Diya is a lovely girl who was admitted to our school three years back. She became a darling to the teachers and senior students with to her chubby chicks, bright eyes and fast learning. She is very active in adapting new things and participating in co-curricular activities.

She used to mingle with seniors easily. She would go to class seven whenever she finds some co-curricular practices taking place there; and she would participate in them.  She strives for new learning. She is after her class teacher for-what next? By chance she has to remain absent; she would ask her class teacher for revision. Though she is friendly, she doesn’t like to perform the role of the group leader. She likes to read a lot.

But, there is a change in her this year.

Diya has a younger sister, Hina, and she was admitted in class one this year. Suddenly, Diya became mature. It reflects in her face and behavior.

Today, we were going to visit the Community Science Center at Vidhayanagar with selected students from standard 5, 6 and 7. We hired a van with a capacity of 12-15 students. The van was packed and Diya rushed to the teacher: Please, I want to join, to see.

But, it is for standard 5, 6 and 7 only. Your turn will come when you will come to standard 5.

I want to see, come.

The teacher knew that though this visit is for those who understands the basic concepts of Science, the teacher also understands that visit to such places can do wonders to the students like Diya. The teacher asked the students in the van- can you make place for Diya?

O sure!

‘Sarika also wants to come.’ 

OK fine. Take the permission from Principal madam and your class teachers.

They run to Principal-Kamalaben but could not speak. Kamalaben come to know the matter and she told, 

‘OK, Come with us .’

Suddenly, Diya said, ‘I can’t. I have to take care of my sister.’

But, we are returning in school time. There will not be any problem.

Sarika came, Diya didn’t.


geographical activity

This activity comes in the second chapter of the Geography (Std.7-Unit15) but the teacher felt that students were not ready for it at that time.

Geography is a wonderful blend of Arithmetic, Geometry and Science. The basic concepts require regular repetition with different techniques.

We explored the units in a regular method, definitions, drawings, question-answers. It was useful so far as information and examination is concerned. But, every now and then, some day due to NEWS or incidents in our routine or some other reasons, we kept on exploring the primary concepts of Geography.
Like, few days back, cloud of dust started growing from the ground and we discussed how and why of it. Also, there was dust-cover in Gujarat due to the change in air pressure in the desert of Rajasthan, and we discussed the topic. We also saw some videos and animations in between.

Today, we did an activity about how seasons change.

We used a globe, a cylinder vessel (cz we could not manage a round object) and a string.

We identified the North direction in the classroom using the position of the Sun. Most of the students can identify this. Then we put the cylinder vessel in the center, assuming it as the sun. We put the globe at the North of the Sun also tilted towards North. Then we measured that which pole is nearer to the sun; first by observation and then my measuring with the string.

Then we moved the globe 90 degree and put it to the West of the Sun. Again we measured the distance of both the poles using same methods as above.

We changed the position of the globe again, 90 degrees, and placed it at the South of the Sun, keeping it tilted towards North. We measured the distance of poles from the Sun.
Repeating the same, we placed the globe to the East of the globe.

Now, teacher asked the students to compare the experiment with the figure given in chapter 15 and answer the questions: What would be the date when the earth is in the first/second/third/forth position of our activity? We have our answers, correctly.

It is not those correct answers that show the result of the activity.  Students have already answered those questions previously in unit tests and in assignments. It is the questions from them that show why to do such activities. Here are those questions: What if the Earth is not tilted? We saw the video and the Earth doesn’t seem tilted in it, then how can we say that the Earth is tilted so exactly? Why don’t we feel the movement of the Earth? Where is the Earth located? Why don’t we fall if the Earth is round? Our land seems flat, then how come we say that the Earth is round? Where do we live, inside of the Earth or on the Earth?
Some of the questions are repeated a many times.  Repetition in the question means the concept requires more clarity and a different method to explain. So they are welcome every time.


geographical experiment

We started it on 22nd Dec.’11 , 1p.m.; to measure the shadow of a stick.

At first we started with measuring teacher’s and students’ shadows. Then we switched to measure the shadow of a stick. The teacher raised the question : why a stick and not the shadow of a human being ?

After that, with the interval of 15 days, we continue measuring the shadow of that particular stick and noting down it date wise. The difference in the length of the shadow is minute during first 2-3 measurements, so the students became impatient. They want to know- why we are doing this? The teacher replied : I don’t know the result. This is an experiment and we can know the result only after the completion of it.

From January end, students started recognizing the significant difference in the length of the shadow. Why so? They come up with the question. The teacher wanted to manipulate the curiosity, so she didn’t answered it then.

Finally, 21st March arrived. We measured the shadow. It was very very short from our first measurement. Oh ! Exclaimed all. We also measured the latitude of our place. Then, we opened our Geography chapter and read it. We have answers of our questions there.


What to teach in Science.

