA. Luckily our presentations did not clash and we were able to get from EDC to Napier House in good time. However the locked door into Napier House cut short our celebratory hand pumps and thankfully Ian had his phone on! 

The MLTASA conference began with a plenary by Sean Keenihan, who spoke about ‘the role and value of Languages education in schools – a business perspective’. Sean wears many hats and most relate to his Chinese proficiency, dating back to his high school days. When asked how to encourage students to learn a language he reflected with this: after graduation as one of hundreds of lawyers, he was the first from his year to be employed and this was entirely due to his bilingualism. His graphs illustrated recent growth figures in the SA tourism sector and he also talked about the growing state of global business. These two sectors are a just 2 of many that have a huge and growing demand for bilingual employees and thus being bilingual is giving many job seekers  an X factor, making them highly desirable in a competitive job market. Apparently only 30 of the 700 2015 SA lawyer  graduates were employed! I wonder what their X factor was? 

Our workshop, ‘Teaching Languages with TCI/TPRS’ was to be held in the larger room at EDC due to the large number of participants who had signed up for it. What an awesome way to begin!! We began by asking participants to bring their chairs to the front of the room and to sit in a semi circle facing the screen. As this was our first ever presentation and indeed our first ever attendance at MLTASA, we had no idea what to expect. One thing we were looking forward to was an audience of largely non Indonesian speaking teachers, who would experience our demo lesson from a student perspective and therefore hopefully feel the power of TCI even more dramatically than our Indonesian speaking colleagues. Our presentation began with introducing ourselves, outlining our TCI journey, and giving a brief explanaton of the acronyms TCI, TPRS & TPR. Due to the short amount  of time we had available and that we were a little late starting (domino effect of the 2nd plenary speaker running over time), our introduction was minimal. We felt that a demo would be more powerful than heaps of information. 

Our demo focused on the Pleased To Meet You (written by Jim Tripp) story. We began with establishing meaning of the target structures (siapa nama, nama saya, astaga, berkata – what’s your name, my name is, OMG, said), before giving a circling demo on siapa nama & nama saya. Sharon then established the ‘Stop – I don’t understand!’ gesture before telling the story. Afterwards she did a comprehension check and everyone gave her a thumbs up!! We had a little time for questions and we were very relieved that attending MLTASA was a high school French TPRS teacher!! It was awesome to connect with Zelda who has been working alone for 2 years – we take our hat off to you! Zelda was able to respond to questions that came from secondary language teachers – a cohort we have had the greatest difficulty connecting with as we have no secondary experience. Our promise to them that TPRS was designed initially for secondary students by a secondary language teacher rarely helps. Zelda’s contribution and support was invaluable.  

It wasn’t till much later, that Sharon realised that in our nervousness, the reduced workshop time and our determination to leave punctually, we forgot to mention anything about the unit of work we had created around this story to help participants trial a unit in their classrooms!! Oops. So if you were one of those participants and you would like a copy, contact me via my learn link address on the handout and I’ll happily forward it to you. 

We arrived at Napier House just before the post lunch conference sessions were about to begin, to our relief. Ian & Caitlin opened the locked doors which gave us time to quickly introduce ourselves to each other and chat briefly while heading upstairs to the auditorium. The entire afternoon schedule had been assigned to Ian & Caitlin! Imagine your only time constraint being getting to the airport in time for your flight home! We were slightly in awe and also a teeny (OK- a lot) envious!! Maybe next year, we need to ask for a double workshop session? 

Ian & Caitlin spent the first hour talking to a powerpoint which introduced TCI/TPRS to their audience of Chinese teachers. The powerpoint thoroughly explained TPRS, outlined how it differs from traditional/currrent language teaching methods, included several short videos of Ian teaching highly engaged year 7’s, year 10 free writes (290 words) , cold character reading , students talking positively about learning Chinese via TCI methodology, students reading unfamiliar texts fluently and a short yet highly engaging demo by Caitlin establishing meaning for ‘wants to eat’. As a student, I could immediately see the value of having the target structures clearly written on one side of the smartboard page and on the other side were other necessary vocabulary just as Diane Neubauer does.I hadn’t actually understood the beauty of this until that point! I also think I need to investigate buying a clicker gadget next year – it would be so convienent to turn the powerpoint pages from wherever I am in my class room!  

Ian & Caitlin stopped talking after an hour to give everyone a break and they were immediately swamped with people asking questions! The amount of interest was brilliant.  During their presentation, I could hear teachers around me commenting to each other quietly but unfortunately it was all in Chinese. 

