A Fruitful Blogging Year



2014 has been a fruitful blogging year for me.  Thank you all for your reading, comments and sharing.  I have enjoyed my journey so far, I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts too.  If there is anything you would like to see me blogging about or anything you like me to continue blogging on, please feel free to let me know.

After a long break from 'Learning Chinese', I will continue it in 2015.  There should be another 3 posts to complete the whole series. 

It is good to have a recap on some favourite posts.  It gives me an idea what my readers like to read and what I should be focusing on.  Here are the top 20s:

1. A Reflection on Academic Performance

2. Gardens by the Bay - The Supertree Grove

3. 新加坡教育界的杰出华人 - 张美香校长

4. Disney Magic Winter Wonderland in Changi Airport

5. Curious Academy (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

6. Tips on Learning Chinese (Part 1 of 5)

7. 儿子的华文老师 - 颜清碹老师

8. Bangkok - Glow Pratunam Hotel

9. The Wolf Series

10. Appreciating Your Child (赏识你的孩子)

11. Face-to-Face with Janet Doman

12. The Rock & the Bird - A Book on Friendship

13. Gardens by the Bay - Plants in the Flower Dome

14. Mighty Mind - Makes Kids Smarter

15. Homeschooling - The Educational Path Less Tread

16. The Eighth Note Music School
16. Sherlock Sam & the Missing Heirloom in Katong

18. Sports Hub Open House

19. How To Teach Your Baby To Be Physically Superb


20. Mastering Multiplication Table (Part 1)


and see you next year!


KidsStop

This is a monthly post on 'Educational Places'. Every 4th week of the month I will post on local educational places we have brought AJ to.

Jan - The Coins & Notes Museum
Feb - The NEWater Plant
Mar - Gardens By The Bay - The Cloud Forest
Apr - Gardens By The Bay - The Flower Dome
May - The Changi Museum
Jun - Human Body Experience & Nature's Design Exhibition @ Singapore Science Centre
Jul - Literary Trail: In Search of the Missing Heirloom in Katong
Aug - Fun For Free Sg: Gardens By The Bay - The Supertree Grove
Sep - Damnoensaduak Floating Market & Maeklong Railway Market (Bangkok)
Oct - Gardens By The Bay - The Garden Troopers! (Junior Horticulturists)
Nov - Gardens By The Bay - Christmas Wonderland


[Media Invite]

I have heard of KidsSTOP at Singapore Science Centre and had wanted to bring AJ there one day.  But the procrastination set in until 20th Nov when the media invite from Singapore Science Centre came. Haha … … finally I moved my butt and brought him there.

If you have not already known, KidsSTOP is one-of-its-kind edutainment centre in Singapore from pre-school to lower primary levels, aiming to expose the children to Science in their formation years. It has many learn-through-play kind of activities.  KidsSTOP has 4 thematic zones, namely Imagine, Experience, Discover and Dream, and under each thematic zone, there are different activities for the children to explore.

The place isn't very big (3000 sqft) but we took 2 hours to explore only two-third of it. So you can safely assume a stay of 3-4 hours to explore the entire place.  Once the Kids start, they really cannot STOP.

Built Environment
I like this gigantic foam building blocks because the children can literally build life-size structures.  With parents guidance, the imagination can be unlimited.


AJ and friend built amm..., a sofa, they said.

Supermarket
It's the real shopping out there though the items are not real. The children get to role play as customers and cashiers. Mind you, the bar code readers can really scan and make 'beep' sound.  The only thing missing is the price, I felt.  If there are prices attached and bar code readers to link to the cash register, it would be near perfect.






The little cashier scanning food items

Dino Pit
The Dino Pit is a replica of an excavation site which the children could pretend that they are Archaeologists, trying to dig and study what they could find that are buried deep in the earth.  Of course, most of the time, the children treat this place like a beach where they can build sand castle. :P

It is recommended to have this as the last station as the children will have sand all over their bodies even though they might not buried themselves in the sand.  Oh yes, it is good to bring along an additional set of clothes.




Flight & Space
A pretend play as a pilot

He's on the rocket, and the caption he added himself!
Yes, he edited this photo himself.
Wind Power

Climbing Structure
This is a fantastic 2-storey climbing structure, which has hanging doors, flying fish, giant gears and various other mind boggling interactive exhibits create an amazing arena of safe excitement.


