All posts by Bu Anne

I am an Indonesian/Spanish teacher in Victoria, Australia. In 2015 I started reading and learning about TCI/TPRS. I love the philosophy behind this method! I have gained new enthusiasm for teaching and seen amazing results with my students. This blog documents some of my TCI/TPRS journey so far, and describes some activities that worked well for me. For many years I taught Prep - Year 3, so if you also teach these year levels, you may just find some ideas to help you out! After teaching Indonesian for 10+ years, I am now teaching Spanish to years P - 6.

Hands-on TCI with Unifix Cubes


This is a fantastic hands-on CI activity to teach the words ‘ambil’ (pick up), ‘taruh’ (put), ‘di atas’ (on top of), colours and numbers. Students are totally engaged because each has their own little snap-lock bag with all nine unifix cube colours – white, blue, red, pink, brown, green, yellow, black and orange. At the beginning of the year I only included 5 colours and slowly added more over the year. I do this activity with Preps, but it would work with other beginners.

I start with asking all students to ‘lingkaran, lingkaran’ and make a circle shape with my hands.  They get it, and sit in a circle. Then I say laki-laki, perempuan, laki-laki, perempuan (boy, girl, boy, girl – makes behaviour management so much easier!) – they sort themselves out (mostly). I sit in the circle too, usually next to the most challenging student 😉

Then I give out the ‘tas’ (bag) by sliding them across the carpet to each child. This seems to impress them no end! I show them what I do with mine – I tip them all out in front of me and then say ‘tas di belakang’, while placing bag behind my back.

After they have all done this, I count the ‘balok‘ one by one and get them to join in if they can. I tell them ‘Ambil merah. Taruh merah sini. Ambil putih. Taruh putih di atas merah. Ambil kuning. Taruh kuning di atas putih. (To be honest, with my Preps I don’t use ‘taruh‘ in case it is too much new vocab, I just leave it out, but you could use it) I say this slowly, and I do it as well,  so that if a child does not know the colours yet, they can just copy me and let the language soak in. I do this with all colours, then start at the bottom and repeat each colour while pointing to each block.

Then we sing, ‘rusak, rusak, rusak – rusak, rusak, rusak’ as we break them all apart. Then I ask ‘Siapa duduk baik?’ (Who is sitting nicely?) and I pick that person to pick/say the colour we will start the next tower with. Sometimes they say it in English, that’s OK. I just repeat the colour and pick that block up. I pick a different child to say each block. All up we build about 5 or 6 towers, following the same routine and choosing children to say the next colour. Amazingly they don’t get bored!

With one class, I had an Indonesian child who kept saying ‘Sudah!’ after he had broken up his tower, so I incorporated this into the lesson and I said it as well, over and over, every time I finished breaking up my tower. If the kids said ‘Done!’ I said, you have to say ‘Sudah!’ which they did. By the last tower they were all chanting ‘Sudah! Sudah!’

When I have had enough, I line all my blocks up and count them, to make sure they are all there. They do it with me. Then I ask them to ‘ambil tas’ (pick up your bag) and we put them in one by one, listening to the colours I say aloud. I tell them ‘Tutup tas’ and they zip up their little bag. I walk around the circle and collect all the bags, saying ‘Terima kasih‘ to each child.

Such a cool activity and they are as good as gold because their hands are busy!

Then I hand them out a ‘tower building  worksheet, which has six towers of six blocks each.  I will add the attachment so you can download it and use with your own classes. (just give me time to get to school tomorrow to find it!)

I tell them we are going to colour in towers just the same way we built them, from the bottom up, and then I say ‘Warnai balok satu merah’ (colour in block 1 red), ‘Di atas, merah, warnai biru’ (on top of red, colour blue) etc. They enjoy this and you can see straight away who has got it and who hasn’t.

Try this with your younger students! They will love it and so will you! It’s fun to sit on the floor and play.

PS I have lots of plastic dinosaurs, cats and dogs too. It would be fun to create a little story where dinosaur walks to red, runs to yellow, jumps to blue etc or goes to orange with dog etc! Please add any other ideas you think of!

