P1 Written Expression

In line with MOE recommendations of no exams for our 1st Graders (Primary One students)… other forms of assessments are implemented in some schools. While some schools may have started much earlier… the idea of alternative assessments, is catching on with the rest of the schools that have yet embarked on it. This further amplifies the phrase… "honeymooning period" in Primary school. Hehee.. 

The Alternative Assessments programme complements in the now widely known; Teach Less Learn More approach. Many parents do not know that this programme requires greater curriculum customization as it needs respective teacher to come up with school-based curriculum to best cater to the needs of the students’ abilities. To add to that requirement, teachers are also responsible to chart up the scoring rubrics for the students’ evaluation report. The variety of alternative assessments on the different subjects may constitute to a certain percentage of the overall performance for the year.

One such alternative assessment is the recent Show & Tell article i have shared. While it is understood that the exam setting will not be as per what our P3 students onwards are doing, the need for pen and paper test will still be necessary for a holistic evaluation of students. They may come as short pen and paper tests, like topical tests, listening comprehension tests and a little bit of testing on writing skills; which is termed as the Written Expression.

Written Expression requires each student to come up with at least a minimum of 5 sentences under a selected title / topic. It could be titles like :-

1. My Favourite Food

2. The Holiday I Enjoyed Most

3. My Family

4. My School

5. My Best Friend (etc)

So for SA1 this year, my DD2 has to go through a detailed list of various alternative assessments which i find is a good way and a formative way in assessing the students’ learning journey. I mean in Singapore, it is very difficult to separate parents and that paper evidence / paper chase… much to our denial that is… we are indeed kiasu parents lor.. 

As my continued support to this addictive KiasuParents forum, here are some suggestions of how parents can prep children for the Written Expression day. While i may have posted a little late (post-session) for the Show & Tell article, i do hope this one would come in earlier for some of you out there so that fun preparation work can be done with your children. It should be fun lah, since it IS honeymooning period… hehee..

DD2 was given the title My Favourite Sandwich to work with and was given (if i recall correctly), 2 weeks prior to the actual day. Parents were informed much earlier about it, (again if i remember correctly) almost the same time as all other alternative assessments that were detailed out in the circular. The title was given 2 weeks before the official writing day. For some schools, children were given a picture to write about. So, the format varies between schools & the formative structures they implement.

As many of you already know, i am pro-hands-on kinda momma. I prefer for children especially the younger ones, to learn by experimenting, by touching, by smelling, by tasting…. in short; by doing. Engage children in their 5 senses and the experience of that session will allow for creative ideas in those little minds of theirs by three-fold if not more. πŸ™‚

Here’s sharing what we did together. (DD2 and I)… yes… amidst preparing DD1 for her semestral exams! Guess this hands-on session came as a de-stress factor for me.. Hah!

I asked DD2 what her favourite sandwich was… Blaaah… As usual, she gave me TOO MANY! She talked me through a couple and said they were all too simple… like just dip the knife in the jar and spread. Just like plain bread, she thought it was too bland. Eventually, she decided on something more challenging to write about :- Omelette Sandwich. She repeatedly reminded me that her teacher encouraged all the students in the class to write "more"….. She loves her teacher to bits and find her an ultimate inspiration, so this work by her is also to inspire her teacher….. through her writing.

We began on our journey by getting all the ingredients laid out on the kitchen cabinet one morning.. We’ve done it together many times before but i did more of the work, so this time i made sure she did most of it! DD2 ran through the items in her mind and went ahead to get all the stuff.. She said, "Mom, we need bread… eggs… butter and for the cutlery and stuff we need a bowl, a butter knife…. for now, i think." She even went to the extent of reminding me that it is imperative we check the expiry date stated on the bread clip. She said, "Phew, safe. Still got 3 more days.."

DD2 used the butter knife to cut the two slices of bread in half. I assisted her a bit so that the bread pieces do not become soggy pratas instead…:P

Next is the tough part, cracking the egg. D’ya know that young children find cracking eggs very amusing? The 1st time i allowed her to crack it, the poor egg was crushed into so many pieces and the egg cud not be saved as it was flowing all over the kitchen cabinet… into the drawers… onto the floor! Everywhere!

This time i held her fingers and assisted her with the pressure. Thank goodness. No major disaster entailed from the egg cracking experience this time. Phew!

She managed whisking the egg with the fork just fine.. 

