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Lorna Whiston

School Holiday Storytelling and Activities For Kids May June 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017



Now Kids and Teens Ages 6-18 Are Doing Coding

Learning the basics of coding not only teaches problem solving skills, but it’s fun too! It is not only for adults or IT geeks! Now even kids and teens from ages 6 up to 18 are coding! Tech education is on the increase for kids and teens. Why? Just look around you. We are living in a world that has undergone tremendous scientific change in recent years, a world that is increasingly reliant on apps and smart devices. Every app and device rely on coding to make them work.



As technology continue to advance, more and more everyday items, jobs, and enjoyment of life benefit from coding. In other words, we need coding much more now than we did in the past. Letting kids and teens learn to code and exposing them to coding from a young age is preparing them ahead for job opportunities and employment in various sectors, all of which require coding in some form or another.




Coding can be fun for kids too. Kids can learn to make films, create video games, design web sites, and learn electronics and robotics during coding lessons. Kids will understand how the games they are playing work the way they do. They are naturally curious and want to learn how things work. Coding helps them to discover just that and enable them to go one step further to design and make their own games.




Coding class is undoubtedly a mind opening experience for kids and teens. It is a set of instructions that tell your computer to do what you want it to do. In learning to code, kids are trained to practice computational thinking skill which is a very useful life skill to have. "If I want my computer to work this way, then I have to do this....." Besides logical thinking, this encourages creative thinking and learning how to think out of the box.



Computer coding also makes STEAM education possible. STEAM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics”. Coding and STEAM education is crucial for preparing our kids for the future.

To find out more about coding courses available for kids and teens ages 6-18, apply now for a free trial class at KidoCode, Solaris Mont Kiara.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017



5 Asian Folk Tales For Preteens And Teens

When it comes to storybooks, I like the idea of exposing kids to as many genres as possible. Kids should be encouraged to pick up and read all sorts of books. For preteens or teens, there's only that many Wimpy Kids and Geronimo Stilton books they can read. While its good to read chapter books, one should not limit oneself to continue chasing the latest book from the same series. It's not easy I know. I made that very same mistake and my shelves are filled with titles from limited series.

Kids learn through reading. They learn new vocabulary. They learn to express themselves better. They learn about life. That is why I have always loved locally published books in addition to our other collection. Kids can learn so much from reading local folk tales. They will also be better able to identify with the characters and the situations describe. With folk tales, they can learn a little bit of history about the people, food and games in a local setting, which is a lot more interesting then just reading history books.

Here are 5 Asian Folk Tales For Preteens And Teens. The good news is members from our Parenting platform can get them at a discount from now till 31 July 2017.

RM19.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM15.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 154 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing
RM19.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM15.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 148 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing


Miyah and the Forest Demon and its sequel Rigih and the Witch of Moon Lake can be purchased separately but better read as a two part series also known as The Jugra Cronicles. Set against the backdrop of a power struggle in Tanjungpura, an ancient trading kingdom with centuries-long ties to the Han Kingdom, Hindustan, Majapahit and Melaka, this is the story of Miyah and her friends and how their sleepy village is turned upside down when politics and magic collide. Readers will be taken back to historical times when trading thrived and relationships were formed in busy ports. Fans of supernatural and fantasy genre will enjoy this two part story suitable for readers aged 11-16.

RM24.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM19.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 160 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing
Eight Treasures of the Dragon is a collection of Dragon Tales from different parts of Asia.  The Dragon of the East is a legendary creature associated with fluid energy. It is said to influence weather, rain and moving bodies of water. Did you know that the Chinese Imperial Dragon has five toes, the Korean Dragon has four toes, and the Japanese Dragon has only three toes? This interesting snippet plus the magical tales of the mythical and awe inspiring Dragon found in this book will take you from Malaysia to China and India, from Singapore and Indonesia to Japan. The folklore and legends in Eight Treasures include The Dragon of Tasik Chini, Sang Nila Utama, Ho-Wori and the Princess of the Sea, The Cave of the Pearl Dragon and more exciting stories. These are timeless tales that will appeal to both young and old alike. 

RM19.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM15.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 154 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing
The phoenix is a mythical creature, a legendary bird that is often depicted as colourful, manificient and magical in many ancient and medieval literature. It is also known as Cendrawasih in Malay or called Feng Huang in China. Here the phoenix makes an appearance in 8 folktales filled with love, sacrifice, fortunes made and lost including a charming story of a Malay Cinderella. In reading the Eight Jewels of the Phoenix, you will be exposed to the richness and diversity of the cultures of Malaysia, the Philippines, China, India, Japan, Thailand and North America. The Girl With The Snow White Hair, The Princess of Mount Ledang, Chandrika and The Festival of Lights and Bawang Putih, Bawan Merah are among some of the legendary tales you will find in this book.


