Upcoming Parent Workshops

Ever wondered why your child is unable to apply the Maths concepts learnt to his/her exam paper? It is because not all students are able to bridge the gap between what is taught in schools and what is tested in the exams themselves. It is often higher-order, non-routine problem sums which students have difficulty with.

At this hands-on workshop, pick up tips and tricks and gain exposure to skills and strategies which you can immediately apply to help your child solve word problems.

 

Did you know that for secondary school Editing, unlike primary school where the errors are underlined, the errors are unmarked and students have to be able to find the errors themselves as well as identify two lines that are error free?

Did you know that secondary school Visual Text Comprehension questions test students’ critical thinking skills and their ability to evaluate the use of visuals and use of language for impact?

Get mentally prepared and find out exactly how different secondary English is from primary English by attending our workshop!

 

Join us at our hands-on Maths workshop to learn from our Head of Mathematics as she shares how model drawing can be effectively applied to make solving word problems easy. A visual means of helping young children “see” the word problem, model drawing can be a very useful tool when used the correct way.

 

Spaces are limited, so call 6777 2468 or SIGN UP ONLINE today!

English Paper 2 Tips: Primary

PRIMARY

 

Primary 2

When writing your answer for MCQ Comprehension:

  • Circle the question numbers you’re unsure about. When you’re done with the whole paper, go back to the circled questions and cross out the wrong answers.

When writing your answer for Open-Ended Comprehension:

  • Grammar: Check that you have used the correct tense.
  • Punctuation: Make sure your sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Remember to include quotation marks if you are asked for a specific word.
  • Spelling: Double-check the spelling of all key words in your answer against those in the passage because those key words are likely found there.

 

 

 

Primary 3 & 4

How to Figure Out the Meaning of New Words

Context clues are very useful when you are trying to figure out the meaning of words that are new to you. Usually, in a sentence, paragraph or text, there is at least one clue to the meaning of the word. An easy way to remember the types of clues would be S.E.A.: Synonym, Examples, Antonym.

  • Synonym: a word or phrase with the same meaning

Bamboos are not very nutritious, so the amount of bamboo pandas have to eat in 12 hours to stay healthy is up to 15 percent of their body weight.

  • Examples: a few examples of the word are given

Some catastrophes cause a huge volume of water to be shifted, such as earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions.

  • Antonym: a word or phrase with the opposite meaning

It is always joyous when a cub is born, but devastating when one dies.

 

 

 

Primary 5

Synthesis & Transformation

  • Check that you did not omit or misspell any words.
  • Underline all key words that need to be changed. This is especially helpful when you’re changing the sentence from direct to indirect speech. Look out for Tenses, Pronouns and words related to Time and Place. For example:

Qn:     “I will investigate the cause of the blackout that happened in these areas yesterday,” he announced.

Ans:    The spokesman announced that he would investigate the cause of the blackout that had happened in those areas the previous day.

  • Learn to convert between nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. For example:

Qn:     The students apologised to the principal. They did so reluctantly.

Ans:    It was with reluctance that the students apologised to the principal.

 

English Paper 2 Tips: Summary Writing

SUMMARY WRITING

 

Summary writing is one of the most dreaded components of the secondary English Paper 2 exam. But it doesn’t always have to be that way! Use this 3-Step Strategy to guide you along.

 

Step 1: Identify the points

Before you start, mark out the paragraphs that you need to summarise (e.g. draw a line above and below these paragraphs).

  • Identify at least eight key points to summarise. Use dotted lines if you are unsure of your points and edits as you re-read and count the number of points you have chosen.
  • Every paragraph should contain at least one point.
  • Number your points
  • Underline only the key words, instead of underlining the whole sentence.

 

 

 

Step 2: Paraphrase the points

Understand each main point before rephrasing it. Be clear and concise!

  • Think of synonyms.
  • Eliminate phrasal verbs where possible (e.g. instead of “carry on”, use “continue”).
  • Eliminate “empty words”: redundant words without which the sentence is still grammatical (e.g. I think that the lecture was boring).
  • Change the sentence structure if necessary.

