Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Observations

I got observed thrice today cos of backlogs, holidays etc.  Everything went quite smoothly.  When it all ended, the adrenaline that kept me going slowly but surely faded away so I walked to the field to watch the floorboard game (street hockey).  I took a stick, called out to the referee, who was looking rather serious, and who happened to be my friend the PE teacher, and pointed to the stick and called out at him as he blew the final whistle; he looked quizzically at me, so I shouted, “kayu” .  The students had a good laugh.  And he thought he was king.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Observations

I got observed thrice today cos of backlogs, holidays etc.  Everything went quite smoothly.  When it all ended, the adrenaline that kept me going slowly but surely faded away so I walked to the field to watch the floorboard game (street hockey).  I took a stick, called out to the referee, who was looking rather serious, and who happened to be my friend the PE teacher, and pointed to the stick and called out at him as he blew the final whistle; he looked quizzically at me, so I shouted, “kayu” .  The students had a good laugh.  And he thought he was king.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tadpoles and frogs

Bringing something live to class just gets the class pretty excited.  Lots of questions asked.  What do they eat, how they breathe, how big can the frogs grow? etc etc.  I teased them about not knowing where to catch tadpoles from.  Its seems none of them have ever gone tadpole-catching.  They were pretty embarrassed about it.  I had the upper hand for that moment and was “cooler” than the kids to know longkang tactics which was disbursed in much detail.  Well, the frogs and tadpoles were part of an activity to emphasise the change of excreting ammonia in a tadpole to urea in a frog as nitrogenous waste.  Ammonia is more toxic so an aquatic environment would suit it as it gets dissolved, diluted and diffused away and urea is less toxic so is better suited for a quasi-terrestrial frog.  Some of the kids took back  souvenir froglets to keep as pets and apparently this caused some disruptions in their other subject classes as it roused the curiosity of the other kids.  Biology is just such a wonderful subject.

Tadpoles and frogs

Bringing something live to class just gets the class pretty excited.  Lots of questions asked.  What do they eat, how they breathe, how big can the frogs grow? etc etc.  I teased them about not knowing where to catch tadpoles from.  Its seems none of them have ever gone tadpole-catching.  They were pretty embarrassed about it.  I had the upper hand for that moment and was “cooler” than the kids to know longkang tactics which was disbursed in much detail.  Well, the frogs and tadpoles were part of an activity to emphasise the change of excreting ammonia in a tadpole to urea in a frog as nitrogenous waste.  Ammonia is more toxic so an aquatic environment would suit it as it gets dissolved, diluted and diffused away and urea is less toxic so is better suited for a quasi-terrestrial frog.  Some of the kids took back  souvenir froglets to keep as pets and apparently this caused some disruptions in their other subject classes as it roused the curiosity of the other kids.  Biology is just such a wonderful subject.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

ooohhff..bollocks


ooohh..bollocks
Originally uploaded by lekowala.

Avogadro's Box

A while back, I had the most daunting task of teaching the kids the Mole concept in Chemistry.  I decided that they should spend some time making a box that was 24 dm3.  The sides are roughly 28.3 cm3.  “Hey”, I thought, “this will really make them understand that I mole of any gas at room temperature and pressure equals  24 dm3 and they can visualise it some more.” What an excellent idea huh?  I had planned for them to take 15 mins to do the box but in the end it took them a good half an hour.  Finally, this is really concrete operational, the concept should sink in.  Well I was in for quite a ride after that.  Kenah have 5 hours of remedial lessons with the kids to iron out the concepts and one student asked me, after the 3rd lesson on the mole: Cher.. What is one mole huh?”  I have threatened to cut a hole in the box to put it over any student’s head who can’t give me answers to molar volumes of gases questions.  Well so far its been okay.  Most have passed their test on the mole.

ooohhff..bollocks


ooohh..bollocks
Originally uploaded by lekowala.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Avogadro's Box

A while back, I had the most daunting task of teaching the kids the Mole concept in Chemistry.  I decided that they should spend some time making a box that was 24 dm3.  The sides are roughly 28.3 cm3.  “Hey”, I thought, “this will really make them understand that I mole of any gas at room temperature and pressure equals  24 dm3 and they can visualise it some more.” What an excellent idea huh?  I had planned for them to take 15 mins to do the box but in the end it took them a good half an hour.  Finally, this is really concrete operational, the concept should sink in.  Well I was in for quite a ride after that.  Kenah have 5 hours of remedial lessons with the kids to iron out the concepts and one student asked me, after the 3rd lesson on the mole: Cher.. What is one mole huh?”  I have threatened to cut a hole in the box to put it over any student’s head who can’t give me answers to molar volumes of gases questions.  Well so far its been okay.  Most have passed their test on the mole.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Fireworks and Pak

