Wednesday 10 April 2019

Talk by Ratheesh Krishnan, TED & INK curator

Kids were thrilled to interact with Ratheesh Krishnan, People Scientist, Curator, Mentor, Storyteller and much more.  Involved with both TED and INK, Ratheesh is passionately spreading ideas and reaching out!

Ratheesh talked to the children about communication - how effective communication has to ensure that the message is received. He demonstrated his point by getting children to play a lovely game - where they had to communicate without using words or gestures.  In the first round it was touch, then sound and finally air!

The room was full of raucous laughter and children wriggled and writhed in merriment. However, his point got through - communicators have to celebrate their receiver, encourage and egg on. They have to control feelings of frustration and rethink how messages can be communicated better.

It was wonderful having you over, Ratheesh. Your interaction surely changed the kids!

Read-a-thon Readers Rock

The grand end of year Read-a-thon, came to an end last week. And all the winners were off for a treat.

The Annual Read-a-thon is a reading marathon. Kids borrow books daily and earn points for reading them. Points are exchanged for small gifts at the end of the week.  Then, at the end of the entire duration, all children who have met a certain points target get to go off for a nice treat. 

All kids (no surprises here...) wanted a trip to the Anna Library! 

While the Upper Elementary went off for pizzas, the Lower Elementary were in for a super dooper treat at Waffles thru the Day.  They had scrumptious waffles topped off with yummy sundaes. Here's what the the kids had to say:

I loved the waffles. The place was neat. As a bit the waffles it was so soft. I actually thought it wud be really hard to cut with the fork. Waffles had white chocochips, which I loved too. It was really fun to eat icecream with my friends as I shared my ice cream with Rumaysa

- Amna, Grade 2

I enjoyed my self in the waffles I liked it it was nice l loved the waffles and the ice Cream this is the first time I went to waffles the taste of waffles is nice even the place was nice and clean.

- Shahana, Grade 3

When I came to waffles thru the day, I was very Excited and seriously the food was delicious...! I had Mango sundae and Waffles... I loved the Sundae more than the waffles... I also shared it with my friends. The place was very pleasant and this is my 2nd time to Waffles thru the day..... 
And I just Loved it......!!!

Hamza, Grade 3

Hi I'm Athiya, I loved the waffles.  I always wanted to eat the waffles . I shared my butter waffles with Samara. It had white chocochips and chocolate sauce. It was so delicious and scrumptious. The place  was tidy and clean. It was so fun to eat with my friends. I loved the sundae. I always wanted to eat the delicious, scrumptious waffles, and I did it.

- Athiya, Grade 3

Thanks a Million, Waffles thru the Day for making a lifetime  memory for these kids!

Monday 8 April 2019

Mr. Ketu visits from Cameroon

We were blessed to have a visitor from Cameroon come talk to the students about his country.  Here are some accounts by the children:

"The visitors name is Ketu; He is from Cameroon Africa.. His father was a subchief of a tribe. He was removed from Math class by his teacher; he learnt math in his home by textbooks.He came tenth out of 600. He told about Muhammad  Gaddaffi  ruler.  In his place there is no normal schooling  kids learn from hearing stories of wise people from generations. I really enjoyed his talk especially about food clothes, Also about coat that is passed through generations"

Tawfiq, Grade 5

Cameroon was named after a certain shrimp..there was river that had a lot of shrimps and so it was named after that..

Cameroon is also known as mini Africa as it has many different weathers/topographic places in one snowcapped mountains, plains, deserts and tropical forests..

They have interesting ways of playing old games like hide and seek..except here it's police and thief.... something about how here thieves get multiple chances after they're caught. 

They have more of a Kingdom system of ruling rather than governments..Their soldiers are very strong and that when they go to can take years to finish..

The flag of Cameroon and it's stars have a significant meaning..they depict unity and victory both day and night..hence the yellow stars in the blue..and vice versa..

Ishal Abdul Azeez, Grade 6

"Cameroon lies towards the north of the country. Most of the area are deserts and they have the world's biggest desert "The Sahara" They grow a fruit which they boil and it's squeezed through a sack to extract an oil which is red in color.A nut's seed is dried and taken as a medicine for pregnancy, stomach upset which is only grown in Cameroon . They have the world biggest frog. The people aren't dark because of the sun but due to 'something' present in their body. (Melanin - Ed). Their cuisine includes togo, rice with beans and achu.They make chains with mango seeds. They are more than 500 tribes.

- Amna Hawwa, Grade 2

The visitor's name was Ketu Monah . His dad was a subchief and he is from Cameroon ,Africa . Firstly I thought Cameroon was a state like in India . Cameroon has a largest Mountain also ketu shared about clothes ,food , and kingdom of Cameroon . He said Cameroon supplies water to all the nearby land areas . Also shared about Mohamed Gaddafi who worked for the development of Cameroon.
 Ketu was low in math and sent out from class by his teacher and after with the help of his sister he scored up and got money from his teacher. Finally he appreciated all the students on their active participation during the talk.

