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Monday, December 10, 2018

Festive School Holidays (Cuti Perayaan) 2019

The school calendar (takwim sekolah) is released in two parts each year by the Ministry of Education-MOE (Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia-KPM). The first part, which is the takwim sekolah  will come out earlier while the cuti perayaan will be released later around November/December.

You can view our earlier post on the Malaysia School Holidays and Public Holidays 2019 by clicking on the image below.

This post deals with the second part of the MOE/KPM announcement on the Festive School Holiday dates which was missing from the earlier given dates. Together with the earlier post, you can find out all of the school dates and holiday dates for 2019 inclusive of public holidays, term holidays and festive holidays.

The festive school holidays or Cuti Perayaan 2019 has just been announced and it is as shown below.

1. Chinese New Year school holidays 2019 is from 3rd February (Monday) to 8th February (Friday) 2019 for schools in Kumpulan B. It starts and ends on day earlier for schools in Kumpulan A. If you add in the two weekends and the start and end of the Chinese New Year school holidays, you get 9 days off.

2. Hari Raya Aidil Fitri school holidays 2019 is listed as 5,6 & 10 June 2019 for Kumpulan B and 5,6 & 9 June for Kumpulan A. However, 5 & 6 June are public holidays and Hari Raya Aidil Fitri falls within the mid term school holidays which is from 25th May to 9th June for Kumpulan B and starts and ends one day earlier for Kumpulan A. This means that one additional day ie 10th June for Kumpulan B or 9th June for Kumpulan B  is added to the mid term school holidays for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. 17 days off in all inclusive of the school term holidays.

3. Hari Deepavali school holidays 2019 is effectively from 25th October to 29th October for all states except Sarawak which is listed as 25, 27 & 28 October 2019, we're not really sure why. 5 days off in all since this is over one weekend.

Kumpulan A schools include schools in Kedah, Johor, Kelantan and Terengganu while Kumpulan B covers schools in all other states.

Choosing the Right STABILO Swans Colored Pencils for Your Child

This post was brought to you by STABILO. STABILO Swans Colored Pencils Simply the Safer Choice

How to Choose the Right Colour Pencils

Parents are spoiled for choice these days because there are so many types of colour pencils available. Gone are the days when we go to a stationery shop to pick up a simple 12-colour set of colour pencils and that was it as far as shopping for colour pencils is concerned.

So how do we choose? What types of colour pencils are available? Which one is the most suitable colour pencil for your child?

Criteria for Choosing Colour Pencils

The most important criteria is safety. Worrying about own children is a natural reaction to being a parent especially when product safety has becoming a great concern within the community. It is crucial for parents today to be able to ensure that products or brands they choose for their children are safe and reliable.

The most common stationery children come into contact with during their learning process is wooden colored pencils. The quality of these color pencils, especially the safety of the pigments used, is the main factor that parents should insist on to ensure their children enjoy learning in a safe environment.

STABILO is deeply aware of the importance of product safety, and its colored pencils are subject to rigorous testing. STABILO Swans colored pencils range are in full compliance with the stringent European standards (EN71-1 to EN71-3) on Safety of Toys. STABILO is definitely a safer choice. 

Types of Colour Pencils by STABILO 

While strictly adhere to the compliance with safety standards, STABILO has developed 3 ranges of colored pencil which cater for children of different ages. 

1. STABILO Swans Jumbo Colored Pencil is designed specifically for children with small hands so that they can hold the pencils comfortably and color smoothly. Perfect grip of the jumbo size pencil allows children to color faster and eventually sustain their interests in coloring without getting tired easily. Since it is common for children to drop their pencils frequently, thicker lead is intended to prevent breakage.

2. STABILO Swans Colored Pencil is made of color rich formula, thus provides vivid and bright coloring effect that can attract school children’s attention to explore and stimulate their creativity. High quality lead with minimum lead flakes makes coloring activity entertaining without getting annoyed by undesirable flakes.

Breaking news! Unleash Your Child's Imagination with the New Dazzling Neon and Metallic Colors 

Fantastic news to color lovers! Neon and Metallic color pencils are now included in the new set of STABILO Swans Colored Pencil. As an extension of  Swans Colored Pencils, while high qualities remained, Neon & Metallic colors further optimize STABILO color palette and serve as the latest shining stars!

What’s special about Swans with NEON & METALLIC colored pencil?

