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!

 

 

 

FOCUS ON: STANDARD IV DISPLAY BOARDS. WHAT GOOD LOOKS LIKE

Thinks mathematics and many of us remember long, lectures on congruence, angles and theorems. When I was a student, many decades ago, a mathematics class typically consisted of one student standing at the board solving a problem and the rest of us at our desks doing the same. There was little excitement involved in learning maths, and the pre-dominant emotion I felt was one of fear.

Things couldn’t be more different at Shishuvan. The focus is on making subjects accessible, interesting and fun.

TAKING THE SHARP EDGES OUT OF MATHS

Standard IV teachers Dipali and Payal, walked me through their class room displays and their corridor displays.

“It’s very important for us to involve the children as much as possible in creating the display boards. The children create the research charts and bring pictures and objects in to  put up. When we started the topic of 2D & 3D objects, we first asked children to bring in everyday objects, packaging from the supermarket, etc that were  common 2D and 3D shapes. This helped them connect to the topic instantly.” shared Dipali.

The boards  outside are brightly decorated with everyday 2D and 3D shapes and objects. Riddles and rhymes encourage children to think about what the differences are between various shapes. A bunting of brightly coloured origami boxes made by the students, shows how the topic has been extended even in to their art classes.

GETTING TO KNOW OUR NEIGHBOURS

The second Standard IV display covers the topic of India and her neighbours. One board looks at India’s rich heritage of culture and cuisine while another puzzles over  our national emblems One of the boards is also dedicated to the Learning web.

“A Learning Web shows how a topic is covered in different subjects. A learning web combined with an effective learning display is a very powerful tool.”

The Standard IV Learning web innovatively used a puzzle of the Indian map to share information.

” In the coming week, the students will be creating displays for the boards that cover the topics of Direct and Indirect Speech, they will illustrate book covers and write reviews of folktales from both India and abroad. We want to make sure that the boards are always evolving and there’s something new to look at.” shares Dipali.

“An effective display board helps in many ways. It stimulates enquiry, arouses curiosity, reinforces concepts and helps in assessment.” adds Payal.

The standard IV display boards certainly tick all the boxes.

 

 

Teacher’s kick off anti-bullying campaign

While many of us were enjoying our summer vacations, our teachers were hard at work attending training sessions, workshops and planning the academic year ahead.

The leadership and teachers discussed areas that they would like to focus on this year and decided that three needed priority attention. The first area the school will be addressing is bullying and discipline.

Bullying is a form of aggressive behaviour in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions.

There are many different kinds of bullying and it’s important we say no and take a stand against all of them.

Teasing Groupism Physical
Spreading rumours Intentional exclusion Games like pen fight, catapulting (rubberband), red hands
Name calling Not sharing belongings Taking others’ possessions without permission/ extortion
Pairing Discrimination on the basis of food habits Throwing objects at others
Teasing on the basis of performance (academic/ extra-curricular Discrimination on the basis of economic status Physical fight
Teasing on the basis of economic status Discrimination on the basis of class/division
Cyberbullying Discrimination on the basis of religion

Neha Chheda, Director Shishuvan spoke about why bullying and discipline was one of the areas chosen.

“We’ve noticed how bullying and discipline issues have been on the rise in school. Students as young as pre-primary are getting physical in the corridors, while there are many cases of groupism and isolation in Middle School. We need to start addressing these issues now, understand why children are bullying and isolating classmates and see how we can help those at the receiving end. We need to take a strong stand against this now.”

The campaign has so far involved a skit starring Principal Shubadra Shenoy about bullies that was staged during Assembly. Standard III students have made posters for the campaign and teachers are raising the issue during circle time and PD sessions.

A series of workshops for parents  are being planned for the month of July on how to discipline children effectively. Do sign up when the circular is sent out.

It’s time we take a stand and say NO TO BULLYING in all it’s forms!

 

 

Getting to know our neighbours

This year Shishuvan will be looking at the world around it with eyes wide open as things taken on a global perspective.

Across the school, teachers and students are busy learning about what life is like outside India. And in true Shishuvan style, the range is sweeping. Taking cues from their curriculum the children are exploring subjects like endangered animals, transportation and plants with a global lens fitted to their telescopes.

This week, the students of Standard IV were invited by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka to visit the embassy. This is the first time the Sri Lankan embassy has had students visit them on a field trip, and were very impressed with the decorum and discipline of the young Shishuvanites.

Jignasa Bham, IV standard teacher was one of the teachers who accompanied the students.