In last two years, I came to read few Science books, meant for average reader. The field of Science I explored was Quantum Physics and it mesmerized me, as it keeps doing ever since Schrodinger.  It opened a whole new world of wonder and also relatedness. I have begun to relate Science in the routine life; not as a tool that make our life easier but as a way of seeing human relations, social life, thinking and such. Meanwhile, I came across an article of  Richard Feynman where he opined that Quantum Physics should be introduced from Primary education as it is a subject of wonder; and Classical Physics should be introduced on Secondary stage as it has a lot of information and mathematics which the child finds boring and which takes away the potential Scientist away from its own field.
Basic Astronomy starts from standard 3 where the child is told that Sun is a source of Energy and Moon has no light. In one of Std-3 class, the teacher asked – Have you seen chandr (moon)? Children replied-No! It was a shock for the teacher. Then, she asked, have you seen chandamama(meternal uncle moon)?  YES !, everybody sung ! In standard-5, students come across names of constellations which they simply memorize. There are stories, very old and tested by time; about the constellations which can make the child see the sky at night to find the character of that story.
Today, student with visibility problems were given spectacles through the Primary Health Center. And so the students came up with the question, why one get numbers with the eye? Students who were given spectacles were feeling guilty as if it is their fault to catch this deficiency. Because everybody says that not eating proper food and watching T.V. are the ONLY reasons for this (and not the polluted environment.) Well, so we were talking about eyes and spectacles. We shared that there are many reasons for getting this deficiency but we can prevent it through healthy habits. Then, we opened Science textbook to get more information about the eye, though I did not have much expectation from the textbook, I just wanted to relate that our study has relation with our lives. There is a figure of eye and names of its parts and their function. I explained the data again. At a point, where I have to say that the pupil projects an upside down picture of the object and it is the brain that makes the picture straight and real. I was thinking how to explain this. I came up with this : close your eyes and see what your mother is doing. Can you see her? Yes? Without her being here before your eyes? That is the function of the brain! Now, can you say how a chocolate tests? Sweet, testy? How without having it in your mouth? Brain!
I think Quantum Physics works well HERE.
Now and then we also discuss about illness and its remedies and why and how of them. I mentioned that the pupil is flexible and it becomes wide or narrow according to the light.  We talked and checked what happens when we suddenly move from dark to light or from light to dark place. The eyes before me were widened. And students got into awe-how come the pupil behaves so? Because, it has its own intelligence.
I believe Quantum fits here.
I don’t know, with my very limited reading and knowledge, how to put Quantum in a textbook format. May be with some wonder-wrapped incident! What makes me thinking this is my childhood experience, where I saw my curiosity transformed into interest and dried up into facts and figures.


revision time

It is challenging to find out ways to indulge students into educational tasks. By educational, I mean tasks where students raise questions and find ways for answers on their own, do healthy discussions and reach to conclusions, do required mechanical tasks that are required by the education system and so on. It is equally satisfying for the teacher to see such processes taking place into the classroom.
Annual examinations are knocking on the door and it is time for revision. The question was : How to make the mechanical task of revising content interesting and by which means the slow learner can also participate actively into this task ?

We worked in groups. One History lesson for each group. The task is, the group has to develop five new questions in 15 minutes. The group members will read aloud questions with answers. One mark for each question. The teacher will ask question after all the presentations and will check who remembers the answer.

The idea was, framing question is a higher task then just answering. One has to understand the answer and the pattern of the question for it and also has to read each line of the unit carefully. Students came up with difficulties in framing questions and that one to one interaction is quite useful which is not possible otherwise. Mark encourages the effort. And this time the group members have to participate actively as they are representing their group instead of the group leader, so its their responsibility to gain marks. The group leader became active differently. She framed the questions and made it sure that the members understand them and present them properly. It is self satisfactory task for her as she is a brighter one in the group. In this task, each one has a role to perform and that is according to their ability plus a little bit challenge.

Day one went this way. in next class, we modified the task a bit. The teacher asked to frame questions with 'Who' in it. Some students came up with the name of places or incidents or time and then we discussed the question pattern and re-framed the questions. One group initiated to present the questions without looking into textbook. It was given half grace mark for each question. That encouraged other groups and next day all the groups , i.e. whole class tried to memorise their questions-answers. Then we also included minus marking for wrong question pattern.

Coincidentally, Priyanka's group has slowest learners today. Still they managed to present their group work. The class asked the teacher not to consider mistakes in the question pattern and give the group full marks. Even Priyanka was given grace mark for her efforts which goes to the total marks of the group. And the whole class clapped for them.

There is challenge not competition in this task. It may be because we were able to built an atmosphere of one group as a class.



in uniform
 Adolescent students are a problem if viewed from moralistic perspective, but lively and lovely if we become friends.

In standard seven(age 13+), there are two-three girls who are at the starting point of adolescence phase. They find the school uniform boring, walk in a line degrading and child like interaction insulting. They like to dress up with hair style and accessories. They find it difficult to mingle with rest of the class.

hair style-Geeta 
The class teacher tries to find an in between path. With negotiation, we agree at do's and don'ts. They wear school uniform but can come with hairstyle. We have a dress code for hair style also, that is red ribbon with two palates. Usually adolescent girls like to make single open palate with rubber band. They can also wear fashion accessories like long earnings, nail polish and such. The teacher even appreciates their dressing and fashion sense. If the teacher misses to do so, the girls come up with      The girls in our school have limited economic resources and so we do not need to worry about expensive fashion jewellary.
One other thing is, adolescents like to have long nails. Health and Hygiene education suggests short nails. Here also we came at in-between understanding. They keep long nails but keep them clean.

This year, Hiral and Geeta are passing through this beautiful period of their life. They sit together and talk with eyes. Hiral is very good at rangoli decoration and it is her responsibility to check and maintain the decoration of the classroom. They don't like to sit in the assembly-prayer so they skip it smartly on the name of classroom cleaning.

Daxa and Rupa look like adolescents by their physical appearance, but emotionally they are not. The teacher can get deceived by the physical appearance but through interaction the teacher can know this.