(i) Up to 6 NEON & 6 METALLIC colors are available

(ii) Formulated for vivid, bright and vibrant coloring effect

(iii) High standard coloring pencil allows smooth coloring

(iv) Quality wood for easy sharpening

(v) High quality lead with minimum lead flakes

With the newly added Neon and Metallic color, along with the standard basic colors available, you can unleash your child's imagination and artistic talent instantly. Pamper your child with a new set of STABILO Swans Colored Pencil that consists of extraordinary Neon and Metallic colors to upgrade their coloring power and imagination to be nearly limitless. Parents who are colorists will enjoy these new riot of colours too!

3. STABILO Swans Premium Colored Pencil
for advanced users, offers faster, wider and better coverage as it contains a thicker than usual - 3.8mm thick lead. With smoother coloring effect given by the big strong lead, STABILO Swans Premium Colored Pencil encourages children to discover their talent in coloring and develop their coloring skills. Besides, brilliant coloring effect offered could motivate children to bring their imagination into full play. High quality lead with minimum breakage and lead flakes makes coloring experience engaging and inspires continuous effort.

Take advantage of the school holidays, and get your children a safer STABILO colored pencil! Enjoy a worry-free holiday break and have fun with your children to the max!

Use Discount Code STABILO28 to get 20% off with min purchase of RM40 for STABILO Coloring range.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Use Comic Books to Encourage Your Child to Read


Post Credit: British Council Malaysia It offers English Language courses for kids and teens from ages 5 to 17. Application is now open for January 2019 intake.

The saying is that reading is a life-long habit. As a parent you want to encourage your children to develop that habit, to become life-long readers. How do you do that? When should you start?

The easiest way to make reading a habit is to build routines around it. In the past, each night after dinner, many families would read the newspaper together. Mom and dad read the news and the children read the comics page. Eventually the children progressed onto reading sports, entertainment, the news and full books. But in the modern era, most people don’t get newspapers delivered to their houses every day, so we need to adapt this strategy.


Comic books are a good entry point for reading. A child as young as seven can find comic books suitable for them. There are many comic books based on TV shows and movies. Chances are your child has seen and likes a character that also appears in a comic book. So use that to encourage reading.

A weekly trip to a book store to buy a comic becomes a fun routine (never use it as a reward or punishment, just a constant routine). Reading the comic becomes a habit, one that the child looks forward to doing. You can also look over the comic and ask your child what happens in the story. See if they understand. This also lets you check that the comic is a good fit for your child.

If your child is a weaker reader, you can read the comic book with the child, helping with words, building confidence. Let your child do as much of the reading as they can. You only read when it gets too difficult.


The next step is moving your child from comic books to picture books then full novels. It’s easy to find a fitting ‘next step’ to help your child grow beyond comics. Many children find the Geronimo Stilton / Thea Stilton books a good second step, and there are over 100 books in that series. More advanced readers have loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. These can lead to Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson and eventually Harry Potter: all good books that kids love.

If your child is developing as a reader, you can transfer your weekly book store trip from buying a comic book to buying one of these picture readers – always let your child pick the title. If your child resists buying a book and wants a comic, compromise – alternate between buying a book one week and buying a comic the next week. Or, if your child earns an allowance, let them save for a comic book while you buy a story book.

Some children will want to read comic books their whole life. As long as they aren’t only reading comics, this isn’t a bad thing. There are comic books written for all ages, and some mature comic books can deal with very serious ideas.


You don’t want to stop a child from reading comics if that is their only preference for reading. A child might get bored of comics and change. You can encourage that by seeing which movies interest them and getting them to read the book adaptation of the movie. Star Wars books are very good for this, and the movie books often lead to many more books, guiding a reader into the habit of reading long stories for fun.

Just remember that someone who reads may change from one type of book (comics) to another (novels) but someone who has been discouraged from reading may never take up the habit again.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Penang Malls To Visit For Its Christmas Decoration 2018

December is a time for mall hopping. Recently we wrote a post on the must-visit malls in the Klang Valley for its stunning Christmas decorations. A reader requested that we do the same for Penang malls. Since lots of people visit Penang during the school holidays, we think its a good idea too. So let's go now on a virtual hunt to view some Penang malls we can visit this school holidays.

We are adding location addresses for this write-up because during this time of the year, many visitors to Penang are from outstation visiting Penang for the school holidays so we hope this extra info is useful to you.

1. Celebrate Christmas Fun Factory Season of Joy at Sunway Carnival Mall

Sunway Carnival Mall's upper ground concourse has been transformed into a Christmas stockings factory filled with colourful stockings, yarn balls, and trees made of furry yarn creating a warm and colourful ambience . Kids can play in the colourful ball pit when you take a breather from shopping to fill up your own Christmas stocking at home. Click here to get the Sunway Carnival Mall Christmas Event Highlights including Christmas Snow Fall, Santa Meet & Greet and Ball Pit of Joy dates and times.

