The piece of chalk!

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“You’re handwriting is too small on the black board.  It will be difficult for other students to copy it down.  Better, you don’t continue writing.”

The teacher grabbed the white piece of chalk from his hands, and asked him to sit down on his place.  Feeling rejected once again, he came down to his seating position and started skimming through his own note book.

He can evidently see a minimum of 3 ‘Good!’s signed by his teacher in every 4 pages of his note book.  His hand writing is definitely one of the best in the class room.  Every teacher used to collect his note book for reference by the end of the academic year!

But still, here he is again, not getting a good hand writing on the black board.  He felt very sad. 🙁 During one of the breaks he went to his friend, and posted him a question, “How do you get such a fabulous handwriting on board?”.

His friendly simply replied back, “Good hand writing on black board comes through practice. I’m doing this since 3rd std and now, at 6th std, this is a very easy job for me.”

Well, you can’t go back on time! He thought he could’ve also practiced writing on board since 3rd standard, in stead of just focusing on cursive hand writing on his note books and getting the maximum number of ‘Good!’s from the teacher 😛

But yes, it’s always not late to start something that’s interesting to you.

He found out his own way, to start practicing hand writing on board.  Staying an hour after school, practicing writing on the board (and then rubbing it off, so that the board looks fresh in the morning).

With this practice a couple of weeks, he realized writing on the board is a totally different game from writing on the note book.  The practice also got reflected on own his hand writing on note book.  He started writing a little bigger in a non-cursive tone on his note books, and the teacher really wondered why is he changing cursive hand writing when things were going good.

Through his continuous practice, he gained confidence over his ‘black board hand writing’ and he’s now able to thoroughly balance the board-notebook hand writing differences as well.

He was eagerly waiting for his chance to write on board again during the class.  It will only happen, only if his friend is not available due to holiday or some other commitments while the teacher is giving notes.  But as his friend was very sincere, he needs to wait for a long time to get an opportunity.

On a fine morning, he went late to school.  The teacher asked him the reason for his late and allowed him inside the class with a warning.  When he went inside, he was totally shocked to see his ‘board hand writing practice’ post school was not rubbed off in the morning, and it was still there.

His friend beside, said to him in a milder voice, “Your hand writing is really good! How did you got into this level?”

He looked at him, but didn’t said anything. He was afraid of his teacher  To his surprise, through out the morning classes, the teacher never told a even a single word about his hand writing board rather not questioned him about what he’s doing after school.

And then in the afternoon during the notes taking time, the teacher called him and handed over the chalk piece to him.  Then, he got a 16 page notes on Social which the teacher asked him to copy on the board.

Feeling a bit surprised, he started writing.  Once the board got full, he needs to check with everyone and rub a few portion of the board and continue writing.  The notes went on and on.

He started feeling a little pain on his fingers, because of the larger size of the chalk, and he still continued writing despite all the difficulties.

After a couple of hours, rubbing and re-writing on the board for around 7 times, he was finally able to complete all the notes. He went back to his teacher to convey the same.  With all the sweat and a bit of pain on his little fingers he told, “Notes completed, miss!”

The teacher gazed at him, and then looked at the entire class and announced.  “Very good job by Aravind.  He will be taking care of writing on the board, from now on.”

He felt really wow.  All his post school practice finally helped him to get to a place where he wanted to be.  He felt thankful to his teacher for not creating an issue with practicing on board after the school, but still giving him this opportunity.

He was very happy to own the piece of chalk in the class room. 🙂

11 years later as a teacher, when he was writing on the board, he heard some murmuring noise from behind.  One of his fourth grade kid was saying some thing like, “Sir’s hand writing is so good on board.” to the kid sitting next to him.

He immediately turned back immediately and said in a firm teacher voice, “Guys. Mouth zipped.  Focus on writing! I will be clearing the board soon.”

He then started to check checking every body’s note book, and slowly went down to the kid who murmured.   He sat next to that kid, and said in a slow yet confident voice, “Good hand writing comes through practice.” The kid nodded back.

He also took some time to read the note book of the kid.  It had everything.  The date, the topic ‘Morning meeting’ and the question posted on board for the kids to answer, “What are the values you need to achieve your passion?”

He heard his mind voice instantly with out even thinking for a moment “Perseverance and practice.

To know more about our class room and our initiatives please visit here. Help us to support our children to do more such wonderful things, kindly donate what you can: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/donate4inventors

The unusual choices! #ClassRoomTales

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A super-excited morning in school,

All the kids lined up for participating in an inter-school science project exhibition and it was wonderful to see some amazing working models.Kids did a brilliant job!  All the participating kids bid a bye to everyone in the school, and started their journey to the destination school by walk.

And surprisingly,

I saw Barath Mathiew (one of my student) rushing to the school, with his shirt fully wet, carrying a thermocol model on his hand.   The model was about human digestive system.

“Sorry sir! I was waiting for Kishore (the kid from other class).  He is also participating in the competition.  He finally didn’t turn up today.  Did everyone left for the competition?”

“Barathmathiew, you’re super late today! Did I ask you to wait for Kishore and come along with him?! Everyone already left for the competition, exactly 15 minutes back.”

“Oh okay sir 🙂 But, this is my model.”

Now, I had two options,

(i) Take the model, keep it on the class room.  Ask him to present it during one of the school assembly. And make sure that he didn’t feel bad because he didn’t get this chance to go for inter-school competition. The usual choice.