Saleem, Grade 5

Today one uncle from Cameroon came to our school.. His name was ketu.. he was from Africa.. he was very tall .. His dresses were different.. in India palm oil is in yellow colour but in Africa it's in red colour.. Egypt , Libia , Algeria was desert countries .. there were different types of foods in Africa..

Shahana, Grade 3

"He said that in his time there were no proper schools wisdom was passed from one generation to the other by story telling all the words ,spellings ,punctuation, definitions, and wisdom was in their head . They did not have dictionaries or thesaurus they had old people .
Then he asked us to name some African states. He pointed Libya, Egypt, part of Sudan (North Sudan) Mali &Tunisia and some more.  Then he said that there's a very big desert. "What desert is this?" he asked. We told him that it was the Sahara desert. Then he asked "What is a desert?" The answers popped up like "It's a dry place", "a hot place" etc.  He said that the answers were right and told us the proper definition of a desert: "A desert is a place with no vegetation and when there is no vegetation there is rarely any rainfall so it becomes scalding hot."  Next he told us that Cameroon is the heart of Africa. 

A student asked why is Sudan parted into two parts? This was the most effective part of the talk.  He told us that he was going to tell a very nice thing.  He told that if you are good at something which the other person is not, you should speak and stand up for him.  And maybe the other person is good at some thing that you are not, then he should do the same thing you did to him. Not say "Oh ! I know this better than you or I am more stronger than you so I'm not going to be your friend."

He said if you are in the same class, then treat each other like you are in the same family. People from the same family don't argue with each other instead they support each other.  

He told about the traditional dishes of Cameroon and how they were prepared. Next he talked about the dresses of Cameroon and the specialities of the dresses.  

Then he told an incident which happened in his life : One day he asked his math teacher a hard question and she thought that he had asked that to bring her down so she told him to get up and go out of the classroom and muttered that he would not pass the exam.  So he went home everyday and studied maths . When the results came he passed ! When he came to collect his certificates the first person he met was his math teacher. "You passed the exam" she told him and handed him over some money. 

We played a game called concentration concentration. Then he told us about Muhammer al Ghadafi who did not want Africa to be separated he wanted it to be United. 

After that he talked about the Cameroonian flag.  The green stands for unity while the red stands for bloodshed the yellow stands for victory in the day and the star for victory in the night .

Khadijah, Grade 5

Author Visit - Nilanjana Roy in conversation with kids

One interesting way to encourage young  readers is to have an "Author Visit". We were delighted to have Nilanjana Roy ( visit via Skype.

Ms Roy, winner of the Shanti Bhatt First Book award, has authored both fiction and non fictional works, including the "Wildings" a wondeful children's book. She writes for the Business Standard, BBC, The New York Times,  Huffington Post and others.

Children brainstormed a bunch of questions they wanted to ask an author - including "How does your writing flow?", "How do you create characters?", "Where do you get inspiration?" and other fairly deep questions.

Ms Roy talked about her books, how the hardest book for her is always the book she's currently working on, how her characters have a life of their own, the challenges to translating a scene in ones mind onto paper.  She patiently answered their questions in depth giving them pointers on how they can work on their writing.  

On a lighter vein she spoke about the cake and coffee which all authors need. And the happy dance when all is finished and done. 

She was quite impressed with their questions and their patience to sit through an hour long session.

It was a brilliant session, despite technical glitches.   Have invited her to do a workshop on creative writing for the children sometime next year, InshaAllah.  

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Visit by a Mathematician

We were very honoured to have Prof. R. Ramanujam of Institute of Mathematical Sciences  (IMSc), one of India's premier Maths institutes. 
Prof Ramanujam was shown the Maths section  of the Open Day. Starting with Montessori, he saw how children learn Maths using material - which helps them consolidate place value and basic operations.

He moved onto the Lower Elementary section where, like typical Al Qamarians, the students posed questions to him, rather than vice versa. He saw how material helps children understand operations in millions.

Then came the "Discovery Maths" section where students demonstrated their original math discoveries- a divisibility test for 7, generic solutions to the Pirates and other problems.

A 6th grade student explained how the children have worked with different types of puzzles involving inference. Another student explained the Connected Maths curriculum and how it uses inquiry based Maths to introduce concepts.

Prof Ramanujam went onto seeing how Upper Elementary students learn operations like LCM, Fractions, Decimals and Signed numbers. 

He saw the geometry work and the Strategy games played by the kids.

Very happy to share that his parting words were that schools like Al Qamar are the need of the hour.

Au Revoir

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