IFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching- How To Involve The Whole Class When Storytelling

A great thread appeared overnight on the iFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching Facebook page Have you joined yet? If not, I highly recommend it. It is a global  community totally dedicated to all levels and aspects of TCI. Your own personal PLC where you can comment on other posts or ask questions about teaching with Comprehensible Input and TPRS. For those of us here in Australia, where TCI is only just taking off, this group is awesome. Whether you prefer to be a lurker or a contributor makes no difference because the other teachers here bring a wide variety of experiences and the knowledge they share is impressive. They too cover the spectrum of experience and once you take the first step and. join, you will discover what a warm and generous community it is. My only word of caution though is: go with your gut feeling. Remember that we Australians aren’t the only ones frustrated by the lack of training available here and thus interpretations of TCI vary. If a suggestion sounds a little off centre, don’t worry or stress; it is most likely because of a different understanding of what TCI actually is. If you need clarification, ask openly on the page and no doubt an experienced practioner will chime in and clarify. There are certain names to look out for and you’ll recognise them from all your readings. 

The thread I enjoyed reading this morning asked how to involve more students when reviewing a story. It was posted by a parent/teacher who has a child in one of her classes.  I remember the pros and cons of teaching my own children and this was definitely one of the pros. I totally appreciated the insights into both my teaching and the students in the classes. 

Here is her question: 

 
The answers to the question were awesome and most of them are worth sharing becausse they would work very well in our primary classrooms. Interestingly though, is that secondary teachers have also shared here!  

   
The answer below by Karen Rowan actually fits in after Grants initial comment above.

  

  
 
So many great ideas here to not only gets heaps of repetitions but also to keep our students engaged in the story.

Student Jobs – A Truly Engaging & Useful Tool

My students love the jobs that help me with TPRS/TCI and are very disapponted when none are needed. The variety of jobs and what they entail is constantly evolving as we fine tune what works and what supports student learning. For each job there is a laminated card with the title of the job and a matching picture. At the start of each lesson, I  ensure that each job card that will be needed is blue-tacked  to the white board. This sounds more complicated than it actually is because so far, only the middle and upper primary classes do jobs and as the MP & UP classes are mostly all covering exactly the same story, it only needs a tweak here and there. I have a display folder now for each class and they all are stacked on a small table near the white board. In the first page of  each folder is a sheet which on one side has the year and teacher name for that class and on the back is a class list. All students who are nominated to do a job for the lesson also have the choice of sitting in first class (kelas satu) in the larger chairs along the back wall or with everyone else in kelas dua (normal sized chairs) atau ekonomi (on the floor).

IIf you are interested in reading more about student jobs, Ben Slavic has a very comprehensive list on his website that I highly recommend.

Here are the jobs that I have tried so far:

