Elementary Spanish with Annabelle Allen

Thank goodness there are bloggers around like Martina Bex to attend these great sessions when I can’t!

The Comprehensible Classroom

On the last morning of iFLT16, I decided to visit the language labs one last time. There were many great sessions that I would have liked to attend, but I figured that I could read about the content of most of them online or interrogate a friend that was able to attend. I wanted to make the most of my time, and so I wanted to see some really great teachers in action.

Holy smokes, y’all. Annabelle Allen is unbelievable.

After 15 minutes or so in her room, I decided to take a quick video so that you could watch for yourselves and better understand the activity that she was doing after I describe it in just a minute. And then, quick as a wink, BOOM! BAM! POP! SLAM! She did six other things in just a 1:55 time span that I also caught on camera and am going to…

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Skype session with Fleurieu Hub

Today we had an almost 3 hour Skype session! We discussed planning for the following term, as well as highlights from the past term. It was interesting to see and hear what others had been working on in their TPRS Indonesian rooms.

Behaviour Management Techniques

Different techniques were discussed:

  • giving out raffle tickets to students doing the right thing then winning student gets a can of Sprite (very relevant after the ‘Mau Minum Sprite’ story!
  • using blue cards with smiley faces stamped on them, give them out, child writes their name on the card and places it in a special box. Every 4 weeks or so, a winner is picked and they get to choose a lucky dip prize.

Activities that have worked well in term 2:

Bu Cathy’s Bop game

Kursi Luar Biasa worked well for Hannah. She emphasised that it is really important to have the ‘polisi’ on the ball as students will blurt in English. Use the timer as well, and restart every time someone speaks in English. Celebrate when the class improves their times! Cathy’s idea for the Kursi Luar Biasa was to fold a piece of paper (or use a mini-whiteboard drawn up into four quarters), and while the special person in talking, draw or write notes about that person.  You could even have a proforma sheet prepared with Age, Name, Pet and Likes/Family  to make it easier for students to fill in.

Using a song for coming in and sitting down in class, or packing up. Ibu Anne suggested ‘Popcorn’ is a good bouncy tune to use, especially to pack up quickly! By the end of the song everyone has to be sitting down quietly.

Carmen suggested a great activity: Pick 4 or 6 sentences from your latest story. Dictate these to the class in random order. Class then listens to/reads these sentences and illustrates. The next step is to cut out and sequence them. Lastly, they can make a cover and take the story home to practise reading!

Hannah said she made up some 4 x 4 bingo cards (40 of them!) and placed pictures of various vocab from her latest story. She made the cards all slightly different. She used a student to call out the words and others had to find 4 in a row, any direction. Students loved it! (Lot of work to make these cards though)

Cathy showed a great proforma for a listen and colour in activity.

She also had one called look, write, draw. Students choose any sentence from the story (one that might be tricky to draw). They had to write this sentence, then draw a picture to match. Then they folded over the sentence so it could not be seen, and passed it on to the next student. S2 had to look at the picture, and write a sentence from the story that the picture represented. Then the picture was folded down. Then it was passed to S3. S3 read the sentence and had to draw a picture to represent the sentence. The proforma had room for 4 sentences and 3 pictures. Sentences should hopefully match at the end. (Will post these proformas once I receive them) Suggested year levels were 4 – 7, but I would love to try a simple one with my Year 3s. You could use a timer to keep kids from taking too long with drawings.

Cathy also had a great dictation proforma, with 3 spaces for :

  1. dictation
  2. corrections
  3. translation

She reads a sentence from the story, students write and spell as best they can, then teacher writes correct sentence on the board. Students copy this correct sentence, or just the parts that were incorrect. Then they have to translate into English.

Hannah mentioned she does this using a powerpoint, so the correct sentences glide onto the screen magically at the right time, then the translation also. Great idea!

Sharon worked on bercakap-cakap terus last term. To assist juniors acquire vocab and provide reps, Sharon used a word find with words from the story ‘hidden’ fairly easily. But students had to find words only when Sharon read out a sentence from the story and stopped on a certain word. Students then had to find that word. The powerpoint was displayed on the Smartboard as well to provide extra support, and one student was asked to come and highlight the word on the Smartboard after students had had enough time to find them at their desks. She used Wordle for older students (using vocab from the story) and had students in pairs racing to see who could find the word first.

Sharon told us the following site was great for junior primary songs in Indonesian.

Sing a Song of Sixpence – Resorceful Indonesian

I asked about introducing ‘bisa’ to junior primary students, as I was struggling to find engaging ways of teaching this. Sharon suggested using the Frozen trailer, and had previously made up a great story to go with the trailer. If Sharon sends that to me, I will post here!

