Goal Affir001


Let’s talk about Co-curricular activities in school. Annual days, field trips, fairs, fun?

But the most exclusive and interactive is the project day.

Well, I, Jash Rambhia, studying in VIII Dhyaan would like to share with you about the fun filled subject of PD (personal development) in the project day. As a part of the PD curriculum of Std. VIII, the counselors and the respective student team taught us a topic which plays an important part in our lives i.e. GOAL SETTING and AFFIRMATIONS. The topic seemed new and interesting for the students.  I personally loved both the topics and volunteered to be a part of the PD stall reflecting these concepts for the Project Day. The students were given sufficient time for the project day preparations and it was this time when we did quality research to make our information as impressive as we could under the guidance of our teachers. We made charts that were relevant to our topic and would facilitate understanding of the same. We also made takeaways in the form of bookmarks to be given to the visitors on the Project Day. We worked very hard to make our stall a success. In the whole process we came to know each other’s talents, likes, dislikes etc. On the day of the event we presented and explained what we had prepared wonderfully and confidently. Visitors seemed extremely interested in the topic. This could be due to the relevance of the topic in their personal life as well as their children.

In the first stall we spoke about Goal setting and the importance of it in our life. A short acronym was given to the visitors regarding the same. After this they reflected on their goals, ways to achieve it, time taken as well as the hurdles they would face while achieving these goals. This was loved by the visitors and some of them even promised themselves to put it upon the refrigerator by which they would remember their goals and work towards it.

In the last counter I spoke about affirmations. I explained to them what affirmations and its importance in achieving our goals.  They were then presented with a bookmark in which they were asked to write down self-generated affirmations. They were also given a take way which spoke about different ways to help their child set and achieve their goals. It was observed that the visitors enjoyed the process and gave positive feedback regarding the information provided.

Here are glimpses of the stall…

Goal Affir01 Goal Affir12 Goal Affir11 Goal Affir10 Goal Affir9 Goal Affir8 Goal Affir7 Goal Affir6 Goal Affir5 Goal Affir4 Goal Affir3 Goal Affir2 Goal Affir1


We bonded, expressed and shared…

- Lamia Bagasrawala, School Psychologist, Shishuvan School


As part of the Personality Development (PD) Classes in the academic year 2015-16, students of Std. V- Neeti explored different concepts that were aimed at addressing their immediate and long-term needs. This being their first year in Shishuvan and the Boarding facility, the initial P.D. classes focused on addressing the students’ experiences of change and exploring emotions and attitudes towards the new systems and structures. This was achieved through a series of classes, use of audio-visual aids, a detailed reflection on the movie ‘Who moved my Cheese?’ and a number of group, pair and individual activities. Thereafter a series of sessions focused on exploring the concept of safety and the different kinds of touch. These sessions were followed by exploring the understanding of internal and external motivation. As part of the Math Fest, students engaged in group activities to initiate a discussion on Motivation for Math which was then linked to motivation in all other aspects of life. This process was facilitated by reflections on the movie ‘The Lego Story’ followed by individual activities that required students to create their own motivational statements and creating an imaginary story of their inventions. When students were asked to share their memories, learnings and reflections on all the P.D. classes this year, they came up with some interesting narratives. Here’s a look at some of them and a peek into our journey this year in P.D.!

“In the P.D. class we enjoyed all the things,

We discussed about our family and people,

We discussed about Motivation, Managing Change and Touch,

We did charts on Change and played many games.

We saw movies like ‘Who moved my Cheese?” and ‘The Lego Story’,

And we learnt about the types of touch,

We learnt about private parts,

And importance of listening,

We also discussed about Tricky people.

We did innovative and creative writing

And we made our new inventions

That’s all! We enjoyed in the P.D. class.

Lamia told us many things

She gave us messages like –

To motivate people, To keep a smile on our face every time

To not be sad and

Make sure our words are not bad!”

