Unexpected Gems from my students!

This week, I just wanted my pupils to do a simple quiz and show me what they had learned about energy change [Link]

Some of them wanted to use the blog as a platform to share some of the videos/websites that they had found and asked me how they can do it.no gladly obliged and showed them how that can be done.

They do had some good videos/websites and I used them for that for the next lessons.  Guess that is another way of formative assessment : “Getting pupils to be instructional resources”. You can find the resources that they have posted at this link.

For the next  session, I do not just want them just to post videos. I want them to write three things that they have learned.  That is important as I need to get them to think about what they have experienced. This is how they can learn. After all,

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” (John Dewey)

Are we designing for learning?

This is the chat for #ictlt2016 full day chat.

When I look at this topic, I rather ask myself the more important question :  “How can we design for learning pervasively?” This question seems to imply that we are currently designing for learning. But, are we? Or do we perceive ourselves to be designers for learning but actually, we are just designing for teaching?.

What learning are we actually talking about here? Is it learning about or learning to be?  The different views of learning would shape the way we design the classroom experience.  Perhaps, when this topic is designed, the learning, I believe, should be the more progressive view of learning (that is learning-to-be).

However, if the teachers hold on to the view of learning to be “learning-to-be”, the talk about designing for learning would be the transmission mode.  Even there is some good practices (on the more progressive view of learning) to be shared, how receptive would the teachers would be? It is easy for the teachers to just showcase the good practice for one lessons (and perhaps, that would be counted as spread). But, are we able to sustain it?

To me , the more important question is not about #designing for #learning. It is how the transmissive view of learning could be changed.  If that can be achieved, the designing part will come naturally.







Socrative App

I had used the Socrative  App for the very first time in my Mathematics lessons. In this lesson, I set a few PSLE-style MCQ questions for the pupils to try.

What went well

Pupils were very enthusiastic (possibly the first time that they were using it) and eager to try the questions. The instant responses let me know what my students’ learning gaps were.

What comes after

Pupils were too over enthusiastic and might not be learning  concepts when I was going through the answers with them. They just wish to try out the next question and see if they get it correct. They were “too high” during the lessons. This is not actually a bad thing as this will motivate them to do Maths.

However, to further deepen their understanding,  I would need to reiterate to the pupils the purpose of the exercise. They need to learn from their mistakes and try not to make them the same mistake again.  I cannot assume that they would just know the concept just because I had gone through with them. I would need to think about how  I can create some meaningful learning experience so that they could grasp the concepts.

Unexpected learnable moment in Hands-on activities

As mentioned in the earlier post, my pupils are doings lots of hand-on activities for the Energy Topic (at least more than my P6 pupils last year).   The question that my P6 pupils are bugging me now “What are we going to play today?”  .  This is indeed a happy  problem for me 🙂 .

Getting the pupils to be doing is always interesting as you would never know what type of questions/problems that they will face. The challenge is how to angle such authentic question/problem arising from their experience to learnable moment (and hopefully, that will somewhat match to the syllabus) . It really do take lots of quick thinking on the feet.

From my past week activities, my pupils are building circuits with aMatrix Set from AddTest . My objective of the activity is primary to get them to observe the energy changes. However, in the process , some of the pupils have problem turning the motor with a bulb


This was a valuable learnable moment as the pupils tried to speculate why the motor was not turning. Some of them said that the motor was spotlit .  I countered their speculation “Why is the light bulb still lit up?”

I had decided not to let such learnable moment “go to waste”.  On that day, I immediately used my handphone and captured pictures and videos of the “bad” circuit , Then, I posted the question on the blog and get the class to comment on it the next day [Link].  Some of the kids , who had this problem,  even “accused” me of using their problem (e.g., “Teacher, you copy our problem”).  Good to hear that as this problem has become meaningful to them and it is not just-another-my-teacher-want-me-to-solve problem .

They just posted their comments on this “teacher-copy-my-problem” and I would definitely do a follow up on their comments on  next week.

