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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Science Mind Maps For Primary School Standard 4 To Standard 6 UPSR

While doing research for my previous post on the KSSR Standard 5 Science on Survival of Animal Topic, I came across some interesting mind map slides which offer a summary of the entire Standard 4 to Standard 6 Science syllabus. Though this syllabus is for KBSR previously, many topics are more or less the same. This should come in handy for UPSR revision.

I have embedded them here for easy reference.

This one is in English and has 114 pages in all. Excellent summary presented in mind map format for Science for Primary School Level Standard 4 to Standard 6. For UPSR 2015 this Science Mind Map for Year 4 to 6 is still very relevant as the Science paper is still in English and Chinese, BM or Tamil. From 2016 onwards, Science will be in Chinese or BM or Tamil only so you can use this as reference to explain concepts but children must learn the Chinese or other terms.

Peta Minda Sains Tahun 4,5,6 from marziana80

The one below is also a Mind Map or Peta Minda or Carta Minda in Bahasa Malaysia for Science or Sains in Malay presented in Bahasa Malaysia for Sekolah Kebangsaan students for Darjah 4 to Darjah 6.

KSSR Standard 5 Science Chapter 3 On Survival Of Animals And Food Web Resources

I find it hard to teach Science in Chinese to my son who is studying in a SJKC. So I teach it in English. The concepts are the same. He just has to learn the Chinese words after understanding the concepts.

So here I am doing some research to get some supplementary materials to help him understand his KSSR Standard 5 Science Chapter 3 on Survival Of Animals And Food Chain And Food Web.

Here are the resources.
  1. How Do Animals Protect Themselves From Danger? - This link is from a teacher's blog. Easy to understand and straight to the point. The following YouTube video and Slideshare slides are also useful as illustration.
  2. How Do Animals Protect Themselves From Extreme Weather? - From the same teacher's blog.
  3. Food Chains And Food Webs PPT Presentation - Can choose from one of several powerpoint presentations on food chain and food web from this link.
  4. Food Chain And Food Web Images - From Google Image Search. The following are slides for Form 2 Science on the same topic but they are simple enough and a good explanation for this topic.
  5. How Animals Protect Their Young Images - From Google Image Search and slides from Slideshare as embedded below. (Note: After watching slides below on how animals protect their young, click on the link for google image search and see if they can identify the method.)

Monday, March 30, 2015


In the morning.....

Girl: Mum, can you cut some vegetables to bring to school for vegetable stamping art?

Mum: Yeah, sure. What do you need?

Girl: Cabbages etc

So mum goes off to cut cabbages, celery, four angled bean and carved some potatoes into various shapes.

In the evening....

Girl: Mum, do you think those vegetables will last a week? Teacher didn't come because she had to go some place else........

Teacher oh teacher. Didn't you think of the inconveniences to your students when you asked them to bring something and then don't turn up? Sigh.

Friday, March 27, 2015

How To Monitor Your Teen On Facebook

I've noticed that teens on Facebook are a wild bunch. I was appalled by the profanities, inappropriate photos and rudeness when teens connect on Facebook. Teens do not hesitate in kicking each other out of conversations or blocking and unblocking their friends on a whim. Some of them type in capital letters all the time as if they are shouting or scolding when talking.  In other words, teens can be really cruel online and they do not behave or chat the way adults do online. I believe this is from lack of supervision.

I told my daughter to imagine herself in a room with all her friends. "Imagine all of you are shouting at the same time and you open the door and kick classmates out on a whim and someone else opens the door and lets them back in and this goes on over and over again while everyone is swearing and using obscene language at the same time." She had a good laugh imagining that. "That doesn't happen in real life", I told her "... and what does not take place in real life should not take place on social media. Period."

I am quite surprised at how these teens are connecting all day and night without monitoring. I can see some of them spending a lot of hours online late into the night. What are their parents doing? I wonder. Responsible online behaviour MUST be taught. Restrictions SHOULD be placed on the number of hours your teen uses Facebook.

