iFLT Part 6 – Movie Talk with Allison Litten

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I loved Allison’s session! She was so energetic, zany and funny! It would be exciting being a student in her class. She showed us a very cute movie talk that she uses with her French students about Ormice, a pig that really wants some cookies. Allison told us to inform the students first that you will be pausing the video, then either pause and talk, or take screenshots and use those (easier than trying to pause in the correct spot!).

Allison likes to use bitmojos (available on Chrome) for rejoinder posters. See my examples below.IMG_4231

Allison also suggested using Simon’s Cat videos for movie talks, they are short and funny. Allison uses Quick time to cut out the beginning and end of videos, and v2mate.com to download videos from youtube. I tried v2mate but it didn’t work for me, I prefer to use KeepVid. She also suggested using Mr Bean videos and short clips from Birdbox Studios.

Allison teaches older students than what I do, but I still thought her ideas were relevant, especially for my Year 3s. She suggested using a personal inventory at the commencement of the school year to find out more about the students. This is a good way to begin a positive relationship with students, especially those with challenging behaviours. This week , my Year 2s (new classes as I did not have them last semester) made a name tag out of a piece of card (A4 folded in half) and wrote their name in large letters, then drew a picture of something or activity they really loved. They then sat on the floor with the name tags in front of them and we were able to have a discussion about their interests (in target language).

Allison showed us a great little clip called ‘Blues‘, and invited us to come up with some target structures for it. One of the things I love about Movie Talk is that it can be adapted for any level just by adjusting the level of complexity of vocabulary. For my younger students, I would use lihat (look), sedih/senang (sad/happy), ada (there is), burung (bird) bermain musik (play musik), foto (photo) and lampu (lamp). For more advanced students, you could add hujan (rain), nangis (crying), datang (arrive), buka/tutup (open/close) and jatuh (fall). For even more advanced students, you could talk about being depressed, discuss who the person is the photo is, how the weather affects mood, etc!

Allison also suggested some great follow-up activites/assessments for Movie Talk:

  • true/false quiz
  • match sentence to image
  • re-order events
  • blind retell in pairs (line A and line B, line B looks at screenshots on screen, line A faces back of room, B person talks about the pictures one at a time to person A.) Then swap.
  • Students write questions about the movie
  • Partner retell – with set amount of time!
  • Use Textivate – great for reading practise. Or try Quizlet Live or Kahoot.
  • Turn the Movie Talk into an reading/embedded reading, try using Edpuzzle.
  • close your eyes – hands in air if what I say is true, hands on head if what I say is false (this would be great for antsy kids)
  • make laminated screenshots of the story, or display them on their own device or Smartboard and record kids retelling story
  • HW activity – retell the video to someone at home
  • use Socrative (for older students) – questions with instant feedback for students!
  • use Playposit for embedding questions into your videos
  • have a Gallery Walk. Laminate each screenshot and place around room, provide paper at each picture. Students walk around and write commens for each picture.

Allison was very generous in sharing resources in this session. Thanks so much Allison!  See Allison’s website for great ideas, resources and a useful blog. She also has available on her site the powerpoint that went with her presentation. Add it to your Google Drive for a great resource!



iFLT 2018 – Part 5 – Annabelle Again!!

More great strategies from La Maestra! Whenever Annabelle uses the word ‘tetapi’ (but), all the students say ‘but’ in English. Great idea! For the word ‘buat’ (make/do), Annabelle moves her hands as if she is making a ball out of dough. I liked this gesture!

Annabelle also used the ‘chocolate’ brain break, which can easily be converted to Indonesian. (See my suka, suka blog post) But Annabelle uses fist pumps instead of claps.

Although I did not see the story that Annabelle presented to her class, she told us that on the first day with them, she asked for details, then on the next day she asked the students what the details were and typed the story in front of them, conveniently forgetting the details 😉

Another brain break! Annabelle asked them to stand up and they played a quick game of ‘Budi Berkata’ (Simon Says). She got them to do actions very quickly, and then suddenly said ‘Sit Down!’ Lots of them got out!! Very sneaky, Annabelle!

