Thursday, October 1, 2009

Runner's High Article on Chiguru.

Learning network is a collective of various individuals and organizations interested in holistic education. The Learning Network explores various approaches towards holistic learning. This network helps learn about new perspectives and strengthen existing efforts. It is a resource for interested groups, educators and parents seeking meaningful approaches to education. Website:

Runner's High was featured in their Newsletter - "Chiguru". This is the first time Runner's High is being featured in a newsletter :)

You can read the newsletter here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 4th Week

Sita School

This week it was a vacation for all the children at Sita School as part of the Dussehera celebrations. But, only the kids who were preparing for their 7th std open exams were coming to school till lunch. On Monday after they spent time with Kamala for their Math and Science subjects, I spent some time with the kids on the new project - We were going to animate a story they have in their english lesson. It was the story of 'The Hungry Wolf'. Veru briefly -  A hungry wolf goes to the village to get some meat, threatens a farmer and tries to eat the horse. The smart horse requests the wolf to eat its tail first, and gives the wolf a big kick :). The Wolf runs back into the forest. Kamala also sat in our computer science class, as we first got used to the various controls in the "Scratch" program (Its an easy to use tool, designed to introduce programming for children, designed by students of MIT - ). I referred to the game we had played - "computer" and "operator" and explained that we are going to give a similar set of instruction to make different objects do things for us. So, we first chose images, then we played around with different sounds and then decided on backgrounds for the different scenes. As the kids got used to the software, I showed a few things to them and then they did similar operations. I suggested that they do the last scene.

On Friday, I spent a lot more time with the kids on the computer project. We designed all the backgrounds and Jane also spent some time with us. She suggested that maybe the kids could do one of the backgrounds. So, the kids drew an awesome mango tree for the climax :) - Soon, both of them got very involved and before we knew it we had spent about 3 hours that morning with the animation. We timed the pop-up dialogues, drew the backgrounds, made the animation move, make sounds and also change scenes.

More photos here- Sita_school_computer_rains

In the computer room I found a huge scroll and I was curious to find out what it was. So, the kids unrolled it for me and explained that it was part of their history lesson. They had depicted the history of the freedom struggle in images and writing. Finally, the various images and writing were pasted on a long scroll made by the entire class. It was a very novel way of integrating art, literature and history.

More photos here- Sita_school_computer_rains

After our computer class, the kids were very enthusiastic to show me the lake. Our usual running route is actually a lake bed which used to be quite big many years back (when Jane and Jyothi had just moved). But, now it fills up lightly when there are heavy rains. It had rained pretty heavily the last few days, so in some parts the now defunct lake was even seven feet deep! So, I got my feet wet along with the kids. Being a city bred, all I could think was that this is really dirty and muddy water! It was a firm 'NO' from my end when the kids suggested that we swim in it!

More photos here- Sita_school_computer_rains

When we came back, Jane was waiting for the kids to give them some payasam (Porridge or Kheer) as it was one of the kid's birthday. He had given us chocolates earlier in the morning and it was very thoughtful of Jane to celebrate his Birthday amongst us, though the rest of the school was not there. 

The Calendars made by the Sita School kids are all ready for sale now!!

More photos here- Sita_school_calendar


Sixteen of the Ananya children were working hard for their puppet show this week. The rest of them had a vacation. The children have been working on this puppet show for weeks now. There was a lot of learning in the whole process and this was very much part of the education of the children. The children made all the puppets themselves with easily available material. They learned various concepts of physics, mathematics, anatomy and science and applied it successfully to the making of the show. Rohit, a creative consultant from Delhi did a workshop and guided the children over the entire duration. The event itself was on Sunday and was a black light theater. We decided not to do any running, karate or Math classes as the kids would be too tired already with the whole day gone into preparation for the big show. I did drop into the school on Wednesday and helped out a bit with the preparation. More importantly, I had a discussion with Poonam, the science teacher to plan and try out the series of activities we have been doing with the Sita School kids. Poonam was very excited and she had read the blog. We also discussed aspects about mentoring one of the older kids (I had taken up the role of a mentor for one of the elder kids who is planning to become independent.)