I am saddened to see the LACK OF EDUCATION being provided to some of these teens. Some of them post up very personal information and pictures of themselves including phone numbers and addresses and where they are going. More and more young girls are having their identity and self image shaped by the number of likes they receive for their pictures. The positive or negative comments they get drive them to take more and more selfies of themselves for their FB friends some of which number by the thousands.

I can see how the teens social scene on FB can easily get out of hand with cyber bullying making some teens very unhappy and depressed. The conditions are prime for it. There is lack of monitoring of teens on Facebook by parents.

Here are a few actual examples of what I've seen on some teen's Facebook activity. Names have been changed to protect their identity.

Example 1:

Lydia has been on Facebook since she was in lower primary school. Obviously someone lied about her age to set up the account, either herself of her parents who allowed her. One day Lydia lost her mobile phone and all her contacts on it. She asks for her friends contact numbers by posting a message on her Facebook timeline. In no time at all, the comments were filled with private telephone numbers of her friends on Facebook which directly linked to their Facebook profiles with photos and many other private information in them including which school they are from.

Example 2:

Samantha was not allowed to open a Facebook account by her parents till she reached the minimum age requirement of 13. As soon as she reached her 13th birthday, she opened a Facebook account, quickly put up her favourite picture as her profile picture. Within days she had over 50 friends, had started a few group conversations and was spamming the group conversations with photos and images. 

Example 3

Chee Meng was allowed to open a Facebook account by his parents when he started Form 1 because almost all of his classmates had one by then. They use it daily (even though they meet each other daily in class). Like Samantha, he joined several group conversations and started spamming the group with inappropriate photos that had  been freely shared by other teens in the group. His mother found out and very quickly put a stop to that. 

Kids on social media for the first time get influenced very easily. A whole new world is open to them for the first time and this can be very exciting and also dangerous if not curbed or controlled. They face peer pressure to conform to their other peers who think that speaking in a certain manner and sharing inappropriate images are a cool thing.

  1. Do not allow your teen to set up a Facebook profile before the minimum age requirement. They may start to pester you starting from age 7 when they enter primary school because many of their classmates have one but do not allow it. The minimum age restriction is there for a reason.
  2. Help your teen set up his or her account when the time is right.
  3. Teach your teen to set his account to the highest level of privacy 
  4. Educate your teen about online safety (Do not give out password to anyone and do not post private information online)
  5. Inform your teen that anything they post online is never really private and cannot be erased even when 'deleted' so teach them to think before they post. Even a private message to a friend can be disseminated to others very quickly. All it takes is a screenshot and copy and paste. 
  6. Monitor your teen who is using FB for the first time closely. You can relax the monitoring once you are confident that your teen can  use social media wisely taking into account all the things you have taught
  7. Do not allow your teen to post inappropriate photos they may regret later on.
  8. Guide your teen to become a responsible online citizen by discussing appropriate online behaviour or netiquette.
  9. Tell your teen to come to you if she is being bullied online. 
  10. Set rules for your teen on Facebook use. The number of hours, no posting while doing homework as it is very distracting etc. Have restrictions and stick to it.
These rules also apply to mobile phone use and instant messaging like Whatsapp etc.

If you are not sure what to say to your teen about online safety, then try to print out some teacher resources on this subject. One good place is http://www.reallifeonline.ca/ It has role play videos for different grades and pdf resources you can print for you and your teen to read and discuss. Its tagline is "Educating Kids To Be Safe And Healthy In An Ever-Changing Online World By Applying Real Life Behaviour To Life Online." You may find the articles useful especially if you are not very active online yourself.

Some private and international schools have included this module in their lesson plans. I think it is a good move and it should be part of a school's lesson plans and curriculum.


Forget about invasion of privacy and your teens right for privacy etc FOR NOW. I believe this is important and even necessary for parents to help their teen become a responsible online citizen. You teen need your guidance and you can only guide if you know what is going on. 

