Our Collectibles Are Here!

We had ordered 50 sets of Kami Pelajar A1 collectibles from The Game Crafter and they had arrived last month. These collectibles are achievement cards meant to invoke in our graduating students superhuman effort so that they work hard to get distinctions for their coming Malay O Level Examinations this June.

Why we do this and how did we get here? We record our journey in our blog here. Do check it out. We will be updating our blog from time to time. We hope that our journey inspires many Malay teachers to try out our approach with their graduating students in the coming years.

We have not published our collectibles in The Game Crafter for public purchase, but we will do that soon. Now we are just excited experimenting them with our graduating students.

We started the year with several teaching clinics where we nurse our graduating students back to competency in the various learning strategies that we taught them last year. We have learnt sadly that the long November and December holidays last year have taken the bite out from what they used to know.

We ran the clinics throughout the whole of Term 1 and our graduating students were required to submit various assignments as part of their rehabilitation. We are pleased to share that many of them did well for these assignments and we are confident that they will continue to do well as we gear them up for more assignments in the coming Term 2.

We look forward to having many among them earning their first collectibles in Term 2. Who would that be and what collectibles will be first up for grab? We’ll see and we will be reporting that to you. Stay tune!

Revisit Expository Writing Strategy Using The Theme Digital Defence

This week we engage our graduating students with the expository writing strategy that we had taught them last year. To help them recall and apply the strategy we discuss as a writing content the impact of fake news in our society as we ride the challenges brought about by the current COVID-19 virus. This topic is timely as we had just commemorated the Total Defence Day two weeks ago and the need for digital defence is made profound with the onslaught of fake news amid the virus outbreak that our students need to be alert about and know how to distinguish them.

As so se use the expository writing question below:

Berita palsu mengancam kesejahteraan masyarakat Singapura. Bincangkan

Step 1
We start discussing the writing content by showing the video above.

Step 2
We invite students to share various fake news that they have heard of amid the COVID-19 virus outbreak. From the MOH website, we learnt of the following fake news:

  • There were reports of a suspect case at Eastpoint Mall.
  • A message on COVID-19 has been circulating on WhatsApp asking the public not to visit certain public hospitals.
  • There were rumours circulating online that more than 100 arriving travellers from Wuhan were denied entry into Singapore.
  • There were rumours circulating online that an individual has died of the COVID-19 infection at a shopping mall in Singapore.
  • A Hardware Zone Forum post claimed that a 66 year old man died in Singapore from a newly identified virus that caused him to develop severe pneumonia.  However at that time there had been no deaths among confirmed cases of the COVID-19 infection.
  • There were posts by several Facebook users claiming that Woodlands MRT was closed for disinfection due to a suspected case of the COVID-19 infection. The posts also urged members of the public not to go to Woodlands MRT.
  • A website called ‘City News’ published an article titled “BREAKING NEWS: Singapore records six more coronavirus case, total of 16 now” claiming that five Singaporeans have contracted COVID-19 without going to China.  This is not true.  At that time, there was no local transmission of COVID-19 in Singapore.  All confirmed cases in Singapore by then were Chinese nationals who travelled from Wuhan.
  • There was a false statement on The States Times Review Facebook page on the supply of surgical masks.
  • There was a WhatsApp message circulating with a list of alleged places where suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been when this was not true.
  • A fake screengrab of a CNA tweet was circulated widely on social media saying that all schools including polytechnics and universities are to close next Monday (10 Feb) due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
  • A graphic that was aired on CNA’s Asia Tonight TV bulletin at 8pm on Thursday (13 Feb) mistakenly listed a coronavirus death to Singapore.

Step 3
We invite students to share how have these fake news impact our community. We encourage them to recount what they have seen, read and heard. From our experiences, we have seen how fake news cause:

  • Rakyat Singapura menjadi takut akan keselamatan diri sendiri
  • Rakyat Singapura mula meminggirkan sesetengah golongan orang
  • Rakyat Singapura bimbang akan kekurangan bekalan makanan
  • Rakyat Singapura memilih untuk tidak keluar rumah

Step 4
We invite students to share what they have learnt to distinguis fake news. At this juncture, we encourage them to share what they understood by the S.U.R.E (Source, Understand, Reseacrh & Evaluate).

The above discussion will help us to engage our students in revisiting the expository writing strategy that they have learnt and apply it in writing an expository essay based on the question on the topic above.

To know more about our expository writing strategy, do consider buying our Contoh Karangan Untuk Persiapan Peringkat O & N books.


We share below one of the exemplary essays students wrote during the above lesson. Take note of the last paragrapgh of this essay (Bahagian Penutup). What a brilliant closure to an amazing essay! The writer employed our teachnique for the last paragrapgh well.

CROSS THE LINE ~ The Target Setting Activity Visually!

Our PLT project this year is the Saya Pelajar A1 Collectibles which we introduce to our graduating class who will be sitting for the Malay Language O Level Examinations in June. We use these collectibles as a teaching resource to invoke our students’ affective domain in order to motivate them to work harder to achieve distinctions in their O Level Examinations for Malay Language.