On Sunday, the children put on a brilliant show and the audience were totally impressed by the professionalism, story and the whole show! Rohit, the children, staff and whole of Ananya did a great job! We also had an Ananya stall at the event. The event itself was like a fair or mela for NGOs called "The Bangalore Cares Sneha Santhe" with more than 80 NGO and non-profit efforts in Bangalore taking part. I stayed back even after the Ananya show, to help children of the Spastics Society of Bangalore for their musical performance. I was totally impressed by the show they put on and really wanted to spend more time with them. I got the contacts of the folks there and decided to follow up on it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 3rd Week

On Sep 13th, Sunday as part of Team Asha, two kids from Thulir finished their first half marathons and one of them finished his first 10K run. They all did really well. The rest of the Team Asha folks also did great at the Kaveri Trails. You can read more about it here.  You can read about the training for thulir kids here.

More photos here- Kaveri marathon

Sita School

On Monday, I reached Sita School at around 8:20 A.M. But, it had rained quite heavily the previous day and the trails were too slippery and muddy. We decided not to take a risk and not do the running in the morning. We did the prayers at 8:45 and it was decided that if it got more sunny and dry we could do the running. Jane had just come back from her trip to Pune and we discussed about a child who has not been coming to school for a while. The child has not been feeling well, lost his appetite etc. The children from around his house mentioned that he got scared about something and doesn't want to come to school. Jane mentioned that this had happened before and he has a fear for devils and the evil spirits. I decided to accompany Jane to his home, while one of the other volunteers, Sandy handled english instead of computer science for two groups. Before we left, the younger children wanted to show us a house they built in the morning (complete two storey house!)

More photos here- Sita_school_home

The child was happy to see us. But, the family background of the child was quite impverished. The father has not been supporting the family and has not been a constant presence of support. After the conversation with the family and the child, Jane and I had a discussion on fears and how to address fears of children. Would just rubbishing them actually help the child get over the fear? A more sensitive approach is required. At the same time reinforcing the child's fears by going for occult practices is not advisable at all! Most times this happens in the villages and this is a very strong community feeling that can't be challenged easily. Jane emphasised that we should help the child in believing in more postive aspects in life that can thwart the negative thoughts and overcome their fears.

After I returned from the village, I did computer science with the chetana group. The three girls were their usual enthusiastic stuff and we started of with something really interesting! I went over the 'Scratch' program for them and explained how it is similar to the game of 'computer-operator' we played last week. I explained how there is a scripts section and the controls can be used to make the animation act in a particular way. The children had a lot of fun changing the cartoon, adding sounds, trying to make different dialogues etc. I gave them a homework of trying to create their own story using scratch! Later I narrated the classroom experience to Jane and she felt it was very interesting. She wanted to use it to depict the story that nandana kids were doing as part of their english lessons. Anyways, while the rest of the school was closed the next week, the nandanda kids will be there in order to prepare for their 7th open exams.

On Friday, Preeti and I reached the school along with a friend, Balaji. Balaji has been a long time asha volunteer and also coached the thulir kids for their long distance runs. This week we did an interesting workout (courtsey a book on 'new age games' borrowed from Jane :) ). We did a short run across the open fields to a green wide clearing outside the school. Then we split the kids into two teams. One of the teams would be the clock and the other team would race the clock (hence, I came up with the name - 'Racing the clock' :) ). So, the 'clock' team would form a wide circle and will keep passing the ball in a clockwise manner. Each pass from one member to the other is a 'tick'. Meanwhile, as soon as the clock starts, the first runner from the other team runs around the circle (or clock) and comes back to the starting point, thus passing a key to the next runner in the queue. When the whole team finishes running, we get the total no. of ticks. Later, the teams interchange roles and the second team's ticks are counted to see who could go faster. The kids had a lot of fun doing this. It was also quite tiring! We did our drills and went for prayers.

