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Inspired by…

María Mayeux!

I saw a fantastic video of a young student in Maria’s Spanish class reading a story using communication pictures. Reading with very few words, but lots of meaningful pictures! I decided this would be a great idea to try with my pre-readers. So I downloaded some free communication pictures from: Do2Learn Picture Cards  and  ARASAAC   Both of these sites have free pictures. Some I made up myself (such as ‘ada’, ‘mau’) as I couldn’t find what I wanted. Maria emailed me a great notebook file of a story she made up based on this one:

The Girl wants an Elephant

I then used the idea and made up a story as a word document cerita – Sam mau gorila and a powerpoint, with the picture cards. Sam mau gorila It is such a cute story! I intend to use it once I have taught ‘mau’, ‘suka’, ‘pergi ke’ and ‘ada’.

I am really hoping this method of using pictures will help my younger students ‘read’. I am uncertain how it will all go. How quickly will they learn the pictures? Will they remember them? Stay tuned…


Crazy Planning!

I decided to name this post ‘Crazy Planning’ because prior to teaching the week, I go crazy thinking about what I am going to do for the week, making lots of resources, changing my mind, writing out planners, going into the classroom and actually teaching very little of what I plan! I seem to waste so much time before I start. By the end of the week, even though I am teaching the same year level, my lessons have changed dramatically!

Last week was no exception. I decided to use Kucing Pete (Pete the Cat) stories. Then I changed my mind and liked a story about going to school. I changed my mind again and decided on my 5 Focus words for the term (mau = want, pergi ke= go to, suka = likes, punya = has, ada = there is).  I also decided it was important to introduce the structures Siapa namamu? (What is your name?) and Nama saya ___. (My name is ___)

We spent the first few minutes of class marking the roll (saying ‘ada’ instead of here), explaining a bit about TPRS and the rules, and what ‘Pak’ and ‘Bu’ mean. (Mr and Mrs). I told the class my name and wrote it on the board, spelling out the letters in Indonesian. I have to consciously remind myself to do this. I told the kids it was important to listen to this spelling out because one day, at some random time, I will spell out a name. If they recognise it as theirs they will win a prize! They listened very well!

At the beginning of the week, in each class I spent about 20 minutes in Indonesian, then did an Indonesian mapping activity. I told them my name, then showed them laminated pictures of different characters and asked them ‘Nama saya SpongeBob?’ ‘Nama saya Elsa?’ and they had to gesture thumbs up or down and say ‘ya’ or ‘tidak’. They loved this activity and were very attentive. I thought the students from last year would be bored stiff but I was wrong! Then I asked about five students (one at a time) to come out and I circled with ‘Nama dia Spiderman?’ ‘Nama dia Ana?’ (Just ya and tidak answers for the young ones) They laughed each time I asked if a boy was Elsa, Ana, etc. I shook their hands and said ‘Terima kasih’ after each person helped me out. I asked them in English ‘What did I just say to them?’. For older students I used ‘Nama dia George atau SpongeBob?’ as well.

Then I introduced Kucing Pete to the class. I told them his name and asked them his colour (biru) in Indonesian. I asked personal questions about his shoes, and the colour of their shoes. I did some TPR to wake them up a bit, with ‘Berdirilah’ (stand up), ‘Duduklah’ (sit down), ‘Lari’ (run) and ‘Berjalan’ (walk). Most classes had new students to the school so I did not want to introduce too much new vocab.

With Year 2 and 3, I placed names of Indonesian islands around the room and I said Pergi ke Bali! Pergi ke Kalimantan! We mixed it up a bit with “Perempuan, pergi ke Sumatera!” “Laki-laki, pergi ke Jawa!” Lots of fun, they really had to think about perempuan and laki-laki.

After this, we sorted out books from last year and did a simple mapping activity. With some classes, I asked them to draw, colour and name ‘Kucing Pete’. They did a great job!

By the end of the week, I had taken out the worksheet part of the lesson, asked the students to sit in a semi-circle on chairs (too uncomfortable on the floor!) and added an extra TPRS activity.

I put some items in a bag. They were all cognates: apel, truk, pensil, pena, stiker, stroberi and yoyo. I told them our new word was ‘ada’ (there is). We made a gesture for it and repeated the word. I demonstrated its meaning by taking all the items out of the bag one at a time and telling the students ‘Ada apel. Ada truk. etc’

Then I said “Memori! Memori!” I placed them back in the bag, repeating ‘Ada truk’ etc.

I asked them “Ada oranghutan?” (cogates again!) “Ada televisi?” etc, including the items I had in the bag. They said (and gestured) ya or tidak.

All were attentive during this activity! It was fun! I should have then got the Year 3s to write down what they remembered was in the bag, but instead we wrote sentences about each item. Ada apel. Ada truk. etc

Overall, I was really happy with the week. I know I didn’t stay 90% Indonesian in some classes, (esp those with more challenging students!) but we did have ‘housework’ to take care of. Still the goal for this week!







Managed Response: Wait Now or Wait Later

Had my first Indonesian classes today for the new year. I have eight prep classes and seven Year One classes. Very challenging…this information about Carol Gaab’s managed response will really help!