Sunway Carnival Mall is located at 3068, Jalan Todak, Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya, 13700 Seberang Jaya, Pulau Pinang.

2. Get a Glimpse of the Enchanted Realm at Queensbay Mall, Penang

Imagine being transported into a world of fairy tales with giant toadstools, colourful flora and fauna and birds chirping merrily. Queensbay Mall has turned itself into the magical world of Smurfs, Alice in Wonderland, Thumbelina and Tinkerbell all combined into one enchanting realm. Watch out for the Pixie Cottage and the Twinkle Accorn Chamber with infinity mirrors in it. Here's the entire Christmas programme at Queensbay Mall, Penang.

Queensbay Mall is located at the heart of Bayan Lepas @ LG-12A, Queensbay Mall, 100, Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang.

2. Discover Gurney Plaza's Christmas Secret Garden

This Christmas, Gurney Plaza, Penang has turned itself into a beautiful fairy garden. See if you can spot the fairies. There's a secret garden hidden somewhere in the Christmas decor. The core of the Secret Garden is in the tree! You can experience the unique 360-degrees / spherical video projection where you will get swept away to different mysterious dimensions. The spherical projection will be aired daily till 25 December 2018 at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. Event Highlights can be found below.

Gurney Plaza is located at 170 Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.

 Gurney Paragon is Giving The Gift of Joy this Christmas

It's gifts galore at Gurney Paragon. This year, Gurney Paragon Mall brought the gift of joy to 44 children from the Children Protection Society and Ruyi Home under its "Grant-A-Wish" campaign. A group of wish granters from Hunza's employees identified the children's heartfelt wishes and the children received their Christmas gifts of choice recently in a ceremony.

The mall has also set up a couple of cool photo booths for those who love taking photos. Check out the performances and workshop dates below. Children can play in the Gift of Joy playland open till 1 Jan 2019.

Gurney Paragon is located at 163-D, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

FAQ on School Socks and Shoes 2019

We've had so many of these questions in our group that its time to compile them into one page.

On 30th November 2018, the Ministry of Education uploaded the following document on its official website

Below is an extract of the document. You can download the full document here. Look for the following heading:


FAQ on School Shoes and Socks for 2019

1. What colour shoes to wear in 2019?

White or black. Students are allowed to wear white or black in 2019 and 2020. Some schools have decided to continue with white for the time being, so double check with your school. Schools cannot insist that you wear black. You have till 2021 to go from white to black shoes fully. 

2. What colour socks to wear with black shoes?

Black. Some have mentioned that the school said to wear white but that may be before this notice was out.  When in doubt, check with your school.

3. What type of material is allowed for shoes?

Canvas or other synthetic material like nylon and polyester. 

4. How many pairs of shoes should I buy?

For a start, minimum of 2-3 pairs. In our kind of weather, you need to be prepared for shoes soaked in the rain or shoes that take time to dry after a wash. Note that, if your child has extra-curricular activities, he or she may be required to wear a different pair of shoes with his extra-curricular uniform.

5. How to quickly dry wet shoes overnight?

Stuff some newspaper in the shoe and wrap the shoe in newspaper to soak up the moisture. This should speed up the drying process.

6. Other questions on socks and shoes

Here is the search term "Shoes" on our FB group for past discussion on shoes including shoe design, shoe brands, shoe labels and more. Join our group to browse the topic or ask your own.

New Format For PT3 2019

Yesterday, November 30, 2018, the "Lembaga Peperiksaan Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia" (the Examination Board of the Ministry of Education Malaysia) uploaded the "Surat Siaran" on the "Format Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 bagi Mata Pelajaran KSSM mulai Tahun 2019". (PT3 Format for Form 3 KSSM Subjects starting from 2019)

2019 is the year when the first batch of KSSM students will sit for the PT3 examinations.

Let's have a look at some of the differences in PT3 for KBSM and PT3 for KSSM.