*Potential* in Energy

In Primary School science syllabus,  the pupils need to know chemical potential , gravitational potential and elastic potential energy.

I just started this topic and took a very different approach. I started this topic by emphasizing on the “potential” energy.  From my last year experience, I feel that pupils might have difficulty grasping the concept of potential energy.  Perhaps, such energy is too abstract for the pupils as it is not observable.  On reflection, perhaps, I did not provide them with enough activities on potential energy as I assumed it was easy for them

Thus, for this year, I started the energy topic with hands-on activities on potential energy. I allow them to play with toys (elastic potential energy) and connect circuit (chemical potential energy). I emphasized how such potential energy was not “observed” at first but stored.  Today was just my second such session with the kids. I would see if they were able to demonstrate understanding of potential energy in the subsequent lessons.

Mathematical Reasoning

It has been two weeks since school reopens and of course, I have been teaching for the past two weeks. For this year, I have made a conscious efforts to get my pupils to reason out their working.  I have been observing my pupils at action and found that they would just “anyhow” put the numbers together without much reasoning. In essence, they were not thinking about their working.

I had to stop myself from giving them the answers and “interrogated” them why they were doing that. Their answer were very vague and not precise. Currently , I am teaching them geometry and they would give reasons like “angles in a straight line” and ” angles in a triangle”. I pushed them further and wanted them to tell me the exact straight line and the triangle.

It has been two weeks and I hope that my pupils could slowly pick out this habit.  And , I must also stay strong and should resist the temptation to go back to the “old way” (e.g., dishing out of the answers due to “time no enough”). I would go for less now so that my pupils can have more in the future.




My class did a e-experiment today.  In this e-experiment, pupils were to submit their responses via Google Form. I projected their results “live” on the screen (with the graph). This would help me to gather their response immediately and offer feedback (FA: Feedback) . Also, the use of e-experiment would help them to focus on the analysis of the data (higher-order thinking) rather than the “mechanical” collection of data

You can find the lesson here

What went well 

  1. Pupils get to work like a scientist . Collect the date repeatedly and using ICT tools to process the data.  ( I seriously do not think any scientist actually plot the data on the graph paper anymore)

2.  Some of them submit very large numbers (for very naughty reasons of course).  This is a very good teachable moment as I discuss with them about outliers in the data collection. Again, this is how the scientist work. Data is collected and we also need to look out for abnormal point. I guess I need to think thank the mischievous boy for providing with this teachable moment:-)

3.  The data collected also highlights the gap in students’ knowing about data collection. They tend to focus on the extreme two sets of the data and were less likely to collect the “mid point” data

What comes after?

  1. I am going to make use of this learning experience an focus on the scientific method (e.g., data collection). It is only 1 hr lesson today and I have not done enough to make them reflect on what they have learned.



The Strength and the Hardness Test

I have just bought the Asus ZenFone 2 recently and know about Gorilla Glass. They say that the glass is scratch-resistant and strong. That gets me petty excited as I can use that in Science. Yes, it is all about property of material. Hope to get my pupils to see the relevance in what they are learning.


Another video that we can use is the comparison of Gorilla Glass and Sapphire.  In this video, there are both hardness and strength test.

All about hardness

Hardness is one of the property that the Primary School pupils need to learn. Pupils usually use the word hard and strong interchangeably. However, this is not accepted in Primary School Science as hardness and strength re two very different concepts. For hardness, we are talking about how “scratchable”. As for strength, we use the “put-weight-until-it-break” test. Here are some of my ideas on hardness

Gorilla Glass

Check out this article on the screen on most mobile phones might be scratch-resistance and there might not be a need for screen protector . Thanks to Gorilla Glass.  We can use that article as a starter to discuss about the property of materials


Chopping Board

In order to make the pupils remember this, I would use the chopping board example. Will get the kid to read the article at Fast Facts About Cutting Boards and Food Safety in Your Kitchen and get them if they can articulate the property being highlighted in the article.


ScreenGrab from Fast Facts About Cutting Boards and Food Safety in Your Kitchen