Saturday, 12 December 2015
December is by all means a magical month! Christmas is around the corner and Diwali lights are still conveniently blinking here and there waiting for another meaningful occasion to show themselves. Our school has decked up with Christmas displays from all four houses but for the time being the expectation of Christmas is not at all our number one priority.
So, what is it, you might ask? More likely you will not need to guess at all, as you might be getting frequent reports from your children. The Annual Day! Yes, the school air is currently electrified with practise, practise, practise. Our annual day is literally around the corner and although we feel things are very much in control, one can not escape the feeling of slight panic of the last week before the Annual Day. We reached the stage of a completed run through and the students will now polish their moves and acts so they will be able to shine like diamonds on the stage and make us and parents proud.
There is an incredible process behind every annual day. Children first learn their part and then connect the dots and comprehend the story. They learn patience and team spirit in the process. It's an amazing opportunity for learning. Even the boring waiting for their part has a lesson within. Patience is the number one, as they need it to see how all the puzzle pieces slowly come together to create a work of art produced by the whole team. It is also a valuable opportunity for them to showcase their talent and potential - be it dance, drama, singing or speaking. At Open Minds we believe every student should be on the stage even if only for few minutes. They matter. Students matter. Every one of them.
We have a week left and we all can't wait to present it to parents and all guests. Excitement is definitely in the air! Looking forward to seeing you all there cheering and supporting our students.
Saturday, 28 November 2015
"All that is gone now," my conscious screams
Never again shall I madly fall in love
Scribbling his name on a piece of paper
In reverie, smile highlighted on my face.
I threw my anchor down long time ago
And settled in a steady and secure lagoon
The storms of the young heart
Are no more to be seen
As the hair greys and the dreams fade.
I’ve got everything one can hope for and more
And all this seems to be the nature’s way
To show the autumn is on its way
And things are as they are
And they are here to stay.
It came suddenly, this wakefulness
That the youthful time is gone
Now I can only stand and behold
My offspring to start living the dreams
That’s theirs and theirs alone.
As if the juices of life were drained
As if my body no longer wants to strain
But seeks respite in the nest instead
And the next phase awaits
When I am not here but dead.
When I am not here but dead.
If you are interested in the Universe and related topics, you might want to read this book.
Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a devastating cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Lisa Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the Solar System passed through a disk of dark matter embedded in the Milky Way. In a sense, it might have been dark matter that killed the dinosaurs.
Working through the background and consequences of this proposal, Randall shares with us the latest findings—established and speculative—regarding the nature and role of dark matter and the origin of the Universe, our galaxy, our Solar System, and life, along with the process by which scientists explore new concepts. In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Randall tells a breathtaking story that weaves together the cosmos’ history and our own, illuminating the deep relationships that are critical to our world and the astonishing beauty inherent in the most familiar things.
Dark Matter and Dinosaurs review in New York Times
In the primary section we have started the theme 4 last week - 'Our Universe'. The display boards are full of pictures of different planets, and interesting facts about the universe. Students of grade 3 and 4 have learnt about the Big Bang theory and even have an assignment to write a paragraph with the same topic 'Our Universe'. The current assembly topic is "The mysteries of the Universe" and it started with the grade 4 sharing some facts about the unimaginable size of our universe and followed by grade 3 presenting a cute skit on Pluto, explaining why it is no longer a planet.
Isn't the Universe just mind boggling?
Here is a link to one of many websites that are appropriate for our primary section students and you might find it useful to browse it together and explore the topics --> Universe for Kids
Friday, 27 November 2015
Gayatri Vatsaval from grade 8 attended a TED talk in Hyderabad recently and this is how she summarised this exciting experience:
I’ve been watching TED for quite a few months now. It’s the reason why I was so excited when I first heard about TEDxYouth@Hyderabad, which took place on 15th November at T-Hub, IIIT Campus.
TEDx celebrates human imagination by bringing in speakers who are achievers in their own way. ‘Ideas worth spreading’ that is what every TED event aims to achieve.
The event started off with a Meet & Greet that lasted for an hour, where all the attendees got to interact with each other and sign each other’s postcards. This one hour gave all the attendees a chance to make new friends. 11-year-olds became friends with college students and soon, everyone’s postcards were filled with signatures.