This 2-storey climbing structure is extremely safe, imo.
The children get to climb and play in the safe environment; the parents feel safe too!

Giant J
I love this! I can't say the same for the boy, but I was pleased that at least he tried twice at 3-metre height.  Do note that adults are free to try too!






For hygiene purposes, socks are compulsory at Giant J, Dream Climber and Small World.

KidsSTOP
21 Jurong Town Hall
Singapore 609433
Mon-Fri: 9.30-11.30am;  12nn-3pm;  4-7pm
Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: 10am-2pm;  3-7pm
Website: http://www.kidsstop.edu.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kidsstopsingapore


With this post, I hereby conclude my monthly series of 'Educational Places' for 2014.  I hope you have enjoyed reading them thus far.  There will be new focus next year, do come visit my blog on 1st Jan 2015!


Game Programming Bootcamp (Coding with Scratch)

[Review]

Do you know that Singapore has plans to introduce programming lessons in public schools (read news here)?   


In fact, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has initiated Infocomm Clubs Programme which is a Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) for primary, secondary and junior college students. It aims to excite students about infocomm in a fun and meaningful way by helping them to learn new infocomm skills and to cultivate leadership and entrepreneurship capabilities at an early age.  Not ALL public schools have this CCA though, AJ's primary school is one of those which does not have.

So AJ learns coding at home on his own.  He was also very fortunate to be blessed with a sponsorship by The Kid Coders during this year-end school holiday to enhance his coding skills.  It was also unfortunate of him that he had caught a nasty virus which got him developed into acute bronchitis and he had to miss bulk of the workshop. However, he was able to learn from his friend ZC (who attended the same workshop) on what was covered and he completed his game at home.  


An hour session with ZC to catch up on his coding work 

The works of both AJ and ZC were already uploaded in Scratch website.  You may like to click on the links to view their works here:

AJ ~ http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/39597066/
ZC ~ http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/39213432/


AJ was also promoted from a New Scratcher to a Scratcher by Scratch recently.  He was so happy about it.  To be promoted to a Scratcher, one needs to have a few Scratch projects, made several comments, and have been on Scratch for at least 2 weeks.



I am glad that the Republic has plans to move towards introducing coding in schools.  Learning computer science developed young people into “technology designers and creators” rather than merely “technology users”. If you are keen to send your child(ren) to Scratch coding programme this December holiday or in January next year, you may like to contact The Kid Coders here.  

We are thankful to the trainer Juliana Ung.  Though AJ wasn't able to attend the full workshop, I received feedback from ZC's mother that she was a very patient and helpful trainer.  When ZC was unable to catch up with the class, she voluntarily stayed back to coach him personally. 


Trainer Juliana with the happy kids at graduation of this Game Programming Bootcamp

Lastly, I end my happy review of this Game Programming Bootcamp with a newspaper article on The Kid Coder.  The link of this article below is here.




The Kid Coders
Website:  thekidcoders.com
Facebook:  facebook.com/thekidcoders
Tel:  9691 8603 

My preview blog post on Coding is here.


[Book Review] The Wolf series

This is a monthly post on 'Book or Web/Mobile Application for Children'. Every 3rd week of the month I will post on a review on books that AJ has read or web/mobile application that he has tried on.

Jan - Sherlock Sam & the Missing Heirloom in Katong
Feb - UpToTen (Boowa & Koala) Online Educational Website for Pre-Schoolers
Mar - Sherlock Sam & the Vanished Robot in Penang
Apr - How To Think Like A Scientist
May - The Rock & The Bird
June - 君伟上小学
July - Young Scientists Reader - Integrated Thematic Science Series
Aug - JJ's Science Adventure: Magnets
Sep - Bangkok Guide For Kids By Kids
Oct - Computer Coding for Kids
Nov - Of Separation, Coping with Loss and Homelessness


[Review and Giveaway]

I stood in amaze from afar, watching this boy reading those 5 books in one seating within half an hour.  It has happened before, but only to books he is very interested in.  It got me curious to find out why those 5 books intrigued him.



I got a chance to read through those 5 books after the boy called it a day.  I hate to admit but I did what he did: read through the 5 books in one seating. 