Another brain break – Annabelle shook each hand, each foot while counting to 8 each time. (Students copied). She then did the same thing while counting to 4, then 2, then said “rrrrrrrt” and everyone sat down. They breathed in and out a couple of times. Annabelle said “I’m waiting for 100%”

(The Spanish gesture for ‘vendio’ (sold) was similar to the Fortnite fanning out dollar signs, I thought it was cool, ignore this if not needed!

Sometimes Annabelle did the unicorn high 5. That is a weird unicorn noise plus touching of horns!

Annabelle played a cool game of Kahoot that did not require iPads. She gave out coloured red, yellow, green and blue cards. Instead of pressing that colour on the iPad, they held up each card.


When students called out ‘yellow! yellow! yellow!’ excitedly, Annabelle asked them, “Es yellow, yellow, yellow o amarillo?” Great way to revise these colours also. “Cual es? Rojo?” (Warna apa? Merah?)

Brain break – Students stand in a circle and Annabelle asks them to clap together, slowly, then get really fast. When they get fast, Annabelle goes into the middle of the circle and blows bubbles with her bubble wand! Genius!

Annabelle also played a game called ‘La Rana’ (The Frog). Students stand in a circle and close their eyes. La Maestra picks one student and obviously no-one knows who it is. Annabelle tells them to open their eyes and then they walk around the room in silence. (I do not know how this game progresses, if anyone knows, please tell me!!)

She also played “Zip Zap Zoom”.  They pointed their hands together at a person and said “zip” to another person who says “zap”. (Help needed here too!)

She also played a great version of Rock, Paper, Scissors where players pair up and the loser of each game gets behind the winner (making a snake) and then the ‘snake’ goes to another snake to play with the winner. You should end up with two big snakes. The body of the snake chants the winners name (to keep them engaged and involved).

Annabelle told her class, “If you are not speaking Spanish I will probably not call on you and that is totally OK”. (I really need to say this to my students!!)

Annabelle played a great game called the Unicornio Malo.

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She used this great ‘feisty pet’ prop. The characters in the game are the bad unicorn, Juan the good monster, the police person and the innocents (or maybe victims). Their is a great explanation of this game on Erica Peplinski‘s site, but I will try to explain anyway, as I personally found this game quite confusing and I think the more explanations the better! It was a little complicated but very, very cool game!!

  1. Firstly, choose your characters. The class sits in a circle, on chairs and the teacher (all in target language) tells them to close their eyes, or go to sleep. Ask the class, “Is peeking a good idea?” The teacher walks around and says “I touch the shoulder” and does so, then she does the same for the monster and the police.
  2. Check to see if the characters actually realise they have been tapped! Annabelle does this by saying “Wake up unicorn”. Practise sleeping and waking up with the class and tell them  you can see who is good at this because you opened and closed your eyes quickly.
  3. Even during this, Annabelle used a brain break! Stand up. Play Rock, Paper, Scissors with 3 different people. Sit back down. Go to sleep.
  4. Ask the unicorn, “Who do you want to play tricks on?” They indicate someone.
  5. Say to the good monster, “Wake up! Who do you want to save?” They indicate someone. Then tell them, “Sleep”. (The whole class have their eyes closed all this time!)
  6. Polisi, wake up! Who do you think is the bad unicorn? They choose someone. Annabelle then told them if their chosen one is the bad unicorn or not (but I don’t know why she tells them this!!)
  7. Now, put some scary music on – Annabelle used music from The Twilight Zone.
  8. Then Annabelle spins her magic. “The bad unicorn went to a girl’s house. (She is describing the victim). The girl is wearing shorts. The bad unicorn went to a girl that has a little brother. Who has a brother?” Keep giving clues until the victim is guessed.
  9. Annabelle continued the story, “The bad unicorn went into Jane’s (victims) house and did a poo in Jane’s mum’s bed! ” Jane leaves the circle and watches proceedings quietly. “The Polisi went to the house and the Polisi looked at the poo, smelt poo and said “The bad unicorn is ‘Harry’ (a random name). Is it a possibility. Polisi, you have 2 more guesses to accuse someone. Write on board “It is _________ because ______.  Write down the 3 possibilities.
  10. The class votes for who they think is the Bad Unicorn. Then the class chants, “Tell us, tell us” and the one who had the highest vote has to tell what they are. (NB They can lie!!)
  11. Annabelle continues the story “Kelas, someone was attacked/tricked in the night. The Good Monster did not save ‘Susi’ “(bad unicorn)
  12. Police again pick someone to be accused of trickery.

