Saturday, 31 October 2015

MATH-E-MAGIK, 2015-2016

“If people do not believe that Mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is” as said by John Louis Von Neumann
Academic Year
30 and 31 October, 2015

School Premises, Kollur, Hyderabad

Children at Open Minds felt Math as a fun subject, during their tour around the stalls put up by grade 1 to 4. They enjoyed playing the Math games along with their parents. Parents too had gala time going around the stalls and playing the games.

Our Globe Toters visited us and had the feel of the school’s vigor through this Math-e- Magik event.

Grade 1 and 2 stalls had games like Bounce and catch, Maze, Match me, Scrambled eggs, Sand Play to name a few. Grade 2 stalls had dart game, 1 minute game, Bingo, maze and few other games.

Parents had opportunity to play games in all the stalls. The stalls put up by grade 3 and 4 were appropriate to their standards , which even parents enjoyed playing like drawing the polygons using playing cards, pick and tally using vegetables and few other things, Clean the money game was based on grid concept. Monkeying with Multiplication, Triangle Multiplication and School yard Multiplication were games based on simple multiplication. May Flower Ride was the game which even Globe Trotters could play by picking up the toothpicks from different  shapes without moving the other sticks.

Finally the message the parents and students could carry was: “Without Mathematics there is nothing you can do. Everything around you is Mathematics, everything around you is numbers.”

This small effort of Open Minds is a giant leap towards removing the fear of Mathematics and instills the Joy of Mathematics in the minds of the Open Minds and Globe Toter students.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Debate on Migration and Urbaniztion

The students of Grade-6 had a debate on migration and urbanization:

In the debate, It was observed that they have come to a wonderful conclusion where in urban areas we can do farming, creating jobs for the ones migrated from rural areas. 
We can own farm lands and the farmers can work in those farms and earn for their livelihood. 

As the land owners are educated they can provide more sophisticated equipment for farming and at the same time a farmer can have a feel of living in urban area with good number of opportunities for their children.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Presenting our teachers series - who's next?

Koushiki Mukherjee <3

Possibly one of our most popular teachers at Open Minds and according to our students she is known to be kind, fabulous and enthusiastic. I will never forget how the achievers cheered when she was selected as their house master. It was definitely the loudest cheer of all! 

She was born in Bokaro Steel City (I admit i had to google it) and contrary to my belief that she spent most of her life in Kolkata, she did not! She lived in Bokaro till her 12th standard then moved to Maharashtra for her higher education and finally moved to Hyderabad only after she got married. She travels to Kolkata as often as possible because her parents are settled there - that's what made me think she lived there most of her life.

She has an adorable son Om that goes to Globe Tot'ers and she is a loving and devoted mother. During the summer break when most of us just want to rest our worn out teachers' souls, Koushiki ma'am rolls up her sleeves and organises summer camps for children of the entire community where she lives. Her enthusiasm and cheerfulness is truly inspiring. It is as clear as the cloudless sky, that Koushiki ma'am loves kids! <3

Om at Globe To'ters presenting Egypt and his proud momma! :)

Koushiki and Om - a glamourous shot ;)
Summer camp 2015, Koushiki ma'am in action! ;)
In her youth Koushiki travelled all over India as a national level table tennis player representing Maharashtra and Bihar! When asked what is it that she cherishes the most in her life, the answer came like from a cannon - mom and dad! It is not hard to see that they are a very close knit family and it is not surprising at all that her best childhood memories are time spent with her older sister, Somia.  She is counting days as their next reunion will be on 18th of this month. :)

Koushiki ma'am and her sister when they were kids.

Koushiki ma'am with her dad and sister.
It is so clear that he knows daughters are
the most beautiful gift one can ever get.
Happy family is but an earlier heaven... (by George Bernard Shaw)

I always joke that she was blessed with a powerful voice but, hey, it happens to be true! That aside, I have recently asked my students of grade 4 to write about "Favourite learning moments in Theme 2" and the vast majority of students wrote about the EVS activities and projects and their beloved Koushiki ma'am. Kids love her, and so do we. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Why do we need to sleep?

“Something nameless hums us into sleep,” the poet Mark Strand wrote in his beautiful ode to dreams. 

But what is that nameless something, exactly? By now, scientists know that sleep obeys our complex internal clocks, affects our every waking moment, and even tames our negative emotions. But even as they’re beginning to shed light on what happens while we sleep, they don’t yet know why we evolved to sleep in the first place.

In this fascinating short video, PBS’s Joe Hanson explores the mysteries of sleep, synthesizing science from David Randall’s excellent Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep and other scientific curiosities, from how tiny ocean-dwelling worms explain our brain's response to daylight and darkness to Edison’s power-napping strategy for success.