 

 

 

Step 3: Organise the points

Reorder the points in a logical way (e.g. compare-contrast / cause-effect / problem-solution).

  • Use connectors and transition words to signal the relationship between ideas. For example:
    • Compare-contrast: unlike, while, similarly, likewise
    • Cause-effect: since, as, thus, consequently
    • Additional related point: moreover, furthermore, additionally
  • Link related ideas together to further reduce the word count.

 

English Paper 2 Tips: Reading Compre

READING COMPREHENSION

 

Learning how to paraphrase your answers is an important and required skill for the reading comprehension portion of the exam as marks get deducted whenever answers are lifted from the passage. Here are some tips on paraphrasing:

 

Tip #1

Select synonyms

Replace the key verbs, adjectives and adverbs with synonyms. You may need to use a phrase instead of a single word sometimes.

 

 

 

Tip #2

Mention the main idea

Focus on stating the main idea in your own words.

 

 

 

Tip #3

Structure it differently

Don’t let your Synthesis & Transformation skills go to waste! Use them to change the sentence structure (e.g. active to passive voice).

 

Writing Tips: Narrative Writing

NARRATIVE WRITING

 

Tip #1

Gather story ideas from reading the news

Read the news daily for story ideas, or at least skim through the headlines. For example, the following news stories would be relevant content for a compo prompt on courage:

  • Students who helped boy trapped under car receives SCDF awards
  • SCDF officers to the rescue as flood waters rise
  • 78-year-old woman fights off armed robber at convenience store

 

Tip #2

Flesh out the climax

Make sure your climax is engaging and has sufficient detail.

Did you…

  • include your characters’ feelings, actions and thoughts?
  • use the five senses (beyond sight) to paint a vivid scene?
  • break down important actions into smaller steps?

Negative Example: The robber demanded for money.

Positive Example: One of the burly men fished a gun out of his baggy pockets and pointed it at the shopkeeper’s forehead. Advancing slowly towards the shaking shopkeeper, he roared, “Fill my bag up now!”

 

Tip #3

Use figurative language

Use the acronym MS HIP to help liven up your writing.

  • Metaphors:            The classroom became a zoo once Ms Lee left.
  • Similes:                   He avoided the water like the plague.
  • Hyperbole:             Old Mr Ong has been working here since the Stone Age.
  • Idioms:                    Our star player had fallen sick at the eleventh hour.
  • Personification:     Fear robbed me of my words.

LiteracyPlus Tidbits: Run-on Sentences

 BEING AWARE OF RUN-ON SENTENCES

 

A common mistake that pupils make in their writing is run-on sentences. A run-on sentence consists of two or more independent clauses that are run together without proper punctuation. (An independent clause is a clause that can stand by itself as a complete sentence.)

Incorrect: Pain surged through Amy’s leg she screamed.

Correct: Pain surged through Amy’s leg. She screamed.

 

Another way to correct a run-on sentence is to connect the independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). However, when doing so, there must be a comma before the coordinating conjunction.

Incorrect: I felt hungry, I ate an apple.

Correct: I felt hungry, so I ate an apple.

 

We sometimes speak in run-on sentences, but we add pauses and change our tone so people can understand us. When we write, no one can hear us. Hence, pupils need to be careful not to blindly write the way they speak.

 

Another thing that pupils need to be aware of is that if a sentence is long, it does not necessarily mean the sentence is a run-on. A sentence may be long but grammatically correct. For example:

Almost at the finish line, Terry picked up her pace in order to further distance herself from the rest of her competitors and to show her father, who was watching her in the stands, that all her hard work was going to pay off.

 

A good composition should be written with sentences of varying lengths. In an attempt to achieve this, pupils need to be careful that they aren’t writing run-on sentences instead.