After prayers, Preeti started the session on nervous system. Jane, Preeti, Kamala and I had discussed how best to start the session and finally Jane proposed that we start with a small game to introduce the idea of reflexes. The kids already played this game which involved a keen observation of the other player's movements and responding to it. Thus, Preeti introduced the concept of voluntary or learned reflexes.

More photos here- Sita_school_nervous_system

Later Preeti introduced the idea of involuntary reflexes. She then discussed the concept of nerves and also addressed myths about 'cramping' (i.e. its related to muscles and not nerves). We played a few short videos on nerves and explained how the nervous system is constituted. Later, Preeti went into more detail and explained why some reflexes are voluntary and some are not. She demonstrated some of the involuntary reflexes like our reactions to knee raps etc.

More photos here- Sita_school_nervous_system

By the end of the session, we asked the children to document their understanding of the discussion and the nervous system. We also gave them a jumbled order of our sequence of reaction to a stimulation. One of the children found it very hard to understand. Even after Preeti went over it couple of times, she couldn't understand the whole sequence of response. Finally, she could reproduce the correct sequence, but we were not sure if shw understood it. We will have to provide other activities to see if she grasped the concepts. This would be something that Kamala would do in her classes.


On Wednesday, I didn't have an usual run and hence started later than usual for Ananya. But, I got struck in the monstrous Bangalore traffic. It was sickening and I was so very thankful that I didn't have to endure this every day like most office-goers! The children were engaged in a puppetry workshop and I decided to call off the class as I would get only few minutes with them.

On Thursday, Preeti and I reached in time and found that the heavy rains from the previous day had made the whole approach road slushy and slippery. We decided not to do the run outside of school. After the usual drills, we introduced a new workout - 'Racing the clock'. The game is described in the section above. The kids really loved the game and got very involved. But, the game soon took a competitive color. A few kids got too serious with the idea of counting and they started complaining about the larger circles that the opposite team made, not doing the relay run properly etc. But, overall they had a very good speed workout which was mostly 'fartlek' (non-regular fast and slow intervals). We played the game for quite sometime and later did the stretches. The Ananya kids have slowly warmed up for the stretches as they see it as a challenge and try to beat the count of seconds when holding on to stretches.

After breakfast, we had a short maths class (cut short for puppetry sessions). I used Arvind Gupta's website to plan activities for the class. The focus was on paper folding and identifying shapes and angles. We did paper folding to make a protractor. So, the kids could measure angles of 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120 and 150 degrees without using a regular protractor quite accurately! The kids found this very interesting. Then we did an activity to see hands on that the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degs and the angles of a quadrilateral add up to 360 degs. They cut out any triangle of quadrilateral they wanted and then tore of only the corners of the shape and put them all together. In the case of a triangle, they got a straight line, giving 180 degs and the quadrilateral gave a circle with 360 degs! We ended the session with a simple paper toy - a rabbit which could flap its ears :)

Thulir experiences.

This season, as we got involved with more efforts in Bangalore, it was getting a bit difficult to visit Thulir on a regular basis and provide training for the children. Thankfully, Balaji stepped in and did a wonderful job as a coach.

Thulir is an Education Resource Center for children and young adults at Sittilingi which is a tribal village in Dharmapuri District, Tamil Nadu. It's a Tamil word that means, "tender shoot", also "to sprout". The goal of Thulir is to provide a place where children are in the presence of adults who can motivate them and provide support for learning, and can access basic learning resources that are not available to them in their homes or schools.  It is also a place where children can attend supplementary classes or prepare for exams away from crammed and noisy homes, and interact with visiting professionals from various walks of life to get exposure. Young adults are trained to create similar spaces for children in their own villages. As children grow into young adults, they can have access to vocational training courses and network with other such centers. Learn more about their efforts at:

Team Asha and Runner's High have been coaching the children over the last year for various events. They were monitored on a weekly basis from Bangalore. Detailed training schedules, guidance, injury prevention tips etc. were provided on a regular basis. There was a lot of support from the co-ordinators at Thulir - Anu and Krishna as well. Many children have completed marathons, half marathons and 10k runs in various events in Bangalore, Pondichery and Mysore.