How you do this is up to you. You may insist that your teen befriends you on Facebook. What I have done is help my teen set up a Facebook account. I informed her that I shall need to have her password and I will be reading her posts from time to time until such time when I am confident that I do not need to do that anymore. I do not encourage her to post photographs of herself especially those wearing school uniform with the badge clearly visible. She may however post and share things she likes including her artwork, crafts or songs she likes.

I do not insist on becoming her friend on Facebook. I told her that we should talk face to face. We are after all living in the same house. Face to face chatting is so much better compared to wishing each other and writing on each other's Facebook wall for all to see. However, we do send each other private messages from time to time just for fun.

I find that checking my teen's FB messages has further opened up the door of communication between us. We can talk freely about what her friends are posting and doing and discuss them openly. If she has a problem I instantly know about it and she can come to me about it more easily. 

That's how I got to see how teens behave online, the foul language, the reckless kicking and blocking going on, and the number of hours spent on social media. I see and I can advise and guide with that knowledge.

So far, I am happy with my teen's behaviour online. She chooses her friends carefully and is quite careful in what she posts. She also does not engage in rude behaviour. I am proud of her.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Top 6 Places To Search Online For Good Local Malaysian Educational Content For Kids

As a parent who sometimes helps her kids with homework or revision, I am constantly searching for good educational content online. I used to be able to find websites and content in English only from International sites but these days I can find lots of local content either in English, Bahasa Malaysia or Chinese Mandarin. With more and more teachers going online to create and present their work, it is not all that hard to find good educational content in the form of presentations, slides, images, sample question papers or work sheets etc.

For the purpose of illustrating the usefulness of the sites below in searching for good local Malaysian Educational Content, I am going to use the search term "Penjodoh Bilangan" to see what the search results yield.

1. YouTube - This is a no brainer. You will find many videos that have been uploaded for all sorts of educational content. Some by students, by parents, teachers and tuition centers. Some show a tutor, some include educational videos or slides. Here's what my search on "penjodoh bilangan" on YouTube yielded in the search results. A nice selection of penjodoh bilangan related short videos for various age groups. You can further customize your search term (example "penjodoh bilangan tahun 5) to get even better results.

2. Google Image Search - Google Image Search is an excellent place to search for good educational local content or just to look at a picture instead of searching for the definition or the meaning of a word. They say a picture says a thousand words. We use it all the time, searching for "lelangit" , "kekisi" etc and many other Malay and Chinese words and instantly our sense or sight is assaulted with the said image we searched for. It is brilliant and excellent to teach a student to use this for his or her studies. Here is the search results for our search for "penjodoh bilangan"  on Google Image Search. Here's how to do a Google Image Search. Search on Google as usual and click on the "Images" tab instead of the "web" tab which is the default one. You can do the same if you want to search for "videos" You can type in any search term in any language to find relevant images to help you visualize something.

3. Google Blog Search - Previously there used to be a tab for "Blogs" when  you do a google search but its gone now. However, you can still search for "blogs" on a particular topic. Searching for "blogs" will help you find the many blogs set up by teachers. Just type your search term followed by the word "blogs" and click on the "web" tab. You don't even have to click on the "Web" tab as a google online search is automatically set to "web" by default. Here is what my search on "Penjodoh Bilangan Blogs" shows on Google Search. Go ahead and customize your search further for better results.

4. Slideshare - Slideshare is excellent for looking for powerpoint presentation style of slides for any topic including sample test papers and worksheets. Once you find a slide you want, click on it and several other similar slides of the same topic will be suggested for you making it even easier to find the content you want. In the following link, I searched for "penjodoh bilangan" on Slideshare and clicked on one of the search results. Several more are suggested for me on the sidebar. Once you find something you like you can even share it on social media or email or embed it like I just did on this post. I like  using Slideshare or Scribd below on our tablet computer. It's like an instant mini presentation to help the kids understand the lesson better.

