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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.



After UPSR in SJKC

We often find posts about UPSR preparation but no one shares what happens after UPSR. Today, I'm going to share what happens after UPSR to provide some cheer to the hardworking kids and parents preparing for UPSR 2017.

Typically, UPSR takes place in early September. It used to be over in just 3 days, now it is 4-5 days, an extra day for SJKC and SJKT students. Imagine all that studying and preparation over in a couple of days. Parents have to make sure kids are well enough and don't fall sick during that period. That itself is a form of stress.

In many SJKC, UPSR preparation starts in Year 4. That's when you have extra after school compulsory tuition (which you can choose to opt out of). There will be lots of practice doing UPSR exam papers in workbooks that have titles like "pra-UPSR", "Score A" (it used to be Score 7As, now its Score 8As). Preparation heats up in Year 6 when there will be motivational talks by the school with parents in attendance. Later on, there will be seminars and motivational camps in school just for the kids. By year 6, it may be harder to opt out of the compulsory extra school tuition after school hours including Saturdays. 

Then BOOM! the UPSR is over in a little over a week. After that kids continue to attend school till around end of November when they break for the year-end. So what do these kids do from second week of September till the last week of November? That's about 2 1/2 months. Do they go to school to play or ponteng classes?

This is what my kid did after UPSR.
  1. Take part in sports competition. The school organized inter-class competition for games and sports like badminton, football and basketball. Anyone can register and compete for fun.
  2. Take part in concert/competition. The kids were encouraged to take part in concert/competition by performing musical instruments, singing or dancing and acting. 
  3. Prepare for school graduation concert. They kids practiced for their graduation concert. Everyone has a role to play including singing in a choir made out of the whole P6 students.
  4. Take part in drawing or art competition.
  5. Organized a school fun fair. The kids got together in teams to run games/competition stalls or sold stuff. They were to treat it like a business so a lot of planning is involved including calculating how much money they have to come up with for prizes and gifts and the returns from what they will charge for games at their stall. They had to go from class to class to present and garner interest and participation in their stalls. The kids love this and many start planning what stall or games they want to run even from the start of the year. They have to take care of their stall on fun fair day and after that they calculated to see which team made the most money. This is done to encourage enterprise skills. 
  6. The kids went on organized school trips with their other P6 school mates.
  7. Of course, they also "lepak" in class when teacher was busy or not looking by having someone guarding the door while they played music videos when teacher was away (in other words, they had fun just like any school going kids)
  8. Oh and there are still tests for other subjects like RBT (Rekabentuk dan teknologi), TMK (Teknologi Maklumat dan Komunikasi) and other subjects that were not tested during UPSR.
  9. They also started studying some Form 1 work 
They had so much fun! That made up for all that time when they could not attend their PE or gym or art classes because they had to study. Many parents complain about the fact that gym classes are replaced by academic lessons but many fail to mention this part. In short, after UPSR, they did and learned everything they could not earlier during the year, sports, finer arts like drawing, music, singing, dancing, speech and drama, enterprise sklls, presentation skills, performing and just having fun plus they did not forget their studies.

Yes, SJKC is very much focused on academics. Yes, the kids work really hard for UPSR but then hey, they also play very hard afterwards.

So to all parents with kids sitting for UPSR this year, ie 2017. Encourage your kids to work hard now and ask them to hang on there for just a few months more. After that they can do and learn all the things that they miss out on. They will make up for it. Oh yes and pray there are no leaks in the papers. My other kid was unfortunate to have this special time cut short by a whole month due to paper leaks a couple of years ago.

Good luck!  All the best for UPSR 2017 students.

Saturday, June 10, 2017



Hari Raya Aidilfitri School Holidays 2017




The Ministry of Education Malaysia just announced an extra holiday on 23 June, 2017 for Category B Schools in Malaysia. Category B Schools are schools which observe Sat and Sun as weekend ie schools in Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Pahang, Sabah, Sarawak, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Labuan & Putrajaya.