I remember my Pak used to bring us to the padang to watch the fireworks and he would reminisce that my elder sis and I would start jumping around like monkeys once the fireworks went off.  Today, along with my mom and pak, we drove down to Marina South for the Fireworks festival.  Two things are vivid in my mind.  The beautiful fireworks set off in the night sky and being glad that the kids got to see it and enjoy it.  The other was my father holding on to Matt.  I didn’t realise how much they resembled each other (though Jen has always mentioned this fact) until I held the glass door of the shopping centre open for them.  I said wide-eyed, “hey, guess what, Matt looks like my father”.  Jen of course rolls her eyes.  Matt was also very pally with him tonight and even tugged at his shoulder while in my arms to be carried by him.  Odd behaviour indeed.

The night before my dad had to go for his colorectal op, he was watering the plants in the garden.  I was dishing out some rice.  He called to me and I went to the porch with my plate of rice in hand.  I squatted down and he wanted to give me some instructions before he went for the op.  He told me to take care of my younger sister (especially against men/dogs) and told me to study all the way.  That meant I kenah finish the thesis.  I was by that time quite jaded.  Anyway, I always thought that the hot plate of steaming rice over which those words were parted to me, lent it some air of importance, ceremony.

The next day, after many weeks of coming to terms with the prognosis, and making his peace with God, he walked into the operating room, refusing to be wheeled in.  Of course he is fine today, thank God.





Sunday, August 14, 2005

Fireworks and Pak

I remember my Pak used to bring us to the padang to watch the fireworks and he would reminisce that my elder sis and I would start jumping around like monkeys once the fireworks went off.  Today, along with my mom and pak, we drove down to Marina South for the Fireworks festival.  Two things are vivid in my mind.  The beautiful fireworks set off in the night sky and being glad that the kids got to see it and enjoy it.  The other was my father holding on to Matt.  I didn’t realise how much they resembled each other (though Jen has always mentioned this fact) until I held the glass door of the shopping centre open for them.  I said wide-eyed, “hey, guess what, Matt looks like my father”.  Jen of course rolls her eyes.  Matt was also very pally with him tonight and even tugged at his shoulder while in my arms to be carried by him.  Odd behaviour indeed.

The night before my dad had to go for his colorectal op, he was watering the plants in the garden.  I was dishing out some rice.  He called to me and I went to the porch with my plate of rice in hand.  I squatted down and he wanted to give me some instructions before he went for the op.  He told me to take care of my younger sister (especially against men/dogs) and told me to study all the way.  That meant I kenah finish the thesis.  I was by that time quite jaded.  Anyway, I always thought that the hot plate of steaming rice over which those words were parted to me, lent it some air of importance, ceremony.

The next day, after many weeks of coming to terms with the prognosis, and making his peace with God, he walked into the operating room, refusing to be wheeled in.  Of course he is fine today, thank God.





Friday, August 12, 2005

Demons be gone

Yesterday evening, as I was stirring sugar in my cuppa,  I found myself wrestling some demons in my head that had popped out of nowhere to screw my mind up.  It happens from time to time.  I was wondering what the heck I was doing with my life.  Joshua comes into the kitchen and opens the fridge door (his head just about reaches over my hips, just right for headbutts-into-groin-see-papa-jump maneuvers).  The door separates us and he takes a sip from his evian mineral water bottle and peeks at me through the gap of the hinged door, smiles at me and says, "Papa, I love you".  Takes a sip again and closes the fridge door.

Demons be gone...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Demons be gone

Yesterday evening, as I was stirring sugar in my cuppa,  I found myself wrestling some demons in my head that had popped out of nowhere to screw my mind up.  It happens from time to time.  I was wondering what the heck I was doing with my life.  Joshua comes into the kitchen and opens the fridge door (his head just about reaches over my hips, just right for headbutts-into-groin-see-papa-jump maneuvers).  The door separates us and he takes a sip from his evian mineral water bottle and peeks at me through the gap of the hinged door, smiles at me and says, "Papa, I love you".  Takes a sip again and closes the fridge door.

