Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Many parents who have children entering Std One for the first time are confused about What Is LINUS so I decided to write a short post about it.

Basically LINUS stands for Literacy And Numeracy Screening. The keyword here is "Screening".

What is LINUS?

- It is merely a screening test to find and give aid to students who are weak
- It is an assessment to measure a child's knowledge to see if a child requires extra help
- It is aimed to provide remedial help for children weak in reading, writing and arithmetic (meaning the assessment is both oral and written)

What it is not....

LINUS is a screening test. It is not a streaming test to put better children into best classes.

Before you read on, here are a few articles you can read to find out more about LINUS. You can also watch the video below to get a better idea. I won't go into the details. I will just tell it like it is from a parent's point of view.

  1. LINUS Programme For Early Learning published by Star on Sept 5, 2012
  2. Primary Schools To Get LINUS 2 Next Year published by NST on Nov 24, 2012
  3. Perbandingan LINUS dan LINUS 2 from a blog called Teaching In Malaysia

If you are saying "LINUS 2? I don't even know what is LINUS 1." If you don't have time to sieve through all that information, don't worry. I will try to give you a short summary from a parent's point of view. However, I suggest you read some of the newspaper clippings from the links I gave above. They will help you to understand What Is LINUS better.

Now, from a parent's point of view. Firstly, you may want to know.....

What Are The Subjects Being Screened? They are..
  1. Mathematics
  2. Bahasa Malaysa
  3. English ( added in LINUS 2)
Many of us do not know what LINUS is all about until the moment we step into the school to confirm a place for our child in the registered school for Std 1. At this point of time, you may be given a booklet or printed sheets of paper on the basic words that your child must know for the LINUS assessment. Then we go into a panic mode.

This is because, in our time, when we start Std 1, we go in with little or no basic knowledge. We go to school to learn our ABCs. It is not like this anymore. These days, most children have attended at least 2 years of kindergarten, some even more before starting school. If your child has been doing this, then you should not have any worries at all. In kindergarten, he or she would already have been assessed and learned their basics. Remember, the LINUS programme is basically a remedial programme. It is to provide early intervention for those who need help. So, don't panic.

Just let your child learn whatever is given in a relaxed fun way. There is no need to study for it as though it is a very important test. By the time the test period rolls along, you will usually be given a notice by the school to inform you that the LINUS assessment will be conducted within a certain time frame. (LINUS is usually conducted twice a year). Since the written notice states a time frame, if your child does not inform you, you may not even know that he or she has already completed the test on the actual date. So don't stress yourself or your child over it.

These days, some publishers publish books for this purpose. You can check out this publisher's blog which features some of the books. There may be later versions so you can visit bookstores or online bookstores for the latest books. However, I suggest you have a look at the link I provided below because they included a preview of the book. You can flip to see the content.

This blog post Buku Kerja Untuk Program LINUS from Sasmurni includes an ebook preview so you can take a look inside the book to see the contents. This will give you a rough idea of what sort of basic knowledge is required during assessment. The books featured on the page include "Literasi Menulis", "Numerasi Bertulis", "Lembaran Literasi Menulis Bahasa Malaysia Tahun 1" and "Lembaran Literasi Bertulis Matematik Tahun 1".

I hope this blog post on What Is LINUS is useful for those searching for this information. Good Luck, parents. I wish your child will have a good start in Std One and enjoy their early schooling years.

For those of you who have not decided on your school choice, you can check out my ebook here.
"Banana Mom's Guide To Preparing For Chinese School"

You are also welcome to join and network with other parents on my FB Group Malaysian Primary And Secondary Parents On Facebook.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Countdown To UPSR 2014


In 3 weeks time, my daughter will be sitting for her UPSR examinations. Her school is pushing her very hard indeed with plenty of homework, seminars, motivational talk etc. There is almost nothing I as a parent can do to help her do her revision. I can only help by giving suggestions and try to steer her in the right direction, for example if I think too much emphasis is given to a subject and not enough on the areas where she is weak.

I am also trying my best to reduce her stress levels. Not much I can do in terms of homework. I have spoken to the teacher to explain that she is trying her very best and yet she cannot complete them. So if she keeps on getting scolded for incomplete work that she is doing her best to work on, it can only increase her stress level and this will have negative impact, not positive ones.

