Sunday, August 2, 2009

August 1st Week

Sita School

On Monday we did a short run. We also changed the schedule a bit. Instead of doing the prayer and then the run, Jane suggested that we do the run first and then the prayer gathering. This helped calm the kids down and ready for their classes in the day. In the computer classes we did a graph plot of the results from the experiments we did last friday on lung capacities. We also spent some time in reviewing the homework from last time. The children do see the use of a computer for recording and presenting data now. The next plan was to use it as a 'programming' interface. Vanya (Jane's daughter who teaches Math in the school) suggested the use of 'Scratch'. I have come across 'Scratch' in thulir and found it as a simple and very interesting way to learn programming. It's an easy to use, understand and interpret interface that lets you design your own games, stories, plays etc. I was a bit worried if the kids would be ready for programming. I was finally settled with the time intervals. I understood the time-table better and could finish classes in time :)

I had noticed that all kids (both boys and girls) have stitching classes on Friday after our sessions with them. Here is a photo of what Naina (Jane's grand daughter) did in her class with waste cloth

On Friday, our team met again - Imo, Preeti, Kamala and me. Marco a visitor to Sita School also joined in for the fun :) . Marco is a scientist and visits IISC, Bangalore. He designed the whole Sundial systems in Sita School. Over the years many schools and children have visited Sita School to just learn about the Sun dials. We did our running workout and the younger kids dispersed for their regular classes. The elder kids - Nandana and Chetana groups joined us for the class on health after the run. Preeti explained the concept of pulse rate and how we measure pulse rate in Kannada. Many interesting aspects where discussed - which arm, why near the wrist and where else can we sense the pulse rate easily? etc. We did the experiment in two groups. Firstly, we measure the resting pulse rate (by counting pulse for a minute) and then do a fast speed workout to get our heartrates up. Then the pulse rate is measured in 1 minute intervals for a min each. We all joined the kids to measure our pulse rates as well. The pulse rates were all recorded and we could see the change in pulse rate between the different stages - Resting, After activity (at different time intervals) and Recovery. We then watched a video that depicted a teadmill test which was quite similar to what we did, but had electrodes connected to the runner's body to measure the heart rate. It showed a smilar curve in terms of numbers. We then discussed how the pulse rate is connected with the heart rate. At the end of the day, we asked the children to write down their understanding and learning. I was assigned to review it on the next Monday. After the pulse rate experiment, Preeti, a few teachers from Indus International (they were trainees who had come for an educational trip) and I got a session on Sun dials by Marco. It was quite amazing to learn that the sun dials were quite accurate and that it involved a lot of skills and concepts from various fields - science, astronomy, geometry, trigonometry etc.

More photos here- Sita_school_pulse_rate_sundials


 My geometry classes had become two in a week at Ananya. Many kids were interested and became regulars for the class. A lot of things changed as I made the class more interactive and fun. I had a long chat with Poonam (the science teacher at Ananya who has been there from the beginning) - She suggested that I break down the group and give various activities and interact with one group at a time. Meanwhile, Vanya, Jane and Gautham gave me wonderful resource material and suggestions to help make math interesting and easier to understand. We used scrap paper to do different kinds of folds to understand angles. Later, I added a paper - flapper toy (thanks to Arvind gupta's website on toys) to make it more fun.We did a few fun games and activities to learn about acute, obtuse and right angles. We also used graph paper and mirrors to understand congruency of shapes. I tried introudcing the concept of directions and using angles in depicting directions (for e.g 3 deg east off North etc - to do this activity, we used a compass and the kids tried mapping their path from the computer lab to the kitchen :) - The material I used a lot was SMP (a british program to make math more interesting) used by CFL and Sita school at times. I got the material copied for my future reference :)

Running in Ananya was also getting a bit more organized. I told the kids that there is no compulsion for them to join, but they need to get a bit more serious if they do join. We did the drills on Thursday and later we did a new kind of workout. We did some speed drills (interval training). We organized the kids into four groups and kicked off a relay. But, based on my instructions, the team kept changing (so fast that the kids could hardly owe allegiance to a single team easily :)) - This was a hard workout because, even as the kid finished her leg she would join the group by moving to the last position and the person in the first position starts as she gets the key from the runner. By the end of the run the kids were all tired and for the first time the Ananya kids had spent their energy :) - The kids had got very strong with the distances and a 4Km run was a breeze, so we decided to concentrate more on interval training. It was anyways only a week away for the Team Asha run. Many kids had already started enquiring about it :)


We did longer than usual distance at Prakriya. The Team asha run had a minimum of 4kms and the kids were not used to a real long run. So, we decided to do a long run on that day. After the run, I went out with Somu to figure out the course for the Team Asha run. The kids had a good time and went back to playing their games after the run. They did their stretches and drills as well before their run. I still stick to giving the option to kids to play games and not run. We have a steady group of people who do prefer to run and then play. After the run we had discussions with student group leaders and the teachers to organize the run for Team Asha on August 15th. There were multiple aspects that needed consideration - the plan was to involve the middle school also to cheer the runners and provide AID station support.  It would have been really nice to have all the kids do their own posters, beat drums, yell, scream or whistle for the runners :) - It could have brough the adrenaline levels and ethusiasm for running up. I laid down the plan for the teacher co-ordinators and discussed various aspects of organizing the run - food, course, AID station support, medics, parking, stalls etc. We even planned to have a karate demo by the Ananya kids for all the runners!

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