The P4s are in the second month of their school year and some students have begun writing compositions in school. For some, (depending on the school and how the teacher guides them), the transition may be a smooth and somewhat painless one.
What do the P4s need to pay attention to when working on compositions this year?
The theme is now extremely important. If the theme is not used relevantly, then the student can fail the composition.
Students need to read the theme and keep it in mind during the planning stage. They should make sure to mention the theme in their paragraphs and at the end of their compositions.
Gone are the linked pictures and in place are 3 random pictures, which is the PSLE format.
Students need to select one, two or all the pictures and weave them in their story while keeping in mind the theme asked. It sounds easier than it is. Choosing the correct picture/pictures and integrating it/them in the story may require some practice for new P4 students.
3. Pictures and Theme
This can be tricky. Students may select one picture and write a story based on this picture alone, forgetting the theme stated.
For example, the theme given is on A Decision. The three pictures given are A Birthday Cake, A group of children and A present.
A student may use the pictures and write about a birthday party, forgetting entirely about the theme – making a decision. If the theme is to be used relevantly the protagonist of the story should face a dilemma at some point and make a decision.
Below is a model composition taken from one of my P4 students who has been with me since the start of her P3 year. Last week, our P4s worked on the theme of A Dangerous Situation (A Fire).
At the start of every year, we provide quite a lot of guidance to our P2 – P4 students, especially in the planning stage. This sets the tone for expectations for our writing component. As last week was the last lesson of the month, I decided to test the students on their ability to plan and write on their own. Helping phrases based on ‘A Fire’ was given. The 3 pictures given were A Fire, A girl crying and A fire truck.
I chose this model composition because the student has used the theme clearly and relevantly in her composition. Aside from descriptive phrases, she has also used dialogue and personal thought, two techniques that we teach our students to use. She made hardly any grammatical mistakes, though I asked her to add a few sentences to make sure that the plot was clear.
As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day. Writing a good composition consistently takes time and practice. P4 students should be reminded of the importance of using the pictures and theme relevantly in their writing this year.
Model composition P4:
A dangerous situation (A fire)
Oooh, what’s this? I asked myself. It was a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon and my parents were not home. They were out for lunch, leaving me in the care of my older brother and sister. I was lounging around in my bedroom when I saw a strange-looking box. I grabbed the box eagerly and noticed that it was a matchbox. My mother must have accidentally left it in my room the other day.
Since I am feeling bored in my room, why not play with the matchsticks? I thought to myself gleefully.
Opening the box, I saw colourful matchsticks and immediately took one out. I lit it up almost immediately and accidentally burnt my finger.
Owww! I winced in pain. I threw the lit matchstick and rushed to the bathroom to apply some ointment to the horrible pain.
While I was in the bathroom, I heard the fire alarm in our house and my siblings screaming, “Get out! There’s a fire!”
I soon realised what I had done when I saw my bedroom engulfed in smoke and flames. I quickly ran to the main door but while running, I tripped and fell.
A wall of fire shot fifty metres into the air and the roar grew louder and louder, consuming everything in its path. It was coming towards me. I looked back and froze, saying my last goodbye to the world as I thought I was going to die. This dangerous situation that I was involved in was a horrible nightmare!
Then, my sister pulled me up and shouted, “Do you want to die or stay alive? Get up now!”
I regained my senses and did not lose courage. I got up and continued to run out of the door.
Luckily my siblings and I made it out safely. I gasped for air and looked through our clear glass door. My brother dialled 995 and then my parents. He told them about the dangerous situation and my parents gasped in shock. They said that they would be on their way. Not long after, the firefighters and my parents arrived at the scene. The firemen rushed in and battled the fire furiously to save our house, hosing down its walls with water.
After the fire was put out, my parents reprimanded me, “Why did you play with matchsticks? Didn’t I tell you that playing with fire is dangerous? Look at our house!”
There was no use crying over spilt milk. This dangerous situation had taught me an important lesson, not to play with fire again.
Primary 4 English tuition class schedule
|Day||Start time||End time|
|Tuesday||3.00 pm||5.00 pm|
|Thursday||3.00 pm||5.00 pm|