Back at Uni….

The amazing rollercoaster ride finished temporarily last night and I now have 5 weeks of NOTHING to look forward to! What do I mean? Well….. I am back at university and have just completed the first semester of my Master of Education – Languages. Literally, just finished! I handed in my final two assignments last night however it wasn’t till this morning that I finally felt the relief.

Have you ever been tempted to go back to uni? If you have, then I wholeheartedly encourage you to look into it. For me, I wish I’d done this years ago. Not only has it been too long since I completed my Batchelor of Education (30+ years), but everything I have studied so far has been significantly more practical and enjoyable; I am itching to put it to the test.

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Looking north west from the third floor library window. Love the various magpies that keep me company!

In semester one, I completed 4 compulsory units;
– Motivation, cognition and metacognition,
– Approaches to research,
– Developing Literacies through intercultural language teaching
and
– Exploring languages pedagogy.
Which one do you think looks the most interesting and practical for teachers? Surprisingly for me, it was the one that I least expected to connect with. It was without a doubt, the first one. This was for many reasons; all of which are fascinating from a teacher/learner perspective, especially when you consider that initially I was ‘amotivated’. Even though the weekly workshop was only 60 minutes long, the pedagogy of the class was spot on and reflected the course content. We covered an interesting selection of topics including self efficacy, Deci & Ryan’s model of self determination, memory and the theories suggesting how  information is processed so as to be transferred to long term memory. Did you know that working memory has a very short 15- 30 second limit for retaining thoughts/information unless it is attached to meaning or constantly attended to eg repeating it over and over (sound familiar?)  Another fascinating fact relevant for us CBLT (comprehension based language teaching) teachers is that short term memory functions best if new information is limited. 7 is the maximum quantity of information that can be processed at any one time in our working memory (Miller), yet when this information is in the form of words, 3 – 4 items is the ideal number. Please keep this in mind when tempted to use unfamiliar vocabulary in a lesson!

While I have loved many, many aspects of my postgraduate study, there have been two aspects that have been very frustrating. The first is the strong anti CLT (Communicative Language Teaching) sentiment and the other is the heavy intercultural language learning emphasis. Both have been confronting because there appears to be little room for negotiation, although I am hoping to push back a little more from now on.

When I first heard Bill VanPatten talk about the anti CLT rhetoric, I really didn’t understand just how strong it is. At the chalkboard, we are largely protected from it in Australia, however at the tertiary level, it is loud and strong. All set readings about CLT were written by ignorant authors whose understanding of CLT is based solely on opinion gained from seemingly flicking through a ‘CLT’ textbook. I’ve discovered that the majority of my class colleagues come from countries whose curriculum is delivered compulsorily through designated ‘CLT’ texts, however I fail to understand how a constant diet of negativity supports them in any way. I hear them say over and over, that their curriculum content and delivery is set by the government, yet they are still expected to design lesson plans and unit plans based on other approaches. How is that good pedagogy?

My other beef has been with intercultural language teaching. While it has been fascinating to have the opportunity to study the beliefs underpinning this and I totally agree that is imperative for our students to develop skills necessary to be culturally competent citizens in our global world, I disagree that it should be to the extent where communicative competence is prejudiced. At the bare minimum, they should be valued equally in a language classroom. Furthermore, I suggest that if we agree that language and culture are tightly intertwined, then CBLT is undoubtedly the best approach to actually achieve this.