5. Scribd - Scribd is similar to Slideshare. However I find that the slideshare local content is more comprehensive. Perhaps more teachers prefer to use it. Scribd has some free content but some content is available to subscribers only. Still, you may find some gems that you didn't find on Slideshare or any of the other places I listed above. Here is what I found on Scribd when searching for "Penjodoh Bilangan".

6. Sharetify - Sharetify appears to be the preferred place to share by Chinese teachers since the site is in Chinese. Don't worry if you don't know Chinese, just type your search term in the search box as usual. I couldn't find anything on "Penjodoh Bilangan", however I searched for "Bina Ayat" and found the following on Sharetify. The good thing about Sharetify is it gives you a pdf format link where you can download and print the content you want. Here is a sample.

I hope you find this post useful if you are looking for local Malaysian educational content online for your kids. You can even teach them to search themselves, especially the Google Image search. However, when teaching children to search independently, it is always good to do it with adult supervision so that they don't end up wasting time surfing online or worse, come across inappropriate images and content.

If you like this post, please like and share it. I would also appreciate if you could share some other good places to search for online educational content if you know of one that has not been included here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Second Half Of First Term

The kids have started their second half of the first term at school. At last, I have settled into our new routine. The girl has settled into her new secondary school. She has selected her compulsory club, sports and uniform group memberships in school. We have finally settled in to the new times of schooling. Afternoon session school for the girl with days of going in early on co-curriculum days. Morning session for the boy and staying back when there are activities.

The girl has sat for her first term school exams before the school holidays while the boy will be sitting for his soon. 

We didn't go anywhere for the recent one week school holidays because dad was in hospital for that one week. Fortunately it was the school holidays so I could visit dad often. 

During the school holidays, the boy invited some of his friends over to do a school project together. It was not easy to coordinate and get everyone to come at the same time but in the end we managed it. So I got to play hostess to 3 boys and 1 girl plus my boy and girl and  hubs who was on leave and myself, that meant cooking for 8. I think I did ok. :)

The kids also sat for their Grade 5 Music Theory exams on the first day of the term break. After the exam they said "Yay! Freedom!" because they had been preparing very hard for it. I'm also really glad that it is over. 

It seems like our lives revolves around school, exams and activities. There is always something going on. The next thing on our calendar is the boy's term exam and his birthday. We are thinking of getting him a new badminton racquet and perhaps some minecraft books for him. I'm looking forward to his birthday but not the exams. :)

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Secondary School Application Process

A parent asked me this 

"I'd like to find out more on the secondary school application process. Is it possible for you to blog about it? I'd like to know more about the school selection process."

I shall try to post this in a FAQ format.

Q: When does the application for secondary schools start? Is it in Standard 5 or Standard 6?

A: Application for secondary school starts in Standard 6. Sometime during the year before your child sits for the UPSR exams, he/she will be given two forms to complete. One of the forms lists down the feeder school for your child's primary school. These are schools that will accept students from your child's primary school. You are to list down your top 3 choices and return the form to the class teacher. Another form is for a list of feeder cluster schools. You only fill this form if you are interested to apply for the listed cluster schools on the form. For cluster schools, you may have to submit your child's UPSR results once they are out. Please note that wef 2016 there will be changes to the UPSR paper in terms of format and weightage. At this point of writing all that is known is that the weightage may be 60% with 40% being school based assessments carried out throughout the year annually.

Q: Is the application fully done online just like primary schools?

A: No, the application is manual as described above. In fact, online application for primary school is in Selangor but not in Wilayah Persekutuan and the majority of other states in Malaysia. Cluster school application is online but must be supported by UPSR results eventually. (Please note that the application process is subject to updates and may be different for different states so please check with your class teacher and school for the latest updates after the time of writing this).

Q: Does the PPD place students in certain schools based on their academic results and extra-curricular activities? So does this mean that proximity to parents' school of choice for their offspring is no longer applicable, right?