This season three children trained for the Kaveri Trail Races. Balaji, an Asha volunteer spent considerable amount of time with the children to guide them through the training. Vinoo and Ezhumalai successfully completed their first half marathon in a good time of 1hr 54mins and 2hrs 02mins respectively! Sakthivel successfully completed his 10K in 1hr 02mins.

Here is a detailed account of Balaji's stay at Thulir with photos.

Here is Balaji's experience coaching the children:

August 3-9
Balaji reached Thulir on August 4th to help the Thulir Kids with their training plan for the KTM '09. After consulting with Anu and Krishna, we decided that Vinoo and Ezhumalai will run the half-marathon. Perumal could not participate because of his commitments in the newly started Basic Technology Course and Senthil was busy preparing for his final year of formal schooling. They warmed for the weekend long runs by doing a easy 5K run on Friday. On Saturday, they started their first long run of 10K. The boys were naturally fit to run the distance and did very well to finish the 10K in about one hour. On Sunday, they went for an easy run of 5K. Shakthivel, one of the students of the BT Course expressed interest in running with us. On Sunday, he appeared to run with us in an unusual attire - A lungi and a pair of ordinary slippers. Balaji was so impressed by his interest and enthusiasm that he allowed him to run about 3K with the group despite his unorthodox appearance.

August 10-16
Balaji had to leave Thulir in the second week to work on the Team Asha 8K run. He went for a trek with them on Monday and was given the glimpse of the boys' endurance and fitness! The students trained themselves for the rest of the week and Shakthivel also joined them.

August 17-23

Balaji joined them again later that week in time for their weekend long runs. They were scheduled to run 18K on Saturday and 8K on Sunday. Balaji, Vinoo and Senthil set out for the run on Saturday. Shakthivel joined them to run for 3K. They ran for 2 hours through the beautiful Bamboo forests. It was one of the longest runs for Vinoo and he enjoyed it thoroughly. On Sunday, it was a larger crowd for the run. Balaji, Senthil, Vinoo, Ezhumalai and Shakthivel started out to run. They were accompanied by two other students - Parameshwaran and Jayabal on bicycle. They did an easy run for about 4K and turned back. In the return run, they improvised by using the 'chain-running' technique. Runners run in a single file with the runner in the start being replaced by the runner in the last at regular intervals. The time interval was a little longer at the early stage and it was later reduced to zero in the last 1K encouraging runners to go faster. It was enjoyed by the boys and the cyclists assisted in co-ordinating the whole effort.

August 24-30
On Tuesday, Vinoo ran 200m splits for 8 laps. He looked strong after the 8 speed laps. Balaji felt that he could run the half-marathon in about 1 hour 45 minutes. Asked if he would be interested in training harder for a half-marathon at Auroville in Feb. 2010 and winning it, Vinoo humbly replied that he is happy just to run and enjoy the feeling without being bothered about the prizes. They went for another easy run that Thursday. The weekend running plan was 14K on Saturday and 7K on Sunday. On Saturday, Balaji, Vinoo and Ezhumalai set out to run the 14K. Shakthivel joined them for about 3K and returned back. By now, we decided to have Shakhivel on board for the KTM and he was to run a 10.5K, which will be his first taste of a running event. Shakthivel was comfortable with the shoes that we could arrange for him. On Sunday, Balaji, Vinoo, Ezhumalai and Shakthivel set out to run the 7K. As usual, they attracted plenty of on-lookers and funny comments. After sometime, a cycle carrying two persons went besides them. The person sitting behind enquired about them and their purpose for running. Balaji replied them in his sarcastic manner and offered invitation for him to run with them. The person commented that Vinoo does not look like a runner. Vinoo and Ezhumalai asked Balaji if he would allow them to go faster and overtake the cyclist. Well aware of their abilities, he agreed for it and asked the boys to embarrass the cyclists! The boys took off and sprinted past the cyclists making them feel ashamed for their comments. As Balaji neared them, he further commented to them that they are better off running with them than cycling. However, on the return when the boys wanted to try a similar stunt, Balaji refused to allow them to do the same as he felt that they would be stretching their muscles too far.