PT3 subjects in the past under KBSM syllabus
  1. Bahasa Melayu (Ujian Bertulis)
  2. Bahasa Melayu (Ujian Lisan)
  3. Bahasa Inggeris (Ujian Bertulis)
  4. Bahasa Inggeris (Ujian Lisan)
  5. Sejarah
  6. Geografi
  7. Bahasa Arab
  8. Bahasa Cina
  9. Bahasa Tamil
  10. Bahasa Punjabi
  11. Bahasa Iban
  12. Bahasa Kadazan dusun
  13. Pendidikan Islam
  14. Matematik
  15. Sains
Technical Subjects
  • KHB Kemahiran Teknikal
  • KHB Ekonomi Rumah Tangga
  • KHB Pertanian
  • KHB Perdagangan Dan Keusahawanan
KSSM was started  in 2017 and Asas Komputer Sains and Rekabentuk dan Teknologi was introduced replacing "Pendidikan Sivik Dan Kewarganegaraan (PSK)" and  "Kemahiran Hidup Bersepadu" (KHB). 

Note that it was up to the school to decide whether to offer either Asas Sains Komputer or Rekebentuk dan Teknologi or both. 

PT3 subjects under KSSM with effect from 2019
  1. Bahasa Melayu
  2. Bahasa Inggeris
  3. Sejarah
  4. Geografi
  5. Bahasa Arab
  6. Bahasa Cina
  7. Bahasa Tamil
  8. Bahasa Punjabi
  9. Bahasa Iban
  10. Bahasa Kadazandusun
  11. Bahasa Semai
  12. Pendidikan Islam
  13. Matematik
  14. Sains
  15. Seni Visual
  16. Seni Tari
  17. Seni Muzik
  18. Seni Teater
  19. Asas Sains Komputer
  20. Rekabentuk dan Teknologi
We noticed that  "Lisan" (Oral Tests)  is no longer a subject on its own for Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Inggeris.

In addition to Asas Sains Komputer and Rekabentuk dan Teknologi, we noticed other new subjects including Bahasa Semai, Seni Visual, Seni Tari, Seni Muzik and Seni Teater. Art, Dance, Music and Theater.
Note that the comparison of the above subjects refer only to subjects tested in PT3. Form 3 Students also learn other subjects in school which are non-PT3 subjects.

The arts subjects are probably for students from Sekolah Seni as these are the subjects offered by these schools.


Previously, before PT3, students in form 3 sat for PMR. PT3 was first introduced in 2013. History and Geography was fully 100% project based with no written examinations for PT3. Based on the documents that were uploaded, it appears that History and Geography for PT3 2019 will now be 80% written examinations and 20% project based. A whopping 80 marks for both History and Geography is allocated for subjective questions. 


Previously there were two English subjects. Written English Paper (100 marks) and Oral English (50 marks total) which comprise of Speaking Test (30 marks) and Listening Test (20 marks).

It appears that English is now one comprehensive paper with written and oral sections combined as follows:

Written English Paper 1 - 40 Marks (Weighted average 25%)
Written English Paper 2 - 40 Marks (Weighted average 25%)
Speaking Test - 20 Marks (Weighted average 25%)
Listening Test - 25 Marks (Weighted average 25%)

With 50% weightage for written and 50% weightage on Oral (Speaking + Listening), the student must be equally good in oral or verbal communication.

The Speaking Test is "berpasangan" ie in teams of two. Previously it was on individual basis.

Get the complete format for English Subject for PT3 2019 including samples for speaking and listening test here:

Format Instrumen Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) Bagi MP Bahasa Inggeris Mulai 2019

We noticed that this format has the logo of Cambridge Assessment English together with Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia


Similar to English, previously the Bahasa Melayu subjects was tested as two separate papers ie Written exam (Ujian Bertulis) and Oral Test (Ujian Lisan). In 2019, it appears that Bahasa Melayu written and oral tests are combined as one subject paper. As with the English paper, in the past, the written paper was 100 marks while the Ujian Bertutur was 30 marks and the Ujian Mendengar was 20 Marks making it a total of 50 marks for Ujian Lisan overall.

In 2019, the Written Exam Paper 1 is 60 marks, Paper 2 is 40 marks, total for Written Exam is 100 marks. Meanwhile for the Oral exam, the Ujian Bertutur is 30 marks, Ujian Mendengar is 20 marks, total of 50 marks. There is no mention of weighted average. Ujian Bertutur is in a group same as previously.


From the format that was uploaded as shown below, reka bentuk dan teknologi appears to be 70% written exam and 30% practical/project based.


From the format that was uploaded as shown below, Asas Sains Komputer appears to be 70% written exam and 30% practical/project based.