Demons be gone...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

National Day at the beach

Today we spent the day at east coast beach hoping to catch the fireworks later in the night.  But what happened at the carpark left a bitter taste in my mouth.  We had parked outside the parking lot along a narrow road but on seeing that there were two lots suddenly available, I asked Jen to go reserve it cos it seemed quite hazardous to lug two small kids with bicycles on tow with little space between us and the fast cars.  I headed to the car, made a long u-turn to see that Jen was frantically waving at me to hurry.  There was a family, a rather overweight man, his overweight wife and lovely kid and maid.  They were looking in our direction, unhappy that Jen had reserved the place earlier.  What was shocking was when the man had driven up towards the lot in which Jen was standing in, holding our 18 month old son and standing her ground and waving the man not to drive in, the man drove and lunged the pickup truck towards her in a threatening manner.  Jen then saw another lot available and waved the family there.  Still, after the man parked his vehicle, the wife was looking at Jen and complaining loudly (the thanks people give!).  This all happened while I was still making my way to the parking lot.  As soon as I parked the car, I looked over to the family, wondering what Jen was gesturing about (Jen was now complaining as loudly as the other woman, oh no I thought, sticky situation arising).  Still confused I looked towards the direction of the man and woman, trying my best to get appraised of the situation.  Somehow, the looking made the woman and her overweight husband quiet suddenly.  I must really look like an Ah Beng.  Jen was still going on though.  I told her that I was happy she stood her ground.  She reminded me of Kasturbai.

Later, we discussed the situation by the sandy beach.  On reflection, I wondered what made the man, lunge his vehicle forward so threateningly towards a woman (small one at that) holding a toddler (a cute one at that) in her arms; the very epitome of motherhood and all that is good, and on National Day somemore (KNN).  Can’t be “choping” a parking lot so serious to warrant such a behaviour.  Well, God help him.  I hope he sees the picture of Mother Mary holding the baby Jesus and may his guilt eat at his very heart so that he will donate more money and services to the good of his fellow man.  I hope his wife, kid or maid doesn’t have to bear with any of such outbursts of the “small” man with the overcompensatingly big car.... Barnacles!  On my part,  I must remember not to chope parking lot anymore and if I do, I shall bring a dustbin along to do that.

On a more spirited note, we enjoyed a very breezy day at the beach and the highlight of it was the 2 helicopters with the very big Singapore flags flying past very close to shore, witnessed by the kids.  Jen and Josh broke out into a Mari Kita.  He has been learning that in play school.

        

National Day at the beach

Today we spent the day at east coast beach hoping to catch the fireworks later in the night.  But what happened at the carpark left a bitter taste in my mouth.  We had parked outside the parking lot along a narrow road but on seeing that there were two lots suddenly available, I asked Jen to go reserve it cos it seemed quite hazardous to lug two small kids with bicycles on tow with little space between us and the fast cars.  I headed to the car, made a long u-turn to see that Jen was frantically waving at me to hurry.  There was a family, a rather overweight man, his overweight wife and lovely kid and maid.  They were looking in our direction, unhappy that Jen had reserved the place earlier.  What was shocking was when the man had driven up towards the lot in which Jen was standing in, holding our 18 month old son and standing her ground and waving the man not to drive in, the man drove and lunged the pickup truck towards her in a threatening manner.  Jen then saw another lot available and waved the family there.  Still, after the man parked his vehicle, the wife was looking at Jen and complaining loudly (the thanks people give!).  This all happened while I was still making my way to the parking lot.  As soon as I parked the car, I looked over to the family, wondering what Jen was gesturing about (Jen was now complaining as loudly as the other woman, oh no I thought, sticky situation arising).  Still confused I looked towards the direction of the man and woman, trying my best to get appraised of the situation.  Somehow, the looking made the woman and her overweight husband quiet suddenly.  I must really look like an Ah Beng.  Jen was still going on though.  I told her that I was happy she stood her ground.  She reminded me of Kasturbai.

Later, we discussed the situation by the sandy beach.  On reflection, I wondered what made the man, lunge his vehicle forward so threateningly towards a woman (small one at that) holding a toddler (a cute one at that) in her arms; the very epitome of motherhood and all that is good, and on National Day somemore (KNN).  Can’t be “choping” a parking lot so serious to warrant such a behaviour.  Well, God help him.  I hope he sees the picture of Mother Mary holding the baby Jesus and may his guilt eat at his very heart so that he will donate more money and services to the good of his fellow man.  I hope his wife, kid or maid doesn’t have to bear with any of such outbursts of the “small” man with the overcompensatingly big car.... Barnacles!  On my part,  I must remember not to chope parking lot anymore and if I do, I shall bring a dustbin along to do that.