The Wolf series is an International bestseller.  It was sold in 20 countries in 15 languages.  I'm impressed that the English version was translated by Wild Crane Press editor Rayne Ngoi. The Wolf series is about the adventures of a grumpy wolf who discovers through many mishaps, the value of friendship, self-acceptance, humility and other values.  The childlike humour entertains the children yet teaching them necessary values. 

The Wolf who searched for a girlfriend
The theme of this book is on love.  Wolf felt lonely and wanted to look for the love of his life.  But he knew nothing about love!  His friends taught him, and he eventually found the love of his life.  One will easily fall in love with this cute Wolf too.  I would recommend this to be the first book to read.

The Wolf who wanted to be an artist
This book introduces various occupations in the art field.  The Wolf explored different art occupations and finally landed one that suit him best.

The Wolf who wanted to change his colour
This book teaches the children about self-acceptance and colours.  The Wolf was quite bored with his black fur and wanted to change to other colours in attempt to make himself more handsome.  Very young children who read this book will be elated to notice that the colour names are actually printed in the respective colours as well.

The Wolf who loved himself too much
Who would like someone who is snobbish, aloof and supercilious?  Certainly no one!  This book brought the children through these types of characters with the intention to teach them it is better to be humble.  I personally find this one of the best read.

The Wolf who did not want to walk anymore
Like toddlers who can walk well but are always yearning to be carried, Wolf declared that he has had enough of walking.  So he tried different modes of transportation every month and guess what he settled with eventually?  This book covers different types of vehicles and highlights the month for early readers.



If you would like to get hold of these books, here's a great news for you! The publisher of The Wolf series has kindly offered 3 sets of these 5 books (each set is worth $60) to 3 families. All you have to do is:


1) 'Like' Wild Crane Press in Facebook; 
2) 'Like' Mylilbookworm in Facebook; and
3) Share my post on your Facebook personal landing page. Please set it on public status for verification.

Conditions of Giveaway

1) Each family is only entitled to 1 draw;
2) Giveaway is opened to local residents only;
3) Last day of participation is 31st Dec (Wed) 2359;
4) Winners will have to self-collect the books from Wild Crane Press at 33 Ubi Ave 3 #06-37 (Vertex Tower A) S'pore 408868, between 8am to 5pm on weekdays or 8am to 12nn on alternate Saturdays.

You may also like to know that Wild Crane Press is currently having a promotion on their webstore.  And if you spend more than S$50 in total (nett), Wild Crane Press will also provide free shipping to your local address.  All you need to do is to key in the code ‘WILDCRANEPRESS’ on the order form which summarises the item prices and shipping price.

Books are lovely presents to give this Christmas, it is still not too late to shop now!

With this post, I hereby conclude my monthly series of 'Book or Web/Mobile Application for Children' for 2014.  I hope you have enjoyed reading them thus far.  There will be new focus next year, do come visit my blog on 1st Jan 2015!

*********************************************************************************
The 3 winners of The Wolf series are:
1) Robert Sim
2) Ed Lyn
3) Jingxian Liang

Congratulations!  I will pass your email addresses to Wild Crane Press.  Please watch out for their email.


The Math Guru - Norman Tien

This is a monthly post on 'Inspiring Individual'. Every 2nd week of the month I will post on individual who has crossed our path & how we were inspired by him/her.

Jan - The Music Conductor, Adrian Tan
Feb - Investor, Entrepreneur, Author, Success Coach - Ismail Gafoor
Mar - 儿子的华文老师 - 颜清碹老师
Apr - Man of God - Rev. (Dr.) Prabhudas Koshy
May - 新加坡教育界的杰出华人 - 张美香校长
Jun - Trading Master, My Mentor - Robin Ho
Jul - Top-tier Remiser & Stock Trainer, Collin Seow
Aug - Face-to-Face with Janet Doman
Sep - An Extraordinary Mother, Pamela Lim
Oct - My Career Mentor - Patrick Hoe
Nov - The Writing Duo - Monica Lim and Lesley-Anne Tan



He is Norman Tien, founder of Neuromath.  We know each other through an interest group workshop 7 years ago.  At that time, I had no idea how big his business was, for he was a man without air, always so helpful.