‘Frozen’ trailer

Carmen mentioned she would like the teach the tutup/buka pintu story.

Tutup Pintu story

We discussed how we use ‘tutup mata’ in Heads Down, Thumbs Up and Di Mana Bobo?

Di mana Bobo? (scroll down)

Most of us decided to teach Catharina’s snake story this term with Prep – 2.

We discussed silent reading and decided it would be great to try and incorporate more reading in our classes. We could write sentences from the story, then have students illustrate, to make little books. When students make comic books or write their own stories and want to take them home, colour photocopy first so there is still a copy for the class library.

Paper plane and snowball activities are great for reading activities from year 3 up. Complete story is written on one side of page and all students given a copy. They choose one sentence from anywhere in the story. This is then translated and written on the back of the sheet (near the top, not too big, leave space for more sentences!). The piece of paper is then folded into a paper plane or crunched into a snowball and thrown across the room. Don’t pick up your own! Open up the new plane/snowball and read the sentence. Find the Indonesian translation in the story and write the sentence following that on the back of the paper. Fold and throw again. Eventually you will have translations of the whole story (but starting in different spots).

Sharon does running dictation in this manner:

Story is printed onto coloured paper, cut up into sentences/paragraphs and stuck up around the room (or even outside, that way fidgety kids get to run it all off!) Kids are in groups of three – writer, illustrator and reader (runner). Ask students to pick who is the best reader, writer, illustrator. The runner finds different parts of the story and reads them to the writer, who writes the sentence on A5 pieces of paper. This paper gets passed to the illustrator (usually child with low literacy skills, who can shine in this position) who draws a picture of the sentence. Lastly, the team works together to sequence the sentences! Instant book! (May not be the neatest book though!) I sometimes add a challenge for faster groups, they have to do a translation of the story while they wait.

Sharon shared a couple of pre-story activities to consolidate new structures. One game is Reverse Bingo. Students pick one word from the story (which is displayed on the Smartboard) and write/draw this word. All students stand while teacher reads the story. If the teacher stops reading on their word, they sit down. Last one to sit is the winner. Provides reps of the story.

Another game is Fly Swat. Students sit on the floor with about 6 words/pictures from the story displayed either on the board or on the floor. Three students are given fly swats. Teacher says the word/phrase in English, and the 3 students have to try and swat the Indonesian word first. The student who hits the word first stays in the game and the other two give the swats to new challengers.

Bu Hannah’s Cloze

Bu Hannah made up a great cloze activity to use with low literacy students. She does something like this:

Lucy _______ dingin/panas.

Lucy mau ________ jaket/topi.

Students simply circle the correct answer.

Hannah also spoke about her success with the job Sekretaris. The sekretaris in her classes has to:

  • record absences
  • late arrivals
  • who is doing which job
  • note prize winners/special person
  • note story, who is playing what character and names of characters
  • write a brief reflection/ summary of each lesson

Sometimes Hannah’s sekretaris even records who is being naughty!

In one of Hannah’s classes, Kursi Luar Biasa is not working too well. She uses a general class discussion format, asking questions to whole class then focussing in on particular students before moving back to whole class. She asks questions like:

  • Who has a dog?
  • What is your dog’s name?
  • What colour is your dog?
  • Who has a cat?
  • Who has a younger sibling/older sibling?

We talked about how cool it would be to have special visitors in the KLB (Kursi Luar Biasa). Ibu Cathy described how she had a visitor in her room who did not speak Indonesian, so she asked the visitor a question in Indonesian, a student interpreted, the visitor answered, then another student interpreted the answer. How cool is that?!

Sekretaris could keep records about all students who have been interviewed, then you could use these notes to play, ‘Guess Who?’

We talked about culture a little. Bu Cathy said some cultural units are not very relevant, especially given that there are so many different ways of doing things all over Indonesia. But it is a good idea to teach about the inappropriateness of some things, such as facing soles of feet to a person, touching someone on the head (in Bali), using the left hand to pass things. Probably useful to teach various ways of greeting and addressing older people  (showing respect).

Gatherers of the Sky is a good video to share with students which has interesting aspects of culture to discuss.

