Category Archives for English Enrichment Resource

Horrible Homonyms (Part 2)

Horrible Homonyms (Part 2)

Previously, we discussed homophones, which are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things. This month, we'll be looking at homographs, which are words that are spelled in the same way, but mean different things.

For instance, the word cap could refer to a limit on something, or to a kind of hat. In the exercise below, match the homograph with the right sentences! Be careful, some sentences share the same homograph!

(a) bear, (b) minute, (c) bow, (d). fine, (e) wound

1. If you litter, you might have to pay a ______.

2. Tim is very conscientious; he takes care of even the most ______ details.

3. Hilda could not ______ to tell Joe the news of his dog passing away.

4. He ______ his clock up before going to bed.

5. After the performance, all the ballerinas took a ______.

6. "Help! A large grizzly ______ is chasing us!"

7. People often say that there is a ______ line between love and hate.

8. Charles ran to the nurse to get his ______ bandaged up.

9. "Do you have a ______ to spare? I would like to share with you what happened earlier."

10. Jenny loved wearing her bright pink ______ on her head.

Answers:

1. d,   2. b,   3. a,   4. e,   5. c,   6. a,   7. d,   8. e,   9. b,   10. c

Are you ready for the PSLE?

We are pleased to announce that we have a FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp! In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

Horrible Homonyms

Horrible Homonyms

Homonyms are a special category of words where the words can either sound the same but are spelled differently (homophones), or spelled the same but mean different things (homographs). Homophones are words like "bear" and "bare" which students tend to mix up in their writing. 

Exercise: Choose the right word from the following pairs of homophones. (Answers are at the bottom of the exercise.)

1. The baby (bald/bawled) when his bottle was taken away from him. 

2. "Oh no! I'm going to be late for my (lessen/lesson)."

3. Tom was so angry with Darla that he (seized/ceased) her toy unicorn from her.

4. The cloth was so (sheer/shear) that you could see right through it. 

5. HMS Victory is a famous (navel/naval) ship that was instrumental in the Battle of Trafalgar.

6. He pulled the line (taut/taught) and settled comfortably on the hammock.

7. A (fowl/foul) smell filled the air as they yanked off the sewer lid.

8. Daniel was too (tyred/tired) to shower when he reached home and plopped onto his bed instead.

9. Tricia raced to reach the airport on time but alas; it was all in (vain/vein).

10. "Could you (pair/pare) the (pear/pair) of (pares/pears) for me please?'

Answers:

1. bawled, 2. lesson, 3. seized, 4. sheer, 5. naval, 6. taut, 7. foul, 8. tired 9. vain, 10. pare/ pair/ pears

Are you ready for the PSLE?

We are pleased to announce that we have a FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp! In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

How to Use the Apostrophe

How to Use the Apostrophe

We use the apostrophe in two cases: 

1. When we want to show possession. Eg. The cat belongs to Jack. This is Jack's cat.

Confusion arises when the proper noun that is possessive ends with an 's'. Do we write-

(a) This is James' cat. or (b) This is James's cat.

It turns out, both are acceptable. However, if there are multiple Jameses, the apostrophe has to be placed at the end.

Eg. Both Jameses' cats have nine lives. Not - Both Jameses's cats have nine lives.

2. When we are writing short forms (contractions)

Eg. Will not = Won't/ Until = 'till/ I am = I'm/ Let's = Let us/ It's = It is/ It has

Be extra careful about the correct usage of it's and its. To show possession of the pronoun "it", we do not use an apostrophe.

Eg. The cat scratched its own owner. Not - The cat scratched it's own owner.

Start preparing for the PSLE now

Have you subscribed to our FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp? Students from Primary 3 and up can benefit from this course.

In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

Crispy rendang chicken, anyone?

Crispy rendang chicken, anyone?


At Creative Campus, our curriculum is tailored to include a healthy dose of current affairs. Besides tackling real-life issues, we ensure that our students know how to source for relevant clues in a given question, so that they can arrive at the correct answer every time. Here’s a short passage to test your skills in Comprehension Cloze.
Scroll down for the answers at the bottom of this page.

Gregg Wallace cooked up an international (1) ________ when he eliminated a Malaysian contestant based on the chicken rendang she presented on a television contest. The iconic delicacy is usually slow cooked in a coconut-based curry gravy. It is meant to be tender and moist.

“The chicken skin is not (2) ________. It can’t be eaten,” he declared on MasterChef UK.

Wallace’s controversial remarks on the reality television show sparked an online (3) ________. Even the British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vicki Treadell, warned that he should not confuse the traditional dish with fried chicken, which is often served with nasi lemak (coconut rice). Wallace has since added fuel to the (4) ________ on his Twitter account. Many are up in (5) ________ over his Twitter feed that signed off with “Namaste”, a greeting native in India, while suggesting that the dish was from Indonesia.