An unexpected bonus from my study has without a doubt been my fellow students. One of my units that I fortuitously selected, was also chosen by a TCI colleague (shout out to the inspirational Heather)! This was amazing because it meant we could discuss readings through our CBLT and junior primary lens.  We also collaborated on a TCI/intercultural language lesson presentation for which Heather took a day off school so that we could present together. As this was Heathers’ penultimate unit for her masters, I am so thrilled we had the opportunity to overlap. Her final unit will be conducting and writing up a research paper and as I am in no way ready for this, I will support and cheer her on from the sidelines. A large percentage of my fellow students are largely international students. In two of my classes, I was the only native English speaker and the nationalities represented were vast. Students come from Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Lao, Vietnam, China, Bhutan, Timor Leste, Saudi Arabia and of course, Indonesia! It is brilliant studying with Indonesian students – all are incredibly warm and friendly, so tolerant of my passion for Indonesia(n) and also happy to answer questions about current usage, culture and education. How lucky am I? It was sad though, saying goodbye to Sol who finished his course and has since returned home to Nusa Tenggara Timor and fingers crossed we cross paths again one day.

The most exciting thing that happened last semester was finally holding in my hands a copy of Bill VanPatten’s book ‘While We’re On The Topic‘. While a hard copy of the book itself is not too expensive, postage to Australia is. I know I could get a e-version, but this is a book that really needs to be in paper form. A copy of his book is apparently not available yet from any other Australian university so this copy was borrowed from Iowa University!! Heather has since requested that Flinders University invest in a copy – can’t wait!! IMG_8932

 

I have enrolled in three units for next semester. The first two are compulsory subjects (as were all I studied in first semester) and the third one is my first optional unit. I had planned to enrol in the introduction to second language acquisition but unfortunately it is only offered in first semester. I look forward to enrolling in it next year!
My semester two units are:
– Visualising language learning,
– New technologies and e-pedagogy in foreign language education,
– The psychology of learning and instruction.

I am thoroughly enjoying being a uni student again and am so looking forward to next semester. I absolutely love the writing and readings (when not bagging CLT) although do feel guilty that my blog is more neglected than I expected. Maybe this semester with one less subject and a greater familiarity of the system I will be able to share ideas that are relevant to TCI.

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Looking south from the third floor library window on the final evening of semester one while completing my final two assignments!

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‘Pleased To Meet You’ by Jim Tripp – Junior Primary Lesson Outline

‘Pleased To Meet You’ is without a doubt the best story (I believe) to use as a springboard into TCI/TRPS. In my first year of using TPRS, I used the version below of Jim’s brilliant story with all year levels; R (prep) – year 7. A huge thank you to Jim Tripp for his kind and generous permission allowing me to share it with you. The beauty of this story is its simplicity, quirkiness and economic use of language.

The outline in this post is a blend of a unit of work that Ibu Sharon and I created in 2017 for conference presentations and my own classroom practise. It is designed for preliterate students however can equally be used successfully with all other junior primary year levels.  I now teach these lessons with both the straight reception (prep) classes and the composite R/1’s. Thus the year ones in these composite classes work with this story twice and I’m guessing you’ll be astonished to hear that I have not ever had a student comment about this!

If you are starting out on your CI journey and your JP students are also unfamiliar with CI, this outline can also see used successfully with all JP levels as not only does this story introduce structures vital for story telling & co-creating stories but it also is a gentle and engaging way to introduce your students to the language and expectations useful in a CI classroom.

The target vocabulary in the junior primary story version includes the following three structures:
nama saya, siapa nama, berkata (My name is, What’s your name, said)
The following are also in the story: di (at), dari (from), Astaga! (OMG!)autograph & pingsan (faints) but instead of pre-teaching these, I personally prefer to say the words in both languages (Indonesian first followed immediately with the English translation) & incorporate comprehension checks until I assess they were no longer necessary and then just use Indonesian. With my reception (prep) students I use ‘di’ & ‘Astaga!’ but not ‘dari’ or ‘pingsan’; I use ‘from’ & ‘faints’ instead. We all know our own student cohort best and you will know whether to use the Indonesian, the English or both for these ‘bonus’ words. I can’t stress enough the importance of always minimising unfamiliar vocabulary to avoid student cognitive overload. The only way you can fully understand how stressful this can be for your students is to join a class teaching an unfamiliar language as we did with Blaine Ray at the recent 2019 Australian TCI Conference. Please, please, please keep this in mind when teaching.

