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Friday, April 27, 2018

10 Common Mistakes Primary School Kids Make During Tests

One of the things parents frequently face when coaching young kids is the fact that they frequently make mistakes during tests. How do you avoid these mistakes? One of the ways is to know what are the common mistakes kids often make.

Write up a checklist and go through this checklist with them each time before a test. Keep on reminding them and they will get it eventually. You may feel like pulling your hair out when they do repeat these mistakes even after your repeat reminders but there's no need to pull out your hair. Go and de stress by listening to music or getting some exercise instead. They will get it eventually.

Here's a checklist of 10 Common Mistakes Young Kis Often Make During Exams.

You can go through this list with your kids before exams to remind them. A "Don't make any mistakes!" won't do. You need to be specific. You can use this checklist to remind. It does not matter whether it is for an English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil, Science, Math or other test though some of it applies more for certain languages only.

1. Capital letters and small letters

Children often tend to forget putting capital letters at the beginning of a sentence or for proper nouns. They also tend to mix up their capital letters with small letters. So, remind them of this often and show them examples.

2. Missing Out Full Stops

Omitting the full stop at the end of a sentence is another common mistake made by young children during a test.

3. Transferring answers incorrectly or carelessness when transferring answers.

Let's say for example, a set of words are given and these words are to be used to fill in the blanks. Quite often, kids will happily add a word they think is the correct answer in their own spelling without checking the actual spelling of the given word. Capitals and small letters are often mixed up too during transfer.

Always check the spelling when transferring answers and after transferring an answer, make sure to strike it out so you don't transfer the same answer twice while leaving out another given choice.

When transferring sentences, make sure to check the spelling, capital letters, full stops and do not miss out any word.

4. Not reading the question

Kids need to be reminded that they have to follow instructions. If the question says"colour", they have to colour not circle. The same goes for "circle", "underline" etc.

5. Missing out questions

Don't leave any answers blank whether it is multiple choice or fill in the blanks type of question. Not only that, you have to remind them to turn the page to check if there are any more questions at the other side of the page. (My son once left an entire page blank!)

6. Forgetting to write down their name

This is another common mistakes kids make. Teachers will come to class with the paper asking "Whose paper is this?" This is a huge mistake!

7. Illegible Handwriting

Make sure your handwriting is nice and neat. No "cakar ayam" please.

8. Wrong shading in multiple choice answers

There are two types of mistakes kids can make when answering multiple choice questions that require them to shade on a separate piece of answer sheet. The first type is transferring the wrong answer when shading. For example, after working out the answer, they circle "A" on the question paper but then they shade "B" on the answer sheet.

The second type of error is to be avoided at all cost. In this error, the child shades all answers wrongly. For example, they shade the answer for question 1 in the space for question 2 and so on till the end of the page.

9. Omitting working for mathematics

Don't forget to write down the workings if required. This probably applies to upper primary school kids rather than the younger ones.

10. Poor time keeping

This is not really a mistake but a reminder to kids to watch the time when sitting for tests. They may do easier questions first but always remember to come back to do the rest. Don't spend too much time on one question. Move on and come back to it later but make sure to remember to come back to do it later!

Can you think of any more common mistakes? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Personalized Shoe Labels For Kids

Have you ever had a child lose a shoe? Lose a shoe? Is that even possible? Yes, it is very much possible. Most kindergartens are in bungalows or at a corner terrace house or semi-d and they require children to remove their shoes and place them on the shoe racks outside of the kindy to make sure that the premise remains clean.

Quite often, kids may come to school with similar looking shoes. Mary Janes are a popular style and young children may find it hard to find their shoes in the rush during dismissal times. This happens especially when kids are picked up by transporters. You may find your little ones coming home with someone else's shoes!

What about primary school? Surely school shoes won't be misplaced or mixed up since children will be wearing them all day. Wrong. Children often remove their shoes when they go to the library or prayer rooms. In primary school, most of the shoes look exactly the same. So a mix up is very possible. It is not uncommon to find children coming home with shoes in different sizes, one big and one small or of a different design than the one you bought for them either because they got mixed up or someone else wore their shoes when its time to put them on and hurry back to class.

Some schools require you to label your child's shoes to prevent a mix up. How you label them is up to you. Some will write names at the side or bottom of the shoe. However, you may find that you need to write them over and over again after a couple of washes because the writing may fade.

Another way to label shoes to prevent them from getting lost, misplaced or mixed up is to get personalized shoe labels or stickers. These usually come shaped like little feet with distinction between left foot and right foot. All you need to do is stick the sticker labels on the insole of your child's shoes. The labels come in different colours so you can pick the colour your child likes.

Even with shoe labels, you may find that shoes look exactly the same with exactly the same kinds of labels stuck in the soles. However, since they are personalized with your child's name, it makes it so much easier for your child to recognize and claim ownership of their shoes.

Where to find personalized shoe labels? You can order personalized shoe labels online from Fun Printz at RM22 for 12 pairs. (Shipping charges applies and covers both East and West Malaysia). The labels are water resistant and your child's weight when they wear the shoes ensures that the stickers stay in place even after washing.

Here's a screenshot we took from Fun Printz site. You can personalize your labels by keying in your child's name, select the colour you want and the type of font you prefer before you order. You get to pick from 7 colour choices. Labels will be printed in 3 variations (light to dark) of your chosen colour. 

