August has been a very busy month for our P6 students. Aside from rigorously preparing for the PSLE Oral examination, we have also been preparing for the Preliminary examinations.

Aside from our weekly writing practices, to prepare them further, I will also plan out the list of the SA1 compositions with my classes.

This will allow them to be confident should a similar theme come out for the prelim. It is also a way for us to see how we can manipulate past plots into new themes.

My students have been lucky this year for the Paper 1 Preliminary themes. Some of the themes not on the list such as friendship and perseverance were done this year in class while others had themes that were in the SA1 list!

In my next post, I will put up the list of the Preliminary Composition themes that my students had so that you too can plan at home.

However, today, I will write about a theme that many schools had for their SA1. The theme of something ‘unexpected’ seemed to have been a common theme in many schools. From a surprise to an unexpected discovery, students had to write about being surprised.

I decided to use this as one of our compositions topics in August.

PSLE composition illustration for the model on the theme of an unexpected discovery

We discussed two possible ways to write this story. One was to discover a physical object unexpectedly, such as money or weapons. This would be a story with suspense and descriptive action.

The second way was to discover something unexpectedly about a family member or yourself such as adoption papers or a family secret. This composition would be more emotional and would require the use of characterisation.

While the second way may seem more difficult, both compositions, when written well, can garner a good score.

Below is Sarah’s, one of my P6 students, composition. She has been working hard all year to achieve her PSLE English goal and watching the effort she has put in to improve all year, makes me sure that she will meet the target for the PSLE.

I am happy to feature her composition on the blog today. She chose to write the second way suggested – discovering a family secret. Sarah’s story is emotional and yet she has made sure to use the theme.

An Unexpected Discovery

“$4000? Father only left us $4000? What did he do with the rest of the money that he had?” I exclaimed, after my father’s funeral.

A million different possibilities raced through my mind. Could he have had another secret family? I thought to myself.

“Sally, trust your father. I am sure that he had done something good with the money that he had,” my mother said giving me a pat on my back.

              It did not matter what my mother said. I resented my father ever since then. To me, he was not a good father. He was selfish and greedy. What kind of a father would leave his daughter and wife $4000 after his death? Before my father’s death, he was the sole breadwinner of the family. However, after his unexpected death, my mother had to take up the responsibility of being the sole breadwinner just to support the family, put food on the table and pay the bills.

              One day, when I arrived home from school, I asked my mother where my old report book was kept.

“Mrs. Tan, my English teacher needs the old report book by tomorrow for administration purposes,” I told my mother as she was preparing to rush off for her afternoon shift at work.

“The basement!” called my mother as she hurried out of the door.

Why is my report book kept in the basement? I wondered. I put down my bag, took out our torchlight, and made my way down to the basement. I opened the wooden door leading to the basement. Walking down the flight of old stairs, it creaked beneath me. I switched on the torchlight in my hand to make my way around. There were cobwebs and dust everywhere due to the lack of maintenance. The bulbs in the lamps needed to be changed too.  The basement was filled with boxes of my father’s belongings, placed there after his death.  I walked around the basement looking through the boxes for my report book.

“Where can my report book be?” I muttered under my breath.

One of the boxes caught my eye. The box was sealed tightly like it was protecting a secret. I compared it to the other boxes around and it was the only sealed box. What could be inside? I thought to myself, making my way to the box. Dusting off the layer of white dust on the top, I used a penknife on the shelf to open it up. Sweat trickled down my forehead as I cut through the last piece of tape. What could be inside this box that had to be taped up? What would I discover about my father? I wondered.

              “1, 2, 3,” I counted to myself before finally opening the box. Peering inside, I discovered that there were many different letters. Picking them out one by one, I read through them. They were all addressed to my father and they were from different organisations and people. Each letter was filled with words of gratitude, thanking my father for his kind donation. Orphans wrote about how grateful they were that my father had helped them with their school fees and sick people thanked my father for helping to pay for the medical bills that they could not afford. I could not believe my eyes! Finding these letters was truly an unexpected discovery. I then understood why there were so many people I did not know at my father’s funeral. They must have been the people to whom he had donated his money to.

Tears welled up in my eyes. Had I really known my father? The more I read the letters, the more I started to understand him. My father was not a selfish and greedy man. Instead, he was a generous and selfless man. He had donated his money to those who needed it more than him.

After a long time in the basement reading each of those letters, I closed up the box again. Finding out my father’s true personality was an unexpected discovery. I learnt one of the most important lessons of my life that day and I promised to always remember him for the generous man that he was.

P6 English tuition 2022 timetable

LocationDayStart timeEnd time
Bukit TimahThursday5 pm7 pm
Bukit TimahSaturday9 am11 am
Bukit TimahSaturday11 am1 pm
Bukit TimahSaturday2 pm4 pm
Hougang PelikatFriday5 pm7 pm
Updated on September 27, 2021