Bu Cathy also talked about Grudgeball which sounded really cool, but more suitable for middle/upper primary students. For this game, students are placed into groups (maybe 5 or 6, not really important). Groups pick a noun, then an adjective to make a cool group name. These names are written on the whiteboard to be used to keep score. When teacher asks a question, groups can confer briefly and then raise their hand when they ALL know the answer. So theoretically you should be able to ask any member of the group for the answer. Which you do. If this person gets it right, all members line up to have a go at shooting a basket, worth 10 points. (You can also have different start lines and thus different scores). Now the cool bit, groups can choose to add to their group score, or take away points from another group. Hence the grudge. Bonus points may be given for good sportsmanship, etc. You could do translate questions, finish the sentence, either ______ or ______, many options! NB Teacher may have to cheat a little in order to let all groups have a go.

We also spoke about the Mau Minum Sprite game, but as I am not 100% sure of the instructions, I hope someone else can post about this one!



Wisdom from Catharina Greenberg

I was lucky enough today to spend almost 2 hours in a Skype conference with some teachers from South Australia and Catharina Greenberg. Catharina is a very experienced TPRS teacher who works in New Jersey, USA. She teaches children from 3 years upwards, so has many fantastic ideas for young kids, which is exactly what I need this year!

So I will share the notes I made during the Skype session. Catharina suggested doing lots of 5 minute activities with young students in order to keep their attention. She said anything using the whole body is great for them!

Here are some suggested activities (I added a few of my own as I was trying to list as many as possible)

1. Budi Berkata (Simon Says) Great for TPR. Catharina says her students request this over and over!

2. Sit in a circle and play Duck, Duck, Goose (but use high frequency words such as boy, girl, dog). Choose one child to walk behind students, tapping them and saying perempuan, laki-laki, etc until the ‘tapper’ says anjing! The anjing has to chase the ‘tapper’ and the tapper has to run around the circle and sit in the dog’s spot before being caught. Could also use buaya, harimau if you have been using these in a story.

3. Listen and Draw. I have a set of mini whiteboards and pens for this purpose so I don’t need lots of paper. It takes a bit of organising to give them all out and pack up, but kids love this activity. I like to use students’ names (esp if they are sitting nicely!) and revise vocab we have been covering. eg Harimau makan Elsa.

4. Tell a very short story, using props or pictures. A three-lined story is perfect for very young children eg The dog is thirsty. The dog drinks. The dog runs to the toilet. Or use little stories that happen at school. Lucy tidak punya snack. Lucy ke kantor/staffroom. Sarah beri Lucy sandwich.

5. Sing a song! A teacher gave me a great idea, to use a picture for each line of the song and hold these up as you sing (great for pre-literate kids). Then you can also give out the pics and ask students to get in order and everyone sings again. By the time they have all had a go, you have lots of reps!

6. Retell a story while teacher draws a picture on the board.

7. Movie talk

8. Throw a big soft ball and ask personalised questions.

9. Use a great exercise video like this one from Bu Cathy!

Senam Pinguin

10. Make a large circle of students and have them follow the leader around the room. Teacher says berjalan, berjalan, berjalan and students have to do the action in a big long line and say it with the teacher. It gets fun when you add in stop, dance, fall, cry etc!

11. Guess the number. I do this one with my Preps even when they only know numbers to five!  One child thinks of a number and writes it somewhere where teacher can see but students can’t. Then that child picks students with their hands up to guess a number. I have the numbers and words written on the board for support and they must guess in the L2. Just keep saying them over and over until kids can say them in L2. Amazing how quickly they learn the numbers!

12. Use an eraseable cube image

When you are asking a story and you need a name for a character, write suggestions on the side of the side and choose the name by rolling the dice. Or use tidak and ya. Or to decide where the character goes. Or to practice numbers, colours. Draw or write on the dice. You could also have different TPR actions, whatever comes up they do! (Would be great with smaller dice and small groups)

13. Strip bingo a la Martina Bex. But use little pictures instead of words. Students can draw, colour in first. (While you have a breather!)

14. Use playdough. Buat ular, buat bola, buat pizza!

14. Retell a story with a piece of cardboard and magnets both sides. (Pics or little toys stuck to one magnet) Kids think it is magic when the characters move!

15. Read a book. Something simple. Enjoy!

16. Use the special chair and interview one child. Use basic questions for young ones, Siapa mama?  Punya anjing? Satu? Dua anjing? Punya ibu/bapak/kakak.

17. Hold up two pictures, eg, one of a girl eating and one of girl dancing. Say Lucy makan. Kids point to correct pic.

18. Write sentences in English on a sheet. Teacher says a sentence in Indonesian and students have to highlight sentence spoken. Could adapt for younger children using pictures instead of sentences.