(6) ­________ the saga, Wallace has been busy backpedalling, “I didn’t mean it should be fried, like fried chicken. What I (7) ________ was it wasn’t cooked. It was white and flabby.”

Read more details on the #chickenrendang saga here.

Answers to Comprehension Cloze

Did you get all the answers to the cloze passage above?
1. storm
2. crispy
3. furore
4. fire
5. arms
6. Since
7. meant

Start preparing for the PSLE now

Have you subscribed to our FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp? Students from Primary 3 and up can benefit from this course.

In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

How to use ‘Who’ and ‘Whom’

How to Use 'Who' and 'Whom'

Many are often confused by the correct usage of the words "who", "whom" and "whose"; particularly "whom".

Interestingly, the word "whom" is not commonly used in modern spoken English, but rather in the formal written form. Generally, it is safer to use "Who" if one is unsure, since the use of "whom" can be limiting.

The difference between these two relative pronouns is that "who" is used in the subject position of a sentence or phrase, whereas "whom" can only be used in the object position, or after a preposition. 

Sounds technical? Click here for a clearer picture.

Start preparing for the PSLE now

Have you subscribed to our FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp? Students from Primary 3 and up can benefit from this course.

In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

The Benefits of Journal Writing

The Benefits of Journal Writing

Journal entries are pivotal for improving writing and honing a student's personal voice. A skilled storyteller can reflect on his records and use them as fodder for his essay writings. Here are some benefits of writing a diary or a journal, especially for students.

1. Confidence Building

Unlike assigned writing, journal writing does not have the pressure of an audience. It can be totally uninhibited, confessional and honest. Journal writing lets fledgling writers practice without fear. Research shows that it takes at least 28 repetitions of a concept or skills before it is solidified in the brain. It helps if the writer learns a specific writing technique and then consciously apply the skills while writing the journal. Over time, through adequate self-review, the writer can nail down the techniques and apply them in his work accurately.

2. Better Self Understanding

Like any form of artistic expression, journal writing is a process of self-discovery. Important issues or ideas that lay dormant in the subconscious may resurface during free writing, whereby one writes without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. Writing is therapeutic, and hence, cathartic. Hidden strengths are revealed in the prose, helping one to build character and grow.

3. Entertainment

Journal writing can include drawings, sketches, doodles and polaroids to make the process interesting. The writings can also tie-in with the writer's hobbies and sometimes, help the writer to make a living.

For example, many food connoisseurs write food blogs (a form of public journal writing) to chronicle their experiences. In 2002, Julie Powell channeled her love of cooking into setting up a blog where she documented her daily thoughts while cooking each of the 542 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. As a result, Powell became a published author and a Hollywood film based on her blog, Julie and Julia, was made. Even Doctor Leslie Tay, famed for his "ieatishootipost" blog, is renowned for his insight on the Singaporean cuisine.


With the plethora of benefits of journal writing, try it out as part of your new year resolution. Who knows, you might just end up loving it.  

Start preparing for the PSLE now

Have you subscribed to our FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp? Students from Primary 3 and up can benefit from this course.

In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

The Importance of Reading

The Importance of Reading

As the exam period comes to an end this month, students will finally be able to find time to do the things they like. Hopefully, they find time to indulge in one of the most timeless hobbies- Reading. 

Other than being the most effective ways to improve one's proficiency in any language, reading also reaps a myriad of other benefits.

1. Be Well-Informed

The accrual of knowledge is most commonly accomplished by the act of reading. No one is born with information readily available in his head. Even the most intelligent person needs to fill his mind with meaningful data before he can analyse and express an opinion on a subject. Being the most information dense of all media, it is no wonder print continue to be the most common tool for learning.

2. Improve concentration and mental capabilities

The cognitive process of reading forces the mind to focus and think. Reading is quite simply a process of drawing meaning from a line of symbols (the alphabet). It is impossible not to think while reading. The same way how games and puzzles sharpen the mind, reading helps increase brain power and improves memory. 

3. Boost Self-Esteem

People who are illiterate suffer from low self esteem. They miss out on the joys of being able to text on the phone, understand an award winning foreign movie, singing karaoke, buying the correct toiletries... the list goes on. Most importantly, being able to read well is a prerequisite to getting a better education. When one gets a good education, it is more likely that he will do better in life, and ultimately feel better about himself.


Start preparing for the PSLE this holidays

We are pleased to announce that we have a FREE 2-week PSLE English Boot Camp! In the Boot Camp, students will benefit from Videos and Practice Papers on alternating days. The Videos teach vital grammar rules and commonly mistaken word pairs, while the Practice Papers pertain to the key PSLE English Paper 2 components.

Sign up today to receive our FREE 2-week Boot Camp in your inbox daily.

