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! 😦



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