Primary schools that do away with exams for P1 students have implemented Show & Tell and Written Expression as formative assessments. Our children can be prepared for both the above activities much easier than we credit them for. Here are a couple of stuff i did with my daughter. Hope these can be suggestions for your children’s future preparation…
Topics for show and tell were given in advance somewhere 3 to 4 weeks prior to the actual session. Parents are encouraged to help prepare their children for it. The children will not be allowed to read from any notes or cue cards that may have been prepared from home. The session has to be done spontaneously… which means NO last minute prepz please!
General topics across schools would be :
1. My Family
2. My Favourite Toy
3. My Favourite Food (etc)
My daughter chose My Family for show and tell. We looked through some recent family photographs and she picked out one picture of our recent holiday trip… she says since she was going to speak about her family, it was imperative that the eventual photograph selected must have all four of us (family members) in it. I blew up the picture and had it laminated for her actual session.
While some parents prepare their children for Show & Tell by writing down their own simple points or the sentences that they have come up with for their children… there are parents like me who like to get the kiddies down to the preparation work. To be involved in the process. It’s like research work for their own project.
We start by mind mapping what are the areas she wanted to cover / talk about. ie. Number of people in the family, the roles and responsibilities of each family member, favourite hobby of each family member, (etc)… Next up, we expand and brainstorm on those areas with more details / information.
She wrote her own piece and i also encouraged her to use her own words as much as possible. I guided her with extra bits here and there for the added punch line. We also added some hand gestures to make it look like story telling / sharing instead of a straight rod speech.
Here is a brief account of what she prepared for her Show & Tell.
“Hello teachers and my fellow friends..
Today, i am going to talk about my family. (Pointing to the family photograph) My family consists of 4 people. There is my father, my mother, my elder sister and I. My father is the head of the family… No no no.. not this head! (Pointing to her own head! Hahaa!) A head of the family means, that my father is the leader of the house. As a leader of the house, he takes care of the family by going out to work to find money. He pays the bills and buys food for us. Other than taking care of the family my father also likes to bring us for family holidays which i really love. I enjoy all our family holidays. I wish we can go again soon. My father likes to jog in his free time and it keeps him healthy and strong.
Next is my mother. My mother used to work as a nurse and a teacher. But now she stays home to take care of all of us. She always cooks my favourite food and she is a lovely cook too! My mother teaches me at home. Her teaching is never boring. It’s more like playing games and i love to learn with her. It is very fun spending time with my mother. My mother also takes time to volunteer with underprivileged children. I helped too when she let me. I am very lucky to have my mother take care of me and the whole house.
This is my elder sister (pointing to the photograph). She is great at playing the violin. She plays with me sometimes when she has finished all her homework. I like playing with her. My sister bullies me sometimes, but i still love her very much.
Finally, there is me… I am the youngest in my family and also the smallest. But i am also definitely the cutest! I am learning to play the piano. It is not easy but i still like to learn it. I like to learn with my mother, doing challenging maths, interesting craft work and painting. I like to play games too! I like free online games best. I get to play the games once in awhile when my parents allow me to. I can be very playful and mischievous at times and make people frustrated, but i know they still love me. I love my family very much!
When the final cue cards (i let her use lined exam cards for her prepz) have been checked a few times over, it came for the time to practise it live. We blu-tacked the photograph on the wall and she practised a few times presenting her Show & Tell session in front of the mirror. As we rehearsed and fine-tuned the entire session together she became more confident and even managed to memorize most of it. While the sentences she used in her practice sessions may not be in the “exact” order as pe the cue cards she prepared, majority of the details were included and she also swapped some of them to her own words when she got those momentary mental block occasions. I assured her that it was ok… as long as she gets the gist of it… it’s fine.
Next, we recorded one of her best sessions using the laptop / netbook’s webcam and asked her to evaluate herself.. well… we saw lotsa fidgeting, shaking and the usual nervous reactions when one has to stand and speak their thoughts aloud.
She was able to see herself in action and understood what needed to be improved on; come the actual day. She was all hyped up before she left school on Show & Tell Day. Somehow what she prepared didn’t turn out the way it was or how she pictured it… she seemed a little disappointed with her performance. She claimed that she got mental block a few times and paused unlike her practice sessions with me at home. With much coaxing, she related what she could recall from her session. She thought she could have done better. I hugged her and told her… “While you may have done this in preschool where there were lesser kids and less stress… this is the first time you are doing it in P1. And that was a very good effort. I am very proud of you. With this experience, you will now know what can be done different or better the next time around. I think you did well.. in fact to tell you a secret, your jie-jie used to tell me she really had to do big business just before any performance on stage or in class! So you did good… and you really did the best you could. You will do fine.”
She managed a chuckle and a giggle at the end of my heart to heart talk with her and before she went for her shower, she said to me… “Thanks for helping me Mom, i know i can do better the next time! And this time no mental blocks.. na-aah..”