Practice Paper Week

Nothing special about Week 8 as my week long lessons had to focus on the upcoming CA1 exams. I think I feel “more relaxed” during Week 8 as I just need to go through the motion of going through “practice papers and worksheets with them”.

It is indeed boring for both teachers and students.  But, that is the reality and doing practice paper and going through them is expectation of our current schooling system.



The issue with complicated Ratio problem

John has thrice as much money as Amy.  The ratio of money of Amy to Zane is 3: 1.  Zane has $16 lesser than John. How much does John have?

Here are some of the issues my pupils were having:

  1. Wrong Unit

My pupil started off promisingly with this modelmconline

With Zane coming into the picture, the model becomes like this


My pupils do know about ratio and thrice as much . But they get all mixed up when there is 3rd party .  Why? They seem to assume that all units are the same.

To solve this misconception, I would need them constantly check their model back to the question. Guess I will emphasize that in my subsequent lessons.

2) Even if the model is correct, they have problem identifying the number of units representing 16.  They seem to see the 16 and forget the lesser. I guess I will need them to highlight the words so that they can be constantly reminded.




What I have done differently this year

This is my second time teaching P6s. Having reflected on last year experience, I had adapted my teaching and hopefully that would bring about more fruitful learning form my pupils.

  1. Fewer assumptions about what they had known. This year, I no longer assume that my pupils know a lot. I prefer to assume less and work towards closing the gap.  I no longer have the mental model “they should know”.
  2. More hands-on activities for Science. This year, I had done quite a fair bit of hands-on activities for my class. I always try to have activities (even if it is bite-sized) to get my pupils to feel Science . This includes bringing elastic spring balance to the class
  3. For Mathematics, I set a higher expectation for my pupils. Even if my pupils are not “mathematically-inclined”, I am no longer satisfied with my pupils just knowing simple questions. I hope to push them further and slowly work towards them solving some complicated problems.  This week, I decide to push them and get them to do those a bit more complex ratio problems. At least half of them can get it (I just hope they do not forget)

Be like Matter – Continued

Have tried letting my P6 pupils look at the P4’s creation.  The response was not as good as I expected. I guess this might be due to the openness of the given task. Instead of telling them just to improve on the answer, I should have provided with “criteria for success” such as:

  1. Does the experiment show the property?
  2. Is the conclusion valid?



Be Like Matter – The Meme

My P4 pupils are currently learning the different states of matter.  It is easy for them to rattle off the properties but do they really understand? I decide to get them to create a meme (modeled after Be Like Bill) with the following template:

This is OXYGEN. [Object]

Oxygen has mass [Property]

The deflated balloon is always lighter than the inflated balloon [Experiment to demonstrate the property]

Oxygen is matter [Conclusion  based on property]

Be like oxygen

It is interesting to see the pupils’ products. I can see some misconception (like the experiment does not demonstrate the property).  Such “wrong” products are valuable learnable moments. I am going to get them to peer edit their peers’ creations.

Besides the peer editing , I intend to use the P4’s work and let my P6 “mark” their work. I would post my reflection on this once I have completed the activity.


I am there to close their learning gap

I need to constantly remind myself that I am there to close their learning gap. It is useless to have the mental model “they should have learned this in Pri XX”. Since they are in my hands this year, I need to do what I can to close their learning gaps (no matter how wide it is). I am not god but I will do I can. Some the strategies/tips that I have done to close their learning gap

  1. Go slow with them (even if it takes one period to explain one question)
  2. Build their confidence. Let them practice doable questions
  3. Factual Frequency (Trying to get them to remember the basic maths facts)
  4. Give them “doable homework”. I do not see the point of giving them tonnes of homework in which they absolutely have no idea what to do.
  5. Wait Time . I need to constantly stop myself to give them answers but rather wait for them to try.  Just this week, I stopped myself from giving my pupils the final step. Rather, I wait for them. It is indeed gratifying that some of them can get the final step at the end.
  6. Constantly remind them that they can do story sum. They just need to think more and read more.  I am trying to convince them it is possible to do the story sum.  I have also purposefully chosen some “doable” story sums for them.

It is the end of the first month and I am glad that my energy level is still going high. Some little things I keep myself going:

  1. Celebrate their little success
  2. Accept for who they  are and no point having the frame “they should have learned that b4”
  3. Rather than getting frustrated with what they don’ know, work together to close their learning gap.