Writing Classes
2022

Writing can be a very daunting task for some students — they try but they can’t even begin an opening sentence. For many, they do their best, yet they can’t understand why they can’t score. Then for those who write relatively well, there is no one to refine their works. “There is something missing. But what?”

Every child is at either of the stages described, and the Composition-Writing Classes in My Mustard Seed address these key areas. Our carefully designed curriculum helps our children to reach their fullest potential when it comes to writing.

Budding Write, Writer-in-Progress and Proficient Writer tackle different aspects of writing development. Understanding and mastering the essential techniques is the key to improving your child’s writing.

Budding Writer

Budding Writer is a writing programme specially tailored for children who : 

  • struggle to write a relevant storyline
  • are clueless as to how to elaborate 
  • have the ideas but do not know how to begin
  • barely pass in their composition assignments

This programme aims to equip the children with basic writing skills that boost their confidence in writing compositions. We should be able to see a transformation from the dread to writing, the wrong belief that they would never be able to write a satisfactory story, to being motivated and independent writers.

Suitability

  • P3 and above
  • Average marks :
      • 12 and below / 20 (P3 and P4)
      • 25 and below / 40 (P5 & P6)

Budding Writer Standard

Title: An Accident at the canteen
RL P3 (200 words)

          It was Monday morning. Emma was having recess. She was feeling happy because she was the first to reach the canteen. “I have more time to play!” she thought. First, she went to buy her favourite noodles. Then, she walked to the table to sit with her friends.

          Emma did not see an oily puddle of soup on the floor and stepped on it. Alas! She slipped! Her tray of noodles flew into the air and landed on her. Emma was embarrassed because everybody was staring at her. She also felt sorry when she saw the mess on the floor. Her friends, Natasha and Chloe, ran over to help her immediately. They helped Emma up from the floor as she had fallen down.

           They brought her to the General Office for a fresh set of uniform. Next, Natasha accompanied her to the toilet to clean up. Chloe went to find the school-keeper to clear the mess.

           The three girls returned to the canteen. Natasha and Chloe decided to treat Emma to a fresh bowl of piping hot and delicious noodles. That day, Emma had no time to play. However, she was grateful that she had caring and generous friends!

This simple delivery is considered a feat for a child struggling to write 🙂 Hence, this is the first milestone we will work towards. 

Desired Standard

Title: An Unexpected Event

          Today was An Jia’s birthday! It was the day she had been looking forward to all month. She just ended her exams last week and her parents had promised to have a big celebration for her.

          She skipped to school merrily and greeted her friends with much enthusiasm, expecting them to wish her a happy birthday. Much to her dismay, they just included her in their conversation without acknowledging her birthday. An Jia thought that maybe they were playing a prank on her and would surprise her during recess. She smiled to herself and was quietly anticipating recess.

          Recess came and went, with no sign of any birthday celebration. An Jia was disappointed in her friends. How could they have forgotten her birthday? She decided not to speak with them for the rest of the day to show her displeasure. However, her friends did not seem to mind, which made An Jia even more upset.

          After school, before An Jia could bid her friends goodbye, they all ran off to do their own after-school activities. Her friends did not even bother waiting for her! This day could not get any worse, An Jia thought to herself. Greatly saddened, An Jia trudged home wearily.

          When she got home, she dumped her school bag on the floor, headed straight into her room and slumped onto her bed in exhaustion. Tears welled up in her eyes as she thought about the terrible birthday she had. Not a single person remembered it was her birthday. Just then, she heard a knock on her room door. She quickly wiped away the tears and opened the door. She was not ready for what she saw.

          “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear An Jia, happy birthday to you!” her loved ones serenaded her.

          Her parents were holding a beautiful birthday cake, while her friends behind her parents were clapping along as they sang. Tears welled up in An Jia’s eyes again. This time, they were tears of joy. She closed her eyes tightly and made a wish before blowing out the candles. Everyone was smiling at her lovingly. An Jia’s heart had never felt so full. She beamed a wide smile at everyone and thanked them gratefully for the effort they put into surprising her.

