Whether it is their interest, their opinion or their reading, the one thing that children don't like is being judged. Reading to a toy offers a non-threatening environment to children where they could pick a toy (or even a pet if they have one) and read to it.
When the 3rd graders at SMIS geared up to read to their toys, they were encouraged to introduce their toys with a name. It helped them establish the ownership and feel responsible for their toy. They informed the class what the toy's book interest was and what book they had carried. Their choice of book was endorsed.
It was observed that :
Nothing excites you like the prospect of heading to a barren land - vast stretches of nothingness. Kutch – the marshy-barren, saline land is more than just that. An air of enigma pervades every nook and corner of the spatial land that epitomizes barren beauty. Little did we know that we would find the deepest voids and subliminal trenches of our existential selves being channelled and charged all the same in lands far-far away. It was like food for fodder.
After having transverse a distance of approximately 400 km from Jamnagar, we reached at Shanti Vihar (Adani Guest house) by 1:00 pm. We came to know about Adani Group and its business. We visited Adani Port and gathered information about Port’s storage capacity, total capacity of ship parking at a time and its upcoming projects. It is one of the India’s largest public sector ports. After that we visited Adani Willmar one of the well-known edible oil making company and came to know about Oil extraction from raw material, designing containers for oil, storage system and oil packing.
We also visited the West Port and noticed the operations of different machines operating within sea as well as on ground. Next, we went to visit Adani Power plant, one of the largest private sector electricity generation plants in the whole world. Here we were introduced with Adani Power display model. Then we went to control room of power generation terminal and came to know about its functionality. It was a great experience for all of us.
We then headed towards the Mandvi beach but did not step into the water. Most of it was badly polluted but we enjoyed listening to the waves crashing on the beach. For entertainment there were camel and horse rides.
We also visited the Vijay Vilas palace. It was truly magnificent. The marble work on the pillars matched that on the carpets. The dining table with its great combination of white and black colours made it look more luxurious and fascinating.
The Sunset at Kalo Dungar
Kalo Dungar (or Black Hill), besides being the highest point in Kutch, it is famous for the 400 year old Hindu temple of Lord Dattatreya, the three-headed deity encompassing the Trinity of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva in one body. According to a localite, Lord Dattatreya was walking the earth and stopped at Kalo Dungar where he found a band of starving jackals. He offered them parts of his body to eat and while the jackals ate his body continued to regenerate. Because of this, for the last four centuries, every evening, after performing the aarti, temple priests feed prasad to wild jackals. We paid obeisance from outside the closed door and headed towards the place that offers commanding views of the Great Rann. The Great Rann beckons you to bare your authentic self-much like the bare yet marshy lands foretell existence with a soul. For brief moments, we lost track of time and all we wanted was to sit and absorb every inch of the scenic portrait that the landscape unfolded before eyes. The horizon gleamed with the sun in all its roundedness set against the azure skies like a fireball. The crimson hued shades canvassed the sky with bright golden light emanating as if to mark divine intervention. We saw the sun drop slowly and make way for the dazzling night skies. I had never witnessed a play of colours as surreal.
Such plans were interspersed by exploring the way up to Dholavira and beyond. We took a halt at Bhuj on the way to Kutch. Bhuj was a revelation in terms of the rustic Aina Mahal, the beautiful Prag Mahal and the umbrella shaped dome structures - popularly known as Chhatris which were built in the memory of the royals. On our way, we stopped by village Bhujodi, a community of artists close to Bhuj. The small area was lined by shops on either side, selling mirror-work bags, embroidered material, shawls, to jewellery and colourful chappals. Particularly known for block printing, it is amongst the most frequented areas for shoppers alike. A lot of local artisans from Bhuj working there also sell their goods in the Rann Utsav at Kutch.
Dholavira : Excavation of the Harappan Civilisation
Dholavira-Kutch, the name sounded so dulcet to our ears. We were having a trip to this mystical place as part of the culmination to our Social Science unit “Civilizations”. Dholavira, is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India, belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. It is the fifth largest Harappan site in the Indian subcontinent, and has been under excavation almost continuously since 1990 by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The excavation continues slowly even today to bring out more hidden treasures. We were shown the archaeological site by Sir Jitu Mishra. We saw the ancient ruins, including their underground water drainage system, a stadium for celebrations, burial ground etc. We also saw a 10 feet long slab of stone believed to be the first sign-board of the world with inscriptions which has not yet been deciphered. The ancient city also had 16 reservoirs out of which only 3 are excavated. It had a very big citadel. As far as the eyes could follow, we saw mounds of brown and far ahead lay the White Rann of Kutch. We went to the Dholavira museum and saw the broken pots, tools used by ancient people, miniature models of games played in the past, jewellery, coins and inscriptions.
And the saga ends...
With a suitcase full of memories from the mystical lands of Kutch and the exotic array of History at Dholavira, we couldn’t help reminiscing the beauty that barren lands had offered.