PPS Thanks to Bu Cathy who found these photos of me with my students ‘playing’ with blocks.

Sneaky Extra Reps using youtube Videos


Watch and learn how to get in some sneaky extra reps with your students – it is painless and fun!

I used this as a pre-writing activity. After listening to the story over and over, it was fresh in the students’ minds and they were able to write great stories, even at Year 1 level!

I did this at the end of my “Cerita Ular” unit. Just click on the ‘settings’ icon in the middle at the bottom right hand corner of the youtube video to adjust speed, as shown in my video above. Let me know how it goes for you!

Making Movies

For a while now I have been making movies to enable my students to have some Indonesian input outside of class. I also use them in class as an introduction to a topic (‘Ular’ – you can see this movie on my YouTube channel, link provided below), at the end of a topic to pose a question/reflection (see ‘Nick’) or just to provide an additional five minutes of input if I am exhausted or need a couple of minutes to pack up!

I used to spend hours making a movie, but hopefully these little tips will make it easier and much faster for you to make your first movies!

I make movies in two ways – one is by using a story already made in Powerpoint, and secondly by uploading photos or videos into iMovie and then adding audio to either method.

Let’s imagine you have a great story opened up in Powerpoint, such as my example ‘haus’. Click on file, then ‘Save as Movie’. (What a great option!!! Does all the hard work for you!)

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Choose where you want your movie saved. I suggest you create a new folder called ‘Videos’.

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Save the movie, then close Powerpoint, no longer needed!

Open iMovie.

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Click on ‘Create New’, then ‘Import Media’. If you are making a movie with photos/videos, this is the stage you need to import them!

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Your movie is in your new Video folder, remember? Click on it, and select ‘Import Selected’.

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So far, so good!

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Now if you click on that little tiny video dated 6 June 2016 as seen above, it will have a yellow border around it. Once it has that, you drag it down to the bottom where indicated. You have to do this in order to manipulate your movie.

It is at this stage that I think you need to have a quick look at an imovie tutorial, especially if you have never used it before. Here is a link to one I found with a Google search, but there are lots that would be useful:

imovie tutorial

There are, however, three fantastic tools in imovie that I must mention! Sometimes I need to slow things right down to give me time to say what I want to say in the audio. Plus I discovered a fantastic little tool to make my Powerpoints fit properly into imovie!! The third is very important if you have finished recording your video but not happy with the volume. Sooo easy to fix, my teenage son showed me!

Tip 1. This one is very important if you are exporting from Powerpoint.

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See that funny little square shape I have highlighted with the ‘loupe’? If you click on that, then select ‘fit’, your powerpoints will fit into the movie format and you won’t have the text cut off! (Grrr, the hours I spent fiddling with text to try and make it fit, if only I had known about this little tool!)

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Tip 2. Check out the little tool that looks like a speedometer. It lets you control the speed of your movie. If you click on that, you can speed your movie up or slow it down by 10%, 25%, 50% or custom speed – very, very handy. Bu Cathy’s movie ‘Penguin Tidak Punya Kepala’, which can be seen on my youtube channel, Indonesian Fun for Juniors, has three or four different speeds. I had to do that because there were differences in the amount of text on each page and I needed different amounts of time to read it.  I was able to split the movie clip, select one section, and select the speed I wanted, then do the same for another section of movie.

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Tip 3.  If you have recorded your voice but it sounds a bit soft, you do not have to record it all over again! I do not use an external microphone for recording, just the in-built mike in my laptop. But I always increase the volume by right clicking and dragging that yellow line you can see in the middle of the audio clip upwards. I usually increase it to about 200%. That works for me.

Recording Audio

Now we have a great movie and text but no audio! If you have found a video with sound, but want to record your voice over it, don’t worry too much. Imovie will automatically reduce the original audio volume as you record. You can reduce it further, though, but that might be another blog!

So, to record yourself speaking, click on the little microphone. A red dot will appear. DO NOT PANIC! You are not recording yet, it is just letting you know it is ready!

