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!
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
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.
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?