This extra holiday is to be replaced on Saturday, 17 June, 2017.  See images below. Source of image is
Surat Siaran Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia Bilangan 7 Tahun 2017 Cuti Berganti Sempena Hari Raya Aidilfitri Tahun 2017


Meanwhile, below is the Cuti Perayaan or Festive Holiday as set by the Ministry of Education earlier. Image sourced from Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia website under the heading Surat Siaran Takwim Penggal Dan Cuti Persekolahan Tahun 2017

Hari Raya Aidil Fitri School Holidays 2017 for schools in category A and B

Category A Schools Hari Raya Aididl Fitri School Holidays 2017
- schools in Negeri Kedah, Johor, Kelantan and Terengganu will be off from 23 June 2017 till 1 July 2017 ie 9 days in total

Fri 23 -  Sat 24 June Weekend (2 days)
Sun 25 - Mon 26 June Hari Raya (2 days)
Tue 27 - Thur 29 June School Holidays (3 days)
Fri 30 Jun - Sat 1 Jul Weekend (2 days)
Total = 9 days

Category B Schools Hari Raya Aididl Fitri School Holidays 2017
- schools in Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Pahang, Sabah, Sarawak, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Labuan & Putrajaya. will be off from 23 June 2017 till 2 June 2017 ie 10 days in total minus 1 replacement school day on 17 June 2017 = 9 days in total.

Sat 17 June Replacement School day (-1day)
Fri 23 June Extra Hari Raya Holiday (1 day)
Sat 24 June Weekend (1 day) *as weekend overlaps with Hari Raya
Sun 25 - Mon 26 June Hari Raya (2 days)
Tue 27 - Fri 30 June School Holidays (4 days)
Sat 1 - Sun 2 Jul Weekend (2 days)
Total = 10 days - 1 day = 9 days

In short, schools in Category A will be off for a 9 day stretch from 23 June till 1 Jul 2017 while schools in Category B will be off for a 10 day stretch from 23 June till 2 July 2017 with the need to replace one day of schooling on 17 June 2017. 


Thursday, June 01, 2017



Parent Workshop: Tips & Strategies For Getting Your Child To Speak Up

One of the most important life skills a child should have is the ability to speak clearly and confidently. Speaking up confidently and with clarity not only helps our children do well in school, it will help them succeed at work in later life.

Parents who want to  nurture their children's speaking skills should arm themselves with strategies to get their kids to speak up confidently.

The ability to express themselves well will help your child at school or at home
  • while having conversations with their peers and teachers
  • during class presentations or annual concerts and performances or school assemblies 
  • during school plays, dramas or story telling competitions
  • during social situations like birthday parties or family gatherings
This June, Lorna Whiston is having a workshop for parents who wish to help their children express themselves better.

Tips & Strategies for Getting Your Child to Speak Up! is for parents with kids of all ages. Whether your child is a shy child, a child who mumbles during speech, a child who is not comfortable in speaking up in social situations or during group presentations in class, or perhaps you would like to get some extra tips to help you turn your child into a confident and self assured public speaker, this workshop is for you. It will help you find out how to help your child improve on their daily communication skills and speak up with confidence.

The course will be conducted by Ms Jill Coombs. Jill holds a Master's Degree in Theatre Arts and a PGCE in English and Drama from London University. She has 30 years experience working in communication through education and theatre arts. Her experience in theatre arts include working with various international touring theatre companies and acting for stage and television. She has taught children of all ages from pre-school to universities in England, the USA, Spain, Japan and Malaysia.

Course Details:

Title:  Parent Workshop on Tips & Strategies For Getting Your Child To Speak Up
Date: 20th June 2017 (Tuesday)
Time: 9.30 am - 11 am
Fee: RM 50 for Lorna Whiston parents/Parents of our FB groups
        RM 75 for public
*Fees will be subject to 6% GST Contact: Call 03-7727 1909 or email ttdi@lornawhiston.com.my

Note:
Parents of our FB groups, please go to this thread to register.
(RM53 for Parents of our FB groups). Plus, receive a Free Trial for Speech and Drama or Public Speaking,


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