As AJ grows up, I started to widen my knowledge in the arena of enrichment programmes, school curriculum and other educational stuff.  Gradually, it came to light that Norman was no small fly.  I have never spotted any cues that he is such a successful businessman during the regular meet-up in our interest group all these years.  In Chinese they said ‘有眼不识泰山’.  Indeed I was.

So, beside the interest group meeting when we both get to meet each other, I started to attend his regular free talk to parents.  He holds this kind of talk 2 to 3 times a year FREE of charge. Sometimes we do get to catch up after the talk, most of the times we don’t as he would be surrounded by parents with burning questions awaiting his enlightenment.

Anyway, I told him I would like to feature him in my monthly blog feature “Inspiring Individual’ in December as a finale. 

A Little about Norman
Norman started giving Math tuition at aged 19 to children who hated Math and thus scored way below average.  Somehow, he has this gift with ‘problematic’ children and so he was able to command higher tuition fee since not many tutors wanted to take up such assignments too.  He delivered results because he didn’t drill them with worksheets and assessment books.  Instead, he took interest in their hobbies (like computer games, chess, Power Ranger toys, etc) and tailor-made the Math lesson plans and the Math strategies.

Noticing his ‘gift’ in this area, Norman then further his studies in cognitive psychology, special education for the gifted and those with learning disabilities, as well as NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).  Through these, he was affirmed that his skill sets are not limited to reaching out to the late bloomers but also the high achievers and the gifted ones as well.

A Little About Neuromath
He founded his own learning centre in 2001 under the name of ‘Norman Tien Brain-based Learning’, subsequently renamed it as ‘Norman Tien Mathematics’. After completing a short module on Neurocognitive skills in Colorado, he renamed his company to the current name ‘Neuromath’. 

“I am a Chinese cuisine person but had to withstand the many days of burgers and steak in Colorado, USA, during that period. On the third day and during class, I had such strong craving for Singapore’s famous beef noodles that I started doodling on my lecture notes. That was how, the brand Neuromath was coined! From the drawing of a bowl of noodle and the word ‘牛肉面’.  – Norman Tien”

The 'noodle' man satisfying his craving!

Through his self-created Math strategies, he and his team have helped many students to attain A/A* from fail.  These days, besides concentrating on PSLE A* training workshop for Primary 6 students, Norman also trains his centre teachers, school teachers and parents.

While there are many big names in the enrichment market, what stands out in Neuromath is the ability to impart Math strategies and concepts that are meaningful to the students instead of plain drilling or forced memorization. Their students understand the concepts and apply the strategies to those Math problems.  These skills are fundamental to solving real-life problems too, they are tools that serve them beyond academics!

You may also like to know Neuromath has launched an online portal recently.  I took great interest in this because I think children these days would rather type on the computer keyboard than to write on papers.  And this portal has videos to demonstrate to students (and parents) how each problem is solved. Norman told me that the intention of this online portal was to provide the off-site support to parents who wish to guide their children with quality questions.  With the video demonstrations, both parents and children have access to better understanding on the working.

In case you wonder, no, this is not a sponsored post.  I didn’t send AJ to Neuromath either, for Norman has been encouraging me to teach him myself.  While I do not rule out sending AJ to enrichment classes or engaging a private tutor in the future, he doesn’t need Math enrichment classes as yet.

With this post, I hereby conclude my monthly series of ‘Inspiring Individual’ for 2014.  I hope you have enjoyed reading them thus far.  There will be new focus next year, do come visit my blog on 1st Jan 2015!

For more information of Neuromath, please refer to the following links:

Neuromath 
http://neuromathacademy.com/
https://www.facebook.com/neuromath

Neuromath Junior 
http://neuromathjunior.com/
https://www.facebook.com/neuroscholars

Neuromath Online
http://www.neuromathonline.com/

There is a free talk conducted by Norman coming Saturday.  If you are interested, please visit this website to register your interest:


The Coins And The Man

I became a Numismatist the very day I was adopted into the family.  Ever since then, this man would randomly gave me coins of memorable value.  No, I was pulling your leg, I didn't get into numismatics.





Frankly, I have little idea why he gave me these.  I do not know why I deserved such treatment, why I was favoured over my sister.  There are many questions I have on why I received 'weird' treatments in the family but I have never asked anyone.  I reckoned that probably because I was adopted.  I was told he even gave me my name.

