Kindness + Love = Annabelle Allen

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One of my many amazing highlights from iFLT was the opportunity to observe Annabelle Allen teaching Spanish to elementary/primary students. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t observe her until Thursday morning and then just for the 75 minutes before our scheduled coaching cohort session. I am incredibly grateful that Anne insisted I observe Annabelle. Her actual words were: ”OMG, you have to observe Annabelle Allen! She is AMAZING!” Anne was not exaggerating one teensy, tiny bit!

While I was only in her classroom for just over an hour that Thursday, it made a enormous impact on me. I will always remember the feelings of awe as I reluctantly walked out of her room, determined to return again the following day for the entire morning, which I did. Watching Annabelle interacting with her students was transformational. I will attempt in this post to explain how and why her teaching impacted on me so deeply.

As mentioned in my first iFLT post, when coaching, the two main areas of focus are
1. comprehensibility and
2. connecting with students.
In Annabelle’s classroom, the two are so tightly intertwined that at times it became difficult to separate them. The importance she places on building community is phenomenal. It starts the minute they walk through the door and continues until she bids them goodbye with love. Her care and affection for each and every one of her students is demonstrated consistently and genuinely.

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Thursday was her 3rd morning with her students and by then she’d had around 5 hours with them. Her 20 students were a mixture of ages, ranging from year 3-5 (Australian year levels) and interestingly included 4 students who were totally new to Spanish and CI methodology. The identity of the 4 newbies was kept secret until the final debrief session and by that time, observers were totally surprised when their names were revealed! Her student group also covered the typical spectrum of student behaviours and it was so touching watching her developing rapport with the students from each end of this continuum.

The room was set up with student chairs in a horseshoe facing a large projector screen. Behind the student’s row of chairs were about 5 rows of larger chairs for the observers.

It was great idea providing observers the opportunity to chat with Annabelle prior to her students arriving during the 20 minute ‘Lab Planning’ session each morning. She happily answered questions about her teaching style and lesson content while setting up for the upcoming lesson. She seemed exhausted yet answered a variety of questions about brain breaks, classroom management and lesson content positively and enthusiastically. Her observers received identical amounts of love and respect as given to her students.

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Just before her students arrived, Annabelle requested that all observers be absolutely silent during the lesson to prevent distracting her students. It was incredible watching students so highly engaged and in the flow to the point that they were entirely oblivious of the rows and rows of observers directly behind them. Towards the end of one of her lessons, a person entered noisily and then laughed and clapped loudly along with her students. I was amazed at how this interfered with the flow and focus. It distracted everyone in the room, most noticeably her students. Yet, Annabelle continued teaching, giving no indication at all that this behaviour was disrespectful and disruptive. She is an incredibly kind and generous person.

Amongst the students in her class were 4 boys, all very good friends. They enjoyed sitting together and often distracted each other either with side comments, goofy actions or blurting. It was wonderful watching how she managed them without them even realising they were being targeted. During the first lesson I observed, Annabelle separated the students just as the lesson began by asking all students to stand up and organise themselves into a line according to their shirt colour (from dark to light) and then to sit back down in that new order. The previous day, Anne told me, she asked the class to order themselves in height order. She then told the class to sit down on the chairs in that order. How clever is that to separate students unobtrusively! Then if a couple of more tweaks became necessary, she would ask students to swap seats with someone else; but the clever thing about this is that the class had no idea who was being targeted because she moved both quiet and noisy students equally and the first student moved was never one of the students who needed to be moved! It was genius.

 

Her behaviour management was a very impressive aspect of her lessons. Considering that she was still getting to know her students and amongst them were students who needed considerably more scaffolding, as well as a couple of irrepressible ones, Annabelle remained positive the entire time. Students were never singled out publicly, instead the class as a whole was reminded with a gentle pointing to the rule being addressed. When an individual student did not respond to the gentle whole class reminders, a subtle whispered conversation in their ear kindly and successfully helped them rein in any unhelpful behaviours.

On the walls were variety of posters that helped with classroom management. The most important one stated clearly her 3 rules:

  1. Respect – you, me, everyone
  2. Spanish, Spanish, Spanish – no English
  3. Participation

She referred to these constantly, especially when students blurted in English. I loved how she reminded students that the teacher is the only person who can speak English in Spanish class; everyone else speaks Spanish.

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Another useful ‘poster’ on her wall was actually a list of percentages written up on her white board with 100% at the top down to 10% at the bottom. This ties in with both rule number 3 and her point system. In each lesson, students have to work together to reach 200 points and the main way they can earn points is when all students demonstrate 100% participation. If only a couple of students responded to a question, Annabelle pointed to the 30% and reminded them that she only gives points when there is 100% participation!