"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader."- Margaret Fuller

Please click the links below for book recommendations:

Recommended 2017 book list for children

Booker Prize Winners (1968 to present)

Guardian 2017 Booklist for Children

General Paper 2017: A Post Mortem

General Paper 2017: A Post Mortem

2017 GP Results

Each year, when the General Paper exams loom, my emotions are a tumult of excitement and anxiety: excitement because I absolutely love the challenge posed in the GP exams. As an educator, GP delights me no end as the questions indeed require students to think and evaluate critically, and write cogently on a myriad of current-day issues. So, to be able to navigate the GP papers well is a relevant skill today.

The anxiety arises because I know how hard my students and I have worked over the course of 2 years in preparation for the exams, and, of course I want them to do well--hence the inevitable nerves.

My cohort of students come from different JCs, with varying grasps of GP. I'm not looking for As across the board, but I am expecting improvements in scores as a reflection of their effort put into the subject.

Still, GP2017 is now done and dusted. I've checked in with my students and now weigh in on General Paper 2017...

Paper 1 was a fair paper, offering a good mix of topics for candidates to choose from. 

The ever popular science and technology-related questions took a back seat this year, though Q2--on the use of animals for scientific research--is fairly accessible to most. Those who focused on media-related issues had 2 rather manageable questions to choose from.

The key to acing the GP essay is in the evaluation and analysis, so those who merely listed factors and/or went about essay topics in a 'pros and cons' manner would have presented limited arguments. These scripts would not score well in their content.

In preparing our students for Paper 1, we are delighted to have addressed the following questions particularly well 🙂

Q3: In your society, to what extent is it acceptable for public money to be used for the acquisition of works of art?

--The key to acing this question is to address "acceptable" and "acquisition of art works", rather than simply evaluating whether public funding should be applied to the arts.


Q5:Is regulation of the press desirable?

--The reasons for "desirability" should be addressed, including 'who', and in what way, regulation of the press benefits.


Q8: Examine the role of music in establishing a national identity in your society.

--Candidates should examine what the SG national identity is. They would need to address the extent to which music impacts the establishment of that national identity. Students should not focus excessively on the other factors that influence the development of our national identity.


Q10: 'Practical ability is just as important as intellectual skills.' How far is this true in your society?

--At the onset, candidates need to address what 'practical ability' and 'intellectual skills' are. Then, they need to weigh in on how and why in the context of SG, these two aspects are of of equal importance, or one outweighs the other.


Paper 2 comprised 2 passages on sharing and collecting personal data online. 

Most students found the paper manageable though the Application Question (AQ) took an unexpected turn in its phrasing, requiring students to address how far (they) agree with the arguments presented by both authors, in the context of (their) society. This is a slight deviation from the typical AQ asking which author the candidate agreed with in the context of their society.

Some students found it difficult to justify their responses with concrete evidence.  

One possible approach to the AQ is as follows:

First: Candidates can address a similar argument presented in both passage.

...that (users') information is constantly being collected about their location, demographics, behaviour and habits [Psg 1 para 4] and anyone with an online presence is continuously... broadcasting their personal data [Psg 1 para 4].


This is true in SG because:

  • 70% of Singaporeans are active social media users on-the-go, more than double the global average
  • internet penetration rate in SG is among the highest in the world at 82%
  • we have access to most global e-commerce sites like Amazon, Taobao and social media sites: FB Snapchat, Instagram
  • algorithms and bots are always picking up users' information, evident in how online ads are displayed according to the respective user's preferences and searches. Google search results on a particular keyword also differ from user to user, depending on their search history.
  • a user's location is also immediately detectable so various recommendations can be pushed out by websites. E.g. UBER and Grab services, location app on FB etc

These factors culminate in a constant collection of personal data by various online sites, which are then used to market to the user.

Second: Candidates can then take the above argument further by referencing Psg 1 [para 1] "If you are not paying for the product, you are the product"...since for most companies, "their services are monetised either by marketing portions of web space to advertisers or through peddling [users' data to organisations]" [Psg 1 para 2].​​​​

  • Student can cite how all online sites and articles feature ads [eerily curated to suit their preferences and interest]
  • Author's point is of limited application in SG due to government regulation e.g. Personal Data Protection Act [briefly state what PDPA does e.g. governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal data to maintain individuals’ trust in organisations that manage data].

Finally: Candidates can address an argument in Psg 2 and present a qualified agreement. For instance, Psg 2 para 5: the author argues that in natural disasters or emergency situations, 'swarm intelligence' or information is useful as more information collected means a more powerful swarm response to the disaster.