Now click that red dot. Three numbers will magically appear to count down until you are ready for blast off! Too easy, right? If you don’t like it, delete and start over again.

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When you are ready to save your movie, go to File, but don’t expect to see ‘Save’! You will need to select ‘Share’. I always select YouTube and then my movies are automatically saved right where I want them to be. But I also select ‘File’ and then they are saved to a folder of my choosing as well, just in case I need a backup.

I really hope this blog has been useful and that it is easy to follow. I could also make it into a powerpoint and then convert into an imovie, so let me know if this format does not work for you! If you have any questions, I will be happy to help out if I can. I just jumped in and had a go and experimented along the way. I would love to see your finished products!

Ibu Anne’s Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day



I usually blog when I am so excited about how well my lessons have gone. Today that is not the case. Today I felt like I was pushing a giant concrete block up a hill! I felt flat, and I was pushing myself to be engaging and fun. Why is it that when the teacher is not 100% for whatever reason, the little tackers pick up on that and run with it?!!

It seemed like classroom management was more difficult. It seemed like they were not doing their bit. It seemed like they were not getting it. My first class was with Year Three. They had seven minutes of reading time. So far, so good. All seemed very engaged and read for the whole time. Perhaps three or four of them were looking around and not really engaged in their text (stories written by other students).

Then came writing time. Usually I have one that does not write. Today there were three or four! Including one boy who wrote a great story last time! Just refused to write! Another started in Indonesian then trailed off into English (despite this being a no-no). I read their stories this afternoon and was so disappointed. What went wrong? I thought the writing would be so much better by this time of year! I thought they would be dying to write after being inspired by their classmates.

Then came my two prep classes. J decided to really play up. When I mentioned that his behaviour was not up to scratch, and that I would have to let his parents know when report time comes around, he said ‘Don’t even think about it’. I said if he was rude I would have to tell his teacher. He told me to shut up. He then proceeded to tell the students around him (who were telling him to behave) to shut up. He punched one and kicked one in the knee. I had to ring his teacher to remove him. We were all a bit shaken up after that. I thought after he had left, and because we had the wonderful snake eating up students, it would be a great, engaging lesson. Instead, I struggled to keep them quiet and listening. Then the headache from hell kicked in!

The next Prep class would be good, I thought, we haven’t been upset by J’s behaviour. But although it was better than the last class, it still felt like hard work instead of fun.

Last lesson was Year One. We began the snake story. The snake ate some kids. Then we did it again with different kids. Aha! This is more like it! By now the headache from hell had really kicked in and I was praying for the day to end.

What happened? Did we not have enough action? Should I have used more brain breaks? Were they picking up on my ‘flat’ mood? Why was the writing not as good as expected? Should I just resign and be done with it?!!

I guess the lesson is that we all have bad days. I hope you can relate to this post. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day”.  Let me know if you have had a similar day! I will be going to bed early with my new book ‘While we’re on the Topic’ by Bill Van Patten.

Any advice welcome!



Fun Brain Breaks!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended an Indonesian Immersion Day to improve my language speaking skills. I learned a few great games in the process, so thought I would share. These would make fantastic brain breaks. I especially love ‘Komodo’ for its unique Indonesian flavour! Thanks so much to Ibu Kasenya Grant, who taught us how to play these games.


Saya Sakit (I’m Sick)       Give out plastic counters to all students (any colours, but only 3 of them are yellow – or whatever colour you choose). Instruct them not to show each other what colour they have. Only 3 students will have yellow counters. These are the students that are sakit (sick). Students walk around the room, asking each other “Apa Kabar?” (How are you?) They may give any answer eg I’m tired, I’m angry, I’m very well etc – in the L2, but ONLY those with yellow can answer “Saya sakit”. When a student asks and gets the response ‘Saya sakit‘ from one of the three, the asker has to fall down dead. The original 3 sick people cannot die. Wait until about half the class are dead, and line up the living and the three sick players together. See if the ‘dead’ students can guess who the sick three students are. Or play until only the original three remain standing!