Besides, this I am also trying to make sure that she gets enough sleep and good food and nutrition. In addition, I constantly remind her that getting 7As is not the most important thing. The most important thing is the effort. Unfortunately, getting 7As is the most important thing in her school or class and this message has been constantly passed on to the kids. I am really worried that she will be terribly disappointed if she doesn't.

As parents, we always have to watch our kids closely and be mindful of their feelings and needs and do our best to support them. My boy is more playful so we push him harder in his studies so he can feel the joy of performing at his best potential. The girl is serious and diligent so we have to remind her to relax and learn to let go, be happy with her efforts as well as how to handle disappointments. Different strokes for different folks and every child is different even if they come from the same parents and same growing up environment.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

How To Improve On BM Penulisan Part A

The BM Penulisan Paper for UPSR at this point of writing is made up of Part A, Part B and Part C. This post is all about Part A. In Part A, kids are required to make five sentences (Bina Ayat) based on a given picture. Each sentence carries 2 marks and you should spend about 15 minutes on this part.

Firstly, I would like to mention that this post is not only useful for students who are taking the UPSR examinations. It is useful for all primary school children who have to learn how to make BM sentences. This usually starts from Standard 3 onwards.

So, how do you do well in making sentences (Bina Ayat) for Part A of the BM Penulisan UPSR Paper? The first thing, a child has to learn are verbs (Kata Kerja).

Step 1. Advice your child to circle 5 parts of the picture that contain verbs.
Step 2. Make sentences (Bina Ayat) based on those verbs (Kata Kerja) using the "Siapa/Buat Apa/Huraian"             Formula
Step 3. Use conjunctions (Kata Hubung) to lengthen the sentences.

Here are some great resources to help you answer BM Penulisan Part A

1. BM Penulisan UPSR Bahagian A (Slides)
First, you need to circle out the keywords. This slide has very good examples of how you can circle the verbs in the picture and the difference between a good sentence and a poor one.

2. BM Penulisan Bahagian A (Blog Post)
Don't know enough verbs? This teacher has put together 9 blog posts listing out the all the possible scenarios and the various verbs (Kata Kerja)  that can be used to make sentences (Bina Ayat). The above links to the first scenario. You can find the other links on the left side bar of her page.

3. Bahasa Melayu Penulisan Bahagian A (Blog Post)
What about the format for sentences? This blog post lists out how to arrange the sentences in the "Siapa/Buat Apa/Keterangan or Huraian" (Who/Doing What/Explanation) Format. This is really useful too in addition to knowing the verbs (Kata Kerja)

4. Teknik menjawab UPSR Bahagian A Bahasa Malaysia (Video) Click the link to watch on YouTube or watch below.
This video has it all. Finally, if your child is a visual person, he can watch this video on how to improve or the technic to answer BM Penulisan Part A which includes all of the rules mentioned above and including common mistakes that should be avoided.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A Review Of The Baidu Translation App With Image Recognition

As a learner of Chinese as a second language (my first language is English although I am a Chinese), I have been searching for a free translation tool that translates from Chinese to English and back and supports audio and image recognition. I found it in the Baidu Translation App.

The Baidu Translation App translates images in 4 ways. They are:

1. Word
2. Snapshot
3. Screen
4 Object

Simply swipe your fingers across to move from Word, Snapshot, Screen or Object Translation.

This is how they work.

1. In Word Translation - Snap a picture of a word or phrase and Baidu will translate it for you. This is quite accurate. See the little lock at the bottom? At first, I thought this function was off limits to me unless I pay for it but that is not the case. Press the button to lock the function, aim your camera at the word or phrase you want, then press the button again to unlock and get your translation. 

Baidu Translation App

You can hear the audio of the word or press the lines you see at the bottom right of the translation for further information. Further information includes the pinyin for the word.

Baidu Translation App

2. In Snapshot Translation - You take a snapshot of the word, phrase, sentence or paragraph which you want to translate, circle to highlight it and the Baidu app will translate that for you.

Here is my snapshot. After taking a snapshot, I circle the part, I want to translate with my finger. Then I click the "tick" at the bottom to get my translation.

Baidu Translation App

The Baidu Translation App translate the parts I circled for me, providing me with the original words as well as the translated version. Of course when it comes to translation of whole paragraphs of words, the translation is not 100% accurate but you get enough of it to understand what the passage means.