I heated up a small frying pan and again held her hand to pour in the whisked egg once the oil was nicely heated up. We waited for a few seconds and i showed her how to check if that side was done. Following that, how to do the flip… to the other side.

When we flipped, it was light brown and suddenly DD2 quipped, "Mommy, the omelette is breathing!" (Copied phrase from the Enchanted movie).

I cut the fried omelette into two pieces to fit the slices of bread that had been cut. DD2 spread some butter on one side of every slice of bread. Together, we placed the warm fried omelette in between two slices of bread.

And our favourite omelette sandwich was finally ready to be eaten!

DD2 had her sketch book and writing materials in the kitchen.

She immediately recorded the process down each time she finished doing a step, so she will not forget the details. Finally, after she ate the sandwiches for her light lunch that day… we went through the writing together once again to vet. Next, she was to close the sketch book and try to write as many sentences as possible, that she recalled from the short preparation of the sandwiches.

She practiced everyday before she went to school and also after dinner… she was that diligent. She said she was afraid she may not remember the contents for her written expression test. I advised her to just do a short write-up on a peanut butter sandwich instead but she refused… again reminding me, "Teacher said better to write more…" So we told her, "Up to you… YOU are gonna do the writing on that day, so you better know what to write girl!" Frankly, hubs was against her doing the long one… but oh heck, we’re talking about my little… well… you know what… 

Here is her final product.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the project was completed DD2 said to me, "Thanks for helping me mommy. Learning with you is so much fun! I hope we can do this again next time… and i also hope i will do well for my writing test."

Well, as much as i know that she will not be able to remember nor write that many sentences on the actual Written Expression day (especially with time constraints and what nots), i too hope she is able to do well enough……. to pass lah.. Good luck, DD2!

Love Mummy… 

Thanks for sharing :)

Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

Hi Buds! Thats very

Hi Buds!

Thats very impressive work. You are a wonderful mummy!

Great Article!

Thanks Buds,

This is a very interesting article!

Learn as we go along..

Quote amylqf, "wow, your child can really draw and her handwriting is so neat!"

Follow mood wan lah amylqf..  Still work in progress for this girl. This is (like i mentioned) …… her ‘final’ product. The initial raw stages weren’t like this of course. πŸ˜› Still need to vet, edit, proof read.. plus minus ok-ok like that then the final publication. That said, she is neater now as compared to before. Dun bluff you.. hehee.. you can check out my How to write a diary thread to check out the ‘before’ handwriting… when she was younger… and compare with the current one now… truly vast difference. I also award this success to a fab teacher she got for P1 this year. We’re very blessed.. πŸ™‚

As for the drawings, she’d always say dunno.. not creative enuf.. cannot think.. etc.. so i can draw first and she tries to follow mine. When she comes to the point of giving up, i will hold her hand to steady the drawing curves… not something natural or automatic for her (yet) but we still keep encouraging her anyhow. Good thing is DD2 is not one to give up easily. She has natural determination. Or can oso say the kiasu spirit in her. Hahahaa!

DD1 is better at drawing! That one has natural talent and inborn creativity. So, it’s true when they say… no 2 children are alike. Even two of mine are poles apart. In character and in academic achievements.. I learn as i go along. πŸ™‚ Still learning……..

 bÜds

Learning Journey

Quote malyhunesh, "Dear Mum,"

Well… hello to you too. πŸ™‚

"This is a great article and i think it is very useful for me."

Thank you and i am very happy you find the sharing useful. 

"My daughter is in P1 and is in the learning journey as well. Im very worried as she has to do composition and she is not sure how to complete the story."

We’re all learning….. as we go about our days really. Sometimes we don’t realise that. I learn from my children too at times… subconsciously. Hee.. Do not worry. They can always start somewhere.. start small.. with achievable tasks. Start with story starters.. say, if you’re going to the market… let your child bring a small notebook and you can say, "Mother is going to the market to buy,……………….. to make (name of dish) for example. When you go home, after cooking that dish, you may want to sit down with her and get her to draw your shopping list. Then label the items beside her drawings or doodlings. If she is keen to continue the activity, sit down together and mebbe start with a 3 liner (3 sentences) of your shopping trip. For future shopping outings, your daughter may want to help you write down your list all on her own! My girls especially love this.. and they like to include the snacks and whatever nots as well.. πŸ˜›

Once she is having fun with the process of learning to write the bits and pieces, it may trigger the spur of creativity in her to write more.

