“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. This proverb highlights the importance of playful activities in our life. Most schools arrange for ‘Annual Sports’ once in a year. The purpose is to encourage students to participate in various sports, hone their skills and above all develop a sportsmanship.
Our School has sports event every alternate year. The Sports event was organised for three days - 27th, 28th and 29th December 18’. But the preparations began from the beginning of December. During the days of the event, the students of grades 7 to 10 performed their assigned duties with responsibility, which facilitated a smooth functioning of the Sports event.
Flags of different colors fluttered all around the ground. Participation of all the students from Pre-K to Grade 10 was witnessed by our enthusiastic parents. The students were divided into two groups: “Black Eagles” and “Green Parakeets”. Our Sports Event consisted of Games Meet and Athletic Meet. Students from Grade 1 to 10 participated in the Game meet in the morning and the Athletic meet in the evening. The Athletic meet included Smart Walk, fun races for pre-primary students and various competitive races beginning from 40m to 100m and 200m, hurdles and the relay races also. It was fun and a moment of pride to watch our children participate in the races. Winners were awarded certificates for the races and the games. Drills performed by all the Grades and the Mentor’s drill were the show stealers. Tumbling act performed by our tiny tots from the Pre-primary section was the most popular.
On the third day, the programme culminated with parents and teachers’ races. The students were very excited to the see their parents on the tracks. From day 1 to day 3 the curiosity and the eagerness to know the name of the team who would earn the winning cup was reaching heights. It reached its peak when the winning cup was being announced …………..and was finally taken away by the Black Eagle team. The cup was handed over by our beloved trustee Shri Vinubhai Patel. The Green Parakeets, too, joined the celebration.
This was the time where students showed true spirit of sportsmanship- Purpose achieved!
The teaching learning process at SMIS is student-centric, activity-based and engaging. Our lessons are designed keeping in mind different learning styles and abilities of children. We believe that real education moves beyond textbooks and confines of the classroom. Thus, we lay emphasis on relating knowledge to the world around, on drawing linkages between theoretical knowledge, its practical application and social/emotional significance as well. Children from Grade K2 to G10 learn different elements of the unit ‘Money’. Younger children learn exchange through different denominations and older children learn financial planning, interest calculations etc. The culmination is done through activities where children experience application of the concepts like e.g. ‘tuck Shop’ wherein they decide on products they can sell, make samples of the same using their knowledge of proportion, size and artistic skills, do budgeting, decide on the selling price and then sell the products made by them and earn profit.
SMIS guides students’ development as critical thinkers, collaborators, creative contributors, problem solvers, multifaceted communicators, and global citizens prepared to face 21st century challenges. Integrated learning helps students to develop a meaningful understanding of the complex associations and influences learning within a topic. A happy by-product of this is project-based learning, it makes learning more interesting and productive for students and teachers. We place emphasis on building connections between different topics and ignite curiosity of a learner. Our little learners of K2 did a project on ‘Adaptation’ last year. Children worked in groups throughout the project. They did some exciting activities like going on field trips, interacting with experts, inquiring, viewing videos etc. Presentation of Learning was done in 3 different forms – a booklet, models & gallery walk. Through this, children not only learn the targeted academic content but also life skills like collaboration, leadership, presentation etc.
We, at SMIS design our activities keeping students’ need in mind and that helps them to enhance their academics, social/emotional and creative skills. An example of one of such integrations is, the unit of 4 letter words (phonics) and bar graph (math) was planned wherein children were expected to make floor graph first using flash cards of 4 letter words and same thing was represented on paper as pictograph using pictures of same words. After a few such interventions, the mentor led them towards the understanding of Bar graph.
Here student develops the conceptual understanding of Math and Phonics. Other Math concepts like ascending, descending, more, less, addition etc. were also targeted through the Bar graph. These kind of activities also develop certain essential skills like problem solving, critical thinking, decision making, and group work skills.
Thus it can be said that integrated approach allows students to engage in purposeful, relevant learning.
There is a saying, ‘People don’t take trips, trips take people’. Most of the schools organize school trips. But there is something unique about SMIS trips.
The importance of Educational trips includes giving students the chance to build closer bonds with their classmates, experience new environments and enjoy away from the classroom. When students and teachers are together outside the classroom, new educational environments and experiences are possible. Students may have the opportunity to observe many things that are not available at school, including exotic wildlife, rare plants and maybe even the stars if the Educational trip is to a planetarium. They may be able to connect on more of a personal level without the structure of the normal school day. Students may be able to spend much of the day of the trip in small groups, observing, chatting and learning about each other. Life skills is another objective we wish to achieve so children are ready for various kinds of situations they may face in their life.
SMIS organises trips of mixed grades. This year Grade 1 and 2 visited Sasan Gir. They had built a connection of trip to the major topic of animals and plants, which is always fun when practically experienced. Grade 3 and 4 visited Panchmarhi where there is a huge deciduous forest area along with wide ranges of Satpura mountains. This trip helped to make academic connection with landforms and Indian culture. Another fun filled experience Grades 5 and 6 children had was when they visited ‘Kambre’ in Maharashtra. It was a great learning to spend time in nature while doing activities like tent pitching, cooking, getting to know some wild flora and fauna and so on. Our eldest group visited ‘Bairagarh’ situated in Uttarakhand which was an adventure trip.
School trips leave a great impact in the mind of the students, where they go without their family, with their friends and mentors, which allow them to rely on themselves and take responsibility and enjoy the activities of the trip.
Such episodic memories created during trips are long lasting and leave a great impact on their mind and heart.
“Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times”
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.