August 31-September 6
Early this week, Balaji left for Chennai and hence could participate in the training with the students. They trained on their own for the week. Balaji returned to Thulir later that week and because of some health complications could not run with them for their Sunday run. They did not run on Satuurday and hence ran a 10K that Sunday. Shakthivel was asked to take it easy and run less. Senthil, Ezhumalai and Vinoo and ran for over one hour. They were paced and guided by Senthil. All the three students looked fit to run the KTM the next week.

September 7 - 13
On Tuesday, Vinoo and Shakthivel went for an easy run of 5K and wound up their training for KTM. They left Thulir on Saturday morning and reached Bangalore in the afternoon. It was the first long distance trip for Shakthivel and was quite excited on reaching Bangalore. He found the bad odour a bit strange and also the huge drainage canal! They left for Mysore in the team ASHA bus from Bangalore and were all set for the KTM the next day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 2nd Week

Sita School

On Monday, I had a friend visiting Sita School with me. We started the day with a nice easy run to the fields and did a speed workout with two laps (one fast and one slow) - it should be around 300m a lap. After that we ran down back to the school to finish the about 2.5 km loop.We did our foot drills and stretches after the run. We had prayers when Stanley was introduced to the school. We did computer classes with the kids after the prayer. Jane was not in school this week and it was quite amazing to see that the school did not depend on her 24/7 presence to move on - it worked as a system. In this week's computer class, I was getting closer to the idea of programming. We played a game of treasure hunt with two teams. One team would hide the treasure and the other team would get instructions from the first team from a starting point to reach the treasure. So, there was a 'computer' team and an 'operator' team. After the game session, we went to the computer room and played a few more games. This time, we moved one level up to play a game that improved skills in typing words. There would be clouds with names underneath moving on the screen and the user had to quickly type the word to make the cloud disappear. There were different themes for each game. We chose countries and as one of the kids was playing on the computer, Stanley kept the other kids engaged by using the globe to point out the country! It was a lot of fun and with Stanley there, the kids also got to learn more about some trivia and locations of countries. After class, couple of kids even came and discussed about certain questions they had in geography for e.g. the place in the world with a lot of bears, where all do they eat rice the most ? etc.

Friday was my birthday and I sensed something was happening even as I reached school :) - The kids, teachers and everyone I met at Sita School wished me a very happy birthday! My mom also was there with me for the trip to Sita school on my birthday. As we did our run, some of the kids held a duppatta and asked me to run under it like in a palanquin :)

More photos here- Sita_school_bday

After the run, we had prayers and the kids presented me with an elaborate stictched poster - i.e. each kid wrote/drew/painted a card for me (including the tiny tots, all kids in school!) and they put it all together to make a huge poster! I was totally overwhelmed - it was the nicest birthday present I had got in a long while :) - I thanked all the kids and everyone for the love and affection they showered on me. We then distributed chocolates for the kids.

More photos here- Sita_school_bday

After the prayer sessions, Preeti led the elder kids to the field to discuss about muscles. We first did a few stretches to isolate particular muscle groups and thus helped the kids identify them. Preeti then discussed how muscles are related to bones and what constitutes a muscle, how is it different from the nerves etc. After doing the stretching routine, we went into the computer room to watch a video on muscles. Again, the video was educational and we paused it in small spurts to engage the children in a discussion on what we saw. At the end of the session, we asked the kids to write down their understanding of the muscles and the discussions we had in the day. Meanwhile, Preeti, Kamala and I discussed what we should focus on in the next week's session - maybe the digestive system, excretionary system (sweat glands, kidneys etc.) or nutrition.