"This is a real help to me and all parents too. All the best and keep posting more articles."

I appreciate your generous compliments and i’ll try to find time to share more.

You may also click on "buds’ blog" to back read other articles that have been shared sometime back as well.. PM me if you require further assistance okie. No worries. I will try to help where i can, if i can.

"Thank you."

You’re welcome, Mel. 

 bÜds

Big successes begin with small ones..

Quote minnie2004, "This is very creative buds! Thanks for sharing!"

You’re welcome, minnie2004! 

"You gave me some new ideas in teaching my DD writing. She is still in K2 so she’s not exactly writing yet. But she likes to draw so sometimes I’ll ask her to label the items she draw, usually in Chinese as I’m in charge of teaching her Chinese."

Wah, envy leh… Mandarin pro mummy! 

We may have many ideas to teach our children, however as parents we know our children best. If a child is new to writing, start small. After all, big successes begin with small ones. So, be good to start nice and steady instead of a steady stream all at once. I do have experiences where parents are very ONZ and very eager to teach a lotta things but the child finds it information overload. We can pace it to ensure the small goals are the little successes that the child can feel and help motivate them to do more. The idea is also to start early.. gee.. i am like a broken recorder.. but really lah.. can never over emphsize the need for children to have early and yet gradual preparation throughout their learning journeys. 

"She also likes to carry her little digital camera around and take shots of everything (yes she’s a budding photographer and had some pretty nice shots). It’s a good idea to let her bring a stetch book as well on our upcoming vacation so she can draw and write something along the way. Sure will keep her busy on the plane and make our trip more interesting."

Hi-5! Mine are budding photographers too! Gramps and daddy allows them to snap on their DSLRs sometimes and also the digicam, hph cam, and videocam for exposure. This also helps in allowing the kiddies to learn how to handle these delicate electronic stuff better instead of simply fiddling with it behind your back due to curiosity. Do share your DD’s work here with us too. Then, you can show her that many mummies here think she is making good effort to begin writing.. πŸ™‚

 bÜds

wow, your child can really

wow, your child can really draw.
and her handwriting is so neat!

Ariticle

Dear Mum,

 

This is a great article and i think it is very useful for me. My daughter is in P1 and is in the learning journey as well. Im very worried as she has to do composition and she is not sure how to complete the story. This is a real help to me and all parents too. All the best and keep posting more articles.

 

Thank you.

Mel

This is very creative buds!

This is very creative buds! Thanks for sharing! You gave me some new ideas in teaching my DD writing. She is still in K2 so she’s not exactly writing yet. But she likes to draw so sometimes I’ll ask her to label the items she draw, usually in Chinese as I’m in charge of teaching her Chinese.

She also likes to carry her little digital camera around and take shots of everything (yes she’s a budding photographer and had some pretty nice shots). It’s a good idea to let her bring a stetch book as well on our upcoming vacation so she can draw and write something along the way. Sure will keep her busy on the plane and make our trip more interesting.

Aaaawww... sheesh..

Quote gajidouma, "I can’t help but admire you a lot! :))) You are such a wonderful mother with lovely kids. God bless. Just curious, are you a teacher yourself?"

Aaaaww, sheesh.. 

God bless you too, gajidouma. 

To satisfy your curiosity.. yes, i WAS… and

yes… in the next few months will be again. 

I resigned before i delivered my second

baby to spend time with the 1st one.. and

have been a stay-home-mommy since DD2

was born. I did some short stints on & off

and also freelance-from-home assigments

as well. But yes, planning to go full-time

if possible; with a reliable helper. 

 bÜds

Think about it..

Quote tankee, "Very nice! I’m very impressed by your DD2’s writting and drawing skills. She is so neat and tidy too!"

It took a LOT of naggings, screamings, vomitings and yes of course a LOT of work and patience to get there, bro. I’m just happy that all the efforts i have put in have finally harvested. Thanks for the compliment! I’ll tell DD2… to teh her into doing it more often… Guess threatening to put an i-dun-care-if-it’s-ugly-kinda-piece-on-KSP may have also worked in triggering the Little Miss Perfect project quite well. Hmm.. think about it. 

 

 bÜds

More ideas..

