THE U14 POWER HOUSE 2015-2016

The U14 power hse names

 

tejasBy Tejas Kapasi.

Tejas runs a Travel Agency and has been in the travel & leisure industry for the last 18 years. .He has been an enthusiastic volunteer on Shishuvan field trips, also an active member of the Sports Committee. He has 2 sons studying in Shishuvan. Older one just gave his board exams and younger one in grade IX.

 

 

What an eventful year for Shishuvan, especially the Volleyball teams. It was a remarkable year of 2015-2016 indeed!

The Volleyball teams i.e. U17, U14 & U12 (boys and girls team) have left me spell bound. Somehow, I am trying to pen down to the best I can…

Since last 5 to 6 years I have been active at Shishuvan with few activities and one of them is Volleyball. The volleyball teams have been giving their best performances by winning 1stor 2nd or 3rd places in most of the interschool matches. (ICSE, DSO, MSSA etc.) In fact, few players have been playing state level and selected for nationals too!

The U14 boys team have been playing with such enthusiasm, dedication, efforts, skills and tirelessly. Their hard work and guidance from Coach Mr. Dhiraj Dubey has given awesome results. This U14 boys’ team has played 6 Interschool Volleyball tournaments in the academic year 2015-16 and won all of them in 1st place, means they have never been beaten in Mumbai by any school, that’s a moment of pride for everyone.

All get applauded for this, right from Team Players, Coach, School, Teachers, Management, Volunteer Parents, Sports Sir, Friends & Family Members.

These U14 boys team starts their day by getting up at 5:30-5:40 a.m. thrice a week to reach the Pavilion at 6:15a.m. for their practice. Whether it’s rain, dark winter mornings or sunshine they have been religiously practicing and enhancing their game. Here, I would like to appreciate the parents who also get up as early as 5:15 a.m. to prepare food for their kids, 2 snack boxes, 1 lunch box and 1evening snack box, (To all the Moms & Dads who have been doing this a big salute to you) not just for this team or volleyball but to all parents who have been doing this with smile on their face.

Guys just imagine a child leaving home at 6:00 in morning, later after school going for classes or tuitions and returning home around 6:00/7:00 p.m., they are tired and exhausted but, still are fully charged for the next day’s work.

This team in discussion are all playing volleyball since last 3 / 4 years who were earlier in U12 boys’ team, now U14 boys’ team and further will be U17 boys team.

This all started with the school giving a wonderful infrastructure for sports; State of art “Pavilion” where in it is now become a talk of the town with so many interschool tournaments being held as well hosted too.

I along with Mr Nikunj Lakhani have been taking out time from our work schedule to be with the team during practices as well matches too. Both of us have 2 boys and coincidentally both are in Shishuvan Volleyball U17 & U14 boys’ team

Whether the matches are in Matunga, Dharavi, Azad Maidan, Thane, Borivali, or even at times for state selections to Kolhapur or Nagpur, we have been there witnessing this journey.

As mentioned 6 interschool tournaments won in 2015-16 which includes Shiv Chatrapati Sports club tournament, ICSE, DSO, MSSA, VV Bhatt Children’s Academy (C.A cup) & Adidas Uprising Interschool tournament.

There are few reasons why it makes me write, why this U14 Volleyball boys’ team is called POWER HOUSE and why I am spell bound, I am sure once you’ll read further you all will agree with me.

Amongst, all the titles won the 5th and 6th title are very special &close to my heart.

On 31st Jan2016 Sunday morning we reached Kandivali for the C.A cup where in U17 Boys & U17 Girls won 2nd& 3rd place respectively, U12 boys also won 3rd place where as U14 boys won 1st place registering their 5th consecutive win, after the felicitation the team reached home around 7:30pm

Next day that’s 1st Feb, Std. VIII children were to leave for their educational field trip to Konkan which included this U14 boys team as well

As they were in education trip the schedule was packed with all day activities, getting up early at 5:30-6:00am having long days and being up for 16-18 hours (reason 1)

The trip was to return on 6th Feb night, but as these boys had to play the Adidas Uprising tournament which was scheduled for 6th& 7th Feb, we had taken prior permission from the school authorities to allow the boys to come a day prior. Here we (Nikunjbhai and I, as well other parents are thankful to Nilesh Sir, Principal Ms Shubhadra Shenoy & Executive Director Ms Neha Chheda for being supportive always, encouraging sports a lot.