To personalise the story, I highly recommend using the name of familiar staff from your school in your story. Changing the celebrity name and the location to suit your current student’s interests will also ensure that the story appeals to your students.

It is also  important in all TCI stories that cognates and proper nouns (not common nouns) are used. For example ‘McDonalds’ & ’hamburger’ are easily recognisable cognates whereas ‘rumah makan’ (restaurant) & ‘nasi’ (rice) are not. Cognates & familiar proper nouns are a gift to language learners and teachers. They help us to reduce the cognitive load and facilitate the ‘narrow and deep’ mantra that underpins CI teaching.

One final note regards the intentional lesson structure I use when planning activities in my JP lessons. The younger the students, the more important it is to keep activities short and sweet and for every sitting activity, follow it with an up and moving activity. I call this the up/down/up/down format! Students this age need lots of movement and restricted sitting time!

Here is the JP story version; 

Pleased To Meet You by Jim Tripp

Taylor Swift di MacDonald’s.
Pak Taylor di MacDonald’s.

Taylor Swift berkata ‘Halo. Nama saya Taylor Swift. Siapa nama?

Pak Taylor berkata ‘Nama saya Pak Taylor.’

Taylor Swift berkata ‘Pak Taylor? Pak Taylors dari PEPS? Astaga!

Taylor Swift berkata, ‘Autograf?’
Taylor Swift faints

English Translation:

Taylor Swift is at MacDonald’s.
Pak Taylor is at MacDonald’s.

Taylor Swift said ‘Hallo. My name is Taylor Swift. What’s your name?

Pak Taylor said ‘My name is Pak Taylor.’

Taylor Swift said ‘Pak Taylor? Pak Taylor from PEPS? OMG!

Taylor Swift said, ‘Autograph?’
Taylor Swift faints

 

Junior Primary Lesson Outlines

LESSON 1. Target Structures:
nama saya 
(my name is)
ya/tidak
 (yes/no)

Welcome: (A huge thank you to Diane Neubauer for her permission to use an adaptation of her wonderful introduction here)
Halo Kelas!  Welcome to Indonesian. My name is Bu/Pak (Mrs/Mr)_____. Can you say that?
(Repeat very slowly) ‘Bu/Pak _____ . What do you think Bu/Pak means? Ya! Bu/Pak
means Mrs/Mr and if I was a man/woman, my name would be Pak/Bu ______! Pak/Bu
means Mr/Mrs.
How do you feel about learning Indonesian?
I think learning Indonesian is cool too.
Some students feel nervous/ worried about learning Indonesian. They think it is
going to be hard. Do any of you feel more like that? Thank you for telling me this.
I’m going to share with you a few things which will help you enjoy learning Indonesian and also help you learn it faster.
Go through the rules briefly:
JP – Dengar, Diam, Duduk (Listen, Quiet, sit down)
Do you know any Bahasa Indonesia?
What do you think learning Indonesian will be like?

 

TCI Activity # 1: Roll
I always begin calling the roll with the statement ‘Ayo mengabsen’.
followed quickly by pop-up English translation;  That is Indonesian for let’s call the roll.
I call the roll using class dojo.
Greet each child with a wave & a halo with their name.
Encourage students to reply with Halo Bu Cathy.

 

TCI Activity # 1: Class Expectations
Direct student attention to the 3 monyet poster. Discuss briefly what they are doing? Sitting, listening and being quiet! Explain that the monyet are being very clever and they are reminding you of what you need to do to learn Indonesian.  Clarify that when students are doing the right thing they can earn positive class dojo points and when they are not doing the right thing, they will get a negative class dojo point.
I then refer to the poster throughout the lesson and give class dojo points to students doing the right thing!
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(see TPT for a free copy of this poster – acknowledgement to Annie Beach for her impressive artistry)

 