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iFLT 2018 – part 4 – Annabelle!!!!

Lining up to see La Maestra!!



Oh , I was really looking forward to watching Annabelle Allen in action, and I was not disappointed! I learned so much from her and took copious notes (as well as a selfie!) of her sessions. I managed to catch three of her sessions overall. I hope these notes give you some idea of how Annabelle creates a wonderful community with her learners and manages to stay comprehensible by using a variety of strategies.

Annabelle told us she started off the first day all in Spanish. Her 20 learners (18 showed up) had all had Spanish before and were advanced beginners, except for four newbies. Annabelle starts by telling her students a bit about herself – where she lives, her family, her favourite things etc.

She also goes through Las Reglas (The Rules):

  1. Repect – for me, for you , for everyone
  2. Spanish, Spanish, no English!
  3. Eyes, ears – participation!

and asks her new students to fill out a survey about themselves. Here is her free survey from Teachers pay Teachers. Annabelle takes photos of the students to use the next day in class. Because she now has a cool photo of the students, as well as information about what they like, she is able to create some cute photo + gif for a discussion the following day.

sidenote – Annabelle uses slidescarnival.com for her exciting powerpoints. She also recommends buying a personal microphone with speakers to save on the voice a bit. Hers were about $30 on Amazon.

EVERY time Annabelle said ‘hay una problema’, she also (along with the class) said “oh no, oh no, oh noooooo!” with the help of a little unicorn puppet.

Th first brainbreak I saw was a great one. She asked the students to quickly line up in 2 lines, then they played ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’. They played very quickly. Then she said ‘Cambia!’ and the person on the end of one line moved to the other end and everybody moved down to a new partner. I tried this with all my Year 3s last week and it was brilliant!


One strategy to get 100% from her students was to write percentages down the side of the board, with 100% at the top and decreasing by ten percent to 10% at the bottom. She asked the students, “What amount of participation am I expecting? 10%? 20%? etc until of course everyone agreed Annabelle needed 100%!

Annabelle now only uses positive class points, there are no more points for teacher, just points when students are amazing. (Which they often are!) She gives LOTS of points! 13 points, 20 points, 10 points, lots!

Another brain break I saw was “Stand up. Jump 5 times. Do 5 jumping jacks. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Sit down” Great for re-focusing.

Annabelle made comments about pictures of the students taken the previous day. She told them: ‘Aras had (she pointed with both thumbs behind her back to indicate past tense) a cat called Agua.

She asked the students “How to you say *** in Spanish?” then counted 1, 2, 3 before anyone could answer. Gave slower processors time to think about the answer. She asked the students to read the Spanish sentences in English, and gave them 20 points when they did a great job.

A chatty boy said something about a car, so instead of telling him to be quiet, she went straight to him and gave him the attention he wanted. She asked him what type of car he wanted, and then quickly looked up ‘Kiddle‘ (a safer option than Google) to find a picture of the car.

La Maestra was sooo patient and calm! When the class became unsettled, she asked them to make a circle then paired them up.  They quickly played Rock, Paper, Scissors with their FEET!! Both feet together is rock, legs apart is paper, and one foot in front of another is scissors. It was great! I tried it with my older classes last week and they loved it! So good for restless boys!