DREAMS by Mark Strand

Trying to recall the plot
And characters we dreamed,
     What life was like
Before the morning came,
We are seldom satisfied,
     And even then
There is no way of knowing
If what we know is true.
     Something nameless
Hums us into sleep,
Withdraws, and leaves us in
     A place that seems
Always vaguely familiar.
Perhaps it is because
     We take the props
And fixtures of our days
With us into the dark,
     Assuring ourselves
We are still alive. And yet
Nothing here is certain;
     Landscapes merge
With one another, houses
Are never where they should be,
     Doors and windows
Sometimes open out
To other doors and windows,
     Even the person
Who seems most like ourselves
Cannot be counted on,
     For there have been
Too many times when he,
Like everything else, has done
     The unexpected.
And as the night wears on,
The dim allegory of ourselves
     Unfolds, and we
Feel dreamed by someone else,
A sleeping counterpart,
     Who gathers in
The darkness of his person
Shades of the real world.
     Nothing is clear;
We are not ever sure
If the life we live there
     Belongs to us.
Each night it is the same;
Just when we’re on the verge
     Of catching on,
A sense of our remoteness
Closes in, and the world
     So lately seen
Gradually fades from sight.
We wake to find the sleeper
     Is ourselves
And the dreamt-of is someone who did
Something we can’t quite put
     Our finger on,
But which involved a life
We are always, we feel,
     About to discover.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Grade 6 IHC extempore - elocution

Today I was a judge in our sixth grade during the inter house competition. It was such a wonderful experience for me I just felt compelled to share it. I don't teach grade 6, so it was even more interesting for me to listen to them. I felt I was totally unbiased as I had no pre-existing expectations of any kind. The primary section had the 'pick and speak' activity and the middle year classes engaged in the extempore speech. Just to clarify, extempore means 'spoken without any preparation'. For a lot of students it was a very new experience but I must say I was overjoyed when I judged the grade 6 along with Mr. Raju, as the students did exceptionally well. Not just the five students who qualified into the next round - Anshika, Astuti, Aryan, Anoushka and Harnoor, but many more were close in the scores and have shown great potential and enthusiasm and everyone tried their best. Only Sishir slipped through our fingers this time, but I just didn't want to be too pushy. I am sure his time will come. Next time, Sishir! 

We were ready with the topics the students could chose from and with the rubrics for fair judging. We were looking at 6 parameters: how the student started or introduced the topic, the quality of content, conclusion, confidence level, presentation, and how well they were able to capture the audience. The rubric was shared with students in advance so they knew very well what we were looking for. Some tips and example were also given as a warm up so we were all on the same page. Topics were very diverse and general and age appropriate. 

Have you ever tried speaking like that? Sure, for us, adults with tons of life experience it might be pretty easy or at least not hard but the students simply do not have the rich experience the years bring. Well, surprise, surprise! I thought they were brilliant!

The first one to impress me thoroughly was Anshika. Her topic was "The things we can see in the sky". In my mind I first thought of the night sky, stars and constellations but Anshika was practically unstoppable and so refreshingly confident and spoke about the clouds, their shapes, birds, unusual colours of the setting sun, rainbows. Too cute! As a conclusion she suggested that if we ever find ourselves bored and idle we can just go out and look up in the sky - there is always something interesting to see there.

Harnoor, I think it's safe to presume she is a dog lover, picked a topic 'Why dog is called man's best friend". Admittedly, I am a big dog lover as well, so I just loved the numerous points she mentioned to argue that they are indeed man's best friends. She was also very practical at times - mentioning that they can guard our property and valuables and keep us safe.

Astuti, literally took the stage by storm. Her topic "Health is wealth" was so beautifully presented I was left speechless. Mind you, students themselves also recognised and appreciated every single great attempt! The applause was loud and enthusiastic and rightly so. Incredibly lucid ideas and so thoughtfully put together as if she was preparing for this the whole weekend but she didn't. Extempore, remember?

Aryan spoke about the "Importance of the language". He was so convincing, active, captured the audience with ease, used crisp gestures. I could picture him as a CEO of some big company inspiring his team to do better, grow stronger and win. Yes, I have a great imagination but Aryan was just brilliant!

Last but not least, Anoushka our last qualifier to round up the group of students who impressed the most, picked a topic "A memorable trip" and she made some very interesting points oh how the trip doesn't need to be super fancy to be memorable as long as you are active and surrounded with the ones you love. She was confident and convincing. Another loud round of applause that was well deserved.

But my enthusiasm doesn't stop here. Not at all! Udbhav has done super well and has missed qualifying by a wee margin. I also want to mention Abhiram who was so reluctant to even start but then just had a wonderfully impressive start at telling us about his favourite cricket player Sachin Tendulkar. When he was on the verge to not do it at all he was encouraged by the entire class. I loved that! 

Running out of things to say was normal and no one should feel discouraged because of it but rather take on the challenge instead. Akshan, who started first wanted to have another go at it, as he felt he could do so much better but that wouldn't be fair at this stage - what we should consider and promise to students though is that we will make sure  they have many more such wonderful opportunities to speak.

I evidently enjoyed this session immensely and I would like to thank all the 6th graders who tried. I appreciated every single student who spoke! Bravo kids! 

Urska ma'am