It has been nearly a year since my last post in this series. Last year was a busy year for me as there were many changes in my life coupled with preparing Monkey boy for the PSLE. Now that he is settling into Secondary One I can have a breather and restart this series with a post on how it is moving from Lower Primary to Upper Primary.
A quick update on the kids
This year (2017) Tiger girl has joined her elder brothers in entering formal education. She is now in Primary 1 and getting use to being in the “big kids” school.
Doggie boy is currently in Primary 5 and adjusting being the among the older kids in school. He has the added responsibility of taking care of his younger sister who now goes to school together with him.
Moving from Primary 4 to Primary 5 he will be facing the challenges which his elder brother faced two years ago. I’m sure this 2nd time around I’m more equipped to help him along with the changes he may be facing.
*Note for P6- 100% of the assessment weightage would be based on the Prelim exams ( For school records/ Initital DSA entry ) and 100% based on the PSLE results obtained for Secondary school admission.
When the boys were in lower primary they were having tests and different kinds of assessments almost on a weekly basis. It was really exhausting trying to keep up with their schedules and getting them ready for the various assessments.
In the end I took the middle path with regular revision for each subject. This way the kids were not caught up by the stresses of continual assessment and had sufficient preparation in each subject.
I strongly believe that education should be an enjoyable process for a child and not one which only focuses on academic results. Through education the child will be able to cultivate the skills and values that will see them throughout their lives.
In the Lower Primary years there is more emphasis on building up the foundation in language through teacher student modelling. The is evident in the teaching of Languages.
English in Lower Primary
During English periods the pupils engage in shared reading and writing experiences using the STELLAR method.
There are 3 key strategies used in Lower Primary STELLAR
- SBA (Shared Book Approach )
The teacher introduces and shares a Big Book(Story) with the pupils. In the second part, the teacher teaches language items, structures and skills explicitly, including concepts of print, phonics and grammar.There will be follow up activities ranging from drama to arts to reinforce the vocabulary and grammar learned.
- MLEA(Modified Language Experience Approach)
There is a shared experience that is linked to the Big Book that has been read during Shared Reading. The shared experience provides the context and content for the children to think and talk about, using the target language structures and vocabulary they have been exposed to in SBA. This is normally in the form of unit based worksheets which the teachers have compiled as a level.
- LC (Learning Centres)These are stations where activities are planned and differentiated for the pupils. They consist of a Reading Centre, the Word Study Centre and the Listening Centre. At these stations pupils have the opportunity to re-learn, revisit or extend what they have learnt at their own pace and in differentiated ability groups.
Maths in Lower Primary
Teaching of Mathematics is done through the Concrete Pictorial Abstract Approach. There is extensive use of mathematical aids (manipulatives) like unit cubes, charts and fraction bars to develop the various concepts and skills in this subject in relations to the 4 operations, the topics on length, fractions, money mass and picture graphs.
The modern Maths classroom aims to use a variety of learning experiences to help students develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts such as through the use of manipulatives (concrete materials), practical work and use of technological aids.
In the next post (part 2) I will be examining how Chinese Language is being taught in lower primary and give a breakdown on how different the assessment is from Primary 2 to Primary 3 for the different subjects.
7) Bridging the Gap – Modelling and Methods in Maths (Part 1)