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Showing posts from 2009

A Fashionably Late Home Term Report

Lakshmi Nilakantan

Tuesday, September 23

Leo, Jaidip, and I accompanied the children to Agara Lake. There, the children were introduced to the lake ecosystem through observation. We walked around the lake attempting to identify the various types of birds and to understand how and why the birds clustered together in certain areas; we noticed the inflow and ouflow systems of the lake; and we surveyed the general upkeep of the lake and its surroundings. The children were fascinated by a few fishermen catching fish with nets or homemade fishing reels.

We sat down in the tower and discussed the history and the importance of lakes in Karnataka, the traditional methods of harvesting rainwater for agriculture and drinking, the interconnectedness of water bodies, the responsibility of maintaining tanks, and the idea of public resources and spaces. We examined what has changed in government policy with regard to water bodies in India, and in Bangalore in particular, and saw its severe reperc…

A library interaction at my home!

Usha Mukunda

A medley of shapes and sizes tumbled out of the school van. It was a Thursday during Home Term Week and a group of seniors were coming home for a library session. You may well wonder what a library –at-home looks like. So did I! But read on and see what happens.

The first thing I wanted was to get a feel of their reading habits. So I asked them to do ‘mad ads’ about any book they had read recently. My challenge was to spot the book. So groups got formed and they disappeared into various rooms to prepare. In a little while, the first group began. Vishnu looked forlornly at me through the grills of my front windows. The rest looked like they were relaxed and killing time. I racked my brains but could only come up with “The Count of Monte Cristo.” A mischievous glint in Prahlad’s eye gave the game away. He had chosen to depict his own story. Not fair!!!! The others did some dumb charades for me and I was able to squeak past with correct guesses. So having established our pecki…

Pallav, Kiri, Tarang, Isaura

For those who are not directly involved with Shibumi, some of the names appearing in our recent blog posts were probably confusing. Pallav, Kiri, Tarang and Isaura are the names of our four age-wise student groups. The youngest group is named Pallav, which in Sanskrit refers to 'young shoots and leaves'. Kiri, the next group, is a Cambodian word for 'mountain'. Then comes Tarang, Sanskrit for 'wave', and finally the senior most group -- Isaura, a Greek word meaning 'soft air'. The staff group is named Dharitri, which is Sanskrit for 'earth', but we rarely have to use this group name!

Mask-making at School

The theatre workshop planned for Kiri on Tuesday could not happen because Saraswati, who was going to conduct it was ill. So we planned a half-day mask-making workshop using collected junk and natural material, to be followed by a film screening for the children. Angie and I were going to conduct the activities for the day. The mask making activity was something I had done in college and enjoyed tremendously, so I was very excited to do it with the kids, but of course there was no knowing how it would actually go! I started the day by showing the group photos of several different kinds of masks from different parts of the world and some junk art, just to get some juices flowing in the kids’ minds. They were quite enthralled and fascinated, and in hindsight it did feel like a useful presentation to have made. We then went out for a walk around school armed with plastic bags to collect interesting things from the roadside. Some of the children had chosen to pair up for the activity, oth…

Being at Natraj Gurukula

It is enriching to be with children in lots of different contexts.

Home Term: Book-buying

As part of the home term, Tarang and Isaura, along with Angie and Shalini, went book-buying for the library! We sold a whole lot of books and bought books with the money we received. We bought books worth Rs. 4300 altogether (without actually spending a rupee). Here are images of all the books we bought. Sorry, we are having trouble making the first group of book covers appear larger on the blog!

Weekend in Kaigal

As soon as we got to Kaigal we went for a walk with Karthik along the stream that meanders through hard rock! The sound of the waters flowing was so so loud!As soon as the children spotted a pool that was neither too small or too deep for them, they jumped in! After playing in the water we got very hungry! Muniamma treated us with a simple and yummy meal! After which we were back on a walk and soon into another pool and splashing around! And back again for some more food! After dinner the children drew,played with their torches, sang, and played in their sleeping bags before sleeping! They were all up early again and we went for another walk in another direction for another swim and then back again to the house for another yummy meal!

We also managed to become friends with the dogs there! Tasted and smelt a lot of the medicinal plants that grow in the nursery with Krishnamurthi Anna. Looked at their 'seed collection'. Watched Lakshmi Akka make paper bags. :)

Excursion to Kodai...

Seeing Kodai with Nath Uncle (Nanaji as the children fondly called him) was perfect! Nath Uncle did a lot of wonderful activities with us.... showed and shared with us his carpentry tools and passion.... taught us how to make maida glue.....reuse envelopes.... make sturdy boxes....recited urdu poetry for us... made meal time a jolly time ... often broke into a song (which the children enjoyed!)...took us boating..It turned out that he had planned many more things to do with us, but the six days was not enough :) We also walked a lot in and around Kodai with him... he's been there for more than 25 years now and knows almost every other person who crossed our paths....

We also met a lot of other wonderful people....friends of Nanaji......Harry Uncle who owns a restaurant called Tava treated all of us to a wonderful meal,where we ate as much paneer and srikhand as we could! :) ... Prasanna Uncle and Meenakshi aunty who run a little bakery called Daily Bread.....invited us for breakfas…