TCI Activity # 2:  Introduce the target structure ‘Nama saya’
1. Say ‘Nama saya’.
2. Explain ‘Nama saya’  is Indonesian for “My name is…”
3. Students echo the teacher with various voices. Voice ideas include growly, squeaky, opera, whisper, very slowly ( I really love saying the structure slowly because it provides youth the opportunity to clearly enunciate it!).
Note that ‘listen & repeat’ is strongly discouraged in CI classrooms however I have found that junior primary students thoroughly enjoy it because of the quirky voices. It is a compelling way for them to hear novel repetitions of structures and the more unusual the voices, the more engaged the students become!
4. Provide the gesture.
5. Do one more comprehension check. (what does ‘nama saya’ mean, close your eyes and do the gesture for….)

TCI Activity # 3: Circling ‘- Nama saya’ (Remember to speak SLOWLY)
Here is the script that I used with my 2018 reception classes:

Say ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy’ and point to myself.
What do you think ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy” means?
Ya; ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy” means, “My name is Bu Cathy.”
Hold up a Dora The Explorer (or any soft toy character that is easily recognisable by that age level).
Nama saya Dora.
Ya!  Nama saya Dora.”
Comprehension check: Nama saya Dora means My name is Dora!
Is that right? Is her name Dora?
Ya!!
Point to myself:
Nama saya Bu Cathy!
Ya! (thumbs up)
(Pointing to myself) Nama saya Dora?
No!! Nama say Bu Cathy
Nama saya (their teacher?)
Nama saya Jett? (Use a student’s name from the class)
No!!
Bagus!!
Nama saya Bu Cathy?
Ya!! Nama saya Bu Cathy!
Nama saya Mrs Turley or Nama saya Bu Cathy?
Bu Cathy!
Ya!!
What do you think ya means? That’s right – yes!
Hold up monyet puppet and say:
Halo kelas! (Waving his hand at them) and then:
Nama saya Big Bird??? Monyet shakes his head no.
No!! Bukan!!
Nama saya Cookie Monster??? Monyet shakes his head no.
No!! Bukan!!
Nama saya Monyet?? Monyet shakes his head yes!
Ya!! Nama saya Monyet!  Monyet nods his head yes!
What does ‘Nama saya Monyet’ mean?
Ya!! Nama saya Monyet means, my name is Monyet!
Monyet again asks, Nama saya Jett? (student from the class)
Simultaneously with the class, negate this saying bukan!
Nama saya Monyet!
Nama saya Bu (their class teacher)?
Simultaneously with the class, negate this saying bukan!
What does ‘bukan’ mean? Repeat again shaking head. Ya!! Bukan means no.
Bagus!
Monyet again; ‘Nama saya Monyet’.
Nama saya Monyet or Nama saya Jett?
Ya!! Nama saya Monyet!

Repeat this with other student names from this class and each time, Monyet waves to that student!
Continue circling with other cards/props until you feel students have sufficiently grasped the target language or the students are becoming restless.

 

TCI Activity # 4: Fun Target structure Repetitions (to get more repetitions of the target structures use games, fun rhythms or songs that do not contain any unfamiliar vocabulary.)
Choose one of the following ‘nama saya’ activities:
1. Clapping: Clap hands twice and then knees twice while simultaneously saying intimate to the clapping; ‘Nama saya Bu/Pak ______,’  then repeating the clapping rhythm for the students to echo you, in time with the rhythm. Continue using students names by going around the circle with the students echoing! In the second round, encourage individual students to say it using their own name with the class & you echoing.
2. Piccadilly Circus – students stand in a circle with one child in the centre holding a soft a ball. They walk/run to someone in the circle and say as they hand over the ball, “Nama saya _____”. The 2 students then swap places & the person with the ball then walks/runs to someone different and says “Nama saya ________”.  You can vary this game by asking students to sit down after they have passed off the ball or you can add another different coloured ball and play it with 2 balls.
3. dum dum dah dah – (replace dum, dum, dah, dah with Nama saya)

 

LESSON 2Target Structures:
Siapa nama? – What is your name?