          This was certainly a very memorable birthday!

While the storyline is straightforward and simplistic, the plot is well-developed, propped by the writing flair.  

Writer-in-Progress

Writer-in-Progress programme is specially designed for students who want to enhance their compositions but lack the techniques to do.

Here, we learn how to use the “Show, NOT Tell” elements effectively. We break them into digestible parts such that the children are able to apply these skills with ease.

Moreover, in Programme (1), the children learn the many varied ways of compo-introductions and acquire the ability to discern WHEN and HOW to use them. In Programme (2), we eliminate out-of-the-mill conclusions and learn to employ unconventional endings.

There are times when the plot may be straightforward one. But, with apt introduction, conclusion and interesting details, the composition can become a delightful story for both the readers and writer. However, we can actually expect more than that. For children who have lots of creative juice, compositions with unique plots will be part of their crowning glory!

By the end of the programme, we should be able to see our children blossom into skilled, confident writers!

Suitability

  • P4 and above
  • Average marks :
      • 13-14 / 20 (P3 and P4)
      • 26 – 29 / 40 (P5 & P6)

Excerpts for Writer-in-Progress

The short paragraphs are samples of how we craft introduction, climax and conclusion using the various techniques taught during lessons. There are, of course, more than what is shown here! 😉

Introduction 1 – Using 5 Senses

          It was a scorching hot afternoon and the air was still. My skin was wrapped in a film of sticky perspiration because of the high humidity. Squinting under the glaring sun, my team mates and I sat on the grassy field, listening to Coach Tan — our track-and-field CCA (Co-curricular Activity) trainer.

          I was dreaming about guzzling down an icy bottle of Cola when the bombshell was dropped.

Introduction 2 – Using ABSI

          Randy’s eyes narrowed as he watched Stella, the prefect, walk past him. The memory of the previous day was still fresh in his mind. “Goody-goody two shoes,” he muttered under his breath resentfully. She had booked him for being late for school, again, and so he was detained after school, again.

Climax 1 – Using ABSI

          Steeling myself for the confrontation, I commanded Liam, in the firmest of tones, “Enough! Stop!” Although my heart was thumping like a drum in a tribal dance, I forced myself to look at Liam, who was a head taller than me, in the eye. 

        Taken aback, Liam gawped at me for a moment. Then, the confused expression was replaced by a snarl. Without warning, Liam gave me a hard shove! His might threw me off balance and I landed on the floor with a loud thud. An excruciating jolt of pain shot up my spine tail. I could feel hot tears stinging the corners of my eyes. Before I could react, Liam had pounced on me with the full weight of his body. The wind was knocked out of me. Everything happened so fast that there was no time to think. In a blur, I saw the two foreign students jumped into the fray — the girl tugging his hair and the boy trying to pull him off me.

Climax 2 – Using ABSI

          A ear-piercing scream filled the air as soon as Divya returned to her desk. Her beloved pencil case was in complete ruins! Heartbroken, she sobbed uncontrollably. She was baffled. Who could have been so mean? Tears continued to stream down the inconsolable girl’s face as their form teacher, Mrs Chan, demanded for the culprit to own up at once. Of course, no one did.

          Jocelyn sat frozen in her seat as she watched her sorrowful classmate. Remorse began to gnaw at her. Increasingly. Relentlessly. The atrocity of her malicious act dawned upon her. How could I have been so spiteful? How could I have been so … so stupid? She pursed her lips as she gazed at the distressed Divya. She knew that her innocent classmate did not deserve this nastiness.

Conclusion 1 – Using Reflection & Proverb

         As I stood on the podium to receive the gleaming trophy, it was my proudest moment. At that moment, I knew that all things are possible for those who believe and work hard.

Conclusion 2 – Using an unexpected Fact

          Upon reaching home, Gregory changed out of his soiled clothings and his mother brought him to the clinic to treat his wounds. Alas! The boy had suffered a deep cut on his chin and he had to receive five stitches. Poor Gregory! For a boy who loved cleanliness and everything in order, it took him a long while to get over the traumatic event of that eventful day — 29 February 2016.

