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PSLE 2016 English Composition - Theme: A Secret


PSLE 2016 English Composition
Theme – A Secret


We have begun working on the writing and oral components of the past PSLE years. During the June holidays, we worked on the PSLE 2016 English composition – Theme: A Secret. This is one of those themes that I feel students may go out of point.  Therefore, I gave them two possible scenarios and asked them to choose which one they felt most comfortable writing about.

For those who do not have the 2016 PSLE booklet, the 3 pictures given were :

Picture 1- one student whispering to another

Picture 2 – an envelope with the word ‘Secret’ written on it

Picture 3 – a locked gate or fence

In plot 1, we used picture 1. The plot was based around 2 best friends and a secret about her family that one of them revealed to the other one. There was a promise to never divulge the secret to anyone. However, the best friend who learnt about the secret is asked to reveal it by the most popular girl in class.

In plot 2, we used picture 2. The plot was based around a child rifling through his parents belongings, looking for something. He comes across a locked box. When he questions his mother, his mother is nervous and tense. Suspecting that she is hiding a secret, the character begins his search for the key and opening the locked box, only to find an envelope with the word ‘Secret’ written on it.

Once again, I asked my students to be very clear on when and how they used the theme in their compositions.

Below is the model from one of my students. She chose plot 2, picture 2.

PRIMARY 6:  A SECRET

I rifled through some boxes in the basement, looking for some of my old baby photos.  It was my school’s Show-and-Tell day next Monday and I wanted to look for some family photos to show the class.  Just then, I found an A-four size envelope which was yellowing at the sides with age.  I opened it, only to see a note.  On it wrote, “Keep the secrets.  Hide it in the box.  Hide the key.”

I froze.  What was this secret?  What was so “deadly” about the secret that it had to be locked away in a box?  How long has this secret been kept?  A thousand thoughts swirled around in my mind.

That evening, I could not stop thinking about the secret.  So much so that I could not concentrate on my homework.  “Hide the key.”  Who could have the key?  Where could it be?  By then, I was so consumed with curiosity that I decided that I had to uncover the secret, no matter what it took.

“Sasha, what’s wrong?  Why do you look so lost in thought?”  My mother patted my head, whizzing me back to the present.  I grinned sheepishly at her.  “I was in the basement the other day and I found an envelope.  It wrote about a secret and about “hiding the key”.  Do you know what that is?”  My mother and father suddenly tensed up and exchanged knowing glances.

“That was a game we played with you when you were younger.  Don’t you remember?”  I shook my head and pretended not to suspect anything.  However, I had noticed how tense they had become when I mentioned the note.  I smelt a rat.

The first step to my “investigation” would be to find the key.  I searched the whole house. However, the search came up with nothing.  While helping my mother with the chores, something around my mother’s neck glinted in the sunlight.  Squinting, I realised that it was a key!  Jackpot!  The easy part was over, now I need to get the key.

That night, my father was working overtime.  That meant that he was going to come home near midnight.  I pretended to sleep and I waited till the glow under the door to my parents’ bedroom died out. Only then did I silently creep into the bedroom.  Surely my mother would remove the key when she went to sleep right?

Creeping stealthily, I let my eyes adjust to the darkness before heading toward the bedside table.  The moment I got the key, I scrambled out the bedroom.  Grabbing a flashlight, I headed for the basement.

Now, I could only hope the key was for the box.  The basement was as silent and dark as a graveyard on a moonless night.  However, the adrenaline from the secret propelled me forward.  I inserted the key into the slot and hoped for the best.

“Click!”  The lid of the box popped open, revealing yellowed papers.  I picked up a sheet of paper and under the glow of the torchlight, I saw a picture of my baby self.

“Annie Smith.  Born on the twenty-second of February.”  I froze.  Who was this?  My name was Sasha Lim.  I was born on the seventh of July.  I flipped to the other pages and I quickly realised I was adopted.

“Sasha, are you here?”  I heard the sound of footsteps descending on the staircase.  I wheeled around, only to see my mother standing there.  She flipped on the light switch and gasped in horror.  “Sasha, I can explain!”

My mind was in turmoil.  Should I be angry? Sad?  I could only stare at the papers in my hand.  “Why did you keep this from me?” I questioned silently.

My mother explained that she and my father had wanted to tell me years ago but they were afraid I would hate them and it would affect me badly.  Apparently I was abandoned when I was young and they took me in.