TCI Activity # 1: Roll (Getting to know the students and familiarising them with how each Indonesian lesson begins)
I always begin calling the roll with the statement ‘Ayo mengabsen’ and again follow this immediately with a pop-up English translation;  That is Indonesian for let’s call the roll.
Call the roll using class dojo and as with the previous lesson, greet each child with a wave, a halo and their name while encouraging students to reply with Halo Bu Cathy.

TCI Activity # 2: Review & Expand Student understanding of Class Expectations
Review the 3 monyet poster and the benefits of sitting, listening and being quiet in Indonesian lessons!

TCI Lesson Activity # 3 – Nakal/Pandai
(Introduce your preferred behaviour management system. Here is a link explaining in more detail how I manage my very successful JP behaviour management system.)
Discuss nakal/pandai and reiterate what is pandai in kelas Bahasa Indonesia and what is nakal di kelas Bahasa Indonesia. Link to tiga monyet and give class dojo points to students being pandai.
Introduce and sing together the following song to reinforce tiga monyet.
satu, satu, duduk, duduk, duduk.
dua, dua, diam, diam, diam.
tiga, tiga, dengar, dengar, dengar.
satu, dua, tiga, duduk, diam, dengar.

Put a stick up on the board next to the pandai poster using blutack and again reinforce diam, dengar, duduk.

 

TCI Activity # 4: TPR (Total Physical Response)
1. Revise meanings for berdiri, duduk. (stand, sit) &
2. Introduce perempuan/ laki-laki (girl/boy).
3. Explain/translate ‘perempuan’  is Indonesian for “girl” and ‘laki-laki’  is Indonesian for “boy.”
4. Students echo the teacher with various voices. Voice ideas include growly, squeaky, opera, whisper, very slowly ( I really love saying the structure slowly because it provides youth the opportunity to clearly enunciate it!).
5. Brainstorm for a gesture for the structures (e.g. girl = hand pretending to puff up hair & boy = stroking beard or drawing a moustache)
6. Do one more comprehension check.

Here’s my script from my 2018 reception classes:
Jett (student name) laki-laki.
Jett laki-laki? Ya Jett laki-laki.
Julie laki-laki? Bukan. Jett laki-laki.
Jett laki-laki atau Julie laki-laki?
Ya Jett laki-laki.
Repeat for a female student.
Repeat using SpongeBob. SpongeBob laki-laki atau SpongeBob perempuan?
Comprehension check. and move to incorporating laki-laki & perempuan:
Perempuan berdiri.
Jett perempuan atau Jett laki-laki? Ahh, Jett laki-laki! laki-laki duduk.
Perempuan duduk.
Laki-laki berdiri.
Jess laki-laki? Jess perempuan? Ya! Jess perempuan! Jess perempuan duduk!
Laki-laki duduk!
**Comprehension check often**

 

TCI Activity # 5: Circling – ‘Siapa Nama?’
From a bag, take out 2 puppets and begin a puppet show:
Bert: Halo kelas!
Bert: Nama saya Mr Banana.
Teacher says: Is that right? No!!
Bert: OK! Nama saya Bert!
Bert: Siapa nama? (to puppet 2 – SpongeBob ). (Comprehension check)
SpongeBob then asks a student sitting at the front, Siapa nama? (comprehension check).
SpongeBob (to Bert): Nama saya Jett (repeating name given by student).
Bert: Bukan!! Bukan Jett.
Bert points to Jett and says ‘Jett’ while nodding head. Points to SpongeBob and shakes his head saying, ‘Bukan Jett’. Points to Jett again and while nodding & waving says, ‘Halo Jett!’
Repeat for several students.
SpongeBob: ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy?’
Teacher: Bukan. Nama SAYA Bu Cathy!!
Bert: Siapa nama (to SpongeBob). (Ramp it up by being theatrical!!)
Teacher: Siapa nama? (to SpongeBob & again to the class)
Encourage class to answer.
Bert & SpongeBob say together: SpongeBob!
SpongeBob: Ya, Nama saya SpongeBob