RM19.90 Normal Price (excl shipping)
RM15.92 Member Price (excl shipping)
Author: Tutu Dutta-Yean
Paperback 154 pages
Publisher: MPH Group Publishing
Eight Fortunes of the Qilin brings together eight legends and folk tales from countries around the Asia-Pacific Rim including Borneo, Central America, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines and Vietnam. The Qilin is a chimera, a fabulous creature said to be an omen of great fortune and blesses all who are lucky enough to gaze upon it. The legendary Princess Santubong and Princess Sejinjang are featured in it along with other folktales like Keong Mas, The Singing Bamboo, Princess Firefly, The Amber Tea-Bowl and more. As the fabled Qilin represents compassion, wisdom and respect for nature and life, these qualities are echoed in the stories. Humans, spirits and deities cross paths, and unseen worlds collide in Eight Fortunes of the Qilin. Best for those who love adventure, fantasy, magic and the supernatural.


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Click here to go directly to the Books Order Form if you are unable to view the Order Form below.

Friday, July 07, 2017



5 Useful Online Malay Dictionaries Or Translators

Many kids in Malaysian schools learn 3 languages from young. They are English, Bahasa Malaysia or Malay and Chinese Mandarin. Having a good dictionary or translator helps. Here are 5 useful Online Malay Dictionaries or Translators you can use for helping your kids with homework.

Before we even start on the 5, you should know that you can easily use "Google Search" as a dictionary or translator. For example if you want to translate the word "makanan" to English. Just type in "makanan in English" and you will have your answer. You can do this to translate from any one language to another.

1. Kamus Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka from the PRPM website. The acronym PRPM stands for Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu. This is by far the best and most detailed online Malay dictionary I have found online. You will find very detailed information here. You can do a normal search or a Smart Search (Carian Bestari) which is a more refined search. It is useful to favourite this site. 

Tips: #1. After getting your search results when you make a search (using "Cari", not "Carian Bestari"), try clicking on the links at the side as shown below. They will open up more detailed information about the word you searched for. I especially like the link called "Khidmat Nasihat" as it opens up questions and answers pertaining to your searched keywords. Very useful as you may find answers to your own queries listed in there.



Tips: #2. To use this site as an online Malay dictionary, click on the tab named "Gerbang Kata" to go to the ekamus dbp to find the meaning of words in Malay. The meaning of the words are very detailed as taken from the Kamus Dewan Edisi Keempat at the time of writing this post.




I am not very sure what is the difference when you do a search on the main page or when you use search on the Gerbang Kata tab, so I did a search for the word "makan" and here are the results so you can see for yourself. Meaning of the word "makan" as listed on the main search page as compared with the meaning as listed on the Gerbang Kata search results page. Both are equally detailed with examples of simpulan bahasa, peribahasa and puisi with the words "makan" in them. 

2. My Kamus is a free online dictionary that provides free online translation service from Malay to English or English to Malay. Useful to have for learners of Malay as a second language.


3. Malay Oxford Living Dictionaries which is still in Beta. I could not find some of the words I was searching for. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it is still in Beta plus it is a "living" dictionary which is updated regularly by contributors (rather like wikipedia) so it is still being developed. They have a Facebook page which is updated with interesting snippets or words from the Malay language. Useful for Malay learners generally or for looking up newer words or internet jargon words for which there is a section on. For example, Did you know that the word "selfie" is called "swafoto" in Malay? Two way translation Malay-English-Malay is available. 


4. Malay Cube helps you easily translate Malay numbers to English. It also translates words from Malay to English and from English to Malay. According to the site, the number of words available for search in this dictionary has already reached 500,000 and is still growing.



5. Lexilogos Malay Dictionary is another alternative for searching for the meaning of Malay words or for translations. It allows you to pick the dictionaries eg Cambridge, Glosbe or search engines eg Google, Bing, or get results from Wikipedia or Google Search easily from the same page. It also has suggested links to more dictionaries. 


These 5 online Malay dictionaries or translators is very useful indeed to any student both primary and secondary and to parents helping their kids with homework. Remember to bookmark this page for your easy reference. 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017



The Importance of Penmanship in SJKC

Guest Post: This post was written by Joanne Lee, a mother of two and an avid member of our Facebook group, The Malaysia Primary School Parents on Facebook. Come join us for more modern-day parenting discussions.

