Happy Teachers’ Day

Our best wishes definitely go to all educators for their dedication in educating our young.

However, this year Teachers’ Day I would like to share an anecdote. It was an encounter I had with a ML teacher at a mosque for Friday prayer many years ago. I first knew this teacher when I was at MOE HQ and I have the upmost respect for him. It was in the month of Syawal and hari raya was just a week old. So naturally we talked about hari raya and in particular about having students visiting our homes.

What struck me during the conversation was about what he said of students under our charge. Till this day his words remain in my mind and has been a constant reminder for me to be a grateful servant. The teacher informed me that he would make sure that he invited all his students to his house for hari raya and treated them well when they came. When I asked him why take such trouble? His reply was unexpected but devastatingly cut deep.

He said: Para pelajar kita ini ada pundi-pundi rezeki kita. Melalui merekalah Tuhan memberikan kita rezeki. Tanpa mereka, tak tahulah dari mana datangnya rezeki kita.  

I was taken aback when I heard this.

So as we educators celebrate Teachers’ Day today, I would like to take this opportunity express my sincere gratitude to all my students past and present for being the best students I have and more importantly for overlooking my shortcomings and continue to be the pundi rezeki for me and my family.

Among all my students, the lovely bunch in the video above always draw a smile from me every time I watch this video. They were from my best cohort who produced our school best ever distinction passes the year they sat for their O level examinations. They acted and produced the video as a video project submission for our rentas cipta lesson to expose and get students interested in Malay folklore (cerita rakyat).

Check out the video. I am sure you would enjoy it as much as I did!

Terima kasih kepada semua pelajar cikgu!

A Tribute to Singapore

We learnt a lot about Singapore’s 700 years of history from putting together this video for our School’s National Day celebration. In addition, the multimedia sensory experience at the Fort Canning Centre brings to life key moments in Singapore’s transformations as well as historical figures that played crucial roles in them. Our students only knew some of them to begin with. Thus, they gained useful knowledge about the past that makes what Singapore is today from the trip to the centre.

This realization set us thinking about students who did not have the opportunity to visit the Fort Canning Centre. While the video above provide them a glimpse of what they could have experienced there, what else can we do?

The BigS | Bicentennial Singapura Card Game
For this we have created a lesson package building around a card game that we have designed with the objective to educate students some of the (perhaps, lesser known) historical figures and the transformative events that had helped shape Singapore. The card game is called BigS | Bicentennial Singapura. The card game is played like the card game Fikir-fikir. Many Malay teachers may have a few sets of Fikir-fikir card game in their schools and could have used them in their lessons before. Essentially, like Fikir-fikir, students are expected to guess the historical figures or the transformative events in Singapore’s long history from hints made available on the BigS cards.

The lesson consists of two parts; the preparatory and the game play.

The Preparatory
The preparatory takes place in the last 20 mins of the previous lesson where students work together to prepare the cards with templates provided here. Students needs to have some stationery, namely scissors, glue and some drawing block papers. Next, the cards are distributed among the students with the task of finding the appropriate hints (5 words or phrase) for the figures or the events stated on their cards. To find the hints, they need to view as homework all the videos in the playlist here: https://tinyurl.com/SGBicentennial. This playlist contains 23 short videos about segments of Singapore 700 years history courtesy of the Singapore Bicentennial YouTube Channel. This homework is a prerequisite to build students’ prior knowledge to play the card game.

The Game Play
The game play takes place during the next lesson. The teacher starts the lesson by getting students to arrange their seats in a continuous line. Each seat represents a point in Singapore’s 700 years historical timeline. Without showing their cards to their peers, students will work their way to find the appropriate seat to represent their places in the Singapore’s historical timeline. Once the students have settled, they will take turn – starting with the first in the timeline – to explain the hints on their cards for other students to guess correctly the figures or the events stated on their cards. Whoever guesses correctly gets to keep the card. Before giving the card away, the student who prepared the hints has to share a summary about the figure or the event and why it plays a transformative role in Singapore’s history. At the end of the game, student who has the most correct guesses (or most cards collected) wins the game. It sure gets the class excited if the teacher presents something nice as a token for the winner. Try it and let us know how your students feel about the lesson.

The BigS | Bicentennial Singapura Card Game

Having Trouble Teaching Students Language Rules? Try TUTLA

We developed Tutla as a teaching and learning aid primarily to facilitate the learning of our scientific rules of learning imbuhan. It is a bridge from knowing the rules to applying them when completing imbuhan exercises.

However,we soon realize Tutla is a powerful tool to engage students to learn language rules. What limits its affordances is the creativity of teachers. We will post here from time to time how to play Tutla as we explore its uses in a language class.

We look forward to share how we use Tutle in our cluster sharing in September at Pei Hwa Secondary School.