 

TCI Activity # 6: Fun Target structure Repetitions 
1. Raja Monyet (monkey king).
Students sit in a circle, with
one child in the middle with his/her eyes well covered. Select another student who will be the ‘Raja’ (king) and give them a name, which is familiar to your students. For this story, the ‘Rajas’ name would become Pak Taylor or Taylor Swift! The student in the centre is then invited to choose 3 different students (one at a time) and ask each, “ Siapa nama?”(What is your name?). All students except for the ‘raja’ answer with “Nama saya & their own name”(My name is _______) but the Raja answers with ‘Nama saya Taylor Swift.”(My name is Taylor Swift) With this answer, everyone must swap seats. Teacher can then choose a new ‘Raja’ and a new person to sit in the middle.
2. Last year I wrote a song that uses a very slow ‘skip skip, skip to my Lou‘ tune:
Siapa nama?
Siapa nama?
Siapa nama?
Siapa nama?
Nama saya Bu Cathy!
3. I also created a new game which is perfect for reps on siapa nama & nama saya with junior primary students:
Students walk together in a circle around the room in the same direction with music playing. When the music stops, each student has to drop to the ground like a rock with their eyes closed and their face facing downwards. ( It is important when explaining how to play this game that students understand that if they are not tucked up like a rock, they can’t be covered with the sarong, so I recommend before playing, ask a student to demo curling up like a ‘rock’ beforehand with their face facing the ground.) I walk with the students while the music is playing and when the music stops, and all the student are curled up like a rock, I cover one student with the sarong. As soon as I ask, “Siapa nama?”, students can sit up and walk over to the student covered by the sarong and stand around him/her without touching the sarong (or student) and answer my question. I restate every answer with ‘Nama saya (suggestion)?’ and if I say the right name, the student under the sarong jumps up! This became one of the most requested games last year!! Over the year, I gradually phased out the music and incorporated TPR language into the game and sometimes, I even covered two students with the sarong!!

 

TCI Activity # 7Farewell Song; (Tune: If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands)
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa murid-murid/ anak anak (or simply kelas _______)
Sampai jumpa Bu/Pak_______,
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa

 

 

 

LESSON 3Target Structures:
berkata – said

TCI Activity # 1: Roll
At this stage, I simply say their name and when they answer, I just greet each person with ‘halo (+ name). At this stage of the year, this is purely for me to start attaching names to faces.

TCI Activity # 2: Behaviour Management – ‘Nakal/Pandai’

TCI Activity # 3: Introduce the target structure ‘berkata’
1. Write ‘berkata’ on the board. (except for reception/prep classes)
2. Explain/translate ‘berkata’  is Indonesian for “say/speaks”
3. Students echo the teacher with various voices. Voice ideas include growly, squeaky, opera, whisper, very slowly ( I really love saying the structure slowly because it provides youth the opportunity to clearly enunciate it!).
4. Brainstorm for a gesture for the structure and choose one that replicates the one you personally want or was chosen in a previous class.
5. Do one more comprehension check, (close your eyes and do the gesture for….).