Baidu Translation App

In Screen Translation - At first you lock the screen by clicking the lock button, you point your screen to a part of the passage you wish to translate. There is no need to take a picture of it, translation is done instantaneously and over the words you wish to translate. However, if you have a long passage, translation takes a bit more time. Simply shake the screen to remove the translation and move it to another part of the passage to get a new translation. Again, translation of entire passages is never 100% accurate but it is good enough to help you understand the passage.

Baidu Translation App

Finally, in Object Translation - You take a picture of the object, circle the object you wish to have translated with your finger and click the sign "tick". This translation is hit and miss. You do get accurate ones at times but most of the time, the translator gets it wrong. It does give you a lot of laughs though. We take pictures of each other and my boy was translated as a film star or musician, while my girl was a prince and I was a hairstylist. Here are some other object translations we did. The translator gives you a few options you can choose from as you can see from the light bulb keychain example. Poor Hello Kitty was translated as a pig while the colorful Geronimo Stilton storybook was translated as a baby crawling pad.

Baidu Translate AppBaidu Translate App

Baidu Translate App

Baidu Translate AppBaidu Translate App

Baidu Translate App

In addition to the above translation modes, it also translates common expressions and acts as a dictionary.

This translation app is also useful for those who are travelling abroad and need a quick translator or interpreter on their phones. It  has a conversation  translation mode. Just tap to speak and the app translates your conversation for you. Very useful indeed for travelling.

Languages available at the point of writing include English, Japanese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Korean, Cantonese, French, Spanish, Thai, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese. However, you will have to try to see whether translation from one of these languages to another is supported as not all two way translation between these languages are fully supported yet.

My verdict? I am keeping this download in addition to my Google Translate app. It is definitely useful for me as I do not know Chinese but I have two Chinese School going kids.

Where to download Baidu Translate:

1. Baidu Translate for Apple ios devices including both iPhone and iPad in iTunes

Sorry for Android users, at the moment the link to the Baidu Translate app for Android appears to be a broken link. You can do a search here at Google Play Store to see whether a new link turns up later on.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Tips For UPSR BC Penulisan Paper 2

With the UPSR in September, I thought it would be a good time to look for tips for UPSR for my girl to read, especially the UPSR Chinese Penulisan Paper 2 or BC Paper 2 which my girl is weak in. I found a few good ones and I am including them in this post as a bookmark for ourselves as well as to share with the members of my FB group the Malaysian Primary and Secondary School Parents on Facebook Group.

1. Modul Interaktif BC UPSR from Scribd uploaded by user Y.S.Chai on Scribd. This is a 137 page powerpoint presentation on the Chinese UPSR Paper 2. Examples given in the discussion are from actual past year papers.

2. 2009 BC Ceramah By Low Siaw Phin. Also on Scribd. Although dated 2009, it is still relevant. It talks about how the papers are graded and the differences between an A grade compared to other grade papers in the Karangan or Chinese Essay. Altogether 113 pages in all.

3. 写作技巧- Writing Skills Presentation From Slideshare. This is a brief 43 page presentation on what the Chinese Penulisan Paper 2 is all about

4. 作文顺练营- Essay Writing Training from Issuu.com. This is an 86 page presentation on how to write better Chinese Paper 2 answers with examples from actual past year papers.

5. 作文技巧 - How to write a good opening and closing for Chinese Essay. A short 28 page presentation on slideshare. This is for SPM level actually but still a good read according to my girl.

6. Govyi.com Zuowen - Last but certainly not least is this site. This site has lots and lots of example Chinese essays for various standards from Standard 1 to Standard 6 and beyond. Lots of titles and essays in various lengths, 100 words, 200 words, 300 worded essays and more. Excellent. My kids refer to this when they need to write an essay and are at a loss for words.

I hope UPSR students and parents will find this useful. You can check out the links for yourself to see which is more useful as my translation is just so so since I do not know Chinese Mandarin.

If you are a parent and you know Chinese, well then great  you can use these teacher prepared UPSR presentations to explain to your child. If you are a parent who does not understand Chinese, you can let your child read it himself or herself.

The only problem I face now is finding the time for my girl to read these. She doesn't even have enough time to sleep with all the homework and tests she is being given at school.
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