Another time they got a bit antsy, Annabelle asked them to ‘forma una fila’ (make a line) from shortest to tallest, then they had to sit down in that order (great for splitting up friends without being obvious). Whoops! I forgot to mention that the students were all seated on chairs in a large semi-circle facing the front. She often used a rejoinder ‘Hola hola’ and class says ‘Coca Cola’. She also used an excellent ‘applauso de foca’ (seal clap) where kids had to clap from their elbows up to their hands! Very cute.

I loved the way Annabelle went from one engaging activity to the next. She used Google Earth, and focussed on a country one of her students was from. (South Korea). She zoomed in on a person on the map, and told the class it was her friend Bill!

She had a great way of getting students to use rejoinders such as ‘Aduh!’ (oh no!), ‘Astaga!’ (OMG) and Kasihan (Poor little sausage). She had certain students in charge of the rejoinder and have them under their chairs, then whenever it was appropriate the kids took them out and held them up.

Then she told them about Carlos the crocodile eating all her paper. When one of the boys kept saying ‘Woof woof’ unnecessarily, she said ‘Got it? Are you with me?’ and did not correct him overtly. (Like I would have, shame on me!!)

Then she handed out papers and said “When I pass these out, you are going to think about what you are going to do. Are you going to talk? You can get a lot of points here.” She reminded them about appropriate behaviour and made them want to do the right thing!

Annabelle likes to use weird noised to keep attention, like ‘whoop, whoop’ and ‘brrrrrt’. Use your imagination! I tried some but some kids imitated me! Guess they get used to it, or maybe I needed to use ‘the look’.

She also did some Fortnite dances as a brain break. Wish I could remember exactly how she did this, but I did notice one boy stand up and start to do the ‘floss’. (Ask a student!) She asked him to come and teach her, and she deliberately made her dancing really bad, so the class was very amused!

Another brain break was, ‘Forma 2 filas! Toca (touch) el mano, el pied (hands, feet, etc) so pairs had to touch those parts together. Hands to hands, foot to foot etc. Another cute brainbreak in the target language.

I also loved “I am speaking English because…” and they all said “You’re the teacher!” Have tried this out too!

Annabelle used LOTS of brain breaks – LOTS! More than you think she would need.  Try it!

She then moved into Movie Talk. The rules for movie talk were:

  1. Shhhhh. Don’t say anything if you’ve seen it already.
  2. Don’t complain. (I will be pausing every 2 seconds)
  3. Participation.

Then…it was time for the end of the lesson! 😦



iFLT 2018 – Part 3 – Reading Strategies

This workshop was presented by Bryce Hedstrom.

Bryce told us that we should give our students lots of opportunities to read. Use FVR (Free Voluntary Reading) time. Start this slowly, with 3 minutes at first, gradually building up to 10 minutes. More advanced students may want to read for even longer! Read your current class story , then change it a little each lesson and read embedded versions of the story, or read a parallel story and compare it with the original.

Bryce suggests that if you are using a class novel (more advanced students), then first locate the essential structures. These are what you need to teach before starting with the novel. Pre-teach the Super 7 and structures that will be repeated throughout.

Post Story/Chapter Activities:

  • Bryce gives his students points depending on how they respond to the story – if they state a fact, they receive 2 points, if they listen and respond (to the fact) they get 5 points and if they ask a question they get 5 points.
  • Read the story – in pairs, on their own (with a worksheet to complete) or reading club with the teacher.
  • Independent readers can write comprehension questions about the story, co-operative groups could read on their own and then make a book map or some other group project.
  • Popcorn Reading
  • Translate line-by-line
  • comic strip retell
  • wanted poster for main character
  • create a text conversation between two characters

From Reading to Assessment

The following can be used as assessment:

  • parallel read with questions (in English)
  • cold read with questions (in English)
  • Bloom’s type questions may be used for older students