On a more spirited note, we enjoyed a very breezy day at the beach and the highlight of it was the 2 helicopters with the very big Singapore flags flying past very close to shore, witnessed by the kids.  Jen and Josh broke out into a Mari Kita.  He has been learning that in play school.

        

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

National Day Celebrations

National Day celebrations in school are one of a kind.  Even Jen told me that I would enjoy myself singing “Stand up for Singapore”.  So paiseh but all the teachers were up on stage singing away (some were unabashedly boogeying to National day music) and the students were waving their hands and singing along.  The heartland never felt so energetic.  I had a good time once again and participated in the School’s “Idol” contest.  A PE teacher and I did some retro stuff and I played the guitar.... We sang Richard Marx lah and Ronan Keating... damn void deck.  I think my partner enjoyed himself so much he actually said to me that he always wanted to sing, he actually joined the Singapore Idol contest but was a few months over the age limit, yahder yahder yahder....  I brought him back down to earth by looking at him and laughing in his face and shaking my head...  Half an hour later, he was on the quadrangle busy playing a teachers-student game of captains’ ball.  Hey every dog has its day...

Monday, August 08, 2005

National Day Celebrations

National Day celebrations in school are one of a kind.  Even Jen told me that I would enjoy myself singing “Stand up for Singapore”.  So paiseh but all the teachers were up on stage singing away (some were unabashedly boogeying to National day music) and the students were waving their hands and singing along.  The heartland never felt so energetic.  I had a good time once again and participated in the School’s “Idol” contest.  A PE teacher and I did some retro stuff and I played the guitar.... We sang Richard Marx lah and Ronan Keating... damn void deck.  I think my partner enjoyed himself so much he actually said to me that he always wanted to sing, he actually joined the Singapore Idol contest but was a few months over the age limit, yahder yahder yahder....  I brought him back down to earth by looking at him and laughing in his face and shaking my head...  Half an hour later, he was on the quadrangle busy playing a teachers-student game of captains’ ball.  Hey every dog has its day...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Shooting the breeze

Today at the lab I gave a test to the students.  They ended early so they had 15 minutes more and some of they kids said “cher, talk, tell us something interesting leh...”  I told them that they were really sweet to have been so responsive during my observation; the kind kids actually figured out I was being graded after a while  and tried their best to be model students.  Although at times my nerves undermined my delivery of the lesson.  So there we all were in the lab and I asked them to think of the question that one of the students had asked.  “What happens if we hold our breath, will we use up all the oxygen”  what genius, what a wonderful question but during my observation, all I could say was “let me think about it and I will get back to you  on that”.  Shoot me.  My sup pointed this out kindly after that although she did say it was a very well prepared lesson.  But shoot me.  So today, in the lab in a more relaxed environment and having made sure I opened all the windows to ventilate the room*, we addressed that question.  I asked the students if it was possible to hold their breath till they passed out.  We had a good time doing that.  And of course we can’t do that cos carbon dioxide will start to accumulate and this will be the main stimulus for us to catch our breath again.  We went on to talk about hyperventilating and I related a story of how my cousin did that during my grandfather’s funeral and I had to get her to breathe into a plastic bag.  In the few months that I have been teaching these Sec 3 kids, I realised that no powerpoint, no demonstration and no animation can beat the power of a good question.  It really taught us – me the trainee teacher and the kids something.  As usual the time just flew by and the moment was lived.

*When you step into your classroom each morning, throw open whatever doors and windows you can and take a breath of fresh air.  Not only will you be ready for the challenges of your day, but it will fill your classroom with fresh vital energy your students need to succeed.

- from the book Feng Shui for the Classroom

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Shooting the breeze

Today at the lab I gave a test to the students.  They ended early so they had 15 minutes more and some of they kids said “cher, talk, tell us something interesting leh...”  I told them that they were really sweet to have been so responsive during my observation; the kind kids actually figured out I was being graded after a while  and tried their best to be model students.  Although at times my nerves undermined my delivery of the lesson.  So there we all were in the lab and I asked them to think of the question that one of the students had asked.  “What happens if we hold our breath, will we use up all the oxygen”  what genius, what a wonderful question but during my observation, all I could say was “let me think about it and I will get back to you  on that”.  Shoot me.  My sup pointed this out kindly after that although she did say it was a very well prepared lesson.  But shoot me.  So today, in the lab in a more relaxed environment and having made sure I opened all the windows to ventilate the room*, we addressed that question.  I asked the students if it was possible to hold their breath till they passed out.  We had a good time doing that.  And of course we can’t do that cos carbon dioxide will start to accumulate and this will be the main stimulus for us to catch our breath again.  We went on to talk about hyperventilating and I related a story of how my cousin did that during my grandfather’s funeral and I had to get her to breathe into a plastic bag.  In the few months that I have been teaching these Sec 3 kids, I realised that no powerpoint, no demonstration and no animation can beat the power of a good question.  It really taught us – me the trainee teacher and the kids something.  As usual the time just flew by and the moment was lived.