TCI Activity # 3: Circling
Create a powerpoint of characters who have saying that are well known for your student cohort. What worked well for me was adding an animation for the ‘saying’ to delay the text until after you have brainstormed as a class and included heaps of reps of ‘berkata’. If students can’t remember exactly what the character is known to say, I prompt with ridiculous suggestions. e.g. Dory berkata, “Let it go”? And I don’t just say ‘Let it go”….. I sing it theatrically!! Boy, does that get a great response!!
For my junior primary students the following were very successful:
Spongebob berkata ‘Krabby Patty’.
Elsa berkata ‘Let it go.’
Pikachu berkata ‘Pika, pika.’
Bob the Builder berkata ‘Can we fix it? Yes we can!’
Dory berkata ‘Just keep swimming!’
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TCI Activity # 4: Target Structure Reps Activity
To get more repetitions of the target structures and provide students with a chance to move around, use games or fun rhythms that only contain familiar vocabulary or cognates. e.g.
Students stand in a circle. Teacher says a sentence from the powerpoint and the students  each mime it. Teacher then regards the selection of actions while repeating the sentence over and over before celebrating the students who have demonstrated it creatively and theatrically. Incorporate comprehension checks when necessary.
This activity is excellent for priming students for ‘All the World’s a Stage’ which benefits from OTT actions.

TCI Activity # 5: CI Activity – Tell the Story “Pleased to Meet You’ using puppets/soft toys/actors
Using the props that you feel most comfortable with, tell the story, circling & triangle each new detail for which students require repetitions. Remember the most important tip that Blaine shared with us at the conference; add characters not new sentences!
Note: With reception aged students, I recommend telling the story and save co-creating for older students.

 

TCI Activity # 6:  CI Activity – All the Worlds a Stage
In pairs, students act out the story as it is told to them by the teacher.
Here is how I introduce All The Worlds A Stage to students for the first time:
1. Students stand in a circle. I say the sentences in order, starting at the beginning. Each student mimes that sentence exactly. I acknowledge the students who do a brilliant job of this, encouraging creativity and exaggerated actions.
2. Then I ask students to duduk before explaining that “Cari satu teman dan duduk” means “Find a friend and then sit down’ and that the last two people standing will automatically become partners. (If there is an odd number, either I will offer to be that persons partner of they will be told to join in with a pair and make a group of 3. This depends on the activity. For ATWAS – I invite the student to be my partner.) We practise finding a friend a few times to both review the language and the process.
2. Once the class is sitting down with their friend, I ask the class to watch my demo. I turn to my ‘friend’ and say in English, do you want to be SpongeBob or do you want to be Bu Cathy?” I answer their response with ok! Then I ask my ‘friend’ to do another demo. Again I ask them ‘Do you want to be SpongeBob or Bu Cathy?’ Whatever they answer with, I say sadly and pretend to cry, “Oh, I wanted to be that.” We then discuss as a class what to do when both want to be the same character. I usually model saying to my ‘friend’ you be Bu Cathy this time and I’ll be Bu Cathy next time. OK?
The best thing about doing ATWAS twice is the REPETITION!!  Score!
3. Partners choose who they will be. I then say in Indonesian, SpongeBob berdiri. SpongeBob duduk. Bu Cathy berdiri. Bu Cathy duduk. (This is largely to double check that there is one of each character in each partnership as well as being the perfect opportunity to sneak in some sneaky TPR).
4.  I then say very slowly, sentence by sentence with as many reps as possible & acknowledging awesome acting;
“Bu Cathy berdiri.
Ada perempuan.
Nama perempuan Bu Cathy.
Bu Cathy di MacDonalds.
Bu Cathy duduk.
Spongebob berdiri.
Ada laki-laki.
Nama laki-laki SpongeBob.
SpongeBob di MacDonalds.’
Bu Cathy dan SpongeBob berdiri.
SpongeBob berkata, “Halo! Nama saya SpongeBob” (pause for students to echo).
“Siapa nama?” (pause for students to echo).
Bu Cathy berkata, “Halo Spongebob.
Nama saya Bu Cathy.” (pause for students to echo)
SpongeBob berkata, “Bu Cathy? (pause) Bu Cathy? (pause again) Bu Cathy from Port Elliot Primary School? (pause again).
Bu Cathy berkata, “Ya. Nama saya Bu Cathy.”
SpongeBob berkata, “Astaga! Autgraf!”
Bu Cathy autographs (I encourage students to write on their friends hand with a finger!)
SpongeBob faints.

