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.
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…