-          Neel Rambhiya., V-Neeti

“When I went to school

When I went to school

I heard of a secret class

Its name was P.D. class.

I liked it very much

My experience was

That I learnt many things

The topics which I liked were-

Managing Change, Motivation and Types of Touch-

And many many more!

In Types of touch I learnt that

There are many types of touch – loving touch, hurtful touch, accidental touch, uncomfortable touch, etc.

I liked the movie ‘The Lego Story’

Because it gave many many learnings

His inventions were very creative

I learned to be creative and hard-working!

P.D. Class is fun to attend

You will also like it

And you will day ‘What an amazing class!’

And never be sad ad be happy!”

-          Divya Savla, V- Neeti



 “I remember the things I did in P.D. and I will tell you about them

I saw a movie named ‘The Lego Story’

We saw it and enjoyed it,

We learnt a message that “we should always try”

This message will help me in the future in my work when I grow up

This was the best topic for me!

When I think about it, I feel nice

It was amazing because it taught me a lesson.”

-          Rishabh Dedhia, V- Neeti


“Hey hey hey hip hop

I have heard there was a class

Its name was P.D. Class, P.D. Class

We saw many movies like

‘Who moved my cheese?’ and ‘The Lego Story’

But we watched many more short films

I learnt many things from my P.D. class

Like motivation, safety of private parts, etc.

It was very helpful to me and others.

I learnt many things from P.D. Class

Like taking motivation from other classes

So I am confident that I can do anything…

I will love my P.D. class for ever, ever, ever and ever! “

-          J.K, V-Neeti

We bonded, expressed and shared…7 We bonded, expressed and shared…6 We bonded, expressed and shared…5 We bonded, expressed and shared…4 We bonded, expressed and shared…3 We bonded, expressed and shared…2 We bonded, expressed and shared…1


Digital Parenting Workshop

-         Lamia Bagasrawala, School Psychologist, Shishuvan School

Parents at Shishuvan are one of the most significant stakeholders in the school. They are as open to learning and exploring as they are to contributing to the growth of their children and the school. And this is what makes facilitating parent workshops enjoyable and stimulating! It’s been almost a year since I’ve been conducting Parent Workshops for parents of students in Middle School and High School and the experience has always been heart-warming. The refreshing interactions and discussions each time as well as the eagerness of the parents to learn more has always left me delighted.

This semester I decided to cover the topic of Digital Parenting for parents of students in the Middle School. As part of Personality Development (P.D.) classes, some of the topics of cyber safety were covered with the students. Additionally an introductory workshop on Cyber Safety had been conducted with the parents in the first semester. The introductory session covered up the technical chunks of parental controls, appropriate use of the Internet and the problems arising out of the misuse of the Internet. This seemed like a lot of information and one of my colleagues happened to question the need for my follow-up workshop as most of it was covered in the introductory session. This is what got me thinking about Digital Parenting through a whole new perspective. I realized that Digital Parenting was no different than Parenting itself. What makes it seem fascinating and slightly intimidating is a) it is unknown territory – since this is practically the first generation to be growing up in the digital age in India and b) we as parents and adults are also active users of the digital media too – so it’s not just kids. And this is how I shifted lens from monitoring and managing online behaviour of children – which I still consider essential and a pre-requisite for cyber safety – to modelling the appropriate behaviour in the family.

The workshop conducted with parents of students in Std. 5, 6, 7 respectively on separate days in January 2016, gave the parents a glimpse of what appropriate norm setting and behaviour management while using digital devices looks like. Parents were introduced to strategies and provided practical examples for modelling the appropriate behaviour. All this was of course achieved in the true Shishuvan style of group work and discussion based activities. Parents got into groups and enlisted points for some everyday behaviours and phenomena like – things they keep in mind while going on a detox diet, things to remember while creating a business agreement, verbal and non-verbal behaviours while engaging in real time interactions and code of conduct on the dinner table. These insights were shared and used as the starting point to explore the similarities and connections between parenting and digital parenting. Associations between day-to-day norm setting and digital management were created through this activity. It was interesting how this also helped create a base to explore individual differences. The concept of NETIQUETTE, Digital Detox and Contracting were discussed and parents were also left with examples for each as well as a sample of the contract. Parents also put down one clause that they would like to include in their digital contracts. The emphasis throughout the session was on the need for parents and families to demonstrate appropriate media use behaviours consistently in order to motivate and elicit similar behaviours from the children.