What a happening year it has been! Honestly speaking if I am to talk straight from my heart there’s tons and tons that I can go on…and not to brag, but I bet you would ask me to go on and on…
If my memory isn’t deceiving me the year began with a brand-new feel – first year which had the eldest class as G10. We were still reveling in this new experience while as if in a flow we progressed towards the first time ever CAT Elections followed by the Investiture Ceremony of the elected members. Yes! It was an experience in itself; from the introduction of the CAT design to the process of Election to the culmination of the same by the Investiture. This further lead us to a number of routine yearly events and activities along with the academic progress.
But, this is not what I want to say from my heart…for now what is impatiently seeking expression from my mun is all about the SMIS MUN Event to be hosted on our campus in the month of November 2017. Yes, for the first time ever in the history of SMIS our students of G9 & 10 are working towards organizing this grand event where we have invited students from all schools, not just across Jamnagar, but also across Gujarat, and a few from outside Gujarat as well. After being successful in organizing in-school events these children seem quite confident with the organization of this public event. Being a constant observer of their mode of working and preparation, makes me feel like a proud person who finds herself to be fortunate not just for being associated with them through all these years but for also receiving enriching life-lessons through them.
Talking about the SMIS MUN Event – it’s an event jointly organized by SMIS and MUN World India. This is a Model United Nations conference which endeavors to provide students with a platform to hone their nascent skills and broaden their outlook. We look forward to furthering our objective of enhancing global awareness, promoting the power of expression and enlightening students about the importance of diplomacy through this conference. With three committees focusing on a range of different issues, SMIS MUN 2017 promises to be a great learning experience for all participating students from across the country.
A simulation of the actual United Nations, MUN will provide students with an opportunity to step into the shoes of delegates who represent the views of different countries while discussing various raging world affairs. They provide students with an excellent opportunity to hone skills of diplomacy such as lobbying, negotiation and collaborative problem solving while giving them a wonderful platform to refine their public speaking and regular communication skills.
Focusing on the development of the aforementioned skill sets and abilities through the concept of Model United Nations, it is a perfect opportunity for students to recognize the leaders hidden within them. With an interesting theme, innovative committees and thought provoking agendas, SMIS MUN 2017 provides the perfect platform for students to emulate real world leaders and solve raging world issues.
As we are no more school-going students and as we all majorly belonged to the 20th century schools we don’t stand a chance to either participate in this Event or even witness the same…sadL
But don’t lose hearts, the documentation of the entire event along with relevant experiential write-ups shall be posted on our website as soon the event finds its completion for all of you to get acquainted with the same.
As of now, so much from my mun…see you soon for more from my mun…
How do we distinguish knowledge, skills, and thinking from….learning? How do we make learning visible, so that we might surface and document powerful discoveries about the influence of our teaching on learners? Most of us are in groups all the time. But are these groups learning groups? When does a group become a learning group? Can a group construct its own way of learning? Can showing children's learning, lead to new ways of learning?
Here, at SMIS, we conduct a half-yearly MLV (Funderstanding - Understanding with fun) from Pre K to G2.
MLV involves demonstrating what children have learned over a span of six months and presenting it in different ways in front of an audience -which definitely include their parents but could also have other people like teachers, visitors to school etc. Other than the presentation of learning that is done by children themselves, we even display students' work collected over time which gives the children as well as parents an opportunity to realize how each child's work is unique and distinct. Here the children do not rehearse or rote learn scripts given by teachers, rather they engage in classroom like activities to show the varied skills. Comparison is not encouraged. The audience is not a passive participant. It participates by asking questions to the children to see how far children are clear with the concepts. We also document their work in the form of visuals which parents can view from time to time.
MLV is an exhibition:
Parenting a preteen or a teen may look like a Herculean task at times, as adolescence can be a confusing time of change for children and parents alike. But while these years can be difficult, there's plenty you can do to nurture your teen and encourage responsible behavior.
Following are a few strategies for parents.
1. Role modeling
“Actions speak louder than words”. Demonstration and role modeling is the best way to help children set good ethical and moral standards. E.g. teaching the moral value of ‘respecting elders’ while talking disrespectfully about other elders in front of the child.
2. Showing your love
As parents, our lives revolve around the child and we assume that the child is aware about the same but showing our love towards them by spending quality time and giving undivided attention at least once a day can have a magical effect on the child’s behavior.
3. Respecting them
As a part of growing up process, preteens and teens start developing their identity, ambitions, romantic interest and sexuality. This is the best time to give respect to their thought process and opinions to help them build their self esteem.
4. Keeping doors open
If the child has the assurance that he/she will be heard with an open mind by parents, it is less likely that the child will end up taking wrong decisions.
5. Setting rules in advance
It is always a good idea to set up some basic and clear rules in advance to convey what is expected and acceptable by the family to avoid any confusion or contradiction.