I felt rage building up in me.  How could they have kept my identity a secret for so long? However, when I saw how regretful my mother looked, the anger in me dissipated.  My mother and father had spoiled me and loved me like how any biological parent would have.  The times when my parents sacrificed so much just so that I would be happy.  Speechless, I could only hug my mother tightly.  “Thank you for loving me all these years in spite of the fact that I’m not your biological child.”  “Silly girl, you will always be my child.”

That day, though I found out that I was adopted, I felt happy.  It was like I got a second chance at having parents.  It was a good thing I had found the secret which was meant to be kept buried away as I appreciated my parents even more.

I rifled through some boxes in the basement, looking for some of my old baby photos.  It was my school’s Show-and-Tell day next Monday and I wanted to look for some family photos to show the class.  Just then, I found an A-four size envelope which was yellowing at the sides with age.  I opened it, only to see a note.  On it wrote, “Keep the secrets.  Hide it in the box.  Hide the key.”

I froze.  What was this secret?  What was so “deadly” about the secret that it had to be locked away in a box?  How long has this secret been kept?  A thousand thoughts swirled around in my mind.

That evening, I could not stop thinking about the secret.  So much so that I could not concentrate on my homework.  “Hide the key.”  Who could have the key?  Where could it be?  By then, I was so consumed with curiosity that I decided that I had to uncover the secret, no matter what it took.

“Sasha, what’s wrong?  Why do you look so lost in thought?”  My mother patted my head, whizzing me back to the present.  I grinned sheepishly at her.  “I was in the basement the other day and I found an envelope.  It wrote about a secret and about “hiding the key”.  Do you know what that is?”  My mother and father suddenly tensed up and exchanged knowing glances.

“That was a game we played with you when you were younger.  Don’t you remember?”  I shook my head and pretended not to suspect anything.  However, I had noticed how tense they had become when I mentioned the note.  I smelled a rat.

The first step to my “investigation” would be to find the key.  I searched the whole house. However, the search came up with nothing.  While helping my mother with the chores, something around my mother’s neck glinted in the sunlight.  Squinting, I realised that it was a key!  Jackpot!  The easy part was over, now I need to get the key.

That night, my father was working overtime.  That meant that he was going to come home near midnight.  I pretended to sleep and I waited till the glow under the door to my parents’ bedroom died out. Only then did I silently creep into the bedroom.  Surely my mother would remove the key when she went to sleep right?

Creeping stealthily, I let my eyes adjust to the darkness before heading toward the bedside table.  The moment I got the key, I scrambled out the bedroom.  Grabbing a flashlight, I headed for the basement.

Now, I could only hope the key was for the box.  The basement was as silent and dark as a graveyard on a moonless night.  However, the adrenaline from the secret propelled me forward.  I inserted the key into the slot and hoped for the best.

“Click!”  The lid of the box popped open, revealing yellowed papers.  I picked up a sheet of paper and under the glow of the torchlight, I saw a picture of my baby self.

“Annie Smith.  Born on the twenty-second of February.”  I froze.  Who was this?  My name was Sasha Lim.  I was born on the seventh of July.  I flipped to the other pages and I quickly realised I was adopted.

“Sasha, are you here?”  I heard the sound of footsteps descending on the staircase.  I wheeled around, only to see my mother standing there.  She flipped on the light switch and gasped in horror.  “Sasha, I can explain!”

My mind was in turmoil.  Should I be angry? Sad?  I could only stare at the papers in my hand.  “Why did you keep this from me?” I questioned silently.

My mother explained that she and my father had wanted to tell me years ago but they were afraid I would hate them and it would affect me badly.  Apparently I was abandoned when I was young and they took me in.

I felt rage building up in me.  How could they have kept my identity a secret for so long? However, when I saw how regretful my mother looked, the anger in me dissipated.  My mother and father had spoiled me and loved me like how any biological parent would have.  The times when my parents sacrificed so much just so that I would be happy.  Speechless, I could only hug my mother tightly.  “Thank you for loving me all these years in spite of the fact that I’m not your biological child.”  “Silly girl, you will always be my child.”

That day, though I found out that I was adopted, I felt happy.  It was like I got a second chance at having parents.  It was a good thing I had found the secret which was meant to be kept buried away as I appreciated my parents even more.


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