It was indeed a pleasure conducting these workshops and as always, I returned with a lot more learning and lot more food for thought. To all those adults desiring to bring about a change in their children’s behaviours, let’s reflect on what we do. It may not always be the only way to go ahead, but it can serve as a great starting point. Children See, Children do! And this video sums it up really well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d4gmdl3zNQ . Here’s to creating a safer and healthier generation of digital children!

VII - Digital Parenting1 VII - Digital Parenting VI - Digital Parenting2 VI - Digital Parenting V - Digital Parenting1 V - Digital Parenting Digital Contracts

Stories You Can Interact With

rushabh meha python workshopRushabh Mehta.

This is a summary of what happened in the third programming class for kids at Shishuvan. 

The first computer program you are generally taught in first year of engineering is a function that returns the factorial of a number. Factorial? Who uses factorials? What are they used for? We usually have no idea or any emotional connect to that problem. No wonder most find computer programming boring!

The conventional thinking is that computer programming is closely related to math and logic. The heart of a computer consists of hexadecimal numbers, flashing through transistors at lightening speed, and hence the reason that programming must be taught like math.

There is an alternate way to approach programming. Donald Knuth, who wrote the classic “Art of Computer Programming”, considered to be the bible of computer science, talks about “Literate Programming”, where programming is considered as a natural language, and not a mathematical algorithm. This means that programming can also be taught as literature and not just mathematics.

Jump start

In the first class we did variables, functions and lists and almost everyone got what we did, in the second class, we did more complex functions, using lists and loops and also introduced the concept of Python modules. Again most of the kids who attended, got this. Some kids understood a lot more than others.

In this class, we had many kids who had not attended the second class, so they were coming after a gap of two weeks and needed to be jump started. So we spent quite some time recapping what we did in the last class and quite a few kids could write the functions we wrote almost form memory. So far so good. It was a good revision for the kids who had attended both the classes.

At the end of the second class, we had decided that in the next class, we were going to make a sorting hat, a hat from the Harry Potter books that separates students into groups

Sorting hat

So I asked the kids, how does the sorting hat work? One of the kids came up with this answer, “When a student wears a sorting hat, the hat matches the student’s abilities with the abilities of the founder of the house. And which ever ability matches the most, the student is assigned to that house”. Pretty good explanation!

So we said, lets start making a sorting hat.

houses = ["Gryffindor", "Slytherin", "Ravenclaw", "Hufflepuff"]
abilities = ["bravery", "cunning", "intellegence", "hard-work"]

Yeah, mmm, this was good, two lists, but the next question is how do we co-relate the houses to abilities? Here is where we introduced classes

class House:
    ability = None
class Student:
    ability = None
gryffindor = House()
gryffindor.ability = 'bravery'
harry = Student()
harry.ability = 'bravery'

We saved this file as sortinghat.py and went into the Python shell. This was a good time to introduce inspection and the Python function dir, which helps you explore objects.

>>> import sortinghat
>>> dir(sortinghat)
['House', 'Student', '__builtins__', '__doc__', '__file__', '__name__', '__package__', 'gryffindor', 'harry']

Here we imported the sortinghat module and looked at what was inside it. We found a few things we recognized, Student, House, harry and gryffindor. Then we looked inside gryffindor

>>> dir(sortinghat.gryffindor)
['__doc__', '__module__', 'ability']

We found ability! Then we knew what this was:

>>> sortinghat.gryffindor.ability

Now that we understood what classes were, we added a few more properties like name and created a list of all the houses and students.

