Our Lives

Work for this week: Primary 6 SA2 English Papers

New papers uploaded. Tutor goes for Covid Vaccinations. 1st May is a Holiday. Mid Year Examinations are now in April. iOS and iCloud updates and expansion. Security Cameras upgraded with redundancies.

What are we doing this week 26th April 2021

Wed 10pm, a blog after 3 papers.

A week of working on 2020 Pri 6 English Prelim papers that we need to redo to our specifications so that more parents can help their children study at home and get a better learning process for their PSLE 2021. Designed to explain more and includes knowledge needed to work on the papers, we put in Vocabulary lists and YouTube videos and a pictorial mood board to get students instantly aligned to the theme of the paper for them to get their bearings right before attempting the paper. The page acts like a storyboard for students to look ahead and formulate a plan of attack.

There are two parts to this. First, there are the papers and answers. Secondly, there is our teaching and study guide.

And do tell friends, as these are for anyone that wants it to have access to it. Thank you in advance. Much appreciated the love from all of you.

The papers you want is here and if you are interested in teaching your child all the supplementary knowledge required to score an AL1 for that paper, you can follow our teaching guide and study plan here.

So this is what we have been up to this week.

Compiling 2020 Primary 6 SA2 English Papers

The study guide and plans, including the answers to the papers that we posted takes us a day of work for each paper to go from an inaccurate beta and turn it to our alphaKate version with as much proofreading on the answers as needed to make it accurate. That is an 8 hour process of

1) cleaning up the paper so that it looks good and can be printed out without wasting toner and help students to see it better. It also looks better if viewed on our iPads with the use of the Apple Pencil.

2) checking the paper for inaccuracies.

3) researching on YouTube to include informative videos that can help students, parents and teachers to supplement knowledge.

4) reading through the papers and compile a list of vocabulary words for students to learn prior to tackling the paper. This is the most requested item that our parents ask for.

5) handwriting the answers electronically, double checking answers to make sure there are no mistakes found in suggested answers on these past year papers.

6) prepping and posting into this website.

Problems that we had doing this compilation: consolidating and figuring a format that works easily for as much people as possible.

We wanted something easy for our own workflow, reach people that need help teaching their kids/students and what can help kids the most to gain a lot of knowledge, to include a cross-subject application into our teaching plus giving them a better idea how the use of English can be applied to their subjects like Science and Mathematics. Materials should also be fun and entertaining, slightly out-of-the-box and piques their curiosity. We want to get kids to have the active learning approach as much as possible, beats us giving them a shove to make them learn.

A carrot dangling in front is always better than a whack in the bum.

And since we don’t whack bums, there’s a lot of grocery shopping for carrots on our end.

Also, we looked back at what we have done so far and what needed improving on our online notes, consolidating our knowledge and what we learnt, what worked, what didn’t and what we can do from all these past experiences. We found out we had a lot of things to improve on. Step one is here, the P6 SA2 Papers and guides. More coming.

We also had this problem with the supplementary YouTube videos, looking at quite a lot of content and picking only videos that are forward thinking and information that won’t become obsolete in a year or two. We also wanted to build content that promotes global citizenry, with environment and eco-friendly themes and the knowledge to tackle the problems that we face. Add to that, we wanted to be glocal too, by including Singaporeans that are contributing to the world.

That by far took quite a lot of time as there’s so much videos and lengthy ones at that.

Without feeling too much the laborious task we have ahead, it is quite a lot slower to produce that one paper for students to work on. But we want to do it well. Plus we have quite a pile more to go so time will become the only reason we can’t do this any faster with no detriment to quality.

Always looking on the bright side, like Eric Idle, at least we have a better framework now than last week and we have three papers done.

3 papers in 3 days.

That took 3 days so far for 3 English papers published. Shall continue the rest of the week and complete all the papers we need for our students.

Vaccination with Moderna

Our tutors qualify for vaccination. And on Thursday, one of us is going for the second jab. Here’s what has happened so far. The first shot was a Moderna taken at Marsiling CC on 1st April. Second shot is on 29th April, a whopping 4 weeks wait.

Whole process is quite simple. Book online, then appear on the allocated timing. Show your IC and they will ask a few questions. Bing! Bang! Boom! and Bob’s your Uncle… shot administered and you will find yourself sitting there for half an hour to make sure nothing bad happens. Call your name when there’s no adverse reaction half an hour later, a few more questions and a print out saying you did it.