More photos here- Sita_school_bday

We spent the whole day in Sita school to help complete the work with the calendars. This also gave me the opportunity for me to be a part of the diary time on Fridays. Every week, just before school ends for the week, the children and staff gather around in a circle with their diaries. Each of them share one important aspect or happening that they liked or didn't like the most in school that week. One of the teachers spoke about how the kids had put up a wonderful show for the teachers day celebration. She was amazed by the initiative and creativity shown by the kids. Some of the kids spoke about the passing away of Zona and how it moved some children to tears. The really young ones showed a painting they had done and described what it was - for e.g. one of them did a portrait of his family. One other kid described the class on roman numerals and how interesting it was to learn about this number system. The Chandana group kids described the session on heart conducted by the Nandana group children for them.

More photos here- Sita_school_bday


On wednesday, I introduced 'constructions' in geometry for the kids. They had some minimal background already. Once everyone was ready with their geometry boxes, I introduced the concept of 'altitude' or height of a triangle. Then, we discussed congruency and what is the minimum set of properties thats required to decide if two triangles are congruent. Some kids didn't like this class very much and were vocal about it - they felt that it was like any other class and wanted something fun to do as well :)

On thursday, my mom also accompanied Preeti and me to School. Everyone got to know that Friday was my birthday and they all wished me as soon as I came :) - As though it was a birthday present for me, all the kids put on their best behavior and did the drills in an organized way on their own! (maybe, it was the presence of my mom :) ). All the kids wanted to do a run to the temple and back. So, we formed a few groups and set-off. We took a few photos along the way as well.

More photos here- Ananya_drills_mom

After the run, we did a session on geomtery. I wanted to make this class more interesting and gave them two stories about math - the first one was about Akbar and Birbal about making a line drawn on the ground short without touching it. The second story was a chinese folk tale on magic squares. The kids enjoyed the stories and it was easier to get them excited and attentive in class. We did more of the triangle congruency and some worksheet problems for kids who already were ahead in the understanding of triangle congruency.

More photos here- Ananya_drills_mom

At Prakriya, we did our drills and this time I wanted all kids to not play games straight away. There were of course some kids who just didn't come out. After the drills, we didn't do our usual run outside the school. Instead, I formed multiple teams and used the tracks to do a relay run. But, once the relay started there is no way of telling who came first etc. as we just did it for time rather than the whole team finishing etc. It was a good fartlek (fast and slow stretches at varying times) workout. Many kids (especially those with NIOS stream and some of them who are not confident about their running) were reluctant to take part. I encouraged them and joined their team to do the run. My mom also joined us and did a few sprints. That really impressed the kids and all of them started running. But, by the end of it the fitness levels of the children were evident as only a few could hold till the end of the 20 minutes time period. We then dispersed to play games. The speed workout was quite tiring and it was evident in their game as the kids flagged a bit. It would really help to have the running workouts in the morning or later in the evening, distinct from the games period. This is something we have been stressing to the school about.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

September 1st Week

Sita School

In the first week of September, I had to leave to Chennai for a planned trip to vist my new born neice, Shreya. Hence, I missed the Monday session with the kids. But, we all met up on Friday. We did a short run on Friday and did our usual stretches and drills. After the workout on friday, all of us worked on the Calendars. We started printing the images and it took a long while as we finished the printing over the weekend. We had a lot of interaction with the children, trying to make the rather tedious activity fun and entertaining. Working on activities such as this is also an important aspect of building a relationship with the children as we work as peers.

One important happening this week was the passing away of Zona. Zona was a German Shepherd who was about 11 years old. He grew up in Sita School and was an integral part of the family. He was suffering from a disorder that made it impossible to take in food and he would keep vomiting it out. He was sufferring for quite long and became very ill. It was decided to put him down and Zona passed away on Friday morning. The kids and everyone in the school gathered around Zona's grave and offered flowers. They sang and prayed for him. A few kids also wept for Zona.