Seni Visual is a practical project paper with one individual project and one group project.
Previously under KBSM, the kids did Pendidikan Seni Visual and Pendidikan Muzik but they were non-PT3 subjects. Under KSSM, Pendidikan Seni Visual (PSV) was combined with Pendidikan Muzik (PMZ) into a single subject called Pendidikan Kesenian. So, we're not sure how this is going to pan out. Will the students be required to sit for Seni Visual and Seni Muzik or just Seni Visual? Or perhaps there is no need to sit for them because the Seni Subjects including Seni Visual, Seni Tarian, Seni Muzik and Seni Teater are subjects offered by Sekolah Seni.


Previously students sat for 10 papers in PT3. They are.
1. BM
2. BM Lisan
3. BI
4. BI Oral
5. One optional language paper or Pendidikan Islam
6. Sejarah (100% project based)
7. Geography (100% project based)
8. Maths
9. Science
10. Kemahiran Hidup

How many papers will candidates sit for in PT3 2019? This is a guesstimate. We await further news on this.
Based on the subjects, below is a possible scenario:
1. BM (with Lisan)
2. BI (with Oral)
3. One optional language paper or Pendidikan Islam
4. Sejarah (80% written exam + 20% project)
5. Geography (80% written exam + 20% project)
6. Maths
7. Science
8. Asas Sains Komputer or Rekabentuk dan Teknologi (70% written exam + 30% practical/project)
The 4 Seni papers ie Seni Visual, Seni Tari, Seni Muzik and Seni Teater could be papers for Sekolah Seni

Download links:

The above is an extract from the Format Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 bagi Mata Pelajaran KSSM mulai Tahun 2019 Format for the rest of the subjects can be found in this link.

So far only the Format Instrumen Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) Bagi MP Bahasa Inggeris Mulai 2019 has been uploaded. We await the rest of the uploads by the Lembaga Peperiksaan.

Disclaimer: We have tried to be as accurate as possible by comparing the old format with the new. However, it is subject to interpretation and confirmation by the school and the authorities. If you notice any discrepancy, please inform us. If you notice any other changes to the PT3 2019 format which is not mentioned here, do let us know in the comments. Thank you for reading.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Christmas Gift Box For Kids Who Love Arts and Science

Do you have kids who enjoy making things, exploring and experimenting? Most kids do and the good news for parents is, home practical experiments are not only fun, they have educational value. They also make great gifts!

You can shop for experiment ingredients if you have the time to search for them but what if it is all nicely packaged in a box addressed to your child together with materials for the activity, an instruction and trivia booklet along with a gift card, greeting cards and some discount vouchers and delivered to your home? Wouldn't that be a nice surprise?

Atom & the Dot, a pioneer in art and science subscription boxes for kids in Malaysia has done just that. Their monthly activity boxes are curated to inspire curiosity in kids and encourage discovery through hands-on activities.

You can try out a box for one month at RM 100 (or RM 68 from 3-31 Dec 2018)

Subscribers get a surprise box each month with materials and instructions for experiments, activities or games. Subscription rates are as follows:

  • 3 months: RM 250 (~RM 83/ box)
  • 6 months: RM 450 (~RM 75/ box)
  • 12 months: RM 720 (~RM 60/ box)

You can also try an individual box from their Try-me collection before subscribing. These are boxes from earlier months. You can purchase these boxes at RM100 (or RM68 from 3-31 Dec 2018).

Christmas Gifts for Curious Kids

Christmas gift for the kid who likes gardening.

Alternatively, try out one of these Christmas boxes. Christmas boxes are mini boxes with one activity. They make excellent Christmas gifts for curious kids. There are 6 different themes for little gardeners, astronomers, chemists and even paleontologist (scientist who studies fossils) wannabe including

  1. Chain Reaction
  2. Dinosaur Fossil
  3. Periodic Table
  4. Robot Tester
  5. Self -watering Plant
  6. Solar System
Priced at RM45 per box, you can get these mini Christmas surprise boxes for RM35 if you pre-order  before 2 December 2018.

Gift Boxes come with materials and instructions for experiments, activities or games like this Solar board game

Coming Soon in December...

December’s surprise box is a special Christmas edition “Toymaker’s Toolbox”. Kids get to play Santa’s elf with materials and instructions to make 6 mini toys. Like Atom & the Dot on Facebook to receive more details on this upcoming offer.

Redeem a box at RM0.99!

Here is a chance for you to try out a box (the Robot Tester box) at just RM0.99!

All you need to do is refer 3 friends to Atom & the Dot. Limited to first 50 customers. You need to purchase your Robot Tester box by 2 December 2018. Shipping fees apply. Refer friends here.

Besides Christmas gifts, subscription boxes are great as birthday gifts too. Parent and child can have a nice surprise each month with a new hands-on activity to explore together.

This post was brought to you by Atom & the Dot.

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