A main stage was filled with bean bags, mattresses and chairs, in which we spent most of our next 3 hours of fun. These 3 hours had a series of talks from innovators who spoke in New York, a few fun games including BINGO, two live talks from innovators from Hyderabad itself, a musical performance and a skit on child labor.
Sarah Parcak spoke about observing the big picture all the way from space, to find the small places that archaeologists usually miss. Raymond Wang, probably prevented a possible future disease epidemic from breaking out because of one person who sneezed on a plane. Danit Peleg changed the future of fashion. She actually has a jacket that you can download and 3D print it. The audience was very excited. Betsy McIver Cho introduced the same thrill that one gets after going on a ride by becoming a Disney Imagineer. Carla Pugh has worked to develop the efficiency of how a surgery is performed.
Nikhil and Shebaz from 10th grade, Glendale Academy developed the “Arm of God”, a machine that increases your strength and also helps paralyzed people. Navya Gudimetla from Oakridge International used solar power to fuel three appliances all in one. She made a multipurpose mosquito swatter, which had a torchlight, a solar power unit and a USB charger attached to it.
Then two of the attendees complemented the evening with a musical performance of Skyfall by Adele and Happy by Pharrell Williams. To close up the event, there was a short skit on Child Labor, with a simple story, but a strong message.
All the attendees, organizers and speakers then went up to the second floor of the T-Hub building for a final picture, which marked the end of TEDxYouth@Hyderabad 2015.
Thank you for sharing, Gayatri!
Thursday, 5 November 2015
My Diwali Celebration
This is a small effort of Open Minds to put the seed of sensitivity in the students’ mind towards addressing the environment and the global problems
OPEN MINDS- A BIRLA SCHOOL
IHC – CREATIVE WRITING
5th November, 2015
1:50P.M to 2:50 PM
School Premises ,Hyderabad
This time the school has thought of the topic that would help to address the global problems like pollution and Global warming.The topics were based on the fact to create awareness among children towards Eco-friendly environment, with Diwali celebrations coming up.Open Minds, as part of Inter House Competition, has conducted Creative writing competition for the month of November, to cultivate the competitive spirit and creative skills among the students.
Grades 1 and 2 were given the topic “My Diwali Celebrations”, grades 3 and 4 “Eco Friendly Diwali” based on picture given to them and for grades 5 to 9 the topic was “Global Warming”.
All the students have taken part in the competition with great interest and responsibility towards protecting the environment.
Monday, 2 November 2015
Thank you parents, for your participation in the previous session!
The session was very informative and very well put in. Thanks for discussing the issues we face - Ms.Sandhya
I can relate myself to many situations that were brought up. I know things I should not do – Mr.Vinod Tadvai
The session is making me think from my child’s point of view and understand him better – Ms.Anuradha
Super. Will try to enhance myself by implementing ‘Out of the Box’ concept – Mr.Raveender
It is not about the children, but US!
We now know what and how we are no different than what our parents were…
Will our kids grow up wanting to be like us or would they vow to be definitely different?
How do we make them learn to be themselves?
We were also kids one day. Do our children understand we have been there too?
How to place our trust in them completely and let them bloom into complete individuals?
….. to discover all these and more….
10am - 12:30pm
7th November 2015
Open Minds, Hyderabad
Sunday, 1 November 2015
The Kellogg’s Team visited the Open Minds campus today. There were here to promote healthy eating habits amongst children. During the assembly there was a short program from the Kellogg’s Team to encourage children to have compulsory breakfast .They also emphasized the importance of having breakfast and the importance of having healthy food.
The children were filled with excitement as they played few interesting games, got gift hampers and wrist bands from Kellogg’s. This was indeed a pleasurable experience for the children.
Saturday, 31 October 2015
OPEN MINDS- A BIRLA SCHOOL
30 and 31 October, 2015
School Premises, Kollur, Hyderabad
Grade 1 and 2 stalls had games like Bounce and catch, Maze, Match me, Scrambled eggs, Sand Play to name a few. Grade 2 stalls had dart game, 1 minute game, Bingo, maze and few other games.
Parents had opportunity to play games in all the stalls. The stalls put up by grade 3 and 4 were appropriate to their standards , which even parents enjoyed playing like drawing the polygons using playing cards, pick and tally using vegetables and few other things, Clean the money game was based on grid concept. Monkeying with Multiplication, Triangle Multiplication and School yard Multiplication were games based on simple multiplication. May Flower Ride was the game which even Globe Trotters could play by picking up the toothpicks from different shapes without moving the other sticks.