The above is repeated once more from step 2  but before we start, I explain that each pair needs to check if either wants to swap characters. If one person wants to swap, they must swap but if no one wants to swap, they can stay the same!

TCI Lesson Activity # 7 – Nakal/Pandai
Menghitung! comprehension check!
Count the tally in Indonesian and then if the pandai tally is more than the nakal tally, remove the stick from the board and ask the class, “Siapa nama?” Restate suggestions with ‘Nama saya Jett?” Bukan! I also throw in laki laki & perempuan here to give clues.
eg Nama saya Jett? Bukan. Saya bukan laki laki. Saya perempuan.
Once we have guessed the name of the student on the stick, they can choose an item from the Treasure Box.

Farewell Song; ( Tune: If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands)
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa murid-murid/ anak anak (or simply kelas _______) Go
Sampai jumpa Bu Cathy,
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa

 

 

Lesson 3 & Beyond…

This lesson’s main focus is the parallel story. I love to make PowerPoints from my parallel stories using well known characters and then record myself telling the story. This can then be uploaded to YouTube for students to listen to firstly in class and then repeatedly in their own time at home.

Here is  an example of one of my adult co-created parallel ‘Pleased To Meet You’ story.

 

I haven’t uploaded a junior primary one yet. The one I made last year was not successful because I used Ronald MacDonald & sadly in every class there were students who were familiar with an M rated film about an evil clown, so it won’t be used again let alone uploaded!

From this point, I usually base my lessons on TCI activities suitable for preliterate students that are fun ways to get. more repetitions on the parallel story.

I also highly recommend continuing to incorporate TPR to build up a classroom context vocabulary with words such as putar (turn), duduk di kursi (sit in a chair), berjalan kaki (walk), antri (line up), berdansa (dance), stop, melompat (jump) & berlari (run). Restrict this list of words to those that will help you minimise the use of English in the classroom and also words that you know will be necessary for future stories! There is no single list of TPR words because we all teach differently!!

 

Assessment:
At this level of schooling, open assessment of preliterate students will be based entirely on observation due to students inability to read and write.
Here are a few recommended closed assessment strategies perfect for this age group:

Listen & Draw – Teacher says a sentence from the story, students listen to the sentence and then illustrate the sentence to demonstrate comprehension. While the students are drawing, teacher observes who is drawing and who is not. By asking one of the students who is drawing to translate the sentence into English, provides evidence that the sentence was comprehended successfully while also providing a comprehension check for those who had yet to begin drawing.

 

Simon says – Teacher says a word (eg duduk) but precedes it with ‘Simon says’ (replace this with Bu/Pak & your name) if the students are to do the action. If the word is said alone, the students do not move.
Note: Traditionally, all students who do the incorrect action are asked to sit or stand out. I try to avoid this if possible and permit the students to continue playing the game. Much more enjoyable for everyone and also ensures all students are participating; thus providing more observation data!

 

Create a class book – Organise the story so that one sentence is on one page. Print the pages on A3 and distribute randomly to students – if more students than pages, arrange duplicate copies. When the illustrations are completed, reduce them on the photocopier to A4 (you’ll be amazed at how much this improves the illustrations) and then bind.
Optional – laminate each page.
Credit Annie Beach & Amy Vanderdeen for this strategy.

For older JP students other assessment tasks could include:

  1. Unjumble words from a sentence taken straight from the story.
  2. Sequence sentences from the story.
  3. Match pictures and sentences from the story.
  4. Flyswatter game.
  5. Create individual book copies – Use the booklet setting on the photocopier with a sentence from the story on each page. Students illustrate one page at a time while the teacher reads the text out. It becomes very clear very quickly which students have acquired the language.
    (Students can then take the booklet home to read to parents, siblings and pets!)

 

If you have any other CI activity ideas that could be added to this unit of work, please add them to the comments below!! All contributions gratefully accepted!

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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Follow Annabelle’s Blog. if you aren’t already doing so!

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!!