Michel Baker's Blog - TPRS™ and Beyond

I do not know why Pre-literates engage in the autoecholalia mechanism every time they are asked a Circling Question.  The teacher simply says, “Clase, ¿Sponge Bob fue a WalMart o Hanna Montana fue a WalMart?”

Left to to answer naturally, all pandemonium breaks loose.  Each child begins to holler out his or her choice,  repeating it over and over, louder and louder, each time in varying tones, volumes and velocities. 

Some:  Hanna Montana!  Hanna Montana…Hanna MonTAna!

Others:  Sponge Bob…SPONGE Bob!  Sponge Bob!

When this happens, no one can hear, and the CI can not get in. 

Not to worry, though.  With Carol Gaab’s Managed Response,  that reflex is effectively cut off.

Before a “Yes/No Question” is even asked, I remind them to give a Silent Response via the chosen gestures.  This provides silence so that everyone can still hear me while they are answering.  This comes after they and I have been fully…

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Using Cognates

I recently had a conversation with Bu Cathy about the use of cognates (Indonesian words similar to English words) to aid student understanding. If cognates are used in stories, the focus is on those important verbs! You will find it much easier making up stories as students will not have to learn these words.  I started brainstorming some Indonesian cognates, then found more at

Many of them were too technical for primary students, so I have weeded out the advanced vocabulary and listed ‘primary’ vocabulary in a word document. I hope this is useful for Indonesian teachers attempting to use TPRS.

Please inform me if the link does not work for you!

Great cognates to use in Indonesian Stories

Backward Planning

I had been reading some comments about backward planning on an excellent TPRS facebook page:

iFLTNTPRSCITeaching (you must request to join this group)

and wondered exactly what it meant. After doing a little research and deep thinking (!), I came to an understanding of the term. I first looked at my powerpoint about Kucing Pete (Pete the Cat, there is a link to this in ‘Getting Ready for the New Year’). I wrote down all the vocab that my students needed to know before they could read this book. I grouped the words into verbs, nouns, adjectives and others. Wah! Terlalu banyak! I realised this book would be better left until a little later in the year.

pete cat shoes breakdown

But now I know the words and phrases I need to be working on so that we can eventually read this book. Basically the vocabulary guides my planning.  I will structure my planning  so that by the end of this term (or next!) we will be able to read the book about Pete. Along the way there will be much circling of verbs, mini-stories, drawing, listening, acting etc. For now, I will work with a much simpler book ‘Asmara pergi ke sekolah’ which has many words students are already familiar with so we should be able to read this after a couple of weeks.

Asmara pergi ke Sekolah breakdown

Because it is the beginning of a new year, I will start with Bu Cathy’s wonderful suggestion of learning/revising ‘Nama saya __’ (My name is ___) and ‘Siapa namamu?’ (What is your name?’) The year 2 and 3 groups should not need much on this at all. We can then move on to pergi ke (go to). We could talk about where we ‘pergi ke’ on the liburan (holidays).

La Campanada

Love this idea! Just what I need to start my class smoothly, especially in the morning when some kids arrive late or have just had PE and are a little crazy. I could adapt this for the younger ones by writing sentences they have to draw…

The Comprehensible Classroom

My high school Spanish teacher called the daily bellwork/entry task for her classes “La Campanada” (the ring of the bell), and I like the way it sounds, so I use it as well. The Campanada is a key component of my lesson plans because it helps with classroom management (students have a task to complete as soon as they enter the classroom) and it helps them access background knowledge and prepare for the day’s lesson.

  1. As students enter the room, they sit down at their seats and begin the task outlined on the Campanada (with some encouragement from me, of course!).
  2. As soon as the bell rings, I take attendance and then walk around the room with my seating chart and mark which students are satisfactorily completing the Campanada and which students are not.
  3. If they are not working on their Campanada, I mark a little X on the seating chart…

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Four Square Vocabulary

Source: Four Square Vocabulary

I love this idea from Martina Bex to give to CRTs when the teacher is absent. But for my young ones, I think I would write the prompts in English, have them write the Indonesian word in the middle and around the outside have sentence, translation (word in Eng), drawing and challenge ( with a star picture or something). Challenge would be a translation of their sentence.

Here is my version: Four Square Vocab for young kids


Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Here are some fun ideas for Valentine’s Day in your Indonesian classroom…

  • Review numbers by hiding lots of little ‘hati’ around the room (cut out red ones, or use heart shaped post it notes). Use to review/learn cari, hati, berapa
  • Make a “Saya cinta kamu” card with hati for someone special.
  • Review family words by telling a story about a boy/girl who tells each person in the family ‘Saya cinta kamu’, even the dog and cat! Great way to teach ‘cium’ (kiss) and ‘peluk’ (hug)!
  • Use the clip below for some Valentine’s Day movie talk..

Valentine’s Day movie talk

  • Write a poem:

Bunga merah, bunga biru.

Saya cinta ___ (ibu, bapak, adik, kakak, nenek, kakek, _____ (friend’s name))

Dan kamu!

  • Use a Pete the Cat love story!

Hari Valentine