  1. Sekretaris – At the start of each lesson, I nominate the sekretaris by looking at the notes made on the class list by previous sekretaris’ to see who has not yet been sekretaris or who has not done as many jobs as everyone else. The job of the sekretaris is to write a student name against each of the jobs on the board (with a few exceptions), again choosing students who have yet to complete the same number of jobs as everyone else.  (I used to do all this, but it was so time consuming and led to a lot of unnecessary blurting in English) Once this has been completed, the sekretaris sits in kelas satu (sekretaris has the most luxurious chair) and then completes the checklist by writing against the students name the jobs that they were allocated to do. The sekretaris is also responsible for collecting any student work (quizzes, freee writes ect) fromm the lesson and putting it neatly in the class folder.
  2. Penghitung Waktu –  The person who does this job uses the timer on an ipad and records how long the class can stay in Indonesian. The timer is stopped each time a class member (or Bu Cathy) uses English. This job is awesome  because it lends itself to so many student repetitions of – ‘Boleh saya pakai Bahasa Ingriss?’ (to which the other students invariably shout out “Tidak boleh!”) and also the asking of the time keeper, “Berapa minut?” and then listening for the answer which must be given in Indonesian. 
  3. Polisi – This student sits next to the penhitung waktu and every time someone uses English, they squeeze a plastic pig dog toy (not the most appropriate object for oh so many reasons….) to inform the penghitung waktu to stop and reset the timer.This job lends itself to the questions, “Siapa pakai Bahasa Ingris?” and then “Harry pakai Bahasa Indonesia atau Bahasa Indonesia?” to which the student generally asssures us all that it was in fact Indonesian!! Yeah right! These two jobs complement each other and in particular because it keeps the penghitung honest!
  4. Twitter – The twitterer has to move to the PC 5 minutes before the end of the lesson and then write a 140 character (or less) sentence about something significant/memorable we covered in our lesson. While we get the hang of the job, I am accepting English, but next term I will be insisting that all tweets are written in Indonesian. 
  5. Penulis – The penulis has to keep track of the class story for me!! The story I receive from the penulis invariably isn’t complete for many reasons, but it’s usually enough for me to remember by the end of the day the gist of their story. This person usually focuses so intently and acquires so much more than anyone else!!
  6. Penghitung kata – This  job counts the number of times I say the target structure we are focusing on during that lesson. It is a very popular job as they get to use a hand held counter (or if more than one, they tally on a piece of paper but this is nowhere as accurate) and I love it because it helps to keep me focused on what I should be repeating. I will check in with the penghitung kata by asking ,”Berapa?” and from their answer I know whether I have covered the structure enough or not. It is fascinating how quickly the count skyrockets when a class gets hooked on the discussion!
  7. Mendistribusi pensil dan kertas – Responsible for distributing pencils and paper for quizzes. Two names go against this job and then I ask each of them, “Harry mau mendistribusi pensil atau Harry mau mendistribusi kertas?” while miming handing out things to the students sitting in economy. There job is to check that the pensils are sharp and that there is enough A5 paper for each student ready for the quiz.
  8. Pembaca – This is my reader leader. Their job is to use the microphone and lead the class in the reading of the story. 
  9. Pembantu – This job was only introduced recently and is still being honed but so far it has been a huge hit. The job of the pembantu is to echo me each time I say a specific TPR phrase. At the moment we are focusing on ‘angkat tangan’ so I bought a hulk hand at Savers especially for this. Every time I say ‘angkat tangan’ the pembantu has to echo me loudly (silly voice encouraged) and thrust the hulk hand up into the air. It is hilarious and has been very successful for sneaking in extra repititions. I also incorporated the concept of auditions after reading about them on Ben Slavic’s website. The person auditioning is given the microphone and the hulk hand and we get some reps in while students audition for the job! Ingenious isn’t it!  Now that students understand  the job, I think it will work better and smoother without the microphone.  
  10. Mengabsen – This job is chosen by the random option on class dojo. This student has to call the roll using class  dojo while I time them.  I introduced the timing aspect to keep the roll call succinct and also for the added spice of interclass competition. The current chamapion, Cambell (year 6/7 Turley) called the roll in 33 seconds last week. Calling the roll provides me with useful data and for students it provides them with a comfortable routine that helps them transition into Indonesian.
  11. Penulis Quiz – The quiz writers job is to choose 7 or 12 sentences from the story that the class is currently working on. The number is 7 if the quiz is out of 5 or 12 if the  quiz is out of 10, with a couple of spares  in case one or two of the sentences are not suitable. The quiz is a true/false quiz (benar/salah) and thus the sentences written by the penulis ujian can be either taken directly from the story (benar) or tweaked (salah).  

Here are a few quizzes some of the penulis ujian’s wrote this week based on our current story:

  
   
   

    Staying in the Language

    One of emphases of TPRS/TCI is for the whole class, including the teacher, to stay in the TL (Target Language) and in the USA, there is a 90% target! We don’t have any such emphasis in the Australian Curriculum, in fact our curriculum appears to largely expect teachers will teach in English.
    In order to not only record our progress of how many minutes each class stayed in Indonesian in each lesson without blurting (speaking in English) but also to add a level of competition between classes, I introduced the student job of timing just this. A student in most lessons now sits at the back of the room with an ipad, next to the Pembantu Guru, whose job it is to squeeze a plastic pig loudly each time any English is spoken. This is easily the most favourite job we have so far explored! Each time the pig is squeezed, the timer (Penghitung Waktu) stops the timer and records the time. At the end of the lesson, if a new record was achieved, it is added to the board. The second number alongside is the total number of repetitions we get in a lesson of the target structures.
    Here is the first photo I took in week 4 with the very first scores:

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    And here is week 5:

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    Here is week 6:

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    And finally last weeks:

    IMG_9747The funny thing about this latest shot is that 6/7 Turley came in to class and were determined to beat their score. They agreed it was pathetic that the 6/7 class had the lowest time. They tried and tried and yet someone would blurt out in English after just a few minutes. Finally with 11 minutes to go, they all realised this was their final chance and it was so impressive how they all dug deep to keep a lid on their blurting. It was such an accomplishment for them. The very next class though, was the other 6/7 class. When they walked in and saw that they were the only class yet to beat their initial score, they all decided then and there to not only set a new PB, but to also totally thrash the other 6/7 class. And boy did they ever!! 33 minutes was far in excess of what I was expecting from any class in first term!! I had actually said to classes all I’d really hoped for was 10 minutes!! What made me smile though was that whenever a 6/7 student asked, ‘Boleh saya Bahasa Ingris?” The rest of the class would shout “Tidak boleh!”
    So now there is a huge inter class competition between the two year 6/7 classes!! I don’t know who is more challenged by this determination of the two classes to only use Indonesian in class; them or me!! My challenge is that whatever I say has to be 100% comprehensible to each and every student!! No easy feat I can tell you! Today because 6/7 Clark wanted to reach the target of 40 minutes, we went into recess slightly and ensuring comprehension remained, I had to resort to a few quick written translations on the board so that I could continue without blurting myself!! Made me feel a little guilty but it is sooo hard when we have only been using TCI properly for barely 8 weeks!!

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    Lesson 3 & 4 Reflections

    Overall, the lessons ( see previous post) this week were awesome. I had a brilliant week and thoroughly enjoyed telling the story, ‘Pleased To Meet You’ with my middle and upper primary classes. The junior primary classes though, focused purely on ‘nama saya’ and Siapa nama?’, so I could get photos of my reception students and also because unlike the older students, they only have one 50 minute lesson per week.

    Storytelling Reflections:
    As it was the same lesson repeated 8 times in all, I had to constantly remind myself to talk SLOWLY. While I was very comfortable with the story, students were encountering both the familiar and unfamiliar vocabulary for the first time ever in this context.
    The stop sign came up many times and that everyone joined in, made it easier for both the students to initiate it and for me to see it. Really helped me remember to go slowly and ask for comprehension checks.
    My 2015 timetable has worked out so well. I teach mostly middle primary classes on Monday which gives me the opportunity to iron out any potential kinks in it before facing the upper primary classes the following day. This week I was ready for them. I stayed upbeat and we all enjoyed a great lesson. So much so, that with the class before recess, when the bell rang, no one moved because we were mid way through acting out the story! They wanted to see it through to the final scene!
    Student reactions to the story were hilarious! The responses ranged from incredulous (Taylor Swift/Will.i.am was at McDonalds yesterday?) to disbelief (It wouldn’t have been Taylor Swift fainting!!)
    Acting out the story was very popular and there were many volunteers. I tried to avoid choosing students who usually hog the limelight and gave the quieter students a chance to shine a la Ben Slavic advice.
    I introduced jobs this week during the first lesson with the upper prrimary classes mainly because I wanted to film each 6/7 lesson so that I had a record of the lesson. Had it gone haywire, I would be able to watch the video and pinpoint where I’d lost my students. I am also really curious to discover what I missed! So much happens with large classes, that I either miss things totally or suddenly realise that a student I believed to have been totally focused was successfully staying under my radar by timing his/her asides well. I haven’t had a chance to watch the films yet (partly because I am dreading watching myself in action/but mostly because I haven’t had the time!) but I did have a quick look at the photos. I had hoped to use the photos for lesson # 4 to help with retelling but unfortunately the photos were largely useless: out of focus and too far away from the action. The few that were in focus were not enough. Interesting assumption on my part that all older students know how to take photos with an ipad!
    The filming of one 50 minute lesson filled up an ipad, so instead of having a ‘tukang film’ for the year 5’s and 5/6’s, I introduced ‘Penghitung’, the counter. Unfortunately I forgot to introduce the jobs until too late with the year 5/6 class and the poor counter barely made it into double digits, so with the year 5 class I made sure to do it first up! I asked Sienna to count each time someone said, “Nama saya” and the final count blew us all away! In 50 minutes, Sienna counted 310 reps!! I wrote it on the board for future reference:

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    Story Retell Reflections:
    -The look of panic on students faces when during the second lesson, I asked for the retell to be in Indonesian was in retrospect, to be expected. But once someone made a start, the panic evaporated and it all came together. I was delighted with how students collaborated to retell the story.
    -I had 2 visitors during this segment of my lesson; Marg, the year 5/6 teacher (who incorporates Indonesian phrases into her classroom day where ever possible) & Brenton, PEPS principal (& in a past life, was a Spanish teacher). I haven’t had a chance yet to ask for feedback, but I will….
    -I have several year 6/7 students who rarely engage with my lessons. I successfully targeted 2 of them this week and gave them each an opportunity to shine while learning the importance of staying focused during lessons. Jesse rarely looks up, so during bola kenalkan, I firstly reminded everyone that they need to constantly watch. I then threw the ball to Jesse while he was looking downwards. He fumbled, grabbed it, responded and then returned the ball to me. After a few more students, I noticed that Jesse was once again not focused, so I gently threw the ball to him again. He looked up puzzled, returned the ball to me and said, “But I have already had the ball!!” To which I responded, “You need to watch ALL the time!” and pointed towards the expectations. I returned it to him again and asked, “Siapa nama?” and this time he caught it and returned it answering my question. I then targeted other students and if I noticed Jesse was again unfocused, I again gently passed him the ball. He loved it!! It was so lovely to see a smile on his face as he reveled in the attention. The icing on the cake was when one of the sporty boys complained that it wasn’t fair, Jesse had had the ball 10 times and he’d only had it once!!
    -The other student, Drae, is one of those students who pretends he doesn’t understand so that he doesn’t have to contribute. I’m sure you all have one of those students. We had just started retelling the story and I asked him what came next. He baulked and stated he had no idea, so I asked him to translate what we had written so far. Again he baulked, so I reminded him about the stop signal. I then returned right back to bola kenalkan and passed him the ball, while asking, “Siapa nama?” Of course he could answer, so I did a comprehension check and naturally he could tell me what both sentences meant. So returning to the story, I again asked him to translate. Again he balked, so once again, I grabbed the ball and repeated the whole process. By this time, it finally dawned on him that there was no escape! He took a deep breath and proceeded to translate everything. The loveliest thing was that when he’d finished, the class erupted into a genuine and spontaneous applause! With impeccable timing, Brenton then entered the Indonesian classroom, so Drae received even more kudos!
    – I introduced the job of ‘reader leader’ with all classes. Luckily I have a sound field system in my room which incorporates a microphone. This makes the job of reader leader so much easier. The reader leader reads the story at a pace that we can all read along together. Great way to get extra repetitions of the story & target language. I did have one student who had difficulty with pronunciation. At first, I corrected him and then I stopped. I suddenly remembered a post on tprsquestionsandanswers. This post included research and information about just this! I need to acknowledge that not only does it take confidence to get up and read in front of the whole class, the last thing a student needs is to be embarrassed and have his/her confidence undermined. Speaking in the target language is the most anxiety provoking form of communication. Anyone who has attempted communicating in a foreign language can relate to that! Here too is a quote from Chris Stoltz from the moretprs yahoo group:

    Since I started TPRS, I stopped both pronunciation and spelling instruction . This year, I didn’t say a single word about anything in Spanish– and I got the best spelling (and pronunciation) ever. If they hear/read it and they get it, their brains seem to soak up the rules and conventions. The same is broadly true of grammar.

    Free Write Reflections
    -What a range of writing abilities! I was blown away with the stories students wrote. Even one of the year 3 student wrote a few sentences amongst his word list!! (see below)
    -I love the concept that students can write anything as long as it is in Indonesian and they understand it. It’s simplicity appealed to all students and is a great example of how TCI differentiates for all levels of ability and confidence. The more capable wrote stories while others were challenged finding words around the room they knew.
    Here are a selection of free writes beginning with a year 3 and finishing with year 7’s:

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    IMG_9477I love the way the above student wrote a sentence structure and then focused on it! What great repetitions!

    IMG_9479I love how Harriet incorporated kenalkan vocabulary from previous years into her story!

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    Look how Illiana (above) added to the end of the story! Not an ending rewrite as such but a great example of what others could do too.

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    Miranda also took the structure and built on it using vocabulary from previous years! How awesome!

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    Look how Eli used dengan and suka!! Brilliant!

    IMG_9504Georgia has used the story structure to rewritte an entirely original story! In 5 minutes!

    IMG_9514Winter has used this opportunity to experiment with all the sentences and phrases she has learned over the primary years! How great is that!!

    IMG_9516Look how the above student has spent the entire 5 minutes writing solidly!!

    Aren’t they amazing! Reading through them has given me an idea! How cool would it be to read them to classes and have students illustrate them as they are read??? The drawings then would make awesome ‘Look & Discuss’ pictures. I only read about L&D recently and this could be the springboard I need to give it a try!