Let play

After that we decided to move straight to the magic. Click here to view the full file.

def sort(student):
    for house in all_houses:
        if house.ability == student.ability:
            if house.students is None:
                house.students = []
            print student.name + ' goes to ' + house.name + '!'

Then reloaded the module and called the function sort

>>> reload(sortinghat)
>>> sortinghat.sort(sortinghat.harry)
Harry Potter goes to Gryffindor!

We made a sorting hat!

Again a flurry of questions and the kids were eager to try it themselves. This was quite a long program and there were bound to be issues. Most kids got confused with the forced indentation in Python and a whole lot of them struggled. But at the end of it there were three or four who could get this working.


At the end of the third class, it seemed most of the kids were struggling, especially those who had missed the second class. There were too many concepts thrown at them and while they were having fun and trying hard, there was more assimilation that needed to be done.

On the other hand it was heartening that there were four or five kids who were getting it. These are kids who had never learned how to program but could understand a whole lot of concepts to get a program working. Now is the time to consolidate learning. In the next class, we will try and make more variations to this model and reinforce what we already know.

In Harry Potter we have found a great analogy to learn programming. Kids love stories and if they can feel they are writing one, it would be a great leap of imagination. How well they go from here will depend on what kind of support they find at their homes. I am hoping at least some of these kids have supportive parents / guardians who can help them make that leap.


This is the second session of my computer programming class at Shishuvan.

The way we declare variables and functions in Python is called snake case. It means that you join words with an underscore (_), like this, snake_case. We had talked about snake case in the first class, and how Python is a snake, and we how we were talking to the computer in snake language. And everyone knows who can talk with snakes, Harry Potter!

We started the class with quick recap of what we did last time, that is variables, functions and lists. We then decided write a function that used lists.

>>> def add_marks(marks):
       return marks[0] + marks[1] + marks[2]
>>> add_marks([20, 30, 40])

The kids understood this alright. They recapped how we use indexes to address elements of a list, and how the first index is always zero and not one. Then I added another element to the list:

>>> add_marks([20, 30, 40, 10])

I made them re-write the function for summing a list with four elements. There had to be a better way to do this, and we quietly introduced loops.

>>> def add_marks(marks):
      total_marks = 0
      for mark in marks: 
        total_marks = total_marks + mark 
      return total_marks
>>> add_marks([20, 30, 40, 10])

As expected, there was a flurry of questions

Repetition and Induction

This is when it struck me that the kids were understanding what the function is doing, what they were figuring out is the how. They were learning by induction. And isn’t that how we learn anything? By repetition and induction. As humans we are hard-wired to mimic other people and then we bring in our own variations so that we start learning what we are actually doing.

That was what these kids were doing. They had no idea what loops were or what the for statement did, but they kind of, got it.

They had soon typed it out and then asked a whole bunch of questions, like about indentation. Like why the return statement needs to be out-dented and other things.

I challenged everyone to make a function that returns the average of the list. And someone did actually come up with this:

>>> def make_average(marks):
      return add_marks(marks) / len(marks)

This was super cool. They could now write functions that called other functions!

Working with Strings

To reinforce loops, we did another example, this time, we added strings. I first told them that we could add strings like numbers with a few examples and then we made a function.

>>> def say_hello(students):
      student_names = ''
      for student in students:
        student_names = student_names + ' ' + student + ','
      return 'Hello' + student_names[:-1] + '. How are you?'
>>> say_hello(['Harry', 'Hermione', 'Ron'])
Hello Harry, Hermione, Ron. How are you?

As you expect, the were already starting to make their variations, in function names, student names, the output text. Repetition, induction, then variation.

Since the function got longer, many students were getting a bunch of error messages, and this was a good way to learn reading them. They were mostly related to typos and passing strings without the quotes, but this was great too, because they were starting to learn nuances, like, you can’t make spelling mistakes, strings are different from names and commands.


