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Archive for November, 2010

This is another game that has been working well in class. While thinking of ways to make learning sight words more fun, I remembered an idea I had read somewhere – you could paste important words on the floor, walls of the school so that the kids read it every day and retain. Since our floor is muddy, there is no easy way to paste words. The next best thing is to write with a chalk that has been dipped in water.

So, rather than just writing the words on the floor, I make it into a game. Here is how it goes:

1. Write some 20 sight words on the floor before the kids come into classroom with chalk dipped in water (better visibility + lasts longer)

2. Pick a random name using ice cream sticks (names of kids written on them) / chits of paper with kids names

3. Give a word to the kid and he/she has to go find that word WITHIN a minute. If so, his team gets a point. If he can’t find that word, you can give a homework based on that word.

4. While one kid is finding the word, other kids can be engaged in reading the word list or just cheering the kid who is trying to find the word.

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In the few hours that my children and I get within the classroom, I am striving to make it a learning environment that speaks of excellence.Excellence in every inch inside the classroom. While planning for one of the lessons, whose objective was to make kids learn signs and labels from their environment, I had used wrappers, biscuit covers and everyday things to show the children that they can pick up English words from these things. They loved it ! And I was a happy teacher that day because I got to do something creative without spending much money :)

The other day, I was thinking of a way to make use of this corner space in the classroom, when this idea was born – why not convert it into a display of sorts where we could permanently (ok..not so much permanence here !) stick these things and keep telling the children everyday that they can learn English all around and not just in the classroom.

Btw, the Minute Maid Orange juice bottle is empty :) It looks full of juice because of the orange color paper in the background !

I ll write about this idea in a few weeks from now to tell you whether it’s been working or not.

 

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Daily Drama- Srini

I quit watching soaps and megaserials yugas ago. Not even micro or mini serials for me. I love my ‘The Office’ and ‘CSI’s though. All online. I quit TV long ago. Where is the patience? And, yeah, where is the TV ? :) I have lived without a TV for many many years now. Good ? Bad ? Not sure but I know I am not missing much as my laptop + internet seem to deliver it all to me. On demand.

Did I already digress ? I am getting there. Today, while almost hanging out of the train compartment (Sion to Kurla, Central Line, Mumbai for those attention to detail seekers) I was recollecting the day at School (as usual). ‘Are there any patterns to my class hours ? Who is doing what in class ? Who are the kids coming to School early ? Who loves to take initiatives ? Who is always the first to listen to me? Who is eager? Who is lazy ? Who complains ? Who forgives? Who helps ? Who beats up? Who seeks revenge?Who doesn’t ?’

So many questions. I know. Thing is, it is not easy to know in the first few months. Kids are wonderfully honest. Kids are also fantastic actors. Kids are transparent. Kids also hide. But, the beauty is, for every kid who is an actor, there are many others who’d want to impress the Teacher by telling the truth ! Every day, there is so much drama at School. Drama = Happiness + Anger + Revenge + Despair + Frustration + Ecstasy + Tears + Pain + Disappointment + Turn arounds + Miracles

For someone who has never raised kids (or had. I am single !), handling 40+ kids and the accompanying drama is a tough task. But, it is very interesting. Over these months, I have learned quite a bit about handling the emotions of kids (Someone remarked that I’ll be a fantastic father. God bless you !). The one thing that is not easy is when to take them seriously and when not to. How much of what they say is truth and how much is exaggeration ? You never know initially. But, over a period of time, you begin to see patterns. You know who and what to take seriously. You begin to understand the kids and their personality. Yet, being fair and democratic in the classroom is a big challenge that has defeated me at times. However fair I have been, I am sure some kids think of me as Severus Snape and some as Dumbledore ! Though I don’t have Malfoys in the class, I am beginning to see Malfoyian characteristics slowly emerge in some kids and that’s ringing the alarm bells. More on this in another post (Is someone keeping track of my ‘another post’ promises?)

So, speaking of drama. As the day progresses, so much happens in the classroom. Enemies become friends. Friends become enemies. In micro seconds. Even while you are reaching out to the marble jar. Or the Star sticker chart. Kids cry like there is no tomorrow and the smiles return as soon as I offer a fragrant wet tissue. They fall with a loud thud, get up and run around as if nothing happened but cry non stop when a friend hits them or breaks their pencil. As a teacher, it is important to resolve these and move on because they eat into precious learning time. How a teacher handles such classroom dramas can determine how the kids will behave when such things happen again. “I know Bhaiya will take this seriously. But, not that. So, don’t complain.” To change this, there needs to be a strong “Find the positive” culture in the classroom. We are trying to build that by having ‘Shout-out’ time outs, ‘Shout-out’ charts where kids write good things about their buddies, ‘Champion Helper of the day’ and so on. Abundant use of ‘Please’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Thank you’ in and out of the classroom. But, most important of them all – how does a Teacher behave ? Does he/she say these often? How does the Teacher treat the Mousi, the cleaners, the sweepers, the tea boy, the peon, the painters and other casual labourers in School ? Kids observe. Kids pick up a lot by seeing what elders do. (Some of my kids already say ‘Shut up’. I never use that. Wonder where they got it from !)

Often, I go through all the drama in my mind. All in one day. When School ends, and the kids have gone home, I sit in the last bench (Why? Good view) and enjoy the feeling that one goes through when the roller coaster comes to a final full stop. It is not relief. It’s something else.

Pic: ‘Bring your favorite toy to school and talk about it’ day. Kirti brought this baby doll and surprised me. The doll was a hit with the girls. The boys didn’t even go close to it.They made paper guns and played cop and thief.

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