Parents who have their first child attend Primary 1 will undergo some sort of culture shock. It could be how difficult the latest syllabus is, the frequent loss of stationery, bringing home classmate’s homework, etc. Discovering these little “surprises” is part and parcel of parenting life.

This post will touch on another such surprise: how important penmanship is in SJKC schools.

If you have not come across a penmanship horror story, count yourself lucky. Many parents find themselves shocked by the fact that teachers deduct marks for how a student writes their ABC’s in exams!

In this image, you will see mark deductions of the upper case W’s on the left and 1 instance of the lower case y on the far right. Each mistake costs 1 mark.


The straight y is considered uppercase Y in the syllabus. Regardless of what font you use on your gadgets, only the y with a g-hook is considered as lowercase ‘y’.


Some schools even took the extra step to whiteout the y’s in their computer-typed exam papers and replace each y by hand. Here’s the same image you saw at the beginning of this article, enhanced, and with the y’s circled out for you.



As for the W, the middle stroke has to be of the same height as the left and right sides. They also cannot be curved.


The same rules apply to uppercase M’s. The middle stroke must touch the ground, so to speak and only the lowercase m can have curves (i.e. it shouldn’t look like McDonald’s ‘M’).


When writing your a’s, o’s and g’s, close up the curves and make sure the stem for lowercase a is obvious.



The hook for g should also be apparent.


Dot your i’s and j’s clearly and don’t replace dots with dashes.


Some schools require the lowercase k to be written a certain way (see the third k). Others just want your child to focus on the height of the k to indicate whether it is a big K or small k.



You will need to check with your child’s class teacher on any other handwriting quirks your child will need to pay attention to e.g. writing the n, r and v clearly. The emphasis will be different in different schools.

But why? And is this really necessary?

The focus on this penmanship is not brought about by overzealous teachers who have unusual or high expectations of 7 year olds. It is in fact a direct order from the Ministry of Education and PPD for teachers to stress on penmanship among lower primary students.

During exams, teachers are required to deduct 1 mark per each wrongly written letter. This is independently confirmed by multiple SJKC teachers from a few states.

In fact, one teacher from Klang told me that by the end of Primary 1, the students are expected to already know how to properly write the letters. Penmanship penalties are thus harsher with older students. In this teacher’s school, the student will lose the allocated mark for the question if any of their letters are not up to par (if it is 3 marks, and you write the ‘y’ wrongly in the answer, you lose the full 3 marks).

Note that not all schools are this strict. Some SJKC schools group penmanship together with punctuation marks, or put a cap on how many marks can be deducted for each wrongly written letter, per section.

There also seems to be more emphasis on penmanship in English compared to BM. Again, this differs from school to school (I suggest you speak to your child’s class teacher if you have concerns on what to help your child focus on).

All teachers are expected to stress on the importance of penmanship during regular lessons (you may want to ask your little one to confirm this.) This may be part of the reason why your child spends quite a bit of time finishing up their homework.

Why all this new fuss about penmanship?

This isn’t new. It has been going for at least 6-7 years, around the time the KSSR syllabus change took effect. The aim is for all students to have neat and legible penmanship.

Teachers who mark UPSR papers lauded this effort because, understandably, marking papers with poor handwriting can drive an examiner up the wall. All the work to prevent this from happening in the future starts from Primary 1.

Some of the teachers I spoke to brought up stories of their colleagues who teach lower primary receiving complaints from parents because of this over-emphasis of handwriting particularly during school exams.

This puts teachers in a tough spot because they have received orders and guidelines to implement this focus on penmanship. More often than not, parents were not clued in on the matter and naturally complained because they feel blindsided by this. Having early awareness on this matter can help prevent incidents like this from happening.

So what can I do as a parent?

(1) Work together with your teachers to work on your child’s penmanship, from before Primary 1 itself. It is for their own good, years down the road.

(2) Regularly remind your child to pay attention to the strokes, curves, bends and staying inside lines. Some children require more guidance and practice than others. Teachers do not have enough time to devote to helping each and every student, which is where parents can chime in. You may even find your little one resisting writing practices because how do you expect a 7 year old to sit still for long, right? Hang in there.

(3) Some teachers may be more strict than others, to the point of scolding a student when they repeatedly make the same mistake in their handwriting. Stay positive, encourage and help your child to perfect their handwriting. Children are far more resilient than we think.

