Tuesday, July 13, 2010 ;
10:22 PM
I also thought I should sometimes blog about what the kids learn in school. Any interesting stuff, for example.

It can be a record for them and perhaps give other parents some ideas.

For overseas parents, they get ideas on how Singapore schools teach. For homeschooling parents, they might want to try such things out with their kids at home. For parents with younger kids, they might know what to expect when their kids enter school here too, or they might want to do such things with their kids now as well, to prepare them?

Just like a lot of moms who blog about their recipes and food. I stopped blogging abt stuff I cook cos now I cook very repetitive stuff. I cook the main meals and it almost always just consists of rice with a veg dish, a meat dish and perhaps a soup. And it is the same boring stuff, no need to blog. And I don't follow recipes for everyday cooking, I just add stuff in and cook.

So hard pressed for time to get meals on the table already, no time to take pics or even to remember what I added and how much of each ingredient. :-)

But I still set aside time to ask the kids about school and what they did in school each day, so these I can remember. And I hope to be free enough to record some of the interesting stuff.

In case they one day say school is boring, I can dig up these posts and show them, hey, no, look at all these you did. So interesting!! :-)

Recently ds2 started learning Chinese poems. Some Tang ones, some other old poems (古诗)- 1 per week. The teacher does a very good job of getting them to remember the author, the title and the poem itself. And I thought they just recite for fun and sometimes I will ask ds2, what is the meaning of the poem? And he will explain to me!

I took English Literature in school so for myself, it is also a learning journey. I only know a few famous ones, from mainstream chinese lessons, and I hardly know how to explain them. But Dh took Chinese literature and he can appreciate and add in the interpretation when ds2 forgets anything. I find these very interesting.

And very often, each poem has some kind of value or moral to teach. For example, 2 weeks ago, they did 悯农。It is about the poor farmers who labour and toil under the scorching sun to plant the rice, dripping each drop of sweat into the soil as they plant. Who knows with each meal and in each bowl of rice, each grain is worth so much time and effort?

I love the teacher so much for teaching them this poem cos now I recite it every time I see something left on their plates> very good for making them finish up their meals properly.

Still on the topic of Chinese, ds1 had a change of teachers after the June hols. He now has this new male teacher, who, from his daily description, seems to be fresh out of NIE (teacher training college).

Why do I say that? Cos he has a lot of fresh and interesting ideas but he is also inconsistent in his discipline methods. Haha.

Maybe he feels it is more interesting to have different punishments each day but when ds1 describes them, it seems to be too inconsistent to have an effect. But I normally don't complain or speak to the teacher unless it is a serious matter.

For eg, one day ds1 said all the naughty kids had to squat under their chairs and the teacher will walk to sit on their chairs while teaching the lesson and sometimes will use the book to slap on the side of the chair. I asked ds1 if his classmates were scared or laughing, he said most of them felt like laughing, it was more funny than scary.

Then another day ds1 said the naughty ones had to stand in the metal cabinet and the teacher will close the door. I said out loud to ds1 that I didn't like such punishment methods. I asked if his friend felt afraid in the darkness, and if the door was locked. He said the door wasn't locked and his friend was not afraid.

I wonder, for the more mischievous boys, would they purposely misbehave to try out these "novel" ways of being punished?

So far ds1 hasn't been punished yet. We'll see what he gets when he does.

On the other hand, the teacher rewards good students handsomely. He seems to have a lot of candy. I don't like that either, but ds1 said he received a coconut candy for being very good the other day.

However, I was a new teacher once, and new teachers should have their own space to try things out and make mistakes. He did have some good stuff.

He tells the kids a Chinese story every other day. Especially when there are many Chinese periods together in the day. ds1 loved those stories which usually revolved around some big bad wolf. He can come home and tell me all the stories (partially in English though!!). But it's good cos he is very enthusiastic and it gives me many opportunities to encourage him to retell them to me in Chinese.

Apparently the teacher acts out the stories as he tells them animatedly too, cos ds1 will mimick those actions very well and he does look comical. I asked if the class all laughed at those parts and ds1 said they all did.

They are also having presentations and performances this term, it seems. Every Tuesday the classes gather together and those who are prepared will go on stage to present either a song, a Show and Tell item, a poem or tell a story.

I think these are excellent ideas. Now, the focus is on speaking skills, and these indeed help students learn the language much more effectively and in a fun way too.

ds1 thought of his item on his own. He wanted to sing and act out a song. It's quite funny, and he enjoyed doing it.

The final thing for this post: ds1's school's PAL programme this term is on bouldering. That's the glorified term on the parents' letter but when ds1 described what they did, it's basically rock-climbing and learning to belay and observing safety. It will culminate in a fieldtrip to Hindhede Park in Bt Timah Nature Reserve.

They asked for parent volunteers for the field trip. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun so I signed Dh up for it, haha. He's keen anyway...
If he takes pics, I'll post them.

ds1 loves all these extra stuff. It's what makes him like school so much.
This morning, he forgot his water bottle, and Dh was free and going to take the car to work anyway, so he offered to bring it to school for ds1. Later I asked him what was ds1 doing when he spotted him in school. Dh said he saw ds1 with his arm around an Indian friend, queuing up to buy mee soto together in the canteen.

They were talking and laughing heartily. It wasn't his usual Malay recess partner. Hmm, looks like ds1 is enjoying himself immensely in school, making many friends from diverse backgrounds. We are happy for him. May he continue to love school so much all his life.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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