Friday, September 11, 2015

When to rhyme was a crime: A week of poetic madness at Shibumi

It always thrills me when I get a chance to work with poetry. As an avid fan of stories and prose, poetry came to me much later in life and since then I've been hooked. So, when Shibumi suggested I work with the children on poetry, I grabbed the chance.

My first task was to dispel all common notions that a poem has to rhyme. We attacked haiku with a vengeance in the Kiri and Thulir group. By giving them a simple formula, and some examples, they were soon spouting haikus about stones, puppies, mice, and even about people. Their young minds grabbed the chance to step out of the structures of a poem, and the imagery they captured in three simple lines was fantastic. As Sarayu said, "I love haiku because it's infinite. Anything is possible." Of course, we had to trim and tweak some of the 'poems' which irked our budding poets, but they eventually succumbed to some edits here and there in their masterpieces. We also sketched and doodled about existing poems and haikus which finally led to 'The Poetry Weekly' newspaper. My final lap was complete on the last day when Mahiti showed me a poem and looked at me horrified when I suggested the last line could rhyme, "Prer, I don't want my poem to rhyme!!" I might have created a monster. Many, in fact :-)

With the Tarangs and younger Isauras, we dug deeper. Looking at different styles of poetry (including Shakespeare, surprisingly), they were soon able to spot patterns, images, sounds, moods and themes. We tried to touch upon deeper emotions using simple themes like the pond, or the library, even an eraser. The uninspired poets diligently worked on their pieces every day, much to my amazement. We also looked at using different elements like art, craft, movement and music, to add to poetry to bring to life. 'The Wormhole' took on a whole new flavour with an addition of mystical Celtic music, 'Abandon' soared with tai-chi added on,  and Siddh even rapped his poem after sitting through a Shakespeare and hip-hop documentary. By the end of that week their minds were open to poems in a new way and they seemed less anxious about reading and writing poetry. Hopefully many more gems shall spout from this point on, for this is only the beginning :-)

"Young minds leap in joy -
The sounds discordant and few
Aiming for the stars.."

Much love to the Shibumi family always,

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Library Day

Shibumi has been exploring the possibility to look a fresh at the functioning of the library. We have no dedicated librarian and to keep the the library alive is now the collective responsibility of all the teachers, students and some parents who have plunged in.
What is the intent of the library?
It is a demand for awareness:  Of the collection. Of the various aspects of use; of the joys of reading; Of the nature of the library; Of the care inherent in its smooth running; Of the necessity of individual and collective responsibility, ownership, active involvement and accountability. 
We are coming to understand and enter into this intent, and things are happening without tremendous effort or confusion.
One of the ideas to keep the library alive was to have a dedicated day to bring attention to the library and celebrate it. Once in two months perhaps. When we brain stormed about all the activities we would like to do on such a day, the ideas were many.
We recently had our first library day. Four students (Sidh,Asba, Varun and Yash) took interest in organising the day and it would not have happened without them.
We started the day with storytelling for the different groups of students.
The entire school then met up to listen to book talks by a parent, teacher and student. This was wonderful, and the books were borrowed as soon as the book talk ended!
We then played the ‘book buddy’ game. Where each of us at school suggested a book to our buddy (chosen by picking a chit). So each one of us ended up borrowing a book on library day!

Following this, the entire school was split into three stations.
-         Book Repair Station

-         Book review station

-         Posters station- to encourage the love for reading.

This turned out to be great fun and lots of informal talking about books happened, sharing stories, books, and even reading while at the stations.
We ended the day by filling in a ‘library questionnaire’ that the library committee (consisting of students, parents and teachers) put together.

All in all, it was a warm start to something we want to see happen more through the year.

Growing, learning and eating together!

Sharing a picture from some years ago on Teachers day. After our Sunday meeting, the parents organised a yummy surprise potluck lunch for all of us.