19. Jump if I say ‘ harimau’. Great listening activity!

20. Use freeze frame. Kids freeze while acting out a story. You could take photos to use later.

20. Trace one student’s body onto a big piece of paper, or even just pretend. Talk about parts of body while you trace!

21. Kids sit in large circle. Use personalised questions. If this is true for you, swap spots. Saya mau anjing. Saya punya kucing. Saya suka pizza.

22. Story Switch. Swap the characters over and make the story silly! Re-engages everyone.

Other words of Wisdom.

Classroom Management

Catharina uses different coloured squares, green flag if kids (indiv or whole group) is doing the right thing, yellow for warning, blue for sit out, and red for leave the room.

Great idea is to use a movie clapper board and snap it when you start acting out a story.

Catharina talked about a simple story, such as:

Karen mau harimau.

Ibu berkata , “Tidak!”

Nenek beri Karen 10 dolar.

Karen ke Pet Warehouse dan beli harimau.

Good way to extend advanced kids is to let them do some teaching. Let them lead Simon Says, for example.

One of the teachers mentioned ‘tangan manis’ the hand used for eating . I had never heard of this term and thought it was great!

Young kids can act out simple stories, don’t choose wild kids! Can act the same thing over and over.

For very young students, stick to just one question per year, one animal, one piece of clothing, limited vocab such as mum, dad, house, tree. Stick to only 30-40 words per year. For beginners, classroom instructions are even more important than the Top Ten Indonesian words.

Don’t get stressed about kids whinging about not getting a turn. Not everyone will get a turn. That’s life!

Some important classroom vocab is :

thank you, yes, no, stand up, sit down, cross legs, don’t touch, where is?, open, write, draw, clean up, hello, how are you, pick up, give to, prepositions.

Idea for a story tooth falling out, happens all the time in Year Prep, One! Does anyone give money for lost teeth in Indonesia?



What are the Top 10 High Frequency Words in Indonesian?

Love Bu Cathy’s Top Ten Indonesian words!

Indonesian Teacher Reflections

If you had to identify a list of no more than 10 Indonesian words that are absolutely essential for communicating with anyone in Indonesia, what would they be?

We have been working on this list all year and hope to complete our first draft of it during the upcoming July school holidays. No doubt the list will be constantly tweaked as we progress along the TCI road.

My list includes:

  1. punya – to have/own
  2. kasi – to give
  3. suka – like
  4. ada – there is/are
  5. bisa – can
  6. mau – want
  7. pakai – wear/use
  8. ke -to
  9. di – in/at/on
  10. ambil – get

Other words that I believe are also important (although could largely be communicated using body language) include:

  1. sudah/belum
  2. ya/tidak/bukan
  3. sedikit/banyak

What do you think of the first list? I would love to hear your comments if you are an Indonesian teacher/learner.

Once the top 10 list is finalised…

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Kursi Luar Biasa!

Here is the completed special chair to be used for ‘Murid Luar Biasa’. I hope to begin this activity with a vengeance this term!

I spent many hours painting the chair over the winter holidays, so I hope my students like it! I am really pleased with the way it looks.

Story switch and Never-ending song

After working with the Harimau makan Elsa story for 3 weeks with multiple classes, I was getting a bit bored.

Harimau lapar. Harimau lihat Elsa. Harimau mau makan Elsa. Elsa lari ke pohon. Harimau lari ke pohon. Elsa lari ke rumah. Harimau lari ke rumah. Harimau makan Elsa.

I had laminated pictures of Elsa, tiger, tree and house with magnets on the back that I used to tell the story. (This can be seen in an earlier blog)

I decided to be a bit silly, so I retold the story, but switched the characters, so Elsa was hungry and wanted to eat the tiger. The tiger ran away and was finally eaten by Elsa. I was blown away by the response of the kids, they loved it! They thought it was hilarious. Amazing how one small change can re-engage everyone and produce giggles.

I also told them about never-ending songs, and how they can be used effectively to drive teachers, parents and bus drivers mad. We sang a little song invented by Bu Cathy which is sung to the tune  ‘Found a Peanut’. Once again I used the ‘puppets’, and had Elsa running to first the tree, then the house, over and over again.

Elsa lari, Elsa lari, Elsa lari ke pohon

Ke pohon, Elsa lari, Elsa lari ke pohon

(Then repeat with rumah)

Once my voice was fading and some kids were putting hands over ears (after MANY reps), I had Elsa run to tiger and be eaten!

I encouraged students to go home and drive their family crazy with our song. It was wonderful the following week to be told by so many students that they drove someone crazy with our ditty!