*When you step into your classroom each morning, throw open whatever doors and windows you can and take a breath of fresh air.  Not only will you be ready for the challenges of your day, but it will fill your classroom with fresh vital energy your students need to succeed.

- from the book Feng Shui for the Classroom

Kind Nature

Wumpfh..!!.  

Me: Hey Mdm Y, why you not happy ah? I said jokingly.  
Mdm Y: No lah, just swatting a fly.
Me: (on closer inspecting of the injured insect).  Eh, its one of those wasp that parasitises on cockroaches lah.... Mdm Y, its on OUR side.  Its not dead yet... I think I will rehab it.
Mdm Y:  (now feeling quite bad)  Hiyah, it should have worn a jersey saying its on our side
Another teacher: Yah, like HOME TEAM

Raucous laughter..

An hour later after the wasp goes through rehab in a vial on my desk, I decided it should partake in the education of some fine students.  It got to stay in the upper part of a test-tube and on the lower end is bicarbonate indicator with a wire gauze separating the solution and the wasp.  A few hours later the indicator turns yellow from the carbon dioxide that has dissolved in it, suggesting respiration has occurred.  This is all recorded on film.  Problem is, I didn't have a vial without a wasp as control... so the damn indicator could have turned colour even without the wasp as a matter of time.  The wasp is then let go and flies away, recuperated from the hard whack.  Thank you wasp.

Childhood Fish tank trick does the job

Had to teach the cohesion-tension theory of how water travels up the xylem.  So I used the old fish tank trick of using a tube to suck in water from a higher container and letting it flow into a lower one.  The continuous flow of water caused by the cohesion of water molecules and the tension of the water pulling on to the lower container amused the students as the container was subsequently emptied (some had predicted that it wouldn’t be emptied).  I was quite surprised that a majority of them had not seen this done.  Where is the childhood pastime of keeping fish gone... Either that or they now use pumps or have neopets.  Of course there is a humbling experience in all this as usual, praise the Lord.  One student ask why if he sucked on a straw from a cup, the water wouldn’t flow out like a fountain....  Gravity pulls one down to earth.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Kind Nature

Wumpfh..!!.  

Me: Hey Mdm Y, why you not happy ah? I said jokingly.  
Mdm Y: No lah, just swatting a fly.
Me: (on closer inspecting of the injured insect).  Eh, its one of those wasp that parasitises on cockroaches lah.... Mdm Y, its on OUR side.  Its not dead yet... I think I will rehab it.
Mdm Y:  (now feeling quite bad)  Hiyah, it should have worn a jersey saying its on our side
Another teacher: Yah, like HOME TEAM

Raucous laughter..

An hour later after the wasp goes through rehab in a vial on my desk, I decided it should partake in the education of some fine students.  It got to stay in the upper part of a test-tube and on the lower end is bicarbonate indicator with a wire gauze separating the solution and the wasp.  A few hours later the indicator turns yellow from the carbon dioxide that has dissolved in it, suggesting respiration has occurred.  This is all recorded on film.  Problem is, I didn't have a vial without a wasp as control... so the damn indicator could have turned colour even without the wasp as a matter of time.  The wasp is then let go and flies away, recuperated from the hard whack.  Thank you wasp.

Childhood Fish tank trick does the job

Had to teach the cohesion-tension theory of how water travels up the xylem.  So I used the old fish tank trick of using a tube to suck in water from a higher container and letting it flow into a lower one.  The continuous flow of water caused by the cohesion of water molecules and the tension of the water pulling on to the lower container amused the students as the container was subsequently emptied (some had predicted that it wouldn’t be emptied).  I was quite surprised that a majority of them had not seen this done.  Where is the childhood pastime of keeping fish gone... Either that or they now use pumps or have neopets.  Of course there is a humbling experience in all this as usual, praise the Lord.  One student ask why if he sucked on a straw from a cup, the water wouldn’t flow out like a fountain....  Gravity pulls one down to earth.