Questions of the Day: Has your child ever lost a shoe? Does your child's school require you to label their shoes?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Learning English Resources For Parents, Kids And Teens

If you think the British Council Malaysia website is only for those who are taking English language courses at the British Council, then you are wrong. It is also an excellent place to find English learning resources for parents, kids and teens. These resources are very well organized so it is easy for you to search for the information you want and they are free!

Here's what you can find the learn English resources from British Council. You will find

  • Learning English Apps
  • Learning English For Kids resources
  • Learning English for Teens resources
  • Learning English With Football resources 
There are plenty of videos, games, printables, worksheets, songs and parents guides available.

1. Learning English Apps include videos, phonics stories, learning time resources, grammar, vocabulary and more. Below is a screenshot of what you will find for the British Council apps. You can find the link to this on the right side bar of the learn English resources page from British Council.

2. Learn English For Kids resources is excellent for parents and young kids with plenty of activities, fun and games, things to make and do, listen and watch while you learn to read and write, speak and spell or learn English grammar and vocabulary. Here is a screenshot of the resources you will find for the Learn English for Kids Resources. Hit the orange button on the right side bar to get to this page. You can even sign up for a newsletter which sends you thematic learn English resources on current topics.

3. Learn English for teens is similar to Learn English for Kids resources but tailored for older children. They include exam study tips and resources to help your teens improve on their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Of course, you will also find videos and exercises on grammar and vocabulary to help teens who are learning English.

4. Learn English With Football is fun for the father and son who loves football to learn English while learning about football and have more opportunities to bond. Football based content help learners improve their English learning skills while enjoying a sport they love at the same time. The link to this is called Premier Skills English. Look for the purple banner on the British Council Malaysia site.

You can find the links to the above resources from the  British Council Malaysia learn English page. British Council has been in Malaysia since 1934. You can learn English at the British Council online or take face-to-face lessons at their teaching centers  The British Council produces and provides unparalleled access to English language learning materialsAt the centres, your child will have more resources available to them while being guided by native English speaking teachers. Their progress will be monitored via internationally recognized proficiency tests. The Young Learners' term is currently open for registration.

This post was brought to you by British Council Malaysia.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

English Language Classes For Secondary School Students

Malaysian school children have to learn two sometimes three languages in school. Due to time constraints, one of the languages may get pushed to the back burner till you realize that your child is  weak in the language and need extra help.

For SK, SJKC or SJKT students, quite often the language that gets pushed to the back burner is the English language. The realization that children need extra help usually happens around age 11 to 14. This is the transition period from primary to secondary school.

During the primary school years, many children concentrate on BM, Chinese or Tamil to help them get through all the other lessons in school. However, during the secondary school years, many parents realize it is time to move the focus on to the English language.

Parents know the importance of learning English and many have plans to send their children to DLP schools. DLP Schools are Dual Language Programme schools where Science and Math are taught in English. Some have the intention of sending their kids to private, international or alternative learning centres for their secondary school  education for increased exposure in English. This is to prepare their children for further education, college, university and beyond in the working world where English competency is crucial.

English enrichment centres like the British council help expose preteens and teens to the enjoyment of learning English in a different learning environment.

The English language courses for kids and teens aged 13 to 17 help children to speak and write more confidently in English. This prepares them to do better in school. Children who are moving on to International schools can join the IGCSE Preparation or Secondary Plus classes.

You do not have to worry about whether your child can adapt to the new learning environment or whether they can catch up with their peers (some of which have been taking extra English lessons all through their primary school years). This is because your child will take an entrance exam to determine the class that best suits their learning level. Now you can even book online for the entrance exam. It is never too late to start learning English. If your child did not have the time to learn English well in primary school, they can improve their English in secondary school.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Check Your Child's Results Online

Sample 1: "Slip Keputusan"
With the first term exams over and results coming in, teacher's would have started keying in your child's exam results online. Parents can now start checking their child's results online whether SJKC, SJKT, SK , SMK or SMJK. All results are included.

Here's what you need to do.

Step 1. Go to this page (the SAPS site). SAPS stands for Sistem Analisis Peperiksaan Sekolah. 

Step 2. Click on the green "Semakan Ibubapa" button as shown below.

Step 3. You will then see the following page.
Step 4. Key in your child's birth certificate or IC number.
Step 5. Then click "Cari". 
Step 6. Next, select the state from a drop down list
Step 7. Select the school (from a drop down list under "Cari di sini". 
Step 8. Finally click "Semak"

The next screen will show your child's name and the name of all this teachers for every subject. Pick the year and click on "Pilih jenis peperiksaan". Select the term you want and you may choose to "Papar Slip Keputusan" or "Papar Markah Peperiksaan". The difference between the two is: the "slip keputusan" shows you the results for the term. (See Sample 1) whereas the "markah peperiksaan" shows you in table format, the marks for all terms in the year so you can make a comparison on the progress. (See Sample 2). KDT = Kedudukan Dalam Tingkatan (Position in Standard) whereas KDK = Kedudukan Dalam Kelas (Position in Class) while Peratus shows the average marks for all the subjects in total.

Sample 2: "Markah Peperiksaan"
The figures may differ slightly from what you see on the actual report card that you may receive during the Parents Teachers Day later on in the year. This online progress report and exam results is a useful and convenient way for parents to keep track of their children's school results quickly and easily.

Try it out. Start here. (Remember to click on the green "semakan ibubapa" button.

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