Komodo   This one is sooo cool! A variation on the theme of ‘Saya Sakit’, but this time the person affected by the komodo’s bacteria has to count to 10 slowly in their head before they ‘mati‘ (die). This makes it much more difficult to identify the komodos! You can also change the questions to suit the topic you are teaching, with one chosen response as the ‘killer’ response!



Marco Polo      Marco Polo is ‘it’. (Or choose a more culturally appropriate name for your language) The students stand in a large circle, close together or holding hands. Choose three students to be in the middle, and one more to be ‘it’. Blindfold Marco Polo (MP). Spin MP around 3 times, with the class counting to help. Then MP has to say ‘Di mana? Di mana? Di mana?’ (Where are you?) and the other three have to respond ‘Sini, sini, sini!’ (Here!) The three students may not move their feet, but they can crouch down and lean over when MP approaches. With older students, you may let them move around slowly. When MP tags someone, the game starts again with four new players.

Free Writes

Recently I had a look at Scott Benedict’s successful-quickwrites-handout-1.

I thought it was brilliant, but a bit too advanced for my Year 3 students. So I tweaked it a bit, and with Scott’s blessing, would like to attach here a writing proforma and assessment rubric for you to use/tweak as you see fit. Please credit Scott as the original creator.

I made one page for writing, and explained to my students why it makes counting words so much easier to write on every little line, then simplified the rubric and photocopied the pages back to back so students can see where they are headed.

For my Indonesian students, I used four levels, Tidak ada (Not There Yet – if they wrote nothing), Berjalan (Walking – for those just beginning), Lari (Running – where most kids probably are) and Lari Cepat (Running Fast – for advanced students).

I think students can understand these levels easily. After writing, I had them assess themselves using the rubric on the reverse side of the sheet, and reflect on how they could improve.

I also spoke to Ibu Sharon from the SA TCI hub and expressed my concerns about students struggling with writing. She gave me a great suggestion, to let these students copy from the original story (best to give them a photocopy at their desk). I had not been doing this, but can see how it would give them more confidence. I will also permit them to use words they know before encouraging sentences. Maybe my expectations were too high. Thanks Sharon for your advice. Happy writing everyone! Hope these documents are useful to you. Let me know!

Quick Write Proforma

Quick Write Rubric writing rubric version 2

Still my favourite student story (see below)! chiom = cium


TPRS with Puppets!

If you are wanting more engagement with your younger students, try using puppets. I bought a girl, boy, mum and dad hand puppet at KMart for $12 each. I also purchased a pack of plastic dogs on eBay. There were 12 dogs in the packet. I can’t remember how much they were, but it was not expensive.

Last week I ‘puppeted’ two stories with my Prep – 2 classes. With the Preps, the story was Lucy Makan Anjing and with Years 1 and 2, the story was Lucy Mau Kucing.

I placed two triangular block seats together to make a quick and easy ‘stage’ for me to hide behind, then acted out the story with the puppets as I told it. Using puppets is a great opportunity for students to hear 1st person and 3rd person telling all in one. For example, I said ‘Lucy mau anjing’, then made the Lucy puppet say, ‘Saya mau anjing’.

The kids loved the ‘show’ so much they begged for more! I couldn’t believe my students were begging for more reps! This week with the Year 1 and 2s I will repeat the show, then choose students to act out the story in place of the puppets.

Prep Story (Translations below)

Makan Anjing (adapted from Eating Kittens by Diane Neubauer)

Ada perempuan. Nama perempuan Lucy. Lucy lapar.

Lucy makan satu anjing. Mmm bagus!

Lucy makan dua anjing. Mmm bagus!

(Repeat up to 10)

Lucy makan sepuluh anjing! Lucy nakal atau pandai?

(Kids shout ‘Lucy nakal!)

Year 1 – 2 Story

Lucy Mau Kucing ( from Kristy Kranz)

Lucy mau kucing. Lucy ke Ibu. Lucy berkata,”Ibu, saya mau punya kucing.”

Ibu berkata, “Tidak boleh, tidak boleh, tidak boleh!”

Lucy sedih. Lucy nangis. Lucy mau kucing.

Lucy ke bapak. Lucy berkata, “Bapak, saya mau punya kucing.”

