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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…

View original post 726 more words

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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One Word Images with young students

This week with my Prep classes, I have been telling them we are going to use our ‘imaginasi‘. We are going to pretend there is something on the chair at the front of the room. Apa ada? They soon got into the swing of things. When they gave me names of things we had not learned, I said ‘Mungkin‘ (maybe) and asked the next person. Of course there was always someone who said ‘harimau‘ (tiger). O, ya! Ada harimau. I looked at the chair, then back at them. Harimau besar atau kecil? I did not want tiny little tigers, so even if someone said kecil, I eventually said ‘Harimau besar‘. I looked at the chair and made sure my eyes tracked from the chair almost to the ceiling. It was really big, after all!

Warna apa harimau? (What colour?) They all wanted orange and black of course, but that wouldn’t do, so I persisted until we got blue and pink. Harimau makan, kelas! Harimau makan apa? Harimau makan pizza, harimau makan es krim, harimau makan Ibu Anne? Oh yes please! We all want the tiger to eat Ibu Anne! Now we are going to draw the tiger, Kelas! Mengambar harimau! And I reminded them of what he looked like and what he was doing. I attempted to ask them ‘Di mana harimau?’ but gave up after they said ‘on the chair!’ Apparently there is a limit to ‘imaginasi‘!!

This activity actually gave me a good snapshot at where the kids were at and how much they understood. Adorable! I always tell them I want lots of blood!

PS Yes, I know I have posted about this before, but I love sharing these gorgeous pictures!


Semester 1 reports 2017

So… for those of you who are interested, here are my report comments for this year, feel free to adapt, share, use as you desire. Almost the same as last year’s if you saw those.

Report Comments           Semester 1             2017

(Type in beginning, satisfactory or very good as needed.)


This semester {preferredName} has been exposed to comprehensible Indonesian through the use of mini-stories, songs, games and TPR (Total Physical Response). {HeShe} has demonstrated a ___ level of understanding by responding orally (answering ‘ya’ – yes or ‘tidak’ – no) or physically (by using the correct gesture or by drawing). The focus this semester has been on acquiring high frequency verbs such as ‘mau’ (want), and ‘suka’ (like). At this level the main focus is on listening and showing understanding. You can support {preferredName}’s learning of Indonesian at home by encouraging retelling of the stories and songs we have learned in class.

Year 1 – 2

This semester {preferredName} has been exposed to comprehensible Indonesian through the use of mini-stories, songs, games and TPR (Total Physical Response). {HeShe} has demonstrated a ___ level of understanding by responding orally (answering ‘ya’ – yes or ‘tidak’ – no) or physically (by using the correct gesture or by drawing). The focus this semester has been on acquiring high frequency verbs such as ‘mau’ (want), ‘punya’ (has), ‘ada’ (there is), ‘beri’ (give), ‘ambil’ (take), ‘ke’ (go to) and ‘suka’ (like). At this level the main focus is on listening and showing understanding. You can support {preferredName}’s learning of Indonesian at home by encouraging retelling of the stories and songs we have learned in class.

Year 3

This semester {preferredName} has been exposed to Indonesian through the use of mini-stories, songs, games and TPR (Total Physical Response). {HeShe} has demonstrated a ___ level of comprehension by responding orally or physically (using the correct gesture/movement), translating, illustrating sentences and acting out stories. The focus this semester has been on acquiring high frequency verbs such as ‘mau ‘(want), ‘punya’ (has), ‘ke’ (go to), ‘ada’ (there is), ‘beri’ (give), ‘ambil’ (take) and ‘suka’ (like). At this level students are expected to use known words to rewrite modelled texts or create their own sentences and stories. {preferredName}’s written work shows a ___   level of understanding of Indonesian sentence structure and vocabulary. You can support {hisher} learning of Indonesian at home by encouraging {himher} to read and re-read any stories we are working on in class.


Prep Assessment

Let’s face it, Preps are difficult to assess, especially if you have 7 classes only once a week as I do! It is hard enough to remember all their names. I did not have much data to help me write reports for my preps, only anecdotal notes I had hurriedly scribbled on the whiteboard then photographed with my phone before rushing off to the next classroom! I also tried to keep a record of who was drawing the correct picture and who was having difficulty understanding when we did our ‘gambar cepat’ (Quick Draw) activity.

So I made a very simple 6-box grid and wrote some very basic phrases and sentences from our latest story ‘Harimau makan Elsa’ (Tiger Eats Elsa). I read the phrases out aloud and asked the students to draw in the boxes in order. Here is what a couple came up with. It was great to use for a comprehension check.

prep pic
Prep Assessment (I inadvertently read numbers 2 and 3 in the wrong order)

prep pic2

I just love the illustrations! I thought the tiger had smiley face feet until I realised they were the padded paws – how clever!

Reading and Writing


I was so excited today when two students in Year 2 handed me two little stories written at home for our Indonesian classroom library. I just had to read them, even before the roll was marked! I read this one out aloud. (See transation below) I guessed what was coming (even though I dreaded it!!). Ibu Anne kissed Donald Trump! Aduh! The kids were laughing so much at my reaction. I was having a ball pretending to be horrified, even though we all know I would just love to be kissed by Donald Trump (not). They understood every word! What a cute story, and so clever for Year 2!

This just happens to be one class where the students and I seem to have a lot of trust and I feel I can really relax and have a bit of fun with them (not all my classes are like that!).

One boy said “Read it again! Read it again!” So I did. Same wonderful reaction. I told them that I was very happy with their first ever writing attempt last week. They did a 10 minute write. I explained the rules: no talking, no asking Ibu Anne for words, no English words and only use words you know. I also suggested three different ‘levels’ they could aim for – simple sentences about anything, sensible or silly, a rewrite of our latest story or a story of their own. The students did a great job. I typed up some stories from each class and ended up with about ten pages of student written stories and sentences. I photocopied 25 of each, then added the pages to clear plastic display folders which I purchased a few weeks ago. I made sure I had enough so each student would have one to read. I also added some stories from last year and a couple we had read recently.

Today we had our first 10 minutes of silent reading time. Students had two minutes to set up in a space on their own. Then I put on the timer. They were so engaged! (They were not even aware I was taking photos!) I should have asked them for some feedback, but will do so next week or perhaps after the next reading session. I aim to have this 10 – 15 minute reading time every second lesson.

I have been reading recently about how some C-I teachers are not making their lessons as structured, just ‘chatting’ with students and going with the flow. This scares the heck out of me! But today with this class I began to see just how it would work. While I was interviewing the student in the special chair, one of the questions was ‘Do you like singing?’ Yes, they answered. I told them I did too. I told them about my two boys – their names, ages and how they always say ‘Mum, be quiet!’ when I sing at home. I could tell they were with me by their reactions. We also came across the words ‘ganteng’ (handsome) and ‘cantik’ (beautiful) in a story written by a student whose mum knows a bit of Indonesian, so I explained what they meant. I said ‘Ibu Anne cantik’ and waited for the reaction I knew would come! ‘Tidak!’ I have a feeling we are going to have some funny stories in the coming weeks!!!

Translation: There was a girl. Her name was Ibu Anne. Ibu Anne wanted a hamburger. There was a boy. His name was Donald Trump. Ibu Anne and Donald Trump ate at a restaurant. Ibu Anne and Donald Trump ate ice cream and chocolate and hamburgers. Ibu Anne kissed Donald Trump.