Finally the message the parents and students could carry was: “Without Mathematics there is nothing you can do. Everything around you is Mathematics, everything around you is numbers.”
This small effort of Open Minds is a giant leap towards removing the fear of Mathematics and instills the Joy of Mathematics in the minds of the Open Minds and Globe Toter students.
Thursday, 29 October 2015
The students of Grade-6 had a debate on migration and urbanization:
In the debate, It was observed that they have come to a wonderful conclusion where in urban areas we can do farming, creating jobs for the ones migrated from rural areas.
We can own farm lands and the farmers can work in those farms and earn for their livelihood.
As the land owners are educated they can provide more sophisticated equipment for farming and at the same time a farmer can have a feel of living in urban area with good number of opportunities for their children.
Monday, 5 October 2015
Koushiki Mukherjee <3
Possibly one of our most popular teachers at Open Minds and according to our students she is known to be kind, fabulous and enthusiastic. I will never forget how the achievers cheered when she was selected as their house master. It was definitely the loudest cheer of all!
She was born in Bokaro Steel City (I admit i had to google it) and contrary to my belief that she spent most of her life in Kolkata, she did not! She lived in Bokaro till her 12th standard then moved to Maharashtra for her higher education and finally moved to Hyderabad only after she got married. She travels to Kolkata as often as possible because her parents are settled there - that's what made me think she lived there most of her life.
She has an adorable son Om that goes to Globe Tot'ers and she is a loving and devoted mother. During the summer break when most of us just want to rest our worn out teachers' souls, Koushiki ma'am rolls up her sleeves and organises summer camps for children of the entire community where she lives. Her enthusiasm and cheerfulness is truly inspiring. It is as clear as the cloudless sky, that Koushiki ma'am loves kids! <3
|Om at Globe To'ters presenting Egypt and his proud momma! :)|
|Koushiki and Om - a glamourous shot ;)|
|Summer camp 2015, Koushiki ma'am in action! ;)|
In her youth Koushiki travelled all over India as a national level table tennis player representing Maharashtra and Bihar! When asked what is it that she cherishes the most in her life, the answer came like from a cannon - mom and dad! It is not hard to see that they are a very close knit family and it is not surprising at all that her best childhood memories are time spent with her older sister, Somia. She is counting days as their next reunion will be on 18th of this month. :)
|Koushiki ma'am and her sister when they were kids.|
|Koushiki ma'am with her dad and sister. |
It is so clear that he knows daughters are
the most beautiful gift one can ever get.
|Happy family is but an earlier heaven... (by George Bernard Shaw)|
I always joke that she was blessed with a powerful voice but, hey, it happens to be true! That aside, I have recently asked my students of grade 4 to write about "Favourite learning moments in Theme 2" and the vast majority of students wrote about the EVS activities and projects and their beloved Koushiki ma'am. Kids love her, and so do we.
Saturday, 3 October 2015
“Something nameless hums us into sleep,” the poet Mark Strand wrote in his beautiful ode to dreams.
But what is that nameless something, exactly? By now, scientists know that sleep obeys our complex internal clocks, affects our every waking moment, and even tames our negative emotions. But even as they’re beginning to shed light on what happens while we sleep, they don’t yet know why we evolved to sleep in the first place.
In this fascinating short video, PBS’s Joe Hanson explores the mysteries of sleep, synthesizing science from David Randall’s excellent Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep and other scientific curiosities, from how tiny ocean-dwelling worms explain our brain's response to daylight and darkness to Edison’s power-napping strategy for success.
DREAMS by Mark Strand
Trying to recall the plot
And characters we dreamed,
What life was like
Before the morning came,
We are seldom satisfied,
And even then
There is no way of knowing
If what we know is true.
Hums us into sleep,
Withdraws, and leaves us in
A place that seems
Always vaguely familiar.
Perhaps it is because
We take the props
And fixtures of our days
With us into the dark,
We are still alive. And yet
Nothing here is certain;
With one another, houses
Are never where they should be,
Doors and windows
Sometimes open out
To other doors and windows,
Even the person
Who seems most like ourselves
Cannot be counted on,
For there have been
Too many times when he,
Like everything else, has done
And as the night wears on,
The dim allegory of ourselves
Unfolds, and we
Feel dreamed by someone else,
A sleeping counterpart,
Who gathers in
The darkness of his person
Shades of the real world.
