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.

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