Sun Tze : The Art Of War

I an trying to read this book. Yes, I use the word “trying” as this is definitely not a easy book to read. This is the English Translation and sometimes, the sentence sounds weird.  It is still reading in progress but  one particular one particular tactic strikes me the most

“To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our hands, but the opportunity of defeating enemy is provided by the enemy himself”

“昔之善戰者,先為不可勝,以待敵之可勝,不可勝在己,可勝在敵”

In essence, one can’t prevent one from defeat but this does not mean you will defeat your enemy. Rather, the enemy’s downfall is due to his own weakness/doing.

So, to defense is to attack !  As one awaits the chance to wait for the enemy to make mistake!

 

The use of Maths Learning Log/Textbook

 

 

This is the 2nd year that the school is not using any WB.  Students can no longer to their WB for revision . But, rather need to learn from the Maths Learning Log/Textbook.  I adopt a more systematic use of Maths Learning log/TB and even explicitly tell the students how to use that to review their exam.  This is based on my assessment of the learners’ profiles  as they might need explicit teaching of study skills.

Here are the things I have done:

1)  Writing of page and title

2) Better organisation of study note by starting each topic on a new page

3) In Maths log book, make sure that the question appears on the book. Why? Help to reduce unnecessary cognitive load (no need to refer to TB for question).  My kids are not that strong in their Maths and there is a need to make sure the cognitive resources  are freed up so that they can focus on the essential maths concepts.

4) Word problems  – I will type out the word problems for them and get them to paste on their learning log. Again,  this is to reduce cognitive load for them. The joke with my friends is that I am going to be a professional cutter (many thanks to the maths department , of course!) as I aim to prefect my skill of cutting papers in equal pieces!

 

So far so good. Some kids really make efforts in making neat notes. I praise them and even paste their work on the class notice board.

Lessons with my loveable 51s!

This year, I have the chance to teach the academically challenging 5/1. So far, I am loving them as all of them are really eager to learn!  Here are things I have done so far during lesson enactment so as to best engage them.

(1) Pacing and Maintaining momentum

Slow is the word of the day for this class. I always start off by reiterating of what has been previously taught  in the previous lessons.  I am glad the now they are able to articulate words like condensation and evaporation. My next challenge is to get them to remember what the process means!

 

(2) Encouraging Learning Enagagement

Playing, playing and more playing! I get them to write down the facts on cards and get them to play “card games” with one another. I do not state how to play, they then come up with their own rules (like matching or “snapping”).  I ask them to bring the cards home to learn.  Some of them did and can remember some of the facts.  It is not the majority but at least it is a start

I am also using Quizlet  for the kids to revise the science facts. Of course, kids love playing with the game.  I realize that my kids are not very exposed to technology (e.g., they do not know how to create tabs in Google Chrome) . So the more, I need them to use iPads and computers often.  For the initial stages, it might be slow but it is worth it.

 

 

Playing at Playeum

For the last 2 Friday, I was out to “play” at Playem .

‘Play” actually means:

P : :Personal Journey

L : Learn

A: Authentic

Y : Young

My reflection ?

I guess this experience just reinforce what I am actually doing all along. It makes me more motivated and energized to do things in a “PLAY” manner.  The purpose of this LJ is meant to make us to see the bigger purpose as to what we are doing. It is not just getting ready for book check, school exams and doing the sometime meaningless admin work. It is more than that. We are there for our students and doing what we can for them within our means. This can be challenging at times due to the absurdity and ridiculous demands dictated by others or the inconsiderate act of others (e.g., last minute demand)

But no matter what, I will shoulder on and do what I can within the boundary creatively for my students.  I am a teacher and will always be one. Such ‘motherhood’ statements come from my heart and I make the stand with conviction. After all, I say/write what I mean, and I mean what I say/write.  Well, guess that is me being authentic and am not just into saying falsehood. Sometimes, I marvel at others who can utter things they do not mean convincingly. This is something I simply can’t and will not do.

So, with the play experience, I will continue to be ‘playful’ in my personal journey in teaching. The use of the word ‘continue’ is deliberate as I have been very ‘playful’. I am playful and yes, can get on people’s nerves at times .

This is my personal journey and there is only 1 rule to guide my learning journey, ‘Students First’. This rule appeals to the authentic me and that is what makes me energized in my work. I can proudly say that I love my students whoever they are and will continue to help/nag at them despite making me angry. By being authentic does not mean being self-centred. I have to be authentic to myself and know my own “windows of references”. I need to know myself well and be aware of my both implicit and explicit assumptions. This will help me being open and authentic to others. This is definitely something that I will need to work on.  I do not claim to be very open, but I am working towards it.

Of course, I must continue to be learning and re-learning. I am a learner and must always stay as one. I am never an expert on anything and will continue to learn things. That is why I will be reading at least 1 book (fiction or non-fiction) monthly and will blog reflections (2 posting per week). I am very proud of myself that I am now crazy over reading these days. I am also ‘forcing’ myself to read a range of books from children’s story books to management books to philosophy.

I must forever stay young so that I dare and have the courage to explore without the fear of failure and express myself freely.  I should not be afraid to express myself even at the expense of antagonizing others. This is something I will  and must do if I need to. I have to make sure that I can defend what I say or express with argument based on my No 1 rule (‘Students first’).  I should not shy away from disagreement as I must (I repeat, I must) and have the moral courage to state categorically what is just not right. See something, say something. When it is time to speak, I will, and I shall speak even if it means that I might be ‘killed’ somewhat. Well, for me, it is students, students and students. If I can’t have the courage to speak up, the I will fail my students and that is a big “No No” for me.

Assessment and Feedback with technology

I survive the first week of school!  And as the very kiasu me, I have started my teaching.  I am teaching students of two extreme ends (yes, again!) but I enjoy the challenge.  This year, I wish to spend more time using data for assessment and feedback (one of the four teaching process in the pedagogical practices in STP).

Last year, I did but I personally felt that is done at a rather superficial area.  There were perhaps too many gaps that I tried to cover all in the end , I covered nothing!  This year, I need to be more strategic. Take a look at the data and focus the fundamental weak gaps I need to close (especially for my weaker kids). There are lots of holes to cover but I will need to choose the biggest hole to tackle first. After all, time and resources are finite.

So, for my academically-challenged  students, I need to start covering their fundamental weakness in maths (e.g., place values) in the start of the year.

To start off this year, I have made use of Kahoot and  Mental Sums to have a sensing of their weakness.  Kahoot, again, has proven, to be a hit with the students. They simply enjoy it.  But , enjoyment is just not enough. They need to learn from their mistakes.

So, in using Kahoot, I check for their understanding and provide feedback(teaching process) based on their weakness. Looking at the results, there are two major weakness that I need to address .  The students are not able to :

(1) identify the tenthts

(2) convert fraction like 2/5 to decimal

So,  on the next day, I focus on these two basic concepts and give them another Kahoot quiz.  There is improvement in results definitely. For next week, I will still constantly review these 2 concepts while I embark on algebra!