Wednesday, April 13, 2016

And it’s back to school: life in Primary 2

The pace of Primary 2 took me by surprise when school term started and when the hubs and I were invited to a PTM where the kiddo’s form teacher shared on what we can expect in Primary 2 and what Semester Assessment (SA) is about. Dumpling has homework from time to time in Primary One but as we listened on during the presentation / sharing, it was clear that there is a strong emphasis on home support starting from this year.

And it was definitely a fair "warning" because from Term 2 on, it seems like during class hours, the focus for the teachers is more on teaching and while a bit of time is being put aside for seat work but the rest, are often brought home to complete. 

So what's different in Primary 2? Here's a summary: 

:: Weightage of Tests and SA
For Dumpling’s school, in Primary 2, there are still holistic assessments but the results from Term 1 do not contribute to the year’s grade. Instead, Term 2 has a weightage of 20% (of the final year’s grade) with Term 3 at 30% and the SA in Term 4, contributing to 50%.

One important thing that I learnt was for SA, all children of that level will take the test at that said time, on the same day. This essentially means that should our kid(s) *knock on wood* be unwell that day, a medical certificate needs to be produced. There will be NO re-test rather the computer system will calculate her grade based on the input of the various activities my child has done over the year. 

:: New Elements and Tips Learnt
During the briefing, the format of SAs for the various subjects was shared and we also learnt more of new elements (e.g. stimulus based conversation) and expectations. 

In summary, for Math, the child needs to be able to not just understand the concepts but also work through the questions quickly (and of course accurately) so that more time can be allocated for the problem sums (which at this stage usually would usually be 2-step problem sums). So essentially, from the home-front, we will need to set aside consistent practices for the kid. 

From the early tests and assessments being done, careful reading is key. Questions are not as direct and it is not uncommon to see questions as below where more than 2 steps are sometimes needed before the children can derive at an answer. 

Stimulus-based conversations:
One new element this year for English Oral is the add-on of stimulus-based conversation. At this stage, the students (at least from Dumpling’s school) will be given an advertisement or a flyer and will have a conversation with the examiner on it.

Direct questions such as “what do you think this advertisement / flyer is about” to broader spectrum questions such as “if you were the shopper, would you buy this? What is your favorite brand / item? Why”?

In short, at this stage, the examiner is looking for the mastery of language where the child is able to articulate his thoughts and opinions clearly. So if your child is shy or hesitant to contribute his / her ideas, then it will be a good practice to start engaging him / her early on and encouraging him/her to verbalize his/her thoughts using advertisements, etc.

The kiddo did a graded composition in Term 4 last year so this is nothing new to me. Her class teacher has also been getting the children to journal weekly. The composition pieces will be graded based on content and on grammar.

If you have a P2 child too and are helping your child to prepare for this, depending on his/her readiness, you may like to help your child in providing a structure in writing and on time management. This of course, is in addition to expanding your child’s vocabulary and “power phrases”. This is quite apparent as her school teacher has sent back a "power phrases" pack for the children and dictation this year has included some of these descriptive sentences too. 

Dumpling still has Show and Tell as well as Read Aloud. At the moment, the school is still providing them with a show and tell "template"  which aids in prompting them as well as planning for the story. But based on my understanding from the briefing, they will not be providing a template at a later stage. 

For Dumpling's school (and many others actually), Composition is not done till Primary 3. But her class has started the children on 看图写话 which to me, is basically a prelude to composition. A picture is printed on one side with some helping words. On the flip side, there are for e.g. 5 sentences to be filled up but 4 out of 5 would have the first half of the sentence pre-printed and the child then fills in the remaining sentences. The last sentence is left entirely blank for the child to attempt.  

The kiddo has just started her Term 2 so I will update you again on how we survived that. :p 

This is an ongoing series on documenting my learning and Dumpling's Primary School journey

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  1. Very useful, thanks!!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Edlyn! Glad to know that the sharing is useful!


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