Quote Yerdua, "My ds (and me) has a easier time for his "Wriiten Expression" for term 2.   He will be given pictures and has to write a sentence each to describe the pictures.  Everything will be done in class on the spot.  : )"

Hi Yerdua, yes.. the structure for Written Expression varies from school to school. In fact, DD1 had pictures for her Written Expression as well back when she was in Pri 1. With pictures, children should be able to mind map the sequence much clearer and plus in P1, they are usually given helping words to help them with the flow of writing. As for this year’s P1, since they are using the Stellar programme… i suppose this idea for written expression was more thematic to the genre of storybooks based curriculum, where there was this story of a giant or something who had a particular favourite food item, which if i remember correctly… was an ice-cream. DD2 and her classmates also had their own sandwich making in class one of the days, again; i suppose it was meant to be an intro to the actual writing process. As for ‘Written Expresstion Day’ itself, all children are to write based on the topic given (2wks adv) without the aid of notes or cue cards and whatever prepz.. so eventually, i do see it as done in class and on the spot in a way.

"But comes term 3, he has to write a personal account on a field trip! So Buds, your tips will come in very handy! Thanks!"

Oh boy, this sure is a fun topic to write about! This school hols, bring your DS to as many places as possible and bring a sketch book or note book with you too! Jot down in points as you go along your trip/outing with him. To encourage the writing process, i encourage you to have your own book too! So, DS will not see it as it is only an assignment for him alone per se.. bring paints, crayons and colour pencils too! DS and you can draw or doodle the stuff you see during your trips.

You can even use your handphone camera to snap memorable trip pictures and even videos of yourself and DS for extra idea tools when you begin the actual writing process at home, once the outing is over. This idea is akin to your child writing his journal / diary.  I say, the more field trips your DS enjoys….. the more his ideas will come in!

 bÜds

I can't help but admire you

I can’t help but admire you a lot! :))) You are such a wonderful mother with lovely kids. God bless. Just curious, are you a teacher yourself?

Very Nice !

I’m very impressed by your DD2’s writting and drawing skills. She is so neat and tidy too!
 
 

Proud Daddy of P1 Boy at Tao Nan School …

My ds (and me) has a easier

My ds (and me) has a easier time for his "Wriiten Expression" for term 2.   He will be given pictures and has to write a sentence each to describe the pictures.  Everything will be done in class on the spot.  : )

But comes term 3, he has to write a personal account on a field trip! So Buds, your tips will come in very handy! Thanks!

Whoa !!!!

 

Whoa !!!!

Superb piece of written and art work.  Kudos to both mummi and daughter

 

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read – Mark Twain

 autumnbronze

Thanks! :)

Quote Jav, "Hi Buds, as usual, I have always enjoyed reading your article. It is very well described and with creative ideas to motivate children. We are so fortunate to have you in KiasuParents to keep sharing with us. Kudos to you!! πŸ™‚ "

Hi Jav! Thank you for dropping by to keep in touch..

I appreciate it very much. 

Thank you for your sweet compliments too! 

 bÜds

Early Primary Phase

Quote janet_lee88, "Hi Buds, I will make a copy of your post to keep and read nearer end of this year. It’s wonderful for parents like myself who have kids going to P1 and do not have any idea what this Stellar English program is all about."

Different schools may have different selection of books for Stellar English programme. Since Stellar is more open concept, i do provide the needed structure to inculcate the grammar, vocab, oral, listening compre and also simple compre with separate assessments. Stellar programme introduces reading books (big books) to recap Phonics… ie. single letter sounds and letter sound combinations. There are also sight words recognition, parts of vocab & grammar and also comprehension included post-reading session. Expanding the learning of English from the use of stories can be very very interesting and can span very widely if the curriculum and also the teachers are / can come up with creative activities for the children whether inside the classroom or fun out-of-class-learning experiences.

"My son had Show n Tell for P1/2 for his Oral exam. I really wonder whether this ‘honeymoon’ stage for P1 is really that sweet to help kids adjust to primary school."

My girls have worksheets that i have from my past teaching days and also from assessment books like My Pals workbooks plus CASCO Pass English. For oral prepz we have one from Raffles Publications : A Guide to English Oral Skills to work with.

We cannot allow the "honeymoon" phase to cloud the reality that the actual P3 level will bring. Hence the need for some structure so that the children do not get left behind just cos we just let things go with the flow. Early gradual preparation is the key. Yes, the current no-exam-for-P1 does help with children adjusting to P1… and some up till P2. But if caught unprepared, P3 can be a wham-bham disaster especially with the inclusion of Science in their schedule as well!