Reconnect with the Real World

  • do simple science experiments
  • presiden Joko selfies (with black velvet peci)
  • infographic (how many students have a dog, cat, etc)
  • make sure authentic resources are interesting and not frustrating to read
  • adapt materials to rebus style (using pictures in place of words)

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iFLT 2018 – Part 2 – Starting off the Year

Getting Off to a Good Start – presentation by Carrie Toth

Carrie Toth

A good way to start the year is by folding a little card of A5 and asking kids to write their name on it and a picture of something they like, or something they did on their holiday. Then you can Circle with Balls Ben Slavic Circling with Balls

Or you can start the year with Bryce Hedstrom’s KLB (Special Person) Special Person

Use stories to increase the input. You can tell a story, ask a story or listen to a (familiar) story. Use silly stories! Find a resource that inspires (eg the news story about the 12 soccer boys being trapped in the cave in Thailand), build a story from an image or a story based on the Super 7, a personal experience or on a familiar folktale/story that students would already know (Goldilocks).

Don’t limit  yourself to picture talks! Use pictures from National Geographic, do map talks (cari Sumatra, warnai laut biru – find Sumatra, colour the sea blue) and recipe talks. Use follow-up activities to add input, such as a Round-the-World quiz (students move to different parts of the classroom) where students write their answers in different spots around the room. Or put lots of laminated pictures in the middle of a circle and anyone who wants to picks up a picture and says something about it. (You cannot repeat what has already been said) This is called ‘Circle the Wagon’.

Transition well: give classroom jobs, have students up and moving, emphasise the connection between what you are doing and why, have everything set up and ready to go and vary the types of input you use.

Get grades in the gradebook: use exit tickets (5 quick questions), quick writes, compare/contrast, venn diagram, what’s your opinion/why? (for upper levels, or use emojis)

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Use a related video to stretch out your story:  Jurassic FartBHD Cactus Bank. Make predictions, but with younger students give them options eg Is he going to run, or is he going to eat? Continue to use previous structures and add new ones as needed.  Take screenshots of your video. Put all of these up on the Smartboard, or print and laminate all the slides. Use the ‘gutter’ (spaces between the pictures) to make up stuff about the places, characters, etc that are not obvious. Manipulate the students to get them to remember difficult words (this is a Year 5 word so you guys probably won’t be able to remember it). Use 5 main pictures for retelling.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 12.44.38 pmTo do this, use Powerpoint. Insert different shapes, then select shape fill, then picture.  Ask your students to retell the story. Share a picture of the slide to their iPads, or ask them to take a photo. Then they tell the story to a face (a stuffed animal face, a picture of someone), then to a friend, then to the teacher.

Assessment of the story could be:

  • retell to a partner (record and send to teacher)
  • write the story
  • write a different story
  • write questions to the character, or for a quiz

iFLT in Cincinnati, USA! Part 1 – Coaching.

I have wanted to attend this annual conference for a while, but hesitated due to the expense. The US-based conference is aimed at helping teachers teach for proficiency using CI-based strategies (See iFLT for more details). When Bu Cathy expressed an interest in going as well, I decided that 2018 was going to be the year for iFLT. I was more than ready!

Coaching for Coaches

Encouraged by Bu Cathy, I decided to also attend the Coaching for Coaches workshop held on the Monday before the main 4 day conference. I am so glad I did! It was a small group, so we had a chance to take the roles of coach, teacher, student and observer. What a great way to encourage and nuture up-coming CI teachers! I loved the quote one of the presenters (Michelle Kindt and Terri Wiechart) showed us “Comparison is the thief of joy” (Theodore Roosevelt). A great reminder not to compare ourselves with other teachers, we all have our own style of teaching and we are all great! I also loved “People who aren’t smiling are the ones who need a smile the most”, a reminder that CI teaching is not only teaching to the eyes, but teaching to the heart.