I was back from Chennai on Thursday morning and I reached Ananya in time for our run and math class. We did a run to the temple and back. After the run we had stretches and foot drills. In the following geometry class, we went over the answers from the previous worksheet. I also gave them a story about a math concept on binary system. Jane had given me a book on stories related to various concepts on Math. It really got their attention and made them think on the problem with a lot of interest and curiosity. The story was about a little girl who dupes a vain king by asking him for a grain of rice. But, she wants it to be doubled every day for a month. So, the no. of grains increase exponentially, but the king doesn't look through the trick.


We met the Prakriya kids after two weeks of their exams. They looked quite tired with the exams and wanted to play games. So, we decided to do a run with only the kids who were interested. We got only six kids who were interested in doing the run. Nevertheless, we did the run and I came back to play with the kids. I made it a point to join the girls this time. They always went on their own to play throw ball. Soon, a few boys also joined us. We had good fun playing throw ball.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 5th week

Sita School

On Monday after our usual run through the new found scenic route, we did our stretches and foot drills. I have realized that for a couple of kids the canvas shoes was not doing any good. We have to replace the shoes with a wider better make. We later did the computer classes with the children. I introduced a new activity, going outdoors. I asked them to map the path from the computer lab to Sita School's kitchen. They used the compass to get directions and counted steps in each direction to arrive at a sequence of instructions to get from one point to the other. For one of the groups, I also introduced a variation in the activity, with one person closing her eyes (or blindfolded) and the others giving directions to help the person arrive at a point in the shortest time possible. We later played a few games that helped improve their typing speeds and also their vocalbulary.

On Friday after our run, we spent almost all the day in helping with the printing of the calendars. Meanwhile, Preeti and Kamala had a discussion to review kamala's write-up in Kannada to be sent to the organization supporting a fellowship for her. They also discussed the plan going forwards and what has been achieved so far etc. The calendar work was quite exhausting and involves all the elder children. Sita school helps the children write the 7th standard open exams and helps to mainstream them in the 8th or provide vocational skills to help children become socio-economically independent. The money to support children in their further education or vocational skills after sita school is raised from selling these calendars. They have been doing calendars for more than 30 years now. Asha has partenered recently to help create awareness about Asha through Sita School calendars and also better sell the calendars. The printing is a manual process and required a lot of skill. One person had to swipe the ink through the screen on to the handmade paper and only Anjali could do it properly. The rest of us (childrem, teachers and volunteers) had different roles in the pipeline as we placed, dried and checked for smudges etc.

More photos here- Sita_school_calendars_teamasha_trip

On Saturday, we had organized a team asha run at Sita School. We all got together at Cubbon park and car pooled from there. It was a lot of fun and all the runners got a chance to learn more about an Asha supported effort. The children did a great job running with the gang and also helping them out. We had a tasty breakfast and got a tour around the school. There is a more detailed report in my post in the team asha blog

More photos here- Sita_school_calendars_teamasha_trip


We did a speed workout with the kids and did the train workout with two trains. The train workout is a very good team building exercise as it keeps the really fast ones patient and encourages the runners who are slower. The focus is not as much on the individual going fast as its not easy to draw a comparision, but on the team together moving at a faster pace. But, there are also some disadvantages if not monitored appropriately. If one kid goes too fast and breaks the train, it can disintegrate! We learned that with the Ananya kids! After the stretches and foot drills, we did the geometry class with the children. I had prepared worksheets for the kids and Preeti helped make a lot of copies as well. I explored the material available in the cupboard of resource material in Ananya. I found a lot of tangram sets and decided to use them. While one group worked on the worksheets, I went over some reiteration of concepts and helped the other group through questions from earlier. Then I introduced the tangram sets and asked them to identify various shapes and types of triangles. Then we did a few puzzles from the tangram set. This way, all children were occupied and in the end the worksheets (this was quite long than the usual 4-5 questions I give) were done by all children.

More photos here- Ananya_geometry_class