During this break, it suddenly became clear, that the next session would have to be shortened significantly to prevent Ian & Caitlin missing their flight home to QLD. Particiapants were quickly called back into the auditiorium to answer any last minute questions. In no time at all, they were being presented with bottles of SA wine and the mad dash to the airport began. 

Thankfully we had offered to take them to the airport as this provided us all with a precious window for solid 2017 planning. We all acknowledge the need to arrange high quality training in Australia asap and are keen to collaborate on this by inviting a guest out to Australia next January to provide us all with much needed expert training before the 2017 school year begins! It would be awesome if the person  who comes out, is happy to travel as then we could offer training in a few states which will be much more affordable to participants! If this all happens, would you be interested in attending and how much would you be prepared to pay to participate? Considering our only option at the moment is a flight to either America or Europe ($$), it would be considerably cheaper and so much easier if this eventuates! Please comment below with any thoughts. We need your feedback! The more interest, the better! 

A Great Reading Activity For Pre-Literate Students

Have you seen the oral cloze retell idea by Eric Herman on my TCI/TPRS activities page which is found on my homepage up the top in the header?

Here it is:

On subsequent retells you can erase more and more words to give more advanced students a greater challenge and eventually erase the entire story and have superstars retell the entire story without any written support.

Example:

There is a boy. His name is Bob. He likes pizza.

There is ___ boy. His name __ Bob. He likes _____.

There __ ___ boy. ___ name __ Bob. He ____ ____.

There __ ___ ___. ___ name __ Bob. __ ____ _____.

 

I tried it today with a year 1/2 class as well as a reception class and it was awesome!

I began by asking 2 students to act out the story while I retold it. By now, I’ve lost count of the number of times they have heard it, but it never hurts to get in one more retell!! I then dragged over my mobile white board and asked the class to tell me the story again. It was brilliant how well they could retell the story! I wrote down the first 5 sentences on the board.

Buarlapar.

Buaya lihat Elsa.

Buaya mau makan Elsa.

Elsa berlari ke Horseshoe Bay.

We all then read the story together using hand gestures. At the end of the first reading, I rubbed out one word and in its place I drew a contrasting coloured line. We then read through it again together, however before we all read it, I explained that the next person to rub out a word would be someone who is both reading and gesturing beautifully. Boy – that ramped up the participation and engagement!!

We continued this until there was nothing left of the story and all that was there were red lines where the words used to be!! Both classes absolutely loved it and were so fluent by the time we rubbed out the last word!

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Reading With Pre-literate Students

After watching Carol Gaab, I tried something new with my junior primary students this week that I would like to share with you.

Last week with my younger students, I started the Carol Gaab story that Bu Anne posted about on her blog. I have tweaked it slightly to minimize the amount of new vocabulary. Instead of a harimau (tiger) I have a buaya (crocodile) because most students know buaya from our kancil and buaya unit last year. I also believe that tree, mountain  (&?) are very low frequency nouns in a classroom, so I changed it to Horseshoe Bay, sekolah (school) & kelas (class).

My version goes like this:

Buaya lihat Elsa

Buaya lapar.

Buaya mau makan Elsa.

Elsa berlari ke Port Elliot.

Buaya berlari ke Port Elliot.

Elsa berlari ke sekolah.

Buaya berlari ke sekolah.

Elsa berlari ke kelas.

Buaya berlari ke kelas.

Buaya makan Elsa.

To support this story and its new target structures of ‘buaya’ (crocodile) & ‘berlari’ (run), I searched for a well known rhyme that I could adapt. Browsing on Pinterest I found the 5 Little Monkeys rhyme! This not only provided me with the perfect vehicle for ‘berlari’ & ‘buaya’ but also gave me the opportunity to introduce ‘jatuh’ (fall) & ‘menangis’ (cry). Here it is:

Lima buaya berlari di kelas.

Satu jatuh dan menangis.

Bu Cathy berkata, “Kasihan!”

Tidak pandai berlari di kelas.

Thinking back on our conversations with Catharina, the various posts I’ve read & my recent talks with Bu Anne, I liked the idea of introducing jatuh & menangis which we hear often in the junior primary classroom, especially after recess & lunch!