Then, the adventure starts as the next few days, quite the eye-opener itself, you will feel your heart start pumping hard, like your blood is thicker than family, making sleep slightly staccato as the beating feels like a rabbit thumping angrily on your chest and that makes everything uncomfortable. A slight fever throughout the next few days, a sore arm for 10 days and then this tiredness with brain fog that seem to cloud thinking and making tutoring slightly hard.

Students will notice something is wrong with you, because they can feel the slight drop in performance immediately. And because we need to teach at such a high level, that drop is quite noticeable. Its like you got hacked and became economical with the truth.

Some t’s won’t be crossed, and i’s won’t be dotted. It feels like an anaesthetist did a local on you, its there, but its not kicking in hard enough to knock you out.

Also, 4 hours into the jab, there’s a lack of smell using your nose, being replaced with a metallic taste which happens to some people that got vaccinated. When you eat, you lack taste as well.

Everything turns surreal the moment you got out of the car and walked towards the vaccination centre. It all feels a bit like Alice in Wonderland, a tumble down the rabbits’ hole, masks on, jab away and” Off with the Head!”

After those Mad Hatter’s tea party that lasts 10-14 days, you’ll almost be back to normal. Almost because the sore on the arm comes and goes, and the brain fog traipse around your consciousness, with sudden memory lapses that makes you wonder if you are the mad hatter yourself.

Other than that, its quite a fun experience to feel all the effects that other people mention on the news, its like a roller coaster you hear all about and want to try it for yourself, but in this case, its stretched out over weeks. The vaccine makes you feel like you are sick, but knowing that you are really not sick makes it all feel rather bizarre, as if you are in an Edward Munch masterpiece yourself.

So second jab is tomorrow, will report back again when its all done and dusted two weeks from now. I have a feeling it will be closer to a Salvador Dali this time round. We’ll see.

1st May is a holiday. May Day!

No lessons and then the weekend will be quite fun with the Secondary Math kids.

New technology:

We have been experimenting with a whole bunch of new cameras, like DJI Pockets and Osmo Action to produce videos on YouTube to try to bring behind the scenes of what we do and how we do it. However, practice makes perfect.

Results coming back from those tests are not up to what we want it to be, will keep on trying till we are satisfied.

Updated iOS and iCloud

And, we have updated our MacBooks and iPads to the latest software and backed up all onto iCloud so all files are now in the cloud and students/tutors can get all their materials easily.

Security Camera redundancies

Last mention, the security cameras have redundancies now with multiple cameras working together in multiple locations to cover most of the classroom angles and Fanny’s your aunt!

Most of the work for the week written on this post is listed here.

Last bit: the concerns that concerns us slightly. Its slight note to ourselves so we don’t find ourselves on the back burner next year.

Here’s some of our concerns for the week.

Mid year examinations:

Depending on schools, mid year examinations are on this week, and since school systems are evolving to newer schedules, we have lesser and lesser time to prep students unless we keep evolving our own tutorials. But we anticipated quite a lot of the changes and we have done quite a few past papers with students so they have some preparedness on it.

Reasons: Mid year exams are 2-3 weeks ahead this year as compared to 2019 which makes this quite a short semester and since last year was Covid, this year seems quite advanced as the exams starts at the last week of April and students are not as well prepared for the examinations.

For us, we don’t really have a problem other than doing 2 lesser past year papers for students that started the tutorial year with us in November 2020.

That leaves newer students that joined our lessons later in first semester that will feel a bit more pressure to perform but that is a norm to be expected and we do have May and June to push forward hard and get them all up to speed.

What is a disadvantage always has a silver lining, end the exams early, and we have more time to work way faster for students to learn more for SA2, the PSLE and the GCE O’ levels. But we will take note that at the end of this year, we have to go even faster, in terms of teaching materials and attempt school papers before the last week of April, even with the anticipation we had, we think the new students will still have a slight struggle and a steeper gradient timeline than previous years.

Note to self: Look at incorporating an improved productivity workflow into our teaching.

Shall also look at newer systems that we can use to help students to learn faster. Tech or otherwise. It seems like there is a maximum speed we can go at with teaching methodology before it all breaks down, and yes, using tech might help, but when it gets 3 weeks earlier in a teaching cycle and that shorter semester in school translate to students having lesser prep time, we have to find another way to get students to study faster and still attain those high scores. Thinking hat on for this one.

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