Finally it was time to teach them Python modules. We copied some of our functions into a text editor and then we called the file “wizard.py”. Then we imported the file and called the functions.

>>> import wizard
>>> wizard.add_marks([20, 30, 40])

This was also real cool, because now they realized that they could “teach” the computer a bunch of tricks and the computer can remember them.

I asked if they were feeling like wizards already, and a few hands shot up!


This session went of pretty well too. We have already started to see a lot of variation in the kids. Some kids were just zooming ahead, they understood the repetition-induction-variation system. Many were afraid to try, and this system works really well only if you feel its okay to fail. For most of us, the cost of failure is very high (exams!) and that means that we end up becoming dumb followers and not-trying. Some of the challenges would be to get these kids to try out different stuff and fail.

Since we are already in Harry Potter mode, in the next class we have decided that we are going to make a sorting hat and divide everyone in groups! Lets see how that goes.


rushabh meha python workshop

(Rushabh leads a software product company that publishes a free and open source web based ERP for small and medium businesses – ERPNext. They have built the product from scratch and the product is being used actively by many businesses across the world.)




“Call of Duty”, “GTA Vice City”, “Minecraft”, “Candy Crush” the kids were shouting when I asked them what were their favorite computer games. What else did they do with their computers? I asked, “Download movies on torrents” someone shouted.

This was a group of 30 kids of age 12–14 that were attending a session introduction to computer programming I was a part of, at my daughter’s school, Shishuvan. The school had decided to start a computer club and a bunch of volunteers including me, had happily agreed to teach some Python programming to kids. Having learned programming at the age of 11, I knew they should be able to grasp the basic concepts.

After the warm up, we quickly fired up the Python shell.

Let’s Talk

“I am going to teach you how to speak to a computer. We talk to each other in English, but we will talk to the computer in a language called Python. Don’t worry, it is like English and its going to be real easy”. Having done this kind of session before, I knew that not using computer jargon and throwing the kids directly into code works really well.

“Lets find out how smart the computer is. Lets find out if it knows how to calculate”, I asked. We started with basic arithmetic, addition, multiplication and division.

>>> 2+2
>>> 5 * 20
>>> 10 / 3

“That is wrong”, the kids immediately shouted.

Then I said, lets try this:

>>> 10.0 / 3

That’s how we got introduced to Decimals.

Python is like English

Some kids were already trying things on their own. Since I had told them that Python was like English they were already typing things like

>>> who is sachin tendulkar
>>> what is my name

“The computer is not so smart yet, we will have to teach it”.

It was amazing to see how quickly the kids were trying to gauge the smartnessof the computer!

Then quickly we got down to calculating a percentage and I quietly introduced variables

>>> my_marks / total_marks * 100

They were tagging along quite well.

Teaching the Computer

Then I became too ambitious. “Watch this”, I said

>>> def what_is_my_percent(my_marks, total_marks):
      return my_marks / total_marks * 100
>>> what_is_my_percent(273.0, 300)

“Since the computer is not so smart, we will have to teach the computer a few definitions. The way to define something to a computer in Python is by usingdef”, I told them.

Immediately there was a commotion. “What is this colon?”, “What is def?” they were shouting. I felt that I had tripped. Water was drying from my mouth. In a moment of horror, I realized that, with that one example, I had introduced too many things

The kids were all up in arms, all of us volunteers were walking from table to table, explaining the eager queries everyone was having.

Thankfully after ten minutes or so we recovered, and the kids were beginning to understand. They had discovered they could teach the computer to calculate formulas. Someone even used the word “function”. Soon, they were experimenting with new functions to calculate areas, adding numbers and more. We also did a bit of lists before we decided to call it a day.

At the end of the session we could see that the kids where excited learn about programming and some of them were ready to do a lot more. The way they were modifying the instructions we taught them, and changing the context of the examples, showed that they had already grasped a lot of concepts. They were ready to dive into classes and objects next.