(ii) Follow up the location of where the competition is actually happening.  Figure out the ways, to take him (and his project too) to the competition.The unusual choice.

I decided the latter.

“Barath, are you comfortable sitting on a cycle and coming with me?  I will take you to the competition.”

“Sir! I can sit comfortably.  But, it’s difficult for me to carry this thermocol model.”

“Oops.  Not an issue.  Pass it to me! I will hold this and run the bicycle as well.”

Pausing a bit, I noticed a teacher ran and came towards us with something on her hand.

“Sir! Please take this bird’s nest model and if possible give it our kids at the competition.”

Wondering whom I’m really going to give this, I told, “Definitely miss.  Please give it to Barathmathiew sitting behind.”

Half way through the journey, my co-fellow called me up and said, “It’s difficult to get an opportunity for one more participant from our school.  There are limited chances for every school.  Better don’t bring Barathmathiew’s model.  He mostly won’t get an opportunity to present.”

Now, I had another set of choices:

(i) Make a U-Turn, return back to school.  The usual choice.

(ii) Continue the journey, and at least pass on the nest.  The unusual choice.

This time I left the decision to him,

He told, “Sir! Let’s continue the journey.  I will get an opportunity to see the other projects and I will make a better attempt next time by coming early.  Not an issue, if I don’t present.”

 He chose the latter.

 Fast forward to the afternoon.

 My co-fellow called me up and said very happily, “Barathmathiew has won the third prize in the competition.”

 “Wow. But how?”

 “He got an opportunity to present and he did explained the project fantastically.  He knows the digestive system extremely well.”

 Rewind to a planning evening, two weeks back.

 “Should I really choose this Grade VII video for teaching digestive system? This is extremely detailed.  I never think this will be helpful to my students in Grade IV.”

I was exhausted to see the limited number of choices available on YouTube to plan for the digestive system for my kids.

Then, I had two options:

(i) Plan for something else for the ‘engage’ part of the lesson, crop this video idea.  The usual choice.

(ii) Getting convinced with ‘Anyways they will be learning it in future!”and going ahead with Grade VII video.  The unusual choice.

I chose the latter.

The series of unusual choices also, sometimes result in a desire outcome. 

To know more about our class room and our initiatives please visit here. Help us to support our children to do more such wonderful things, kindly donate what you can: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/donate4inventors

Big Big. Bang Bang! #ClassroomTales

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Young minds always have brilliant questions.

“Sir, who invented the earth?”

“Why  all the other planets in the solar system are revolving around Sun, sir? Why can’t Sun revolve around us?”

“My mom told me that God created all of us.  Then, who created the God, sir?”

During the beginning of Term III in my first year of teacher life, I was often amazed to see the young inventors of my class room asking such curious questions.  I used to get excited and try explaining the concept of Universe scientifically.  But, whenever I try answering them instantly from my knowledge, the kids came up with the follow up questions, which are are quite tough (honestly! :P).

So one day, I decided to do an exclusive morning meeting* on the birth of Universe – and and introduced the kids to the Big Bang Theory!

[*morning meeting – the first 20 minutes of every day, during when we facilitate activities inculcating values and exposure for the children and energize them for the whole day of learning]

The kids watched a video and listened to the story of how the Universe evolved by continuous expansion and how the scientific matter played an essential role in creating each and everything in the space.  When I actually expected kids will get all their answers to the questions on their mind by knowing the Big Bang theory, it finally ended up creating even more curiosity among them.  I also told them that is one among the many theories proposed about the origin of Universe, and they can explore even more about this.

When I closed out the morning meeting about the origin of universe, one of kid posed a question,

“Sir, so you’re telling that there are many galaxies, stars and planets do exist. How did the humans chose that they want to live only on the planet Earth?

To such an amazing question I replied, We, the humans never chose Earth.  It is the Earth who chose us and who provide us this living habitat. We are all evolved from the mother Earth.  And that’s why, it’s the duty of every individual to protect our Earth.”

After this particular incident, I noticed the kids developed a natural interest towards space science and they started reading more about space through the books available in library. It was so fascinating to see the children extending their knowledge beyond the basics of solar system about which they have a lesson in Grade IV.

The enthusiasm of the kids reflected a lot on our class room culture. We changed our class room call-in-response* to  “Big Big.” : “Bang Bang”.  And we also started following a new seating position called “universe position” and switched from the conventional smart position.

[*call-in-response (or the attention grabber) – something we use in our class room to bring the attention of the kids back to the teacher from an activity]

It was quite fabulous for me as a teacher, to see how the curiosity of the children to know new things in the world drove the class room culture and also helped in the learning of the students.  Whenever we learn a new thing about space science, the kids naturally get excited in my class room!

Through this experience with my kids, I learned an incredible lesson:

Teaching is not complete when we transfer the skills and knowledge; it’s accomplished only when we kindle the curiosity of the students and their thirst to learn more.

Later towards the end of the year in March, we had a drawing competition about scientific innovations. One of the kid, Prathyangara Devi crafted this thoughtful drawing about the importance of invention.

Before invention: Earth at the middle. Sun & all the other planets revolve around.

After invention: Sun at the middle.  Earth & all the other planets revolve around.

 

Are you thinking about heliocentric, geocentric theories & Galileo?

Yes exactly, the kid portrayed the same thing about which she will be elaborated in detail 7 years later in Grade XI Physics. 🙂

To know more about our class room and our initiatives please visit here. Help us to support our children to do more such wonderful things, kindly donate what you can: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/donate4inventors