  1. The teacher must feel safe
  2. Discussion must be carefully directed by the coach
  3. The focus is on the skill, not the language
  4. The experience must empower the teacher

These are the steps we followed while we were coaching:

  1. Go through the rules with the participants
  2. Set up chairs and positions for students, observers, teacher and coach.
  3. Explain to the teacher how the activity works, asking them about the age group and experience of the ‘students’ and the skill they are wanting to focus on.
  4. Give them time to write up language structures on the whiteboard while you as coach explain the roles of ‘students’ and ‘observers’.
  5. Ask the teacher how much time they want, and time them. Tell them they may stop at any time.
  6. Guide the discussion,  asking the teacher, ‘students’ and ‘observers’ how the teacher made them feel part of the classroom community and how the teacher kept it comprehensible. Don’t forget to ‘feed forward’ and well as feed back! (How would you continue this lesson? Where would you go next with this?) If anyone gets off task, tell them, “We don’t have time!”



Five Cool Ideas for your CI Classroom!

I have recently been re-reading two books I purchased a few years ago, when I was still teaching languages traditionally. The books are:

100+ Fun Ideas for Practising Modern Foreign Languages in the Primary Classroom and

More Fun Ideas for Advancing Modern Foreign Languages in the Primary Classroom, both by Sue Cave.

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Here are some ideas I think we could use successfully and that would be engaging for our TPRS students:

Pictionary – have some sentences available from your latest story for a student to choose from. Pick a student and they choose a sentence. They then have to illustrate the sentence on a large piece of paper in front of the class, while the rest of the class guesses what sentence it is. The first one to correctly say the sentence is the next one to choose a sentence and do the illustration.

Predict the sentence – (lots of reading and writing practise in a fun way!) Make a sentence scaffold with words students are familiar with eg.

Ibu Anne                     mau                       makan                     di                   KFC.

Harimau              tidak mau                    berlari                     ke                   rumah.

Perempuan                                                muntah                                          pohon.

Laki-laki                                                                                                              Melbourne.

Students then choose words from the above lists to make a sentence. They could do this on mini whiteboards. Teacher also chooses from the words above to make a sentence, and students have to predict what the teacher has written! When they have finished writing their sentence, they stand up. Once all are standing,  you begin to read your sentence word by word. Ask them to sit down as soon as one of their words is not the same as yours. The students left standing should have the same sentence as you and win a point!  This is a great, non-threatening activity to encourage reluctant writers!

Predict the Sentence 2 – Same as above but this time students aim to write a unique sentence. They volunteer to read their sentence aloud. Anyone who has exactly the same sentence as the reader sits down, along with the reader. This continues until the students left standing do indeed have sentences that are unique and win a point.

I Want – Hand out picture cards or real items that are cognates in your language. Only give them to about half the class. Have students sit in a big circle. Encourage those students with nothing to raise their hand and when chosen, ask (in L2) ‘Saya mau (cognate). This seems to be forcing output but I think  younger students would love it they would be highly motivated to say the phrase. (Of course you would play my Qwin Game first, so the language has been modelled many times first.) You could ask receiving students to say ‘Terima kasih (thank you) to encourage good manners.


Kim’s Game – I have no idea why this game is called Kim’s Game, but I know my Prep students love it! You can play it traditionally with about 12 items (I use cognates) on a table and then cover them all up with a cloth and students have to tell you what is there. Great for reps on ‘Ada’ (There is)! Then you can draw the items on the whiteboard as students recall what is under the cloth. Then of course you have to count each time a student adds another one, to see if they have remembered all 12 yet! (Lots of counting practice!) I call it ‘Magic’ because I am covering something with a cloth so kids love it! Then, you can remove something from the table (students close eyes and cover them with hands) and see if they can guess what is missing. “What is not there?” Apa tidak ada? (Kim’s Game) Try removing two items, or three! BUT the coolest thing ever is you can make these games in Powerpoint! Just find and insert lots of cognates or acquired pictures onto your first slide. Then duplicate the slide lots of times! (Hold down and right click) Now remove a different item from each slide. You simply click through your slides and students say what is not there!