“The Consulate General and staff of the embassy were very warm and soft spoken, living up to the name Sri Lankans have of being kind and friendly. The embassy had gone to great lengths to prepare for the students’ visit. The staff patiently explained to the children about the culture, language, religious practices, cuisine and  festivals of the country.”

The students viewed an AV that showcased the music and dance heritage of the Emerald Isle and also looked at the major tourist attractions of the country. A photography exhibition and a display of vibrant, handcrafted wooden masks and traditional lamps completed the tour.

“Though this was a very different kind of field trip, the children really enjoyed themselves. They raised many questions that impressed the Embassy staff and listened intently to the answers given. The children all received a handbook about Sri Lanka at the end of the visit.” Jignasa shared.

Follow up activities are planned  in music, dance and art and craft.

 

Shishuvan’s budding Masterchefs

Every Shishuvan student and parent knows Falguni Shah as the ever-smiling Resource Room teacher. But there’s more to Falguni than meets the eye… something many of us don’t know about her is her love for cooking.

“I’ve always enjoyed cooking and started at a very young age. I love trying out different cuisines in the kitchen.”

This cooking enthusiast has put her passion to work at school by taking charge of the Shishuvan Cooking Club. The club meets on the first and third Saturday of every month with students from standard V to X as members. Sessions kicked off in the month of April.

“So far we’ve made hot bhel in a papad basket and a Mango Mousse.  I want to teach the children the importance of using fresh, seasonal ingredients so I decided to go with a Mango mousse.”

With the entry of Masterchef in to our living rooms, cooking has now piqued the interest of both young boys and girls alike.

“We have as many boys as we do girls. And things have changed now. Cooking is no longer seen as a woman’s job. It’s something we should all be able to do and take pride in.”

 

 

 

“There’s a Gujurati saying ‘What you eat is how you think’. When you put all your emotions and feelings in to your cooking, the person who is eating it can feel it. They can feel the love and thoughtfulness that’s gone in to the preparation. I want the children to learn how important that is too.”

Falguni plans to introduce the members of the club to a wide range of cuisines and different delicacies throughout the year.

“We will be making starters, snacks, soups, salads, dips, mocktails and many more items,  so that they will be able to plan a full meal.”

Of course, it’s not just about making tasty treats in the kitchen. Falguni makes sure that the children take home lots of useful information with them too.

“We talk about budgeting, where to purchase things, how to store ingredients and healthy eating. But most of all, I want them to think of cooking as a life skill. It’s something we should all be able to do. Cooking for your family is healthier and cost effective. I’d also like to bring in a Nutritionist who will talk to the older children about the importance of healthy eating and how it affects all aspects of our lives.”

When asked about the first thing she ever learned to make in the kitchen, Falguni’s face lights up.

“It was roti. And I couldn’t get it round so I kept trying till I got it right. I remember the feeling of pride I had when that roti came out so round and puffed up. That feeling of pride was wonderful.”

So parents, if your kids are in the cooking club you should find yourself taste testing these recipes. But don’t be surprised if everything is gobbled up by the kids on their way home!

 

 

An Ode to Shishuvan

Indrajit Laurence Panjabi, or ILP, is the Librateur (ILP prefers this word than ‘librarian’) of the Middle and High School library. He returns to the blog with some marvellous poetry dedicated to our students. 

AN ODE TO SHISHUVANIANS

( With Due Apologies to The Immortals of Literature & to a few mere mortals, too )

 

Words cannot wither, nor custom stale Shishuvan’s infinite veracity.

 

Shishuvan, where words come out from the depth of truth,

& in that truth do I rejoice ~ 

I ~ The Shishuvan Child,

like a flower embedded in the Indian earth,

grow, bow, & bend; 

Taking strength from the mountains

& knowledge from education.

 

Unshaken by caste or creed, 

I mature from today to tomorrow & tomorrow & tomorrow.

 

 

With the fresh winds of freedom, & drawn by ribbons of hope,

into that eternity where all beings are humane ~ 

all flowers in the same field under the same sun.

  

Shishuvan, my Golden Sceptre & my Orb,

my Beacon in the Blue Beyond.

Through space & time, through the magic of memorable moments, 

Rising with colour & dreams, causing light & shade.

Shishuvan, You are my North, my South, my East & West,

My Working Week & My Sunday Rest.

 

I am the Future of the World ~

We are the future of the World,

The Hope of our Nation,

The New Inspiration