Other posters included large sheets of important vocabulary to help students stay in Spanish. These posters included one for target structures, one for out-of-bounds yet important vocabulary that had come up in class, a hundred chart, a selection of rejoinders, useful adjectives, circumlocution suggestions, colours and the inevitable question word posters. Up also amongst the posters were 8 individual rejoinder posters. They had a large emoji in the middle and underneath the Spanish phrase to represent it. She also had doubles of these posters on her desk which she handed out to individual students who demonstrated a good understanding of and/or a connection to a phrase. This then became their personal rejoinder poster for holding up whenever they felt it was appropriate during the lesson. Not only did this help build a connection with the student because as soon as they held up the poster, Annabelle looked them in the eye and smiled warmly at them, but it also is an invaluable tool for comprehensibility and SLOW.

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Everything that happened in Annabelle’s lessons centred on student relationships and comprehension. Right from the beginning when students first arrive into class. Music was playing in the background while Annabelle greeted them each at the door speaking in either Spanish or English incorporating a mixture of language covered in class and cognates.

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I also really love that she shares with students her unicorn obsession. It added a sense of light hearted quirkiness blended tightly together with non judgemental trust. Unicorns were embedded into lessons in a variety of ways. Her ‘happy unicorn sparkles’ are in a large plastic shaker container and brilliantly support student actors kindly as needed. If student actors needed a gentle prod (a reminder to freeze, to offer the actor another opportunity to enact a scenario or to rewind the acting) Annabelle sprinkles the glitter over their head while giving the instruction. (Luckily for Spanish teachers, there are so many cognates to assist with this.) On FridayAnnabelle blamed unicorn pee for changing the colour of her hair! I loved how she also asked one of the very quiet students if that was why her hair was also the same colour as Annabelle’s! Relationships, connections, rapport in spades!

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Another important way in which Annabelle developed a close sense of community was the way in which she picked her battles in regards to the ongoing blurting in English by a few of her students. She explained during one of the lesson debrief sessions held after the students had left that day, that she accepted a lot more blurting at the beginning of the school year because the main focus in the beginning is building and consolidating student relationships. Thus at this point, instead of saying anything directly to the students who were blurting, she largely either ignored it and spoke over it or restated it in Spanish. This was then followed by enthusiastically acknowledging a student who responded in Spanish with joy and positive reinforcement! Annabelle had a number of students who were so engaged in the lesson, their enthusiasm to participate constantly resulted in blurting. It was fascinating having an opportunity to watch individual students blurting from an observers perspective. As a teacher, I find blurting frustrating yet was fascinated that Annabelle did not once shut a particular student down by rebuking him for his enthusiastic contributions in English. I could clearly see that this student was literally on the edge of his seat he was so engaged and so desperately wanted to contribute that he didn’t take the time to think about how to say it in Spanish. Later when Annabelle revealed that he was one of the 4 beginner students, it all became clear! Not only was he madly processing Spanish (and doing an amazing job) but he was also grappling with fitting into the established pecking order. The big ‘aha moment’ I got from this is that I need to assess the value of rebuking students in class for disrupting the flow. It now seems to me that a public reproach not only interrupts the language flow, but is also detrimental to student self-esteem and thus destroys the important sense of community being created!

If you ever get the opportunity to observe Annabelle, I highly recommend you jump in with both feet. I guarantee you’ll be inspired by her love and kindness.

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iFLT 2018 – Coaching for Coaches (C4C)

Can’t believe that our amazing trip to the States is fast drawing to a close. It seems only yesterday that Anne & I arrived and yet tonight we head to the airport for our flight home to Australia. I’ve been doubly fortunate on this trip because I not only attended a huge CI conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, but I also spent time with my American based family in Los Angeles and West Virginia.

The conference began with a Coaching for Coaches (C4C) workshop. This workshop was an optional extra and there were roughly (don’t quote me!) about 60 people attending; 30 coaches and 30 teachers training to be coaches. The coaches got together in the morning to meet our team, get to know each other, review coaching skills and be informed of our duties during the conference. My team leader was Gary DiBianco and I thoroughly appreciated the opportunity to work as an assistant coach with him and Nelly Hughes. Nelly & Gary were very patient and kind with me which I totally appreciated because the day I left Australia, I had received some professional feedback that shook my confidence and self esteem to the core. Thus during the conference, I battled intense feelings of being an imposter and a fraud on top of being totally overwhelmed by the sheer size of the conference. There were 515 people!

I just love the C4C model because it positively supports CI teachers keen to improve their practise. I attended C4C in Agen last year and appreciated the opportunity to attend in Cincinnati as an assistant coach. Thank you so much Teri! This helped to refresh my understandings from last year as well as gaining a few bonus extras (e.g. how to warm teachers up when no one wants to demo, turning negative observations around, dealing with demos that incorporate aspects inconsistent with good acquisition practise, ). I love how C4C focuses solely on building community with students and keeping the language comprehensible. Just as it is for students in a CI classroom, C4C sets teachers up for success by providing feedforward (not feedback) that helps guide teachers forward. FeedForward is ‘kind, meaningful, tactful, positive and useful’ unlike feedback  which is soul destroying, mean and increases feelings of self doubt. Carol Gaab stated while opening the conference that “Collegiality is expertise wrapped in kindness” which sums C4C up beautifully.