Conclusion 3 – Using ABSI

          Three months later, Mr and and Mrs Peng found their son a completely different person. “What happened?” they asked in perplexity.

          With a smile, Winston replied, “Responsibility is the most fundamental virtue I should have to be a gracious person.”

Proficient Writer

Proficient Writer is the ideal course for children who are able to write well enough but are aiming to polish their individual writing style.

Every writer has his / her writing flair. This programme is crafted to perfect that. During the course of this programme, besides the exploration of unusual story plots, every child will receive detailed feedbacks on his / her regular practices. We pay exceptional attention to language and sentence structure for the intended effects.

By the end of Proficient Writer course, we should witness a significant transformation in the writing register. The children will be using vivid vocabulary and creative expressions aptly. The sentence structure and (small but powerful) punctuation will also be used effectively for “the punch”.

Suitability

  • P4 and above
  • Average marks :
      • 15 – 16 / 20 (P4)
      • 30 – 32 / 40 (P5 & P6)

Proficient Writer’s Standard

Title: Forgiveness
Edited from KZX (P5)

“Hey Sean, want to play with me?” Jon asked when the recess bell rang. In his hand, he was holding a toy tank. I rolled my eyes. This was probably the billionth time I had heard his annoying voice that day. He was driving me crazy. He had always treated me as a friend but his friendship was clearly one-sided. After all, nobody wants to be friends with a misfit.

I may seem like a cruel person, but the truth is that Jon stood out like a sore thumb with his eccentric behaviour.Moreover, green slimy mucus was always dripping from his nose! However he did not seem to mind or feel ashamed when people made fun of him.

I usually turned him down politely but that day, he was really starting to get on my nerves. ”Just leave me alone! Nobody with the right mind will want to be friends with a misfit like you!” I screamed.

Jon was taken aback. He was evidently hurt. He responded softly, “How can you say that? I’ve always thought that you were a nice person.”

“Nobody cares about what you think! Just stop bothering me!” I retorted in frustration.

Tearfully, he shouted, “I hate you!” and ran off.

Shrugging off the incident, I looked at the clock and realised that it was almost the end of recess! At once, I bolted to the canteen to buy some food before recess ended. “This is all because of Jon,” I fumed.

Bam!

I had collided into someone coming from the opposite direction. Looking up, I let out a gasp of horror. It was the notorious school bully, Jack! Jack was every student’s nightmare. He was at least one head taller than every Primary 6 student and was like a ferocious bull, with his flaring nostrils.

“Sorry,” I muttered apologetically, avoiding eye contact.

“How dare you!” Jack snarled as he ruthlessly swung his fist at me. Staggering to avoid his punch, I landed unceremoniously on the ground. Ouch! A bolt of excruciating pain ripped my right knee. I clutched it and felt something wet on my palm. I looked down. It was blood!

“What’s the matter, little boy? Hurt?” Jack asked mockingly. My vision blurred from the tears and to add salt to injury, a few friends walked past without extending help! How could they have no sympathy?

Jack was not done. He cracked his knuckles as he bent towards me with a smirk. Just when I thought I would meet my Maker, I heard a familiar voice. “Stop it!”

It was Jon!

“Mind your own business, you busybody!” James growled.

Much to my astonishment, Jon charged towards Jack and gave him a hard shove! Jack did not react fast enough and fell onto the ground. Jack was as angry as a volcano. He sprang to his feet and flung his right fist at Jon, who used his scrawny arms to protect his face as best as he could. Of course, he still got hit.

“Ouch!” He cried in pain. Dumbfounded by what had happened, I could only watch helplessly as James continued to hit Jon.

“Stop!” A booming voice reverberated down the corridor.

Jack froze.

It was the discipline master, Mr Gopal! “You again! Follow me!” Mr Gopal commanded authoritatively. Jack followed behind Mr Gopal like a loyal dog.

“Sean, are you okay?” Jon asked as we walked to the sick bay slowly. This time, instead of mucus, blood was dripping from his nose.

Instead of answering him, I asked, “Why did you save me even after what I’ve done?”

