Home > Epistle > 2013 > March 2013

March 2013

2013 ASCD Conference and Learning Journey

Attendance at the 2013 ASCD Conference Arrival at Chicago O'Hare International Airport Visit to Adler Planetarium
Visit to Eric Solorio Academy High School of Academy for Urban School Leadership
Visit to University of Chicago,  Urban Education Institute
Visit to Whitney M. Young Magnet  High School of Chicago

A team of 4 teachers from PLMGS (Secondary) from the Mathematics and Science Departments represented the school to attend the 2013 Association for Supervision and Curriculum (ASCD) Conference, held from 16 March to 18 March 2013. 

Prior to attending the 3-day conference, the team registered for the 3-day Pre-Conference, in order to gain insights into core areas of Curriculum Design, Differentiation and 21st Century Skills. During the 3-day conference, the team attended breakout sessions related to the curricula area of Mathematics and Science, motivation of pupils, mentoring and coaching as well. 

To enable the team to better understand the education system in United States of America (U.S.A.), visits to schools and institutes of higher learning (IHL) were arranged before the start of the conference. 

The schools were selected based on their good structures and processes that have enabled their pupils to excel in the academic and character domains, to be ranked amongst the top high schools in the Chicago Tribune, 2012 Illinois School Report Cards, based on the percentage of pupils who met or exceeded state standards on the Prairie State Achievement Examination. The high schools that graciously welcomed the team to share about their programmes are as follows: Whitney M. Young Magnet High School of Chicago, Jones College Prep High School and Lane Tech College Prep High School. 

Besides learning from the School Leaders and their team of middle managers through the school visits, the team also sought out opportunities to find out more about the training and development programme for teachers in Chicago, which has equipped teacher graduates to be effective practitioners within and outside the classroom. It is a well-known fact that beyond a well-planned curriculum, the key to quality education lies in the quality of the teachers who deliver the curriculum. 

Hence, the team visited the Urban Education Institute of The University of Chicago that specialises in the training of teacher trainees through the Urban Teacher Education Program. Another IHL that the team visited was the Academy for Urban School Leadership, which focuses on helping low-performing schools to turn around through a systemic and structured approach. This included looking into the employment of suitable staff members to help shape the school ethos, the engagement of stakeholders and the planning of the school programme and curriculum. 

Through the rich learning gained from the visits in relation to the education system, teacher training and development, etc., the team could better relate to and appreciate the sharing by the speakers and presenters at the conference. 

Apart from the professional development through the visits and attending the conference, the team also found time to further enrich its learning by going to places of educational interest, such as the Field Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science & Technology, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium. 

All-in-all, it was indeed a fruitful learning journey through the numerous interactions with educators from the U.S.A. as it widened the team’s perspective on educational issues. The team looks forward to sharing its learning with colleagues such that collectively, the staff can positively impact on the school programmes to bring out the best in PL-Lites. 

A Battle of Wits and Wits


Twelve pupils pitted their eloquence, charm and even humour against each other, as they attempted to speak their way into the hearts of the three judges during this year’s Secondary 3 Inter-class Public Speaking Competition, held on 6 March. 

We would like to offer our congratulations to the three best speakers who walked away with a trophy and a bar of chocolate each. They are Prairie Soh (3A3), Esther Ng (3A1), and Marielle Tan (3C1a). 

Many thanks to our parent judges, Mrs Monica Lee and Pastor Richard for their partnership in helping out in this event.

St Andrew’s School Brunei Student Leaders Visit PLMGS (Sec)

Lesson observationPlaying an ice-breaker game with our guests
Our student leaders making a presentation  to the vistors from Brunei
A group photo at the Eco Garden
PL’s inaugural student leaders’ exchange visit was held on 14 March 2013, with 2 teachers and 24 student councillors from St Andrew’s School Brunei (SAS) visiting PL. This exchange between the Secondary 3 prefects and the SAS student councillors allowed the student leaders to learn about each other’s leadership model, as well as to engage in meaningful conversations about student leadership. 

During the visit, the Secondary 3 prefects hosted their student councillor buddies by bringing them around to experience a typical in PL and interacting with them. The Secondary 4 EXCO Prefects also gave an insightful presentation on the PL Prefectorial Board’s goals, roles, and programmes, and the prefects then had a chance to learn about the SAS student council and the role they played in their school. Many ideas and experiences were then shared and exchanged during the breakout dialogue session that followed, concluding the visit on a high note of fun and learning. 