I do find with or without extra lessons (outsourced)… parents still have the responsibility to keep themselves updated of the goings-on… the standard… the changes (if any)… that are revolving around our school going children. Full-time working parents will be hit hardest cos there doesn’t seem to be enough time to do so many things. (Esp if no domestic help… cos house chores can be a killer boy…)

Catch up with me again when your son’s Written Expression assessment is nearing, cos mebbe i will have more tips to share then! Cheerios! Hope you had a fabulous Mother’s Day today! 

 bÜds

Flying Kiss

Quote autumnbronze, "A BIG hug and fly kiss from me to you for this article.I do believe you know where I am coming from with this response of mine." 

Hahaa! I am sheepishly grinning with the thought of that flying kiss that ermm.. didn’t really fly.. so cute, you know!

"Thank you for sharing, once again."

You are very welcome. 

 bÜds

Same lah.. :P

Quote ksi, "Well structured (Flow of thoughts)"

Hands-on activity helps children with the flow of thoughts since their distracted minds are usually like all over the place lah hor..  Keeping their little hands occupied helps with the thought process, hence remembering the details a little better…… than usual.

"Great illustration (My P2 probably cannot draw half the pictures there, takes alot of imagination)"

She practiced on it… that’s why i say at the last part, "her final product".. heheh. 

"Penmanship is fantastic…"

Fantastic only when kanna scream by me, sista… 

"My P2 only writes like that if there is a contest or special event….otherwise wait long long"

Hahaa! I like how you phrase that!  Same lah.. all children same. Mine included.

"Tell her she will score well for her assessment, Outstanding!"

Only if she managed to write it 100% like that loh.  Kekeke..

Niwae, results next week liao… so….. 

 bÜds

 

Wah!!

My jaws dropped… Amazing work from head to toe….for a P1 gal.

Impressive on all fronts:

1. Well structured (Flow of thoughts)

2. Great illustration (My P2 probably cannot draw half the pictures there, takes alot of imagination)

3. Penmanship is fantastic (My P2 only writes like that if there is a contest or special event….otherwise wait long long)

Tell her she will score well for her assessment, Outstanding!

Up liao!

It’s okay lah babe.. after all you ARE ksi mah.. so that’s understood. Uploading pictures can be time consuming especially with internet connections like mine. πŸ˜› Also, when the webbie is under overwhelming traffic congestion, it takes double the time taken. Plus the more pictures, the more uploading time. Sometimes when i am logged out of the webbie, i even gotta re-do.. ie. re-upload everything that i have put up… 

And that’s the part where it gets super frustrating!

Niwaes, all the pics are uploaded / updated liao. Lemme noe watcha think okie? 

 bÜds

Oic....then will wait

Oic….then will wait patiently….thanks!   :))

I must be a "complain" queen as the rest never make any noise…

Uploading as we speak..

Pictures are being uploaded as we speak.

I think yesterday’s connection was bad lah.

I am after all using mobile broadband… πŸ˜›

Can be frustrating at times with the connection!

Aarrgh!!!

 

 bÜds

Actually, after the last

Actually, after the last sentence "Here is her final product", buds is suppose to show some pics of the end product by DD2 but due to some technical difficulties, the pics seem to disappear. Will get it rectified ASAP.

 Cheers!

Hey buds...after "here is

Hey buds…after "here is her final product"….is there anything else as I cannot seem to read if there is a page 2.  How to see ah?

GREAT!

Hi Buds,

As usual, I have always enjoyed reading your article. It is very well described and with creative ideas to motivate children. We are so fortunate to have you in KiasuParents to keep sharing with us. Kudos to you!! πŸ™‚ 

Thanks

Hi Buds,

I will make a copy of your post to keep and read nearer end of this year. It’s wonderful for parents like myself who have kids going to P1 and do not have any idea what this Stellar English program is all about.

My son had Show n Tell for P1/2 for his Oral exam. I really wonder whether this ‘honeymoon’ stage for P1 is really that sweet to help kids adjust to primary school.

 

A BIG ....

 A BIG hug and fly kiss from me to you for this article.

I do believe you know where I am coming from with this response of mine 

Thank you for sharing, once again.

 

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read – Mark Twain

 autumnbronze

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