Bapak baik hati. Bapak beri Lucy sepuluh dolar. 

Lucy ke Best Friends. Lucy beli kucing.

Lucy senang!

Kristy suggests repeating this story with various animals. It would be fun to use some Indonesian animals such as harimau and gajah.

I decided to write a parallel story for Lucy Mau Kucing with an Indonesian flavour:

Reza mau Orangutan

Go get some puppets and give these stories a try! Ikea also has fantastic puppets. My kucing puppet (see below) was purchased there. It is gorgeous!


Lucy eats Dogs

There is a girl. Her name is Lucy. Lucy is hungry. Lucy wants to eat dog(s). Lucy eats one dog, mmm yum! Lucy eats two dogs, mmm yum! Lucy eats three dogs and so on up to 10. Lucy eats ten dogs! Is Lucy good or is Lucy naughty? Lucy is naughty!

Lucy wants a Cat

There is a girl. Her name is Lucy. Lucy wants a cat. Lucy goes to mum. Lucy says, “Mum, I want to have a cat”. Mum says, “You may not, no, no, no”. Lucy is sad. Lucy cried. Lucy goes to Dad. Lucy says, “Dad, I want to have a cat “. Dad is kind. Dad gives Lucy 10 dollars. Lucy goes to Best Friends (pet store) and buys a cat. Lucy is happy!

Makan Keluarga!


I have been buying these for my own kids for a while now, but tonight I thought of them in terms of student engagement.  I ate a whole packet, purely for research purposes, to find out what members of the family were present! I discovered a cat, dog, baby girl, baby boy, girl, boy, mum, dad and car. How much fun would it be to share a packet between two or three younger students and ask them:

How many mums? How many dads? How many babies? How many girls? Are there pets? What pet? Are there boys? Is there a car? How many? Then you could play a weird game of bingo where you say, eat one mum, eat one boy, eat a car, etc. First team to eat the family wins! How else could you use these biscuits?

NB I need to make it clear that these are sold in a large packet of 10 teeny packets.

1 week language camp plan – Are you a picky eater?

Mrs Spanish has some great ideas to use with primary classes!

Mrs. Spanish

So this past week I taught at a Gifted Program Academic 1 week camp. I had an hour and a half with 10-12 upper elementary kids for a week. I was SUPER nervous since this was new territory for me.

PQA- So I started with food which is a PQA activity that I feel very comfortable using. The activity was “Draw your favorite food & your least favorite food.”

Then, I had a student come up, and I reveal the two foods they drew. Next, each student voted on which food is they thought was the student’s favorite. In the process I asked others if they like that food. Finally, (after a drum roll, of course) the student revealed their favorite food. (Lots of repetitions of “me gusta”, “no me gusta”, and “¡Que asco!¡BLEH!”)

I continued to use these papers throughout the week (2-3 students a time).

I also used…

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Promoting the Indonesian Program

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I am always concerned that my students only  have one hour of Indonesian per week, or less if you take into account transitioning to classrooms, excursions etc. So I decided to use a youtube channel to give the kids access to Indonesian whilst at home. I figured this would also promote the program to their parents. If we act out stories in class, I try to then post these videos to the youtube page (if students have photo permission).

I have also posted students singing, clips of songs we have sung in class and stories I have told to classes. Of course not all students access the page, but I usually include the link in the school newsletter and give it to parents at parent/teacher interviews. You could also include it on report card comments. {Student} is encouraged to listen and follow along to class stories on ‘Indonesian Fun for Juniors’ (or whatever name you give your channel).

Over the holidays, I plan to retell some more stories we have been doing this term and upload those. I may also make a deliberate mistake in one of them and tell the students that the first person to tell me what the error is wins a prize. Nothing like bribery to get them to log on!

Vimeo is another site you could use to post videos of your stories. It would possibly a better option as it you can choose who you want to share with.

When I give homework (reading a cartoon story) to students, I include a reading on the youtube channel for extra support.

You are welcome to take a look at the youtube channel and hopefully get some ideas!

Indonesian Fun for Juniors

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