(4) Don’t be hard on teachers. They are after all, operating on instructions by their higher ups. It is better if you work together with your children’s teachers as a team, rather than against them. After all, we’re on the same team -- we all want what is best for the next generation.


Monday, July 03, 2017



Tugasan Geografi PT3 2017 (Geography Assignment for PT3 2017)


It's back to school after the Hari Raya Holidays today and back to work for the Form 3 students who are sitting for PT3 this year, 2017. Today, the Form 3 students received their Geography Assignment for PT3 2017 (Tugasan Geografi or Kerja Kursus Geografi PT3). 

The "Tugasan" (Assignment) is as shown above and translated below. The rest of the post is written in both languages English and Bahasa Malaysia.

This year for the geography project, the PT3 students are required to sketch out a topograpic map of either their residential or school location. According to wikipedia, a topograpic map is "a type of map characterized by large-scale detail and quantitative representation of relief, usually using contour lines, but historically using a variety of methods. Traditional definitions require a topographic map to show both natural and man-made features."

The topographic map for this assignment is to include physical or natural characteristics as well as man-made features. 

In addition to sketching out the maps, students are required to interpret it by shading and describing areas that have potential for development, the obstacles for development and come up with proposals and efforts that may be required to overcome those obstacles.

Finally students are required to present the results of their report.

Below is a screenshot of the KL Topograpic map taken from google search just to give you an idea of how a topographic map should look like. The map below shows physical features but not man made ones.


Below are some sites that have sample answers or tips for the Geografi Assignment for PT3 2017. (It will be updated as more sites put up their samples so favourite this page for your easy reference)


Geography is 100 percent project based. There is no paper to sit for in PT3, only completion of this assignment within the given time frame is required. The assignment was given out today (3rd July 2017). Expected date of completion is 31st July 2017.



Lorna Whiston TTDI Open Day July 2017


Hi parents,

Lorna Whiston Taman Tun Dr Ismail is having its Open Day on Saturday 22nd, July 2017. The Open Day will be a good opportunity for parents to discover more about the courses that Lorna Whiston offers for your kids.  This includes all English Language courses, Speech and Drama Classes and Public Speaking Programmes

You can tour the premises together with your kids and visualize the learning environment. During an Open Day you can get a good feel of the environment, the premises and the staff. Not only that, usually you will get extra discounts and offers if you sign up on Open Day.

Open Day Offers

Here are some of the extra bonuses that await you at the Lorna Whiston TTDI July 2017 Open Day
  • Voucher for Parent Workshop worth RM75 plus goodie bag
  • Lucky Dip for discount valued up to RM100 off first term's fees
  • Refer a friend to enrol for Language programmes and walk away with a pair of RM10 gift voucher from MBO Cinemas
  • Special Discount and Activities from Dr Seuss and Usborne children's Books
Make sure you have a good look around the centre and speak to the teachers and management to find out more about their English only environment and teaching methodology, syllabus and books. Don't be shy to ask questions and explore. That is what an Open Day is for, to get as much information as possible.

Find out about the courses and get expert opinion on what course suits your child best. This is your chance to get up close and personal to the centre and its educators so make the most of it by being prepared and asking the right questions. Are the teachers friendly and qualified? Is the centre clean and secure? Will your child enjoy being at the centre? Visiting a centre is the best way of getting to know it. Lastly, don't forget to enjoy yourselves. Usborne Books is  holding a book fair with special discounts and activities for your kids during the Open Day. See you there!

The Lorna Whiston TTDI Open Day is on Saturday 22nd July, 2017 from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm. Call 03-7727 1909 to book a tour for you and your child.






Monday, June 19, 2017



Computational Thinking And Adaptive Learning System

What is Computational Thinking (CT) and Why Kids Should Be Trained To Practice It

Computational thinking is a problem solving process that begins with logical ordering of the problem at hand, followed by analyzing the data available leading to creative solutions or results by using a series of ordered steps. (In computer applications, this series of ordered steps is called algorithms). Computational Thinking or CT is required for the development of computer applications, naturally but not only that, CT can be used in problem solving for math, science as well as the humanities. 


In the 21st Century, Computational Thinking is as important as reading, writing and mathematics.

In short, CT involves step by step problem solving and designing solutions through the understanding of human behaviour. Students who learn CT are often better able to see a correlation between the different subjects they are studying or a relationship between school and life outside the classroom. The ability to relate school to life in general by using Computational Thinking is what makes CT an interesting and useful skill that all kids should have. 