Pupil's Reflection: 
“This exchange programme with the Brunei students from St. Andrew’s School was a very fruitful and enriching experience. After a day spent with our buddy, we learnt a lot about their culture, their school, their Student Council, and most importantly, we got to bond with our buddy and get to know more about them. Through their sharing, I learnt a lot more about their Student Council and it was a chance for us to improve on our Prefectorial Board as well. This programme allowed all of us to make many new friends and we will definitely welcome other students to PL again!” 
Seet Seow Chien, Secondary 3A1

Play and Learn Something

Staff focusing on aiming well in the Archery courseHappily learning how to count pointsStaff preparing to try their hand at Calligraphy
Anybody can do CalligraphyShowing off the product of their hard work in copper toolingStaff hard at work making their creation
The staff showing off their product proudlyStaff grooving themselves to Zumba

 As part of PL's effort to call our staff to go back to the basics in 2013, a series of workshops on the various types of sports and social activities have been organised. In Term 1, the staff were able to choose from Archery, Calligraphy, Copper Tooling and Zumba Dancing. Amongst the four activities, Copper Tooling was conducted by our own Art Teacher, Mrs Brenda Colleemallay. 

Sharing of Best Practices with Ai Tong Primary School

On 25 March 2013, the School Leaders and key personnel from Ai Tong Primary School visited PLMGS (Sec) to learn about our best practices regarding External Validation processes, Character Development and Student Leadership Development processes and programmes.

2nd Singapore Student Photography Conference


On 22 March 2013, close 500 budding student photographers with their teachers arrived at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary) to participate in the 2 nd Singapore Student Photography Conference. This student-led conference is a collaborative project between the South Zone Centre of Excellence for Design at St Andrew’s Secondary School and East Zone Centre of Excellence for the Creative Arts at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School. The keynote speaker of the conference was Mr UKay Cheung. He shared personal journey from how he developed a passion for photography to the triumphs and challenges as a professional photographer. Besides the speeches by the invited speakers, one of the other highlights of the conference is the 20 concurrent workshop sessions led by 100 pupils from 10 secondary schools and 1 junior college. 

Pupil's Reflection: 
"As an emcee for SSPC, i have learnt how to believe in myself and to gain confidence speaking in front of a large crowd. I really did not think that i could pull through speaking in front of 500 people. I even thought of pulling out. However, after the event, i had a sense of satisfaction because i knew that i have done well. The public speaking courses PL has put me through helped me in my presentation skills." 
Yong Yuan Yen from Secondary 3A1

Roving Art Exhibition

On 22 March 2013, The Roving Art Exhibition was opened by Ms Chua Ai Liang. Director, Arts and Communities, National Arts Council. It is a collaboration of 3 schools, namely Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary), St Hilda’s Secondary School and Australian International School. The Art teachers and their pupils took many days to prepare and transform one of the Art classroom into the art gallery where the exhibition was held. Besides pupils from PLMGS (Sec), the gallery was visited by the pupils from PLMGS(Pri) and other schools. It was indeed a great opportunity for pupils to learn about the different genre of art making. 

Pupil's Reflection: 
"This roving art exhibition was a good platform for many of us to view the various forms of art. The design and entire exhibition was well-planned out and made a huge impact on many of us. I could compare the standard of art from each school and learn to appreciate them better because of the entire ambience of the exhibition venue. Many of my friends have become more interested in the various forms of art because they have seen what can be done, whereas for me, I felt a sense of accomplishment having shared some of my best pieces in the exhibition, so that everyone could enjoy. I hope to see more of such exhibitions because I can learn so much from the exhibition. I thank the school for organizing such a meaningful event for us!" 
Natasha Elle Veroff Min Chew from Secondary 3A3

Learning Journey to Beijing in conjunction with Harvard Model UN Conference (China) 2013

On the Great Wall of ChinaWith their finished creations - dumplings!In deep discussion with other delegates
With Mr. Ren Hailong, Keynote speaker, Fulbright Scholar and ProgrammeSimultaneous Interpreter for United Nations System in ChinaWith one of the moderators, Ruth KaganAddressing questions during the session

 Heather Lim Yi Rong (4A1), Adria Lim Yu Jin (4A2), Ho Yu Ning (4A2), Deirdra Ong Xue Ling (4A3) and Sonia Mary Anthony (4A3) represented PLMGS (Sec) in the prestigious Harvard Model United Nations China 2013 held in Beijing from 16 March to 25 March, accompanied by their teacher Ms Rena Gomes. 

The conference involved students from different countries and schools and the participants engaged in discussions, presented speeches, caucused and wrote working papers and resolutions on international issues such as the militarisation of the Arctic, protection of civilians in modern warfare, humanitarian intervention, sexual violence in areas of armed conflict and maximising health and well-being. Our pupils represented Switzerland in the various committees of the General Assembly. 

In Beijing, the pupils also made time for sightseeing. They visited the iconic Great Wall of China and learnt about the history behind the Ming and Qing Dynasties through their visits to the Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and Forbidden City. They also had the opportunity to learn more about the local culture by learning how to make dumplings during their visit to the Hutong, taking a trishaw ride through the Hutong itself and catching an acrobat show. 

This trip to Bejing was an enriching experience for all of them. It helped the pupils to develop their leadership skills and become more globally aware in a fun way. 

Pupils' Reflection: 
" It was an eye-opener for many of us and we enjoyed it a lot because we interacted with many international delegates, learnt about the differences in our cultures and made a lot of new friends. We also learnt a lot more about China’s history through our visits to the different sites in Beijing. 