“Well, that’s what friends are for,” Jon answered with a slight smile.

His kindness put me to shame. “I’m… I’m so sorry for what I’ve done!” I blurted, overwhelmed by remorse.

“Well, I forgive you!” Jon responded immediately. His magnanimity put me to shame at that instance.

That day, I learnt the invaluable lesson of forgiveness.

This composition is specially selected as a sample to showcase the creativity and maturity ZX has developed. ZX has always put in efforts to learn and improve, and this is the fruit of his labour.

Class Schedule

Click above image to enlarge

Course Rate

Duration / lesson : 1.5 hours

Click above image to enlarge

Prerequisites

Physical Requirements:

  1. fast and stable internet connection
  2. audio (microphone / earphones) and visual (camera) functionality
  3. earphones / headphones / earpods are ideal (to shut out background noises)
  4. tablet / laptop / desktop (strictly no mobile phone)
  5. well-lit, quiet private space that is free from environmental noises, without family members / pets passing by often
  6. worksheets, stationery, foolscap paper, exercise book are ready 

The child needs to be:

  • independent
  • responsible (prompt in homework submission)
  • self-disciplined (able to focus throughout the lesson)
  • computer-savvy

The video camera must be turned ON so that we can see one another’s faces.

What Parents and Students Say About Us

I’ve been in MMS since P1. My SA2 results this year are 80/95 for Paper 2 and 37/40 for Composition-writing! The composition tips help develop my stories and I have learnt to vary the sentences in my compositions to make them more lively.

TK, P5 2021 - joined in 2017 at P1

I did not know how to express myself and failed multiple times in English compositions before joining My Mustard Seed. However, I remember scoring 13/20 in P3 after the lessons (I used to score about 9). I’ve learnt to express the characters’ feelings and improve in the storylines.

GN, P5 2021 - joined in 2019 at P3

My composition contents were confusing before lessons in MMS. I remember scoring 19/20 after joining the centre. From the lessons in MMS, I have learnt many useful techniques. 

ZX, P5 2021 - joined in 2019 at P3

Before I joined MMS, I could not write compositions well. However, I began improving and for my SA2 composition this year, I scored 35/40!

 

WT, P5 2021 - joined in 2018 at P2

I am also using more descriptive expressions for my compositions. I like My Mustard Seed because the lessons are enjoyable and useful.

JY, joined since 2019

Triston has been taught a good foundation and he enjoys the classes, especially the composition writing. He’s told me “My knowledge for vocabulary expanded a lot and I am very happy.”

Irene

If you are interested in any of the above classes, do follow the steps below:

Register your interest for a no-obligation Zoom meeting to meet Teacher Sarah.

Please choose from the dates below. The Zoom link will be sent to you a day before.

    Available dates for Meet-the-Parents:

    Parent's Name (required):

    Parent's Email (required):

    Parent's Contact No (required):

    Child's Level (required):

    School (required):

    Current Composition Mark (required):

    Writing programme of interest (required):

    Please submit your child’s composition, based on the given Sample Question below. You can WhatsApp the screenshot(s) or scanned copy to Teacher Sarah @91008878 at least 4 days before the Zoom Meeting. We will follow up with an appraisal if the writing programme of your choice is suitable and useful for your child. 

    Sample Question For: Budding Writer / Writer-in-Progress

    Write a composition of at least 150 words about a time when you helped someone. Your composition should be based on one or more of these pictures.

    Use the following points to help you plan your composition :

    • How did you know help was needed?
    • How did you help the person?

    You may rearrange the order of the points and include other relevant points as well.

    Sample Question For: Writer-in-Progress / Proficient Writer

    Write a composition of at least 150 words about being inspired. Your composition should be based on one or more of these pictures.

    Use the following points to help you plan your composition :

    • What was the inspiration?
    • How did the protagonist act on the inspiration?

    You may rearrange the order of the points and include other relevant points as well.

    Teacher Sarah will meet you and your child in Zoom on the day you’ve selected. Please feel free to ask any questions after she has shared what will be accomplished through the programme.