Monday, March 05, 2007

Last Post for some time

Since I have relocated to Swiss, to do my PhD, I am unable to visit the school. Would be nice if some volunteer picks up the blog from here.

Nevertheless, the journey for the past 1.5 years was nice..

Take homes:

1. Field work is different from talking !!
2. Field work is difficult ( Talking is like flirting and
field work is like marrying )
3. Creating a committed team is very tough
4. Working with good minds is interesting,
for those who are bored seeing the good brains..
5. After all the effort, one might not see any
measurable results..Nevermind, the sown seeds
with take time to grow !! Are nt we like that now ?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nov 2006 update

Nov 1: RT Nagar tamil school DSF volunteers meeting

Some of the main points that came up were

1. In the 1.5 hours time are we able to contribute enough ( sthg? )

2. Has our focus are got expanded from giving just "reading
ability and improving reading habit" to " comprehension, grammar,
speaking etc". We have too less a time to do all of these.

3. The plan to have a rigourous teaching sesions, based on the
material of Mumbai based NGO. The volunteers could do the
follow up activity.

4. Probably books could be given to kids and asked to read. Next time
we meet we could ask them if they understood.

5. Because the class has a variety of students - Bad, Average, Good (B,A,G)
probably we are not able to deliver the goods.

6. Is the preparation for the class sufficient?

7. Plan for Nov 4 session -
With 4 volunteers, do an assessment of the kids - "read words, read sentences"
to split the class into B, A, G

Try teaching B, A - how to read a word

Try teaching G - how to read and comprehend sentences

So that the volunteers get a better understanding of the kids

At the end: Make a decision as to how to run the HippoCampus from now on.
May be split the class into 2 ( two volunteers assumed ) and run reading session
as well as give individual attention to the other group with the other volunteer.

Nov 4 Session:

As per our plan we could assess the kids in a more personal way.

We could see atleast 4 kids - Alli, Karthik, Kanaga & Silambarasan
who were "very weak"
Rajeshwari Madam said she would try to club these students with
other good students - sort of a coaching - and improve them .
It was good to see her spirit. We are also lucky to work with
such motivated teachers.

Also we decided, Ayannaar & Mani would not require the 9-10 class
( were kids would be shown how to read simple sentences )
to be handled by Swathi / Anitha / Desingh. Instead they would read
some simple books at that time.

People who have done the Hippocampus already will also get to read
tougher books at that time.

The point is to expect a improvement in reading habits, say in two months
time. Before Pongal holidays, we would do another assessment. We will
work along with teachers towards this target.

Nov 11 Session 's responsibility is with Swathi

Nov 18 Session 's responsibility is with Ambica / Anitha

One Nov 18 , after the session gets over we will sit and prepare all the
materials required for the rest of the sessions. we will also discuss
on the method of conducting the sessions. Responsibility is mine.

Swathi should you send a mail to Rajini reg the latest status and our
plans? Do reply on this.

Sundari to get some books from your home.

In Nov- Dec we will try to finish as many books as possible.

Desingh to think along " Visual words " to complement Swathi s sentences ..

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Oct 2006 update

Oct 7- Ambica alone conducted the assessments for the two previous sessions - Flower and the Bee & tails

Oct 14- Attended two meetings - Hippocampus Feedback meeting, DSF school coordinators meet.

Oct 14 Hippocampus Review meeting:
The moderator tried to collect the positives & Concerns of Hippocampus Reading program.

1. The manual gives the flexibility in preparation for the volunteer to show his / her creativity

2. With fluency,conducting the sesions becomes easier.

3. Judging the material and upgrading it according to the level of the children is possible.

1. How to balance between academic - fun?
Ans: Can learning not be fun? Yes

2. Girls and Boys pairing


Peer pairing - kids who read better can pair up with slow learning kids.

Using more of visuals - to reach the kids

Dictionary - is quite successful

Jumbled sentences were also interesting to the kids.


Assessments- Were they too tough?

PS: Met a person in the review meeting, associated with a
organisation called Unnati, giving vocational training
in Retail sales and Tailoring. Tel : 25204439.
Job assured. Salary in FoodWorld or so 2.5k.
Next House maid training.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sep 2006

9 Sep Class:

HippoCampus session at 6std went on well.

Today the HM complained that all the new bathroom
was stolen..taps worth 700 and pipes another 100 or so
are gone...She finally remarked the stealing has reduced
these days .

may be its time to look for some more new volunteers.
Shud think of some idea.

16 Sep Class:

Tried the same as previous class with 7th std.
Desingh was also there. I read a lesson. Made
them repeat. Explained the meaning. And finally made
them enact the lesson.

The enacting people enjoyed. But others felt bored.
Shud try with more volunteers. It can be done in groups.
Let me see if it can be done next week.

The kids have so much of creativity. Shud try making
them use it. Shud think of some ideas which the teachers
cannot afford to do.

Later Swathi, Anitha, Desingh and myself had a lunch meeting.
It was sort of nice to hear other people s experiences.
Desingh said he will take up the vocabs. Lets us see.
Shud remind him.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

August 2006 update

Finally Swati has got the HippoCampus thing going with the help from Anitha and Ambica. Sundari s trying hard to make it to the classes. Poor lady..lots of work in office prob..

I experimented the following thing in seventh standard:
Took one story from their English textbook. Read that aloud. Asked them to repeat.
Out of 30 kids, 10 can read comfortably on their own. 10 can read a
bit and 10 cannot read..

Then asked them to form some simple sentences to make the same story,
on their own. They got the words. I helped them in making the sentences.

Then finally called few people and made them enact the story.

Take homes: The idea is interesting and can be continued.
Can be made more interesting with few more volunteers. With
more teams it will be good.

Also Swati s idea of talking in English more & more with the kids
should be tried out.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

July 2006 update

We have kicked off this year 's activities with
Notebook Distribution &

Swati has some ideas for the 7th class students.
We want to make it a session wise planned
activity unlike the math and science session
which was done in a adhoc fashion last year
and do it for say some 12 sessions.

A new volunteer Sundari joined.

So team will be as follows
Hippocampus- Ambica, Anand, Anitha, Sundari
7th std- Swati, Dinesh and a new volunteer

School Development and Monitering Commitee
meeting for this year happed:
Money issues and certain other issues related
to non-caring attitude of some parents were

Sometime back Swati, Ambica n myself partitioned
the work for this year. So this year s plans are more
or less clear.

My tasks:
Find some good volunteers for 7th std say 1
and for Pygmalion- 3 and vocabulary session- 3

SDMC coordination

Independence Day celebration coordination

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Assessment and Goal Setting

One major exercise that was carried out in the recent times was
Assessment - to baseline the current standard of 2,4 and 6 std students and setting up of Goals to the teachers for the next academic year.

A reasonably good number around 12 or so volunteered to conduct the assessments.

Things that are pending:
1. Megha s task - to prepare assignment sheets
2. Plan for this year - chalking out
3. Translation- offline- with more volunteers help
4. A discussion with My3, Vinay and Megha - Future course
5. Paying My3 some money

Some more ideas for this year:

Reg Hippocampus,
Should be continued as it was the most successful effort. Should make
a team of two people responsible.

Reg Tamil/English translation classes,
The teaching sessions were not very effective. The impact that cud be
created in 2 hrs contact class is very less. Instead we cud pool in
volunteers to do the translation of words, Tamil to English, for every chapter
say in Math and Science.

Also we cud try out if we cud give them some variety of "experiences"
along the lines of what the teachers dont emphasise, but educated parents
give kind of. Abstract but one can start thinking about, in the two hr slot we