Nothing is clear;
We are not ever sure
If the life we live there
Belongs to us.
Each night it is the same;
Just when we’re on the verge
Of catching on,
A sense of our remoteness
Closes in, and the world
So lately seen
Gradually fades from sight.
We wake to find the sleeper
And the dreamt-of is someone who did
Something we can’t quite put
Our finger on,
But which involved a life
We are always, we feel,
About to discover.
Thursday, 1 October 2015
Today I was a judge in our sixth grade during the inter house competition. It was such a wonderful experience for me I just felt compelled to share it. I don't teach grade 6, so it was even more interesting for me to listen to them. I felt I was totally unbiased as I had no pre-existing expectations of any kind. The primary section had the 'pick and speak' activity and the middle year classes engaged in the extempore speech. Just to clarify, extempore means 'spoken without any preparation'. For a lot of students it was a very new experience but I must say I was overjoyed when I judged the grade 6 along with Mr. Raju, as the students did exceptionally well. Not just the five students who qualified into the next round - Anshika, Astuti, Aryan, Anoushka and Harnoor, but many more were close in the scores and have shown great potential and enthusiasm and everyone tried their best. Only Sishir slipped through our fingers this time, but I just didn't want to be too pushy. I am sure his time will come. Next time, Sishir!
We were ready with the topics the students could chose from and with the rubrics for fair judging. We were looking at 6 parameters: how the student started or introduced the topic, the quality of content, conclusion, confidence level, presentation, and how well they were able to capture the audience. The rubric was shared with students in advance so they knew very well what we were looking for. Some tips and example were also given as a warm up so we were all on the same page. Topics were very diverse and general and age appropriate.
Have you ever tried speaking like that? Sure, for us, adults with tons of life experience it might be pretty easy or at least not hard but the students simply do not have the rich experience the years bring. Well, surprise, surprise! I thought they were brilliant!
The first one to impress me thoroughly was Anshika. Her topic was "The things we can see in the sky". In my mind I first thought of the night sky, stars and constellations but Anshika was practically unstoppable and so refreshingly confident and spoke about the clouds, their shapes, birds, unusual colours of the setting sun, rainbows. Too cute! As a conclusion she suggested that if we ever find ourselves bored and idle we can just go out and look up in the sky - there is always something interesting to see there.
Harnoor, I think it's safe to presume she is a dog lover, picked a topic 'Why dog is called man's best friend". Admittedly, I am a big dog lover as well, so I just loved the numerous points she mentioned to argue that they are indeed man's best friends. She was also very practical at times - mentioning that they can guard our property and valuables and keep us safe.
Astuti, literally took the stage by storm. Her topic "Health is wealth" was so beautifully presented I was left speechless. Mind you, students themselves also recognised and appreciated every single great attempt! The applause was loud and enthusiastic and rightly so. Incredibly lucid ideas and so thoughtfully put together as if she was preparing for this the whole weekend but she didn't. Extempore, remember?
Aryan spoke about the "Importance of the language". He was so convincing, active, captured the audience with ease, used crisp gestures. I could picture him as a CEO of some big company inspiring his team to do better, grow stronger and win. Yes, I have a great imagination but Aryan was just brilliant!
Last but not least, Anoushka our last qualifier to round up the group of students who impressed the most, picked a topic "A memorable trip" and she made some very interesting points oh how the trip doesn't need to be super fancy to be memorable as long as you are active and surrounded with the ones you love. She was confident and convincing. Another loud round of applause that was well deserved.
But my enthusiasm doesn't stop here. Not at all! Udbhav has done super well and has missed qualifying by a wee margin. I also want to mention Abhiram who was so reluctant to even start but then just had a wonderfully impressive start at telling us about his favourite cricket player Sachin Tendulkar. When he was on the verge to not do it at all he was encouraged by the entire class. I loved that!
Running out of things to say was normal and no one should feel discouraged because of it but rather take on the challenge instead. Akshan, who started first wanted to have another go at it, as he felt he could do so much better but that wouldn't be fair at this stage - what we should consider and promise to students though is that we will make sure they have many more such wonderful opportunities to speak.
I evidently enjoyed this session immensely and I would like to thank all the 6th graders who tried. I appreciated every single student who spoke! Bravo kids!