Would You Like To Observe How We Conduct Flipped Classroom?

We have received queries from teachers on how we carry out flipped classroom when teaching students our writing strategy. As such, we have decided to allow teachers to observe our flipped classroom lesson online via padlet.

In this lesson we are teaching a class of 11 Sec 3 Express students our narrative writing strategy. The lesson is on-going for the next few weeks. In these past four lessons, we have taught our student how to identify the question expectation and how to write their two-part story based on a theme they have chosen.

We challenge students to think of two-related themes for their story plot and we are amazed at what they have done. In the padlet you will find at this moment raw students 2-part stories that need polishing up after our feedback during class yesterday. The students are expected improve their 2-part stories based on our feedback by this Monday.Then after we will proceed with teaching students how to write the introductory section of the narrative essay.

If you are keen to see what happens in our flipped classroom lesson online and how our students progress in their learning, you can visit this padlet page from time to time. Do sms me or drop me an email for the link to the padlet page. We will be happy to share it with you. We hope that you will benefit from our sharing and a have your very own successful flipped classroom lesson too.

How To Beat That Pre-Oral Jitters?

Cikgu, when I’m nervous I forget everything.

All too often we hear this remark from a handful of students who suffer from pre-oral jitters while waiting in the examination hall for their turn to face the oral examiners. The sight of the two oral examiners whom they have not seen before and anticipating their turn in fear not knowing how will they do in front of these strangers is understandable. So how do teachers advice students suffering from pre-oral jitters?

Pre-oral jitter is like stage fright and it hits even a seasoned entertainer. Some students suffer from pre-oral jitters even though they have prepared well for their oral examinations.

Traditionally, we encourage students to get into the habit of reciting the doa Moses was taught when he met Pharaoh every time during oral practices and more so during oral examinations.

My Lord, expand for me my breast (with assurance). And ease for me my task. And untie the knot from my tongue. That they may understand my speech.

Wahai Tuhanku, lapangkanlah bagiku, dadaku. Dan mudahkanlah bagiku, tugasku. Dan lepaskanlah simpulan dari lidahku, supaya mereka faham perkataanku.

This oral doa has a tremendous therapeutic effect to calm students’ nerves and improves their self-confidence during oral examinations. In the past we have seen its impact on students who worked hard but stutter since young. However, they performed well during the national oral exams bagging distinctions.

Nevertheless, there are students who need an additional hands-on approach apart from the oral doa to beat their pre-oral jitters. For these students we provide them each a small container of playdoh (see above). The container is no bigger than a lens of a spectacle that students can easily carry in their pockets. The playdoh is in a set of 12 multicolored short strings.

We advise these students not to look at the examiners while waiting for their turn to be called up by the oral assistant or time-keeper. They should focus instead on working on their playdohs creating objects of their choices. This exercise has two effects on these students; firstly, it distracts them from worry incessantly, and secondly, it triggers them to be creative as their finger their way turning their playdohs into interesting artifacts. This pre-oral exercise will beat any pre-oral jitters and sets students’ minds into problem-solving mode with all the creative juice they have feed their minds with.

I have got my daughter who is a primary school going pupil to buy the playdohs for me from her school bookstore. It costs me only 50 cents each. The playdohs are meant for 1-2 specific students who need the extra help to beat their pre-oral jitters.

Would this work for your students too? Why not send the link to this post to your students’ Whatsapp group chat?

THANK YOU!

We would like to thank everyone who had visited out booth during the recent 2-day ExcelFest. We are grateful and humbled by your encouraging words and support.

Click to view the poster in pdf

Our exhibition posters at the Excel Fest. Click to view the poster in pdf.

We hope that our sharing continues to generate ideas among us to bring about innovative and effective teaching strategies and resources into our classrooms for the benefit of our students. We are amazed by the extended marketing lifespan of our Saya Boleh Membaca! app and we thank God for this. It is only through His grace that we were able to promote our app on prestigious platforms such as the International Conference Teaching and Leaning with Technology 2018, Innergy (Schools) Award 2018 with a Bronze Medal and ExcelFest 2019. Through these platforms, we were able to share with fellow educators the benefits of our app and encouraged them to use it with their students. Let us ensure that NO students whom we have the pleasure to teach leave us without knowing how to read.

Our promotional video that we played during the Excel Fest.

Writing an Impressive EAE Write-up

Working towards a successful EAE application begins with submitting an impressive EAE write-up that stands out. The challenge is how to write one?

Below are a collection of write-ups we have collected over the years helping students write and polish up their EAE write-ups. The samples are a good resource for graduating students to think about what everyday experiences they can creatively include in their write-ups. Aside that, they can take away some know-hows how to present their main info ‘jump into the eyes’ of the reviewers and not get buried because of poor organisation.