Details of our journey in coming up with these collectibles can be found here. We documented our journey in the longest ever post we had written. Happy reading! We hope that you gleam useful lessons from our experiences. : )

The above is the first lesson of our PLT project. The lesson is called ‘Cross The Line’. ‘Cross The Line’ focuses on helping students to set targets for their Malay Language O Level Examinations in June, identify possible challenges and solutions to overcome those challenges, and finally learn from alumni who scored distinctions in the previous Malay Language O Level Examinations.

This first lesson is the first of five installments where we will repeat segments of the first lesson again throught the first semester before our students sit for their O Level Examinations for Malay Language in June. We do this so that our students are often reminded of their targets and can track their progress visually. Puzzled? Just check out the video and you can find more details here.

And finally, if you would like to carry out this PLT project with your graduating students this year, do get in touch with us. We would love to learn from you!

Pelajar Cemerlang Series 2

This is the second series of videos where some of the students who scored distinctions in the June ML O level exams volunteered to share their success recipe. The videos serve as good motivation resources for future graduating students working towards ML distinctions. You can view all the videos here; https://karangkutu.com/pelajar-cemerlang-series/

What a Box of Surprise!

Wow! We didn’t expect the prototype for our Professional Learning Team (PLT) project next year to look this good. What is our PLT project all about? We will make the announcement when the time is right. You’ll be excited to know what we are working on. For now, let’s keep it under wrap. We will proceed to order 40 sets of this prototype from the Game Crafter for our graduating students next year.

Upcoming Workshop for Teachers

We are pleased to announce of an upcoming workshop for teachers above. In the workshop we will discuss the literary moves in every paragraph of our signature descriptive writing strategy. In addition, we will demonstrate the three-pronged pedagogical approach that we employ when teaching the strategy to our upper secondary classes.

The workshop is primarily organised for teachers who use our books Contoh Karangan Untuk Persiapan Peringkat N & O when teaching our writing strategy. Participants who are selected for the workshop will enjoy better clarity of our strategy and how best to use our resources both the books and videos/worksheets that we provide via the password protected spaces in our website.

We will also be addressing any query regarding our narrative and expository writing strategies during the Q&A session. This is an opportunity not to be missed!

Please register early via https://tinyurl.com/registermepls. The maximum number of places is 30. We will close the registration once we have reached this number or by Mon 28 Oct 2019, whichever is earlier. We will inform you via e-mail at least a week before the workshop if you are selected for the workshop.

We look forward to see you at the workshop. Cheers : )

Note-taking Versus Note-making

We get our students to write their own notes.

We do this because primarily we want our students to make sense of what they learn in our lessons. In the past we provided our students with notes that we wrote on the whiteboard, present them on powerpoint slides or print them on handouts. However, we soon learn that this approach only makes learning passive and transfer of knowledge difficult.

Secondly, we insist our students to write their own notes so that they have ownership. Their notes are unique as what they take away as key points from our lessons differ because of their prior understanding and knowledge vary.

However, Rick Smith has taught us that self note-taking even if ended up with good notes is not necessarily enough for effective learning. We learn that self note-taking can be a passive learning endeavour too. Rick offered us the idea of note-making and showed us that note-making is more active and focused activity where students assimilate all information they have written and take understanding to a (meta) higher level. He shared with us a number of note-making activities and we use them after we have taught a body of knowledge to help our students consolidate what they have learn from their notes.

Below are several note-making activities that we have used in our lessons apart from the one shown in the video above:

Summary

We carried out this note-making activity as a whole-class approach. We started the summary by writing the first two sentences on the whiteboard. Students were invited to contribute two sentence to the summary but writing their second sentence only after their peers had added their first sentences. Students had to ensure that their sentences provided a good flow to the structure of the summary for easy understanding. At the end of this activity, students were invited to review the summary to critique and query each other contributions.

Slogan

Student has to derive the essence of a body of knowledge taught and turn it into one short phrase or a slogan. A good slogan is memorable and durable. When a good slogan occupies prime real estate in a student’s subconscious, it aids the student to recall the body of knowledge he or she had learnt.

Questions!

We used this note-making activity as an exit pass for students to leave the class at the end of our lesson. We started by asking students to select only three facts out of the many things that they had learnt from our lesson and come up with a corresponding question for each fact. Students were then invited to stand up and approach other students (one at a time) to trade a question that they had come up with earlier. At the end of the activity, we asked if there was any question that the students were not able to answer correctly at their first attempt. This allows us to surface student’s misconceptions and address them immediately.

Translation

This note-making activity is useful as a starter activity when we have a body of knowledge to teach. We used this activity when we had to teach students a list of peribahasa or proverbs. We divided the class into groups and assigned each group to translate the meanings of selected set of peribahasa into English. To our amazement, the students were deeply engaged that we saw them taking turn to teach the peribahasa and correcting each other translation. This activity allows students to develop their baseline understanding of the peribahasa before we start teaching them to students

Acronym

We employ this note-making activity when we require students to bring into memory procedural knowledge. Students has to first derive key ideas of a body of knowledge taught before they could encapsulate them into an acronym. As with slogan, a good acronym is memorable and durable, and it is a effective tool to help students recall key ideas of what they had learnt.

We encourage you to try these note-making activities with your students. Good luck!