  • Agree--in the recent terrorist bombings in major cities and the Hong Kong typhoon, many were able to use the Safety Check app on FB. Similar applications and programs can therefore collate data more comprehensively and enable more thorough response to disasters.
  • However, author's argument is limited in veracity because the infrequency of disaster and low probability of becoming a victim of disaster simply cannot justify the sheer amount of personal data being collected on a daily basis, and used against the individual for marketing and profiteering purposes; or worse, as a tool for crime or other nefarious activity against the person. E.g As it is, SG ranked 6th in a 2016 study on global card frauds. The study looked at risky behaviours like leaving a smartphone unlocked when not in use, shopping or banking online without security software, and responding to e-mail or calls asking for banking information. The instance of identity theft and fraud can only escalate if information is readily and easily "swarmed" online.
  • The adage "nothing is ever deleted from the internet" remains true and personal data protection should be prioritised.

Note that: By limiting or qualifying agreement of relevance of the authors' arguments, a candidate fulfils the 'extent' or 'how far do you agree' aspect of the question.

Our J1 students are already preparing hard for General Paper 2018. We take a break from lessons until January 2018. I look forward to more intellectual sparring and argumentation with my students in the new year!

~Contributed by Geraldine Chew [Ms] 6 November 2017

Have Your Essay Marked and Assessed by our GP Programme Director

If you found this page useful and are facing the GP exam this November, You can have an essay marked by me, the writer of this post.


Interested? Have a look at the past prelim paper from a top school and write an essay on one of the questions.

Ms Geraldine Chew  //  Founding Director of Creative Campus: Learning with Latitude 

Parts of Speech

Parts of Speech

A noun is a part of speech that refers to a person, place or an object. A verb is a part of speech that indicates action. Usually, students do not get confused between the two, but there are some notable exceptions.

Take a look at the pairs of words below:

The Problem

It is easy to be confused between the pairs, but generally, the noun forms end in –ice and the verb forms end is –ise. “Relief” and “Belief” are nouns, while their –eve counterparts are verbs.

The Solution

  • I advised (verb) him to speak to the teacher, but he did not take my advice (noun).
  • He said he went to practise (verb), but no one saw him at the practice (noun).
  • This ointment is supposed to provide relief (noun), but it did not relieve (verb) my pain.
  • It is my firm belief (noun) that people who believe (verb) in unicorns are silly.

The Benefits of Group Classes

The Benefits Of Group Classes

Why Group Classes Accelerate Your Child's Growth

As an English teacher, I am often asked by parents if group tuition, as opposed to 1-on-1 sessions, is suitable for their child.

My take is that 1-on-1 tuition is best for a child who is very weak in his English foundation. In such cases, the child will need to up his basic language proficiency before taking on anything too complex, especially if enrichment lessons require him to express more sophisticated opinions or spar with his peers.

The personal tutor needs to address the child’s more pressing needs by working on the basics, much of which involves repetition, rote-learning and rule-based practice. In this way, the tutor can help shore up the child’s English proficiency without the added burden of the child having to cope with more challenging activities or a flurry of opinions from his peers.

Often, a child compares his ability with that of his peers. If he perceives himself to fall short, his confidence can take a hit. Much of learning English is about confidence—in daring to express, question, analyse… So, it is imperative that the child remains positive in his English learning journey.

How We Create A Nurturing Environment To Optimise Your Child's Learning

However, for a child of average English competency, group classes are highly beneficial. Here’s why:

1. Children learn as much from their social interaction with their peers as from their teacher’s instruction.

*  For instance, if a child sees that his classmates are attempting or capable of navigating a task, he too can be more willing or motivated to try.

*  Sometimes a bit of friendly competition also helps spur a child on to take up new challenges.
 
*  Our teachers are very experienced in creating a cooperative and interactive learning environment where healthy cross-learning is encouraged. The teacher knows how to navigate discussion such that there are clear learning points to take away from each lesson.

*  In such an environment, students cultivate empathy and respect too. They learn to take turns, keep an open mind that is receptive to alternative opinions, and learn the skill of questioning or opposing respectfully.

*  These are all important communication skills that should be cultivated in our children.

Group Engagement Stimulates Creativity

2. The benefits of group engagement are most obvious in oral practice and essy writing, especially when brainstorming for points of argument and plotlines.

*  In a 1-on-1 lesson, a child learns only from his ideas and the teacher's inputs; this can be very tiring for the child since all focus is on his lone efforts.

*  If mishandled, such an approach can lead to tedium, followed by stress and/or boredom.

*  However, if he's in a group, the number of ideas generated is multiplied, and an experienced teacher can explain to the class why an idea is excellent while another might be less appropriate, especially for school exams, for instance. In this way, each child learns more in the 2 hours, and more importantly, is more engaged due to the accelerated pace of the lesson and the energy that a lively discussion injects into the lesson.

*  The same is true for generating content for oral practice.

By Geraldine Chew

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