My father passed away before I got married so I needed to find someone to walk me down the aisle for my wedding.  There was only 1 man who came across my mind, that was him.  So I asked him to marry me off.




He is 73 this year, old enough to be my father, but he is my cousin.  The 30 over years age gap started because my grandfather had a few grandchildren over a long span of time either because some of his children married late or had their children late.  My parents adopted me when they had passed 40. 

He remains as a special cousin to me, always willing to help me out, especially in my previous business as a Remiser.  We hardly meet each other these days, maybe once a year during Chinese New Year, some years we didn't even get to see each other.  Regardless, these coins will be with me because he remains special in my heart.  It is the kind of feeling beyond words can describe.



I also keep these, which was the inheritance from my father















We have become such a throw-away society, but there are some things in our households that we still keep. Why is that so? Perhaps this blog train can unlock the reasons behind it! Follow the daily posts on this blog train and read about the stories behind the things we have kept for many years and why we didn’t throw them away.


Next in the blog train: Mummy PC, an ordinary mother of two girls, who blogs and digi-scrapbooks at Simply Us. While juggling a paid job outside, she manages a 90sqm dwelling and its occupants exhaustedly. Other time, she fights with time and produce what-she-thinks-best outcome, that includes huffing and puffing to catch a bus or a train after work to reach the girls' student care/childcare and receiving their grins. She is one blessed mum! Hop over to her site tomorrow to see her real scrap pieces that she has been keeping them for more than 20 years.


AJ's 8th Birthday - A Magical Party

About a month ago, we celebrated AJ’s 8th birthday.  It was a weekday because his school was closed for final marks collation (after final exam).  It so happened to be his actual birthday.  I decided to splurge a little this year as I think there won’t be many more years of such party as he grows older??

I had planned for an excursion to the Seletar farms but the logistic of it killed me.  So I dropped that idea.  Subsequently I decided on a magic workshop for all the children.  Some parents asked why not a magic show?  I think children of this age group would appreciate a magic workshop where they could learn some tricks than to simply watch a magic show.

So I contacted E Magical Moment and details were fixed.


Invitation cards to friends

I cracked my head on the cake design for AJ.  I wanted a magician theme so I told my very talented baker friend Lynn to design one.  I leave it very much to her hand, trusting her instinct very much.  So she came up with this.  Awesome right? 



I have also engaged another very talented friend, Diana from Mumcraft, to do face painting for the children.  She is so skilful that even the parents of AJ’s classmates were awed. 


Diana's Face Painting Kit.  She uses non-toxic paint.

As for lunch, I have arranged a simple yet delicious Nasi Lemak bento from Kiang’s Nasi Lemak which is run by another friend of mine.


What's inside the Nasi Lemak Bento Set Lunch?

The programme started at 11.30am with lunch and non-toxic face painting first.  So some ate their lunch, some painted their faces. No downtime.  Everyone was kept entertained.  :)


You may have noticed, the colour theme is red, black and white.






The children were excited to have their faces and arms painted while the parents sat back and relax, chit chatting over the delicious Nasi Lemak bento lunch.

We cut the cake at about 12.50pm so that the magic workshop could commence at 1pm.


Ready for cake cutting

Blowing the candle

The Magic kit that Bertram, the trainer from E Magicial Moment, brought along.





A welfie! Thank you E Magical Moment for the awesome tricks!

And here are 2 videos on the tricks that Bertram has taught the children.  He taught them 4 tricks but AJ needed more time to polish up the other 2 tricks!  :P


Click link here if you can't view the video



Click link here if you can't view the video

We wished to express our thanks to E Magical Moment, Lynn, Mumcraft and Kiang’s Nasi Lemak for their generous discounts to help make this birthday celebration a most memorable one for AJ.  Should you like to have their contacts, here they are:

E Magical Moment
Website: http://www.emagicalmoment.com/
Email: enquiry@emagicalmoment.com
Mobile: 8235 1615

Mumcraft
Website: http://www.mumcraft.com/
Email: chubbbyanecdotes@gmail.com

Lynn
Website: http://lynnlly.com/bakedcooked/
Email: lynnen78@gmail.com

Kiang's Nasi Lemak
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kiangs-Nasi-Lemak/217095171690737
Mobile: 9686 6001