So Nikunj Lakhani and I left for Kudal (Konkan) on 5th Feb morning and reached around 13:00 hrs

The departure for the train from Kudal was around 3:50pm and on 5th Feb this team departed in train (sitting train attached pics) from Konkan to Mumbai, their scheduled arrival was 11:00pm, but train was late and they arrived on 6th Feb early morning 02:40am at Dadar station. All of them reached home by 3:00am; in normal cases we had a doubt that one or two boys may skip but all the boys and their family were so positive that all the champs were ready at 7:15 a.m. at the meeting point where in Nikunjbhai and I picked them up, we went by two cars, and reached the MSSA Venue Azad Maidan for the Adidas Uprising Interschool Tournament at reporting time of 08:00a.m. (reason 2)

The teams were divided in 2 pools A & B, wherein they had to register minimum 2 wins to enter next stage

This team showed dedication and played with their full strength somewhere the last night tiredness was seen as they lost 1stmatch in their pool, can’t blame them understanding how their last 24 hours were! But the boys didn’t give up!  Their coach Dhiraj Sir along with the parents’ presence, motivated them with few words of encouragement, the team gathered themselves, as they are nick named by fellow school mates the POWER HOUSE, they displayed their skill and talent by winning next two matches in straight sets to reach Semi-finals, (reason 3) which was to be played next day that is 7th Feb. So here was a breather for them a welcomed overnight rest …was a blessing for them

On 7th Feb the team the re-charged POWER HOUSE (as per their reputation) played their game by beating the opponents in straight sets to enter the FINALS

The finals against Amruta Vidyalay Navi Mumbai was really a nail biting one!  As this was the same team whom they lost the 1stmatch in the pool matches. The score card was almost parallel at most stages, still the boys with their technique leaped ahead in points by wining 1st set 25-22 and second set was tensed up as opponents were initially leading, but then the boys played the game like real champions by clinching the 2nd set 25-23 and lifting the inaugural ADIDAS-UPRISING U14 boys Volleyball trophy, this U14 Boys team stands 1st all over Mumbai.

I would like to thank few people without which this wouldn’t have been possible, Dhiraj Dubey, the Volleyball Coach, Vivek Sir Asst coach, Vinod Bhandare the care taker of Pavilion,

Sports department of Shishuvan.

Tanya Adani, & Priyanshi Mehta (both std. IX girls) for always doing that extra effort for their girls’ teams to win, Neha Laud & Vrittika Survana (both Std.VIII girls) for always cheering and supporting their team as well the U14 boys team.

All Moms and Dads of this boys’ team for always being supportive, special thanks to the fathers who have been taking out time to support n cheer teams, Jeetan Visaria, Amit Maru, Rajiv Adani, Shashank Laud, Rajeev Ghoslakar, Sanket Soni, Vinay Galia. Suraj Suvarna. Girish Bhide, Sundar Nandi.

Special applause for Aditya Sawant’s Grandfather who was always there at the meeting point for pick up & drop as well at midnight 2:30am at train station. Was very much touched by this couple Vaishali-Vilas Chodankar who on a Sunday specially came to cheer the team, whose son doesn’t play volleyball at all. Thanks Vilas and Vaishali for the moral support

Last but not the least Nikunj Lakhani for being a great company as well being together everywhere, in fact eventually did find a good friend in him

All wins are always special but no doubt, the 5th& 6th title will always remain special for me. Kudos to this U14 Boys Volleyball Team for bringing accolades and achievements
They were “Tired but Unbeatable”

 

 

 

 

Glimpses of the team…

The power house5 The power house4 The power house3 The power house2 The power house

 

 

 

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
'bravery'

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 = []
            house.students.append(student)
            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.