On Monday, I began introducing the rhyme but students weren’t particularly engaged and I considered disregarding the whole thing but yesterday morning as I turned on my computer at school, I remembered something I had seen Carol Gaab do. She had replaced the words of the story with illustrations. I immediately did the same using clipart images. Not only did it look more appealing to me, but it did for my students as well.

buaya 1

buaya 2

Then when I added acting into the equation, I was blown away with the increased level of student engagement. I firstly trialled the idea with a reception class, most of whom are pre-literate. They loved it and all read along with me! I then asked them to ‘cari empat teman dan duduk’ (find 4 friends & sit) doing a comprehension check firstly that they understood that you + four friends = groups of 5 and then they acted it out in their groups. Sharons ‘mata-mata’ (spotter) concept was brilliant here because invariably there were a few students above the multiple of 5. They went from feeling rejected to feeling very special when I asked them to be my mata mata! At the end of each acting of either the first half of the rhyme or the entire rhyme, each mata mata could choose a new mata mata and swap with that person.

One more point I’d like to add is that of hand gestures. Our PLC members work at schools that are not particularly far from each other and we have a few students moving between our schools for various reasons. We have discussed several times how much smoother the transition would be for those students if our had gestures were similar. One idea that appeals to us all is the use of AusLan or ASL. When looking for gestures for sekolah, kelas, menangis & jatuh, I investigated several websites. I believe that all gestures mustache  be meaningful as they are clues which help students comprehend. The sekolah and kelas AUSLan & ASL signs were not useful at all.


So I asked students and we made up our own for sekolah & kelas. However I found great ones for jatuh and menangis.

End of Term 4 Reflections

Fourth term is just about to finish; just one more week to go. It has flown by so quickly! As I’ve written several times, this term I focused on the traditional tale, Kancil & Buaya. During the last holidays our hub group met to adapt the story so that the vocabulary in the story was largely comprehensible for our students as well as introducing a few new structures. I think we did a great job with it and although much longer than any of our previous stories, was enjoyed by my year R – 6 students. 

My tweaked adapted version: 

Kancil berjalan kaki ke sungai.

Kancil lihat mangga di sebelah sungai.

Kancil lapar dan mau makan mangga.

Kancil tidak bisa berenang.

Kancil lihat banyak buaya di sungai.

Kancil lihat banyak buaya lapar di sungai.

Bagaimana kancil bisa makan mangga?

Kancil berkata, “Halo Buaya! Ada berapa buaya di sungai?”

Buaya berkata, “Tidak tahu!”

Kancil berkata, “Saya manu menghitung. Ayo buaya, antri.”

Buaya antri.

Kancil melompat dari buaya ke buaya dan menghitung.

Satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima, enam, tujuh, delapan, sembilan, sepuluh.

Kancil berlari dan tertawa.

Kancil makan mangga.

Buaya marah.

Kancil terlalu pandai.

Isn’t that an awesome adaptation? The vocabulary for the original story was so complicated! It is so rewarding to turn an incomprehensible story into a comprehensible story! 

I then parred  the story down even further for junior primary students. Their simplified version looked like this:

Kancil berjalan kaki.

Kancil lihat mangga.

Kancil mau makan mangga.

Kancil lihat buaya.

Kancil berkata, “Saya mau menghitung buaya. Ayo buaya, antri.”

Buaya antri.

Kancil melompat dari buaya ke buaya dan mengitung.

Satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima, enam, tujuh, delapan, sembilan, sepuluh.

Kancil makan mangga.

Kancil senang sekali.

Each week, I focused on a new structure from the above story and incorporated it into the JP story. It became an embedded reading! The most useful structure was undoubtedly ‘tidak tahu’. What a great phrase! I love how students have acquired ‘tidak tahu’ so thoroughly and use it appropirately in conversations!

My major reflection regarding this story is that it would be a great story for first term when we have 11 weeks rather than fourth term which is more like an 8 week term! There is so much potential for this story. I feel like we barely skimmed the surface of its potential.

To finish up the terms work, students did a free write and played the word chunk game last week and then this week I am going to experiment with Kahoot! using my 6 ipads. I have created a 20 question game to review the story. Feel free to open Kahoot! and search for Kancil dan Buaya. While there, have a look at the Dadar Gulung review game I made for my 6/7’s. It was such a success! It turned a group of year 7’s who are too cool for school, around last week. They begged to play it 3 times!! The amount of repetition was awesome. I did have a few connectivity issues which I emailed Kahoot! about. They have replied already, so I will discuss their comments with our IT guru tomorrow to see what needs to be done before Tuesdays lessons.