 

Oral Tips: Pronunciation

PRONUNCIATION

 

Commonly mispronounced words in Singapore:

 

Word Correct Pronunciation Incorrect Pronunciation
abacus A-ba-cus a-BAC-cus
baton ba-TON BAY-ten
calendar CA-len-der ca-LAN-der
calligraphy ca-LIG-gra-phy ca-li-GRAPH-y
chick CHICK CHEEK
comparable COM-pa-re-ble com-PARE-re-bel
economy e-CON-no-my e-co-NO-my
entrepreneur en-tre-pre-NEUR en-tre-PRE-neur

 

LiteracyPlus Tidbits: Oral Communication Skills

BUILDING ORAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS

 

The ability to communicate effectively is an important skill. Cultivating good oral communication skills takes practice and reinforcement. Thankfully, there are many ways that parents can incorporate the teaching and reinforcement of oral communication skills in everyday situations.

 

Keep It Casual

Have your child share about his/her day, or any topic of interest, but have him/her do so facing you so you can focus on your child’s posture, eye contact and voice projection. Content does not always have to be a priority. You want to ingrain good foundational oral skills in your child.

 

Poetry

Poetry is a great tool to practise delivery skills. Select a short, funny poem as ‘Poem of the Week’ for your child to practise with.

 

Once Upon A Time

Use short sentences from well-known stories or fairy tales for your child to practise oral delivery skills. “Who ate my porridge?” (Goldilocks and the Three Bears) and “I will huff, and I will puff, and I will blow your house down!” (The Three Little Pigs), for example, are great for children to practise tone, facial expressions and voice projection. Encourage your child to come up with other good sentences from his/her favourite stories.

 

The Big “C”

Consistency is key! Practising good oral communication skills should not only be done close to exams, but across the board at all times. Be vigilant in correcting your child’s incorrect pronunciation and incorrect language usage. (I want go toilet vs. I would like to use the washroom.)

 

Oral Tips: SBC

STIMULUS-BASED CONVERSATION

 

Tip #1

Do not give one word ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers. Instead, elaborate your answers when responding.

Don’t stop after saying something general. Remember the 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where, why & how) to help you elaborate.

 

Tip #2

Carry on your conversation with the examiner until he/she asks you to stop. When you close your conversation, remember to go back to the topic in your conclusion (e.g. Singapore will be a more gracious society and a happier place in which to live if we are all kind to the elderly. After all, we will all grow old one day too!).

Oral Tips: Reading Aloud

READING ALOUD

 

Tip #1

When reading the test passage, pronounce words clearly and correctly. 

  • Know the difference between the short vowel ĭ and the long vowel ē sound.

e.g.  chĭck / cheek      slĭp / sleep      fĭll / feel

  • Pronounce end consonants clearly.

e.g.  Tom wants (not ‘want’) to play football.

e.g.  Do your best (not ‘bess’) later.

  • Know how to pronounce thcorrectly.

e.g.  This (not ‘dis’) is the way to school.

e.g.  My father (not ‘fah-der’) drives a taxi.

 

Tip #2

Read expressively so your reader does not get bored.

  • Vary your pitch, making sure that your voice goes up and down.

e.g.  Where are the children? (questions end on a high note)

e.g.  It’s time for dinner. (affirmative statements should end in a level pitch)

  • Stress the important words.

e.g.  Let’s eat children.   vs.   Let’s eat, children.

  • Adjust your volume so you don’t speak in a monotone.

e.g.  Soft to Loud: whisper–mutter–state–announce–demand–exclaim–shout

 

Tip #3

Practice chunking phrases to develop fluency.

  • Focus on reading groups of words, or phrases, rather than individual words.
  • Practise using slashes (/ /) to group words into phrases. Remember to pause when you see a full-stop or comma.

When the starter fired his gun, / the competitors dashed off with John in the lead. / Ben followed closely behind, / waiting for the right time for his final sprint. / At the last bend, / he began to pull ahead. / Finally, / he reached the finishing line / two full seconds before his classmate. / He had won the race!

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