Congratulations to Ms Puah, Head of Department for Mathematics, for having received the National Day Award (The Commendation Medal, 2020)!
The LEAP Award was launched by our late President SR Nathan in 2011 and awarded by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan every year to recognise exceptional teachers who have made a positive impact in nurturing students from the heart. These teachers believe that their students have the potential to excel beyond their capabilities. The Award also aims to motivate all teachers in Singapore to strive to be nurturing and effective educators. Congratulations to Mr Goh, our Year Head for Middle Primary, for having been conferred the LEAP Award 2020!
The Academy Awards for Professional Development recognise and affirm the efforts of officers in the education service for their contributions to the professional development of officers in MOE. Mr James Han, our School Staff Developer, has been awarded the Associate of Academy of Singapore Teachers award for his contributions towards the professional development of other officers in the education service beyond his own school. Congratulations!
Our Blangahnites are ready to celebrate good neighbourliness this National Day! The Good Neighbourliness Movement aims to encourage Singaporeans and residents to make that commitment to be a Good Neighbour, breaking down physical and social barriers between neighbours. Blangahnites were given the Good Neighbour’s kit earlier this week and were encouraged to tie the red ribbon in the kit on their doorknob or gate as a commitment to be a good neighbour. Victoria, a Primary 1 student, shared that after tying the ribbon, she greeted her neighbour, “Good Morning!” She also started putting in effort to get to know her neighbour more. Similarly, Jayden said, “I started saying ‘Hi’ to my neighbours and now we play with their cat regularly.” Jayden feels by being a good neighbour, he has found a new playing partner! Aswant said, “I went to help my neighbour carry his grocery bags as he was having difficulties carrying them.” One of the simplest yet most powerful expressions of a nation’s unity is indeed good neighbourliness. Together with our Blangahnites, let’s take concrete steps to be a good neighbour this National Day weekend. Together, A Stronger Community, A United Nation!
How do we spark the joy of learning in our students? To do that, Mdm Yeo Chay Yee, who believes that her Primary 2 students are innately curious and hungry to learn, constantly explores and tries a variety of ways to make her lessons fun and interesting. For example, for Mathematics, she uses the See, Think, Wonder thinking routine to identify her students’ prior knowledge and get them curious and excited.
Her pride in her students is evident.
“The students are passionate about acquiring knowledge. They show enthusiasm in sharing their ideas with their classmates. They are able to make connections from what they have learnt in class to real-life examples,” she says.
Her student, Shu Yu, says, “I like Mdm Yeo because she is very kind. She is very patient when she guides us in our work. When I have problems, I can talk to Mdm Yeo.”
Besides making learning enjoyable, Mdm Yeo instils strong values in her students. To her, a good teacher is one who imparts values. She recognises teachable moments to help her students build character, provides a listening ear to her students and gives them advice on their problems. To build rapport and connect with her students, she takes time to write personalised notes to them and deposits them into their Emotional Bank Account in the classroom. Through this, she creates a positive class culture and gets to know her students better.
Mdm Yeo also encourages her students to build good relationships with one another. Students are encouraged to write positive messages to their classmates. Shu Yu shares, “I use the mailbox to say ‘good job’ and ‘don’t give up’ to my friends.”
Another student, Shahan, says, “I like the mailbox. I wrote a letter to my friend to thank him for helping me with my work. I was very happy when another classmate wrote a letter to me to ask if we could be friends.”
Through the Emotional Bank Account, Mdm Yeo and her students create many positive school experiences and fond memories together.
A firm believer that it takes a village to raise a child, Mdm Yeo works hard to create strong school-home partnerships. She builds trust with parents and works closely with them to help her students grow and maximise their potential. She provides regular feedback to parents on their child’s work and behavior in school. One way that she does so is by sharing her students’ achievements with their parents so that they can celebrate and recognise the efforts of the child together.
Parents appreciate her support and efforts to engage them. A grateful parent said, “Thank you for the photo of my child in class and for being such a loving and caring teacher.”