Conclusion

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.

SCHOOL OF COMPUTING WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY

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])
90

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])
90

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])
100

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.

Wizard.py

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!

Conclusion

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.

TEACHING PYTHON TO SCHOOL KIDS

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
4
>>> 5 * 20
100
>>> 10 / 3
3

“That is wrong”, the kids immediately shouted.

Then I said, lets try this:

>>> 10.0 / 3
3.33333333335

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)
91.0

“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

Mirror Mirror on the wall….

 

-          Lamia Bagasrawala, School Psychologist, Shishuvan School

As part of their Personality Development (P.D) Curriculum, students of Std. IX actively participated in exploring the concept of Beauty. Students began the session by discussing and sharing the ideas that are most commonly heard or showcased around us. They were then introduced to one of the less common views on the given topic. They watched the TED talk by Cameron Russell, a model who shares her insecurities despite being at the receiving end of socially defined “Beauty”. This was followed by a brief discussion and watching the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video. This astonishing and overwhelming video reveals how individuals tend to undermine their own beauty and how each one is beautiful in their own way. Students watched this video in silence and seemed surprised and touched at the end of it. Some of them could relate to the TED talk, while some connected to the experiences in the second video. Some were already beginning to question some of their existing socially constructed beliefs. As the students processed this information, they were asked to form groups, share their thoughts and each group was asked to present their perceptions about ‘Beauty’ in one of the following ways: A Beauty Product, A Visual Presentation, A TED talk format or a Song. Students presented their ideas through different modes. One group showed an existing TED Talk titled ‘Darwinian Theory of Beauty’ followed by a discussion around the same while another group showed a Cartoon image to begin a discussion and share their ideas. Another group created their own TED talk, couple of other groups wrote their own lyrics for a song and one group presented a famous saying that formed the basis of their presentation. One of the groups presented a Mirror as a Beauty Product to demonstrate that each one is Beautiful in their own way and that your beauty lies in the way you see yourself. All the presentations were heart-warming, informative and reflected the students’ thought processes. Students began the process of exploring their personal beliefs, the factors influencing these beliefs and identifying the impact of these on their own life. It was indeed a reflective and thought-provoking session for me and the students. The session was concluded with each student writing a message related to the topic of ‘Beauty’ that they would want to share with others. These messages, written on post-it notes were displayed on a chart outside their classrooms. Here are some glimpses of our exciting, stimulating and ‘beautiful’ session! Also find a student’s views on Beauty which he presented during the session.

Beauty

pic of student

Shiv Udipi, Std. IX Dhyaan

 

Beauty is a trait present in someone. You can call someone beautiful not only by his or her physical appearance but the actions performed by that person or the behaviour of that person. Beauty may be expressed in music, dance or art, etc. Beauty of a person is a good act performed by someone that makes others happy. Beauty is something that lies within and it is shown in some or the other way. Our life is full of beauty but we waste our time neglecting it. We have a full world full of beautiful things but it is we who do not recognize it and do not cherish it. Beauty is the uniqueness of a thing. We must not make ourselves feel inferior if we lack physical beauty because beauty lies deep within our heart and in our deeds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA mirror3 mirror2 mirror1 mirror 2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Night. A poem.

 

by Sahir D’Souza.

Sahir for the Blog

Sahir Avik D’souza is a student of standard ten and an avid reader. His interests are many, from poetry (in rhyme and metre!) to the English language (he is a grammar freak). You can keep up with him at his blog atwww.sahiravik.wordpress.com

Night

At night, as stars glow, one hears our moon sing
a hundred songs: this, that and everything.
He sings of light and dark and good and bad.
At night, his songs can sound a trifle sad.

At night, there’s no-one walking on the streets.
Perhaps a lonely shop will sell you eats.
And as you walk home, it just comes to you:
at night, all’s lovely (sky, stars, moon) – it’s true!