A: The PPD or Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah places students in certain schools based on academic results and extra-curricular activities only for certain controlled schools. Academic results and active participation in extra-curricular activities is not a requirement for feeder schools ie schools that are within the proximity of the current primary school. 

Q: Are there any tips you can give parents on the do's and don'ts of getting their kids to a good Government school?

A: If you are thinking of going to a controlled school, then you must meet the minimum academic achievement requirement for the school. If you are have a school in your mind that is not in the list of feeder school, then you may need to wait for your child to be allocated to a feeder school first. After that you have to go to the allocated school to obtain transfer forms to do a transfer to a school of your choice. If your transfer is inter-state for example from Wilayah Persekutuan to Selangor, you may have to go to the state JPN (Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri) as well to have your transfer forms processed. 

I will write about transfer of schools in another post.

Note: I am writing as a parent with the hindsight of having my child gone through the process. The information above may change from time to time or be different for different schools and states so it may not be 100% accurate. If you wish to find out more, you can contact your child's school or the PPD/JPN/MOE. This link from MOE shows you the list of JPN. If you visit the individual JPN links, you can find the contact for the PPD for your district.

MOE= Ministry of Education (Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia)
JPN= Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri (State Education Department)
PPD= Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (District Education Office)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Split By Education

Recently at a Chinese New Year family gathering, a nephew and niece who is the product of private school from primary school to secondary school and who are now doing A levels in college expressed their disdain and inability to mix with "those who speak only Chinese". I also get the impression that they feel SPM is inferior to IGCSE. These are good kids but I feel that the system has split our kids.

In the past, everyone did the SPM. Those who attended Chinese school normally did so till primary level. In secondary school, the majority of school going kids were in Sekolah Kebangsaan and then everyone moved on together to do A levels in college either locally or overseas.

Now, it would seem that the majority attends private schools or Chinese primary schools for their early education. By the time they are in secondary school, they are split into private schools, Chinese Independant schools and Kebangsaan schools. Then they come back together to do their A levels and higher education.

However by the time they come back together, they have already been split in the way they think, the language they speak and the courses they did and the way they were educated (academic based vs a more holistic style) and sadly sometimes this leads to unhealthy prejudice in our young. Prejudice from an imperfect Education System.

Everyday you read in the papers about how our youngsters are split by race but has anyone considered the fact that the split is more than that. It is those who can afford vs those who can't. It is SPM vs IGCSE. It is English speaking vs Chinese speaking or other language. That is the divide that I am starting to see now that those who attended private school from primary school have started to graduate from secondary school.

I worry for my kids. I forsee unhealthy cliques by the time they do their A levels in college. For example, my child is from Chinese primary school, now in a secondary school where everyone speaks Chinese and will be doing her SPM. By the time she goes to college, she will meet people who like her cousins have studied in a completely different environment from her.

It is my wish that every parent will educate their child and teach them that it is wrong to be prejudiced against anyone just because they speak a different language from you. Those who speak mainly English are not more snobbish. Those who speak only Mandarin are not square. It is unfair to stereotype. Those who do SPM are not inferior or lesser than those pursuing IGCSE. Many of them study just as hard. It is not any easier to get good results for SPM as some of the kids and perhaps parents too seem to think.

I think our kids should be made aware of the situation and exposed to friends from not only various races but also educational background so that they do not become cliquish and stick to only "their kind". Even the Chinese are split among themselves between those who speak English and those who speak Mandarin. This divide across race and within race is really sad to see.

Our kids must be taught but first the parents must be aware and must not have any prejudice themselves. Can it be done? I hope so. There is no use in blaming the system. What we should do is teach our kids and prepare them so that they are not caught in  unhealthy cliques later on when they all come back together under the same educational institution again when pursuing the pre-u.

Good luck to all the SPM students who will be collecting their results for this year, 2015.

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