There is a need to adapt the language of education to this way of thinking and our classrooms are slowly heading towards that direction however at the moment the best way to practice Computational Thinking is by attending classes on Computer Science, Computer Programming and Coding organized by experts in the industry.

Another intriguing way of learning that some of these Computer Programming classes offer is student-centric learning through Adaptive Learning Systems.



Some of these centres offer a student centered personalized learning environment where a student learns at his own pace using artificial intelligence technology while at the same time interacting with other students in controlled learning team collaborations. Adaptive learning environments gives a child a more controlled studying environment and therefore more confidence when learning objectives are achieved. Parents are able to support learning at home by checking in through their children's progress and homework online in the comfort of home.

Find out more about a comprehensive computational thinking and programming curriculum using adaptive learning systems for a personalized computer science education. Call KidoCode @ Solaris Mont Kiara at +603 6411 0968 or attend one of their free 4 hour demo sessions today. 

Below are the latest dates for the free demo sessions. Click here to sign up.

June 6 – June 11
June 13 – June 18
June 20 – June 25
June 27 – July 2


Wednesday, June 14, 2017



What Parents Need To Know About DLP


Today we signed a letter of declaration and acknowledgement to allow our boy to join the DLP (Dual Language Programme) to learn Maths, Science and Information Technology in English in school. We also acknowledged that the programme will continue its run up to Form 5 or Form 6 and we agree to remain committed towards the DLP programme throughout its entire duration.

The fact that we have to sign this letter shows that parents consent is required for the programme. Not only must parents give consent in writing to the school, the school must meet certain criteria eg. the HM and teachers must be willing to implement, the school must have competent teachers and adequate resources and the Bahasa Malaysia standard of that school must be higher or equal to the national average.

Many parents are excited and eager to join a "DLP school" but just what exactly is a DLP school?

We still have many parents asking "What is DLP?"

Parents should note that a "DLP school" may not mean that ALL classes conduct Maths, Science and IT in English in the approved school. They may have some classes where the subjects are taught in English and other classes teaching in Bahasa Malaysia or other languages. That is what the "Dual" in Dual Languages Programme mean ie that these subjects are taught in TWO languages and parents have an option to choose. 

Although DLP is fully taught in our kids school, they continue to receive the Math and Science books in BM for safekeeping....

We do not have statistics but judging from the discussion going on in our FB group, we do know that many parents are keen and are moving towards registering their kids in schools participating in the DLP programme. You can check our old post for the list of schools participating in the pilot programme and the list for the second cohort. By next year, 2018 the programme will be in its third year and it will be available to students from Std 1 up to Form 3.

An important thing to note is there are no SJKC in the list because SJKC is against the DLP Programme
This means that if you are in SJKC, you will not have the chance to participate in the DLP programme. Perhaps you can move on to join a SMK (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan) that participates in the DLP programme? However, as some parents in the group pointed out, perhaps the original SK students who graduate from primary school or SK doing DLP may have a better chance to get into the DLP classes of the feeder secondary school. That is one possible scenario you need to think about and it makes sense too.

All is not lost for those from SJKC. 76 SMJK received the green light to run the DLP in 2017. You can read more about SMJK in our old post here: Information on SMJK in Malaysia.

On the other hand, though there were some Tamil NGOs which said No to the DLP programme initially, there are about 47 SJKT in the 2017 list. However there were calls to revoke the approved Tamil schools while the Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan maintains that the Dual Language Programme (DLP) is not being forced upon any student or school. There are no secondary Tamil schools. 

To sum it up...

In short if you are in SK running dual programme, you can continue to a SMK running the dual programme.

If you are in SJKC that does not run the DLP, you can continue to SMK running the DLP (but there is a chance you will be given lower priority compared to students who had been under the programme all along from SK.) However, you can join the SMJK which runs the DLP.

If you are in SJKT, you can consider a SMK running the DLP (but there is a chance you will be given lower priority compared to students who had been under the programme all along from SK.)  There are no Tamil secondary schools in Malaysia.

Parents should understand what DLP is about and do proper planning if that is the path they wish to choose for their kids. Personally, my older one did Math and Science in English AND Chinese for a couple of years and later on in Chinese alone dropping English up to UPSR while the second did Math and Science fully in Chinese. They are now doing Math and Science in English in a school running DLP and they have no problems switching from Chinese to English. I suppose it helped that we have always taught them Math and Science concepts in English at home even though the language they used in school was Chinese.

The views expressed in this post are the author's own personal view and may not necessarily reflect or represent any school or authority.

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