At night, the world may seem like some charade –
but look beyond, for that’s just the façade.
For in the dark, as stars glow, the moon sings
a thousand songs: this, that and lots of things.
At night, it’s as though you’ve been given wings.

Discipline without freedom is tyranny, freedom without discipline is chaos

 

 

yashvi pic

Yashvi Gada is a student of Standard X at Shishuvan. Yashvi is one of the school Prime Ministers, a voracious reader and a gifted young writer.

Yashvi’s  piece “Freedom without discipline takes man back to the dawn of civilization” was one of winning essays at The Albert Barrow Memorial All India InterSchool Creative Writing Competition.

 Only 10 essays are published in the commemorative book, and Yashvi’s was one of them.
Congratulations Yashvi.

 

 

 

yashvi Gada1

 

 

Ji Mantriji!

If you’ve been following the school blog and facebook page for a while, you might remember that tightly contested elections were held in Shishuvan in the month of April. Candidates put posters, canvased across classrooms and some even took to Social Media to garner votes.

Well, the votes were tallied up and the final allocation of offices and posts has been taken care of. Last week, the investiture ceremony of the new council was held and all office bearers took their oath and were sworn in.

Hriday Chheda and Yashvi Gada are the Prime Ministers of the school and took some time out of their busy day to talk to the school blog about how they campaigned, what they’d like to do as Prime Minister and balancing academics and their new job.

“I knew in 9th standard that I would stand for elections. Poojan and Aashna (Prime Ministers, 2013-2014) were great role models. They balanced their school work, extra and co-curricular activities with their parliamentary duties really well. They really inspired me” shared Hriday.

Hriday began to lay the foundation for his campaign early on, and started off by getting to know the students and letting them get to know the kind of person he was.

Yashvi and Hriday were both Cultural Ministers in Standard 9, something they felt helped when they were campaigning.

“The Cultural Ministry is pretty high profile, and has high visibility. A lot of the work we did last year was there on stage for everyone to see. So the students already saw a lot of the work we had done. They knew us.” Says Yashvi “ I started laying the ground work for my campaign half way through 9th standard.”

Hriday, it should be noted did a lot of his campaigning on Facebook “I think it’s the first time, any one has used Facebook to campaign in Shishuvan” he adds.

I asked them what kind of promises they made when they were campaigning to get their foot through the front door.

“None” is the prompt reply from both of them.

“I never promised anyone anything. No one was told I would give them a specific portfolio if they voted for me. Plus, people know that kind of stuff won’t even work with me. So no one ever came and asked” Hriday says.

Both Yashvi and Hriday insist that the parliament and council and their place in the school is completely democratic.

“There’s no hierarchy and no formality.”

I asked them what their plans are for the school.

“I’d like to see quicker turnaround times when it comes to solving problems. Last year some issues took forever to get resolved. We need to see more leadership training for the council members.” says Yashvi.

“I’d also like to see the whole school integrated somehow. The parliament is of the students, by the students and for the students. It’s meant to be there for all the students of the school. But I think we need to find ways to involve the primary department and the middle school. Especially the Middle School and High School Representatives need to feel more empowered and given a more prominent role. They need to feel proud to be reps” adds Hriday.

Before Hriday and Yashvi head out to tackle the day, I asked them if they had any out of the world wishes?

“Wi-fi for the students and being allowed to learn on tablets or laptops so we can carry less books… it’s an endless list really” they grin.

The Prime Ministers and Deputy Speaker, Fenny Kenia were introduced to the Parents’ Sabha at the Sabha’s first meeting of 2014-2015. Director of Shishuvan, Neha Chheda reminded them that they would have to come back to the Sabha and present their agenda for the year.

Here’s wishing the Student’s Council all the very best for the year!

 

 

 

Confronting our Fears

By Chintan Girish Modi

(Chintan used to facilitate Personal Development sessions with eighth graders at Shishuvan. He offers a peek into his classroom.) 