Concluding Thoughts

I had a lot of fun teaching Python and the energy was great. At the end of a couple of hours of shouting, I was refreshed! A diverse group of volunteers came together to make this happen, including alumni, teachers, parents and administrators. This is only the first step of what we hope is a long journey. Over the next few sessions, we are hoping to teach the kids web programming, databases and the ability to build whole applications that will help run the school.

It is very heartening to know that the school was willing to let kids learn computers in a non traditional way. The can-do spirit of Shishuvan was amazing. Standardized and structured education has been the foundation of the modern society but as technology is breaking down barriers, education is changing too. It was thrilling to be a part of this change.

This was made possible due to the openness and vision of the Shishuvan community, specially Lincoln, Neha, Premjibhai and Sarita. Alumni Darshan and Raj have been very diligent and the ideal bridge. There was great support from fellow parents Parul and Uma. Special thanks to Anand for volunteering to help me conduct the session. We have just gotten started, watch out for further updates

Standard VIII goes back in time

Thanks to High School History teacher Vahbiz Dhalla for sharing this with the school blog. 

Standard VIII students have been looking at the  impact of British Rule on Indian Architecture. Students were asked to form groups and each group picked up a chit which had different Architectural Styles written on them. The students then researched  their chosen style: Rajput, Islamic, French, British and Portuguese.

This research culminated in a chart which they then presented to their peers before displaying them outside their class.

18 collage of process1 copy

display board OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA collage final 1 display board 3 collage final 2  manan map  1 puneet map

Students also went on a Mumbai Heritage walk to see the different styles of Architecture and the impact left behind by the British on Architecture. The walk started at the majestic steps of the Asiatic Library. During the walk they were able to identify many features that they had researched in the earlier activity. Some of them even created maps enroute -showing the path of the Heritage Walk.

After returning to school they shared their learning and were shown some old pictures of Bombay.

When was the last time you took a walk through Mumbai’s historic Fort Area and admired the buildings?


Standard V looks at their inner, musical self

For their music project this first term, the students of Standard V were asked to design a creative poster on the topic – “If I were a musical instrument, I would be a/an _____.”

Here are pictures of some of the best projects submitted by the students. The music teacher Maxim, had a tough time selecting the projects and enlisted the help of his colleagues to decide which projects would finally make it on the display board.

Final decision taken – We need a bigger display board!!!



The happiest day, the happiest hour

By Priyanshi Mehta

(This gentle tigress has a factory inside her brain which takes in words, mixes emotions and churns out beautiful poetry and prose. In this poem, Priyanshi has tried to dabble in the Shakespearean style when most little people her age run away from Shakespeare! Keep reading the blog for more from this fantastic poet/writer)

The happiest day
The happiest hour.
My seared and
blighted heart
had known. The
highest hope of
pride and power.
I feel had flown.

Of power! said I?
Yes! Such I ween:
But they have
vanish’d long, alas!
The visions of my
youth have been.
But let them pass.

And pride, what have
I now with thee?
ANother brow may
even inherit.
The venom thou
has pout’d on me -
Be still, my spirit


Parents’ comment on ‘Sound of Music’

It was wonderful watching the Annual show of Std. V on Thursday, 25th Oct. We were really amazed with their confidence, vibrancy and energy during the show. The efforts and hard work put by all the teachers and other staff members were quite visible. The minutest details were worked upon to put up together the best show we have ever watched. It was really very well staged with perfect coordination of live chorus singing and orchestra.

We would also like to add that it was not only the theatrical nuances that the students were exposed to during the past one month of Annual day process, they were also informed about the history during the time of the story. They also learned team work and coordination.

We also appreciate the democratic process of selecting various cast of the play and giving equal importance to each and every child. All the 108 students were equally involved in staging the final show which was certainly not easy.

Congratulations to the team and thank you once again.

Deepti and Aashish Sanghi
(Parents of Ishitaa Sanghi, Student of Std. V)