We also gained new perspectives and ways of looking at issues concerning the world. Initially, we were afraid to speak in front of so many unfamiliar people but that fear wore off as the days went by and we became a lot more confident. 

We would like to participate in more model united nations in the future because we really enjoyed the experience. It helped to hone our skills in research, team building, writing, debating and public speaking." 
Deirdra Ong and Heather Lim 

3rd SSO@PLMGS Concert

On 7 March 2013, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) performed at the Agape Concert Hall and the concert marked the 3 rd collaboration between the East Zone Centre of Excellence for the Creative Arts and the national symphony orchestra of Singapore. The 700-strong audience comprised of pupils from PLMGS and other East zone schools, staff, parents as well as members the public. They responded enthusiastically to the performance. 

The orchestra led by its Young Associate Conductor, Mr Derrel Ang, performed a programme of French music including well-known pieces such as Bizet’s Carmen Suite No. 1 and Offenbach’s Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld. The orchestra ended the concert by performing an additional piece of music entitled Pavane composed by Gabriel Faure.

PLMGS (Sec) (Singapore) - HKBUAS (HK) Exchange 2013

1st day at the HKBUAS school
Chinese lesson conducted in the HKBUAS school by Mr Poh Chee Jian  
Chinese Quality Circle Meeting
Primary school kids in the common library  shared by the primary and secondary schools
Geograpy lesson conducted in the HKBUAS school by Mrs Koh Si Ping
Thanking HKBUAS school for their warm hospitality
Last day in the HKBUAS schoolAt the Hong Kong Heritage MuseumBoat ride during the Sai Kung Geo-Heritage Tour

On 16 March 2013, a team of 4 teachers went to Hong Kong for a teacher exchange with the Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School (HKBUAS) Wong Kam Fai Primary and Secondary School (Secondary School). 

We visited the HKBUAS school where we sat in on the Chinese Language, Geography and Mathematics lessons. We also had the privilege to attend the Quality Circle meetings organised by the Mother Tongue, Geography and Mathematics Departments where post-lesson discussion were held. We had a fruitful exchange with the teachers from HKBUAS. In return, two of the PL teachers also taught in the Chinese and Geography lessons to their pupils. It was definitely an unforgettable experience for our teachers. 

The trip also included two days of learning journey at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Hong Kong Geopark. At the Geopark, we went on a boat ride for the Sai Kung Geo-Heritage Tour where we learnt to appreciate the valuable geological assets preserved in Hong Kong. 

This trip was indeed enriching and memorable for us as we were able to experience how teaching was like in Hong Kong. This opportunity is hard to come by and we are thankful for the learning experience.

HKBUAS.PLMGSS Student Exchange Programme 2013

Our PL girls with their Hong Kong buddieSpending time together at the library

From 16 Feb 2013 to 2 March 2013, 3 pupils from Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary School ( HKBUAS ) attended classroom lessons and enrichment with the PL-Lites as part of our exchange programme with HKBUAS . This year marked the 2 nd of a three year link between both schools. This year, they were hosted byAng His Ning and Kaylene Toh from Sec 2.1 and Chelsea Victoria Ong from Sec 2.6.During the 2 weeks, the 3 exchange students from HKBUAS had the opportunity to attend classroom lessons as well as the enrichment programmes together with their hosts attended. In addition, the host families also came together and organised a few get-togethers for the exchange students. Some of the sessions that had been planned included a ‘Lo-Hei’ Chinese New Year dinner and a trip to the Universal Studios. 

Pupils' Reflection: 
“Through this programme, I had the opportunity to share about Singapore’s culture with my buddy, Jennifer and also to learn about the culture of Hong Kong. One of Jennifer’s interests is baking and we made it a point to bake together. Through the baking experience, I chatted with her and also learnt teamwork. I hope that Pl will continue with this exchange programme as I would like to share with my juniors the joy of participating in this programme. I thoroughly enjoyed myself during this exchange programme.” 
Ong Chelsea Victoria, Secondary 2.6 

“Through this enriching experience, I have made new friends and forged bonds with my Hong Kong buddy, Apple. It was so much fun to bring Apple around and introduce her to the homeland I call Singapore. I have shared with her the Singapore culture and she in turn shared with me her experiences in Hong Kong. I would definitely encourage my juniors to participate in the programme next year and I hope that there will be more of such opportunities for me in the near future.” 
Kaylene Toh, Secondary 2.1 

“Through this student exchange programme, I have learnt how to communicate better with someone from a different country and culture. Initially, it felt really awkward to have my Hong Kong buddy Kerrie with me all the time. However, gradually I felt comfortable to have her around and also learnt to open up to her and share more about my life with her. Not only have I made a new friend, I have also learnt more about Hong Kong’s culture and how it was different from Singapore. Although the programme only lasted for 2 weeks but it was worth every minute as I really enjoyed myself.” 
Ang His Ning, Secondary Sec 2.1