Over the last few years of my journey in education, I have been surprised by how there is very little effort made to share with children the reasons behind why they are learning something and the connections between what they learn in school and their diverse life experiences outside. This is extremely important but might sound too ambitious a task especially in scenarios where learning is so sharply fragmented that teachers and children are unable to make connections between one subject and another.

Fear of darkness – Yashvi Gada

The Integrated Learning sessions at Shishuvan are valuable attempts to bridge these gaps. My previous blog post titled ‘Speak Up, Be Fearless’ (http://www.shishuvan.com/wp/?p=1038), co-authored with English teacher Sini Nair, was about one such session. The article has received some precious feedback from readers within the school and outside, and I am grateful to each one of you for reading it with interest and thoughtfulness.

Fear of Losing Loved Ones – Jay Gala

Since Tagore’s poem ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear’ is not only included in the English curriculum of Std. VIII but is also part of the school diary, I thought it worthwhile to plan a Personal Development session with eighth graders around the theme of ‘fear’. Our discussions of the poem had addressed fear as an abstraction, a concept, an idea. It seemed important to make this more immediate, to actually identify, discuss and confront our fears, instead of comfortably spouting statements about being fearless.

Fear of anger – Omkar Bhagwat

I had to emphasize early enough that some fears may seem silly to others but for the person who is afraid they are very real. We must respect their feelings so that they feel understood and cared for. Laughing at their fears might make them embarrassed and awkward. They might also feel hurt.

Fear of Facebook – Tanay Patel

As we sat and listened, a wide spectrum of fear-inducing creatures, people and situations went up on the blackboard: rats, injections, siblings, cockroaches, dentists, teachers, honeybees, death, dogs, darkness, marriage, speaking the truth, going alone to the bathroom, lizards, snakes, water bodies, failure, exams, anger, heights, losing one’s parents, and many more.

Fear of the dentist – Riddhi Soni

I also wanted us to talk about how it feels to be frightened, our physical and emotional responses, and our strategies of dealing with these fears. The responses here were equally varied, for example: isolating oneself, thinking about things that make one happy, running away, shivering, crying, going to a safe place, praying, shrieking, locking oneself in the bedroom, cracking funny jokes, reaching out for one’s teddy, preparing oneself for death, thinking of the person one loves the most, screaming, stamping one’s feet, eating something, thinking of a way to escape, laughing, switching on the lights, etc.

Fear of tall buildings – Kaushik Karthikeyan

We concluded the session with an art activity, wherein each student was given a sheet of paper and had to select one of his/her deepest fears, imagine it as a monster and depict what it looked like on paper. The art work that came out of this session was utterly spectacular. Here are some glimpses of what our talented students created.

Fear of Orange Pumpkins – Devansh Gala

You might want to ask yourself the same questions and also make some time for the art activity. It is a whole lot of fun, as the pictures above would have told you. Besides that, the opportunity to know yourself a little better is always welcome, isn’t?

Fear of the younger sister – Shabbir Khandwala

Gratitude


by Sini Nair

Sini, one of our regular contributors, teaches English in High School in Shishuvan. She wishes to express her gratitude to her Std X students in this poem she’s written:

The journey of my life took me to strange places
They scared me, they stared at me and they gave me mazes
Mazes to understand, to solve and evolve
One of those mazes that I encountered was a class of tenth graders
With apprehension and doubt I entered their class
I could hear a whisper, “How are you going to start?”
Without a doubt I spoke my mind
I told them that I would lead them through the grind
They heard me out but still had many a doubts
Days went by and so did our interactions
More than anything that I learnt from them was acceptance
They accepted me without a thought
We spoke and argued and fought
And the best that happened to me was ‘Sammy’
The whole process disclosed their maturity
It made me see through their sensitivity
This is just a small and humble way of saying Thank You
Thank You for being what you are
Thank You for showing me what is Patience
Thank You for all that you have given me in a short span.