Another parent wrote, “Thank you for your encouragement, support and advice. It will motivate my child to work hard the next time.”
We would like to congratulate our Red Cross Links for achieving the Gold Excellent Unit Award for the year 2019! For the excellence that our links have displayed, our unit has once again achieved this award for the twelfth consecutive year since 2009.
As a Uniformed Group, Red Cross brings together a team of passionate individuals committed to serving the school and the community for the greater good. We instill the values of self-discipline, order and teamwork to our links. Our links were engaged in a series of activities which created opportunities for our students to acquire lifesaving skills and habits, be socially responsible citizens and display a sense of global citizenship. Through these activities, our links develop into leaders who promote the humanitarian values of the Red Cross!
Ever wondered how you can build a toy car using materials you can find at home? How do you design it to get it to travel the farthest?
During the May holidays, we invited Dr Ho Shen Yong to carry out “Project Toy Car” to engage our STEM Club students. Dr Ho is the Associate Dean (Academic) of the College of Science in NTU and Principal Lecturer in the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. He teaches Engineering Physics and was designated NTU Educator of the Year in 2018.
The students were excited to participate in the ‘Live’ Zoom session upon hearing the title of the activity – Project Toy Car. Everybody had the same question – “Are we really going to build a toy car?”
At the start of the session, Dr Ho, who believes in giving students the opportunity to think for themselves as that helps them to be challenged and motivated to learn, wanted to find out more about the students’ prior knowledge. He asked if anybody knew about Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. To his surprise, a number of students were able to respond correctly as well as provide examples about it. One of the Primary 5 members, Qihan, answered proudly, “Yes! We had learnt this during one of the STEM Club activities.”
Dr Ho shared with the students numerous advanced physics concepts. Although those concepts were not usually taught at the primary level, he made them come alive for the students by sharing their applications in daily life. Dr Ho went on to discuss various considerations for building the car by showing videos of ingenious inventions. He asked the students to think about the materials that they could use to power and propel the toy car forward.
Then came the challenge. The students had one week to create a toy car using only materials that they could find at home. There would be a competition to find out whose toy car could travel the farthest distance.
Jonathan from Primary 5 could not decide which type of energy he should harness for his design. “I’m not sure if a toy car using wind energy from an electric fan or elastic potential energy from a twisted rubber band would move further.”
His classmate, Kristelle, suggested, “Why not use both types of energy?”
Qiyu from Primary 3 had a longer list of considerations. From the interaction with Dr Ho during the session, he realised that many variables such as the size, texture and thickness of the wheels, the mass of the car, the tightness between the wheels and the axles, and thickness of the axle were factors that could affect the distance travelled by the toy car.
The students submitted videos of their prototypes, which ranged from using balloons and sails to rubber bands to power their toy car. Dr Ho looked through them and provided individual feedback to the students. For some, he suggested adding rubbery tape around the circumference of the wheels or adding a weight to help improve the grip with the ground (desired friction). At the same time, he noticed that undesired friction was created for some of the cars, for example, when the wooden stick axle connecting the wheels was rubbing against the styrofoam body of the car. He also gave other suggestions to improve the design, such as aligning the wheels for smoother motion and controlling the release of the energy by slowing down the uncoiling of the rubber band.
Dr Ho shared, “It was a fun experience explaining Science and Technology to primary school children. Probably until we try to create or make something, we will not see the challenges. This toy car project is an opportunity to learn about Science and also learn about learning. It is important that the children have taken a first step, as ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ – no matter how small the first step is. We also often just look at the end product but not the hard work in the process, but ‘all things are difficult before they are easy’.”
To bring home the point that we should persevere and not be afraid to learn from failure, Dr Ho shared a video, “Early Flying Failures Stock Footage”. The airplane that we take for granted today had gone through many iterations and the early inventors did not give up despite not succeeding at first.
As our students work on improving the design of their toy cars, may they also embrace the spirit of trying and improving an important part of the learning process!