 

Over the week of iFLT2018, our coaching cohort met each day, except Friday, at 10am for an hour . While this meant we missed one of the available workshops or language labs, it was an invaluable opportunity to work on coaching and teaching skills. Our cohort started off with roughly 20 members which were divided evenly between Nelly and Gary however as the conference progressed, the numbers dropped and by Thursday we all met as one group.

As this was an intermediate group, coaching at first focused on specific skills; e.g. Picture Talk, Movie Talk (Jurassic Fart or BHD Cactus Bank), Reading and ‘Authres’ (authentic resources) before moving to focusing on skills that individual teachers chose to work on. Skills chosen by our group included incorporating actors, asking a story, Kursi Luar Biasa (Anne), 3 ring circus,  card talk/circling with balls, to mention a few.

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Nelly Hughes coaching Anne MacKelvie

There were also bonus coaching sessions available at the end of the day until 5pm. I enjoyed this because it gave me an opportunity to observe other coaches in action. I particularly appreciated listening to the language other coaches used when explaining the three areas for feedforward:
1. comprehensibility
2. connection with students  &
3. specific chosen skill.
The second point is one I usually have difficulty explaining clearly. I was delighted to hear Clarice Swaney and Michele Whaley describe it as ‘building community’ and ‘building rapport with students’ which really resonates with me.

The coaches coaching aspect that ran throughout iFLT 2018 is a brilliant model and I am keen to propose it for future Australian CI conferences. It provides an opportunity for teachers to reflect upon and practise a wide range of skills in a safe and supportive setting throughout the conference while it is all still fresh in our minds. Teri Weichart spent hours matching up people with their coaches and it paid off. I truly appreciated the opportunity to get to know and work closely with a couple of CI teachers who I feel confident about contacting in the future should I need advice. This too, would be an invaluable way of establishing strong networks (PLN’s)  during conferences to provide ongoing support & advice after the conference has finished.

Sound Effects Theatre

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

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

Anak Nakal di Kelas 3/4 Turley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compelling Pet Videos

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Meeting our State Education Minister – Susan Close!

I have just returned home after a very exciting meeting and half an hour later, I am still grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I am on such a high that I want to share it with you!!

Last Friday,  Annie added our 3 names to the invitation list of the Country Cabinet State Government visit to the Fleurieu.


The aim of the Country Cabinet visits is to provide regional residents with a community forum so they can speak directly to the premier and his ministers about issues directly relevant to their region. We were thrilled that this would  provide us with an opportunity to speak with the SA education minister, Susan Close.

Last year we heard her speak at the MLTASA conference about the importance of language learning. All the language teachers were delighted to discover that we had such a powerful ally in our state government.

During our car trip home after the conference, we decided that it was a priority to speak directly to the minister about TPRS but could not find a time that suited us all. It was a gift to hear that she was visiting our region and schools this week.

Tonight the 3 of us joined the throng at the Victor Rec Centre enjoying a BBQ dinner cooked by the brilliant Lions Club. It was lovely seeing such a huge cross section of people representing the Fleurieu. We caught up with friends while munching on sausage sandwiches (or in my case, a veggie patty) while waiting for the cabinet to arrive.

We had deliberately chosen seats at the back of the room to give us an excellent vantage point from which to peruse all who entered. Annie immediately spotted Susan Close as she arrived. We allowed her time to grab a sausage sandwich before making a beeline for her and totally monopolising her until she had to make her way to the front.

Susan was very gracious and listened intently to us as we explained to her about TPRS and all that we have achieved down here on the Fleurieu for language teachers. She asked many questions (when she could get a word in!) and was delighted to hear that she will get the opportunity to observe TPRS in the classroom tomorrow during her school visit.

It was so exciting to have the opportunity to speak directly to the minister of education about TPRS, a largely unfamiliar methodology in Australia, that has the potential to reverse the decreasing numbers of students choosing to study languages across secondary and tertiary sectors in Australia. We took great delight in sharing Ian Perry’s amazing 2016 student retention numbers as evidence of this!!

Let’s hope our chat and the brief observation opportunity tomorrow will tweak her curiosity enough to investigate TPRS further. It would be awesome to have her support!!

Observing Ibu Anne’s Circus

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

Here are my notes for each year level:

Prep Classes:-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelas 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelas 3 –

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

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

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

IMG_6079.JPG

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

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

 

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

Terima kasih dan salam hangat,

Bu Cathy

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

 

 

 

Erin Gotwal Part 1 & 2

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

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

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

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

http://bit.ly/oZbYDO

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