Soomal Singh

Soomal Singh

 

 

Week 1, July 9th 2018

I feel so content by going to the foundation, it not only makes me forget about my worries but also makes me learn new things and gives me a huge opportunity to grow my practical knowledge. For me I view the foundation as a safe haven which is not only for the children but for everyone who is connected to this place.

We have had a lot of new additions to our foundation. The new children see this place as not only a centre of learning but a place where they could be themselves. They hear about the foundation from their friends which makes them feel that even they should be a part of this wonderful opportunity that their peers get to experience and be a part of. I am currently with the newest members of the family, the Marigold class. This class consists of all the new children who are still hesitant to speak up and especially when they see their friends so relaxed and not scared of the judgement when they try to speak in English. It’s just been 3 days in this class for them and I was surprised myself to see them feel at home. Like a few of them on their first day were hesitant to even speak what they knew but on their second day their faces had bright smiles and felt relaxed not only mentally but physically as well. They spoke more, told me about themselves, likes and dislikes. Even when a few children joined on the second day the ones who had come the day earlier were encouraging them and said ‘oh don’t worry, just speak whatever you feel like’.

As the environment is extremely new for them first two days we just talked about ourselves and our hobbies. On the third day I did phonetics and tried to see what the level of each child is. So from the coming week according to their levels we have divided them into the respective batches. For the first two level i will be working on alphabets and their phonetics. And for the third level I’ll start with the ‘How to form a sentence’ and words.

I also have been working with the girls and women who are coming during the teacher session. I am so happy to see them make an effort for their future. The past week we worked on Articles. Which for me was the main basic difficulty that they have.  For the first 15 minutes I make them read just to make them be more aware and come out of their shells. And then we practice what we learnt for the next 45 minutes. Next week we will be working on Determiners and Tenses.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback and views.

Love,

Somu

 

Week 3, 23rd – 27th July

 

Students’ sessions

This week the students have been much more at ease and are getting comfortable to new environment. They seemed more relaxed and felt familiar to the surrounding. The first two days with all the three levels we worked on phonetics. On the third day i was so happy to see a few children come to the class 20 minutes early for the class.  One of them was Manish, who came early that day and came to me and said ‘Ma’am please teach us’. It showed how much enthusiasm they have towards learning new things. We continued with phonetics and a revision of alphabets.

On that day and the next day with batch two and three for the first ten minutes, I played a memory game so that they get involved in the class and attentive. (The game is simple it goes in a circle each person says a word which they see in their surrounding and as it keeps getting passed on another word keeps getting added by each student. Keeping in mind all the words have to be spoken in the same order, as a child doesn’t remember any word or the particular order they are out of the circle.) They all loved this game and asked me to continue playing this game. After that we worked on forming words with the help of phonetics that we had been doing for the past days. The children seem to be understanding the importance of alphabet and their sounds and also how words cannot be mugged up we need to form them. On the fifth day for all the three batches we watched a video on phonetics. It’s an A-Z phonetics video which first shows the alphabet and then the sound for the following alphabet (the students repeat the sound along with the video) and then three words starting with that sound. Each alphabet is repeated six times. All of them thoroughly enjoyed the video.

Teachers’ Sessions

For the first three days we did determines. Also practising Articles side by side. On the fourth day I felt there was a lot of confusion with ‘There’ and ‘Their’ so we cleared that. On the last day we revised everything we did in the week. By writing an essay on ‘My favourite season’.

 

Week 4, July 30th – 3rd August

Level 1

Another week passed but with more comfort and more excitement. Same thing as last week the level 1 always comes 15 minutes early because they genuinely want to study. With level 1 we worked on their alphabets and words starting with it as they heard that they had to draw they were thrilled and started working on their letters immediately. Not one said they couldn’t or didn’t want to draw. The only difficulty was thinking about words starting with their letter, some kept asking me if a word starts with that letter or not. Many of them also drew words whose sound started with that letter but the words where in Hindi. Which was so innocent of a few to do as they didn’t know the English words.

But that was great because at least they understood the sound of each word. On the third day we worked on ‘self’ where they had to draw themselves and write their names, parents name, school whatever they could write. I could see a lot of them trying to figure out how write their parents name by making sounds, one of them was Manish who was trying to write his mother’s name by cutting down the words and figuring out what was the sound of each alphabet and naturally it was perfect.

Fourth day which was again very easily implemented because the students are so smart and fast. We worked ‘our likes’ which was to be depicted by drawing or if they wanted to try to write. Fifth day we did ‘our dislikes’ which made them think a lot as there were only a few things that they disliked.

A lot of them also told me they liked everything so what would they draw. But we thought deep and even though the list of ‘our dislikes’ was way lesser than ‘our likes’ all of them did their work perfectly well. Lastly it was a fun week with a lot of new things to learn.

 

Level 2 and 3

With both the levels we worked on ‘Self’ drawing our self-portrait and then writing about oneself. This aroused a question which was asked by majority of the class (with both levels) ‘Ma’am how can we draw ourselves, our drawing would look nothing like us’. After explaining to them that no drawing is good or bad and how we all are different our drawings are different too.

Everybody drew themselves and gave a brief introduction about themselves. The next day we did ‘My unique qualities’ which got a few questions, one of the many questions was, ‘we don’t know our qualities’ another one was asked by Sultan, ‘I don’t my qualities so Ma’am you tell me my qualities’. I told them I don’t know them, and this was the reason I was asking to write it, to get to know them more deeply. Also explaining them that we all are different because of these qualities we have. Jyotsana, said to me as I explained them what we had to do ‘Ma’am I can fill up two pages, I have so many qualities’, that was so wonderful to see.  (I feel like this activity should be repeated but after a certain period, maybe after a month or something.

Cause it’s important for each one of them to realize how unique they are and that’s what makes them special.) On the third day we worked on ‘Our likes’ where they had to write all the things they like which was an extremely easy task. However, the next day was ‘Our dislikes’ which required a lot of thinking as not many of them disliked something. Shoyeb and Sultan both said to me ‘Ma’am we like everything’ even after thinking a lot about their dislikes there were just a few which I told them was absolutely normal. To my surprise a lot of the students wrote Milk in their dislike list, and they questioned me if I like milk and I told them yes and that its very important specially for young people like us who are growing.

The last day we played a memory game which all of them thoroughly enjoyed.

 

Teacher session

We kept the first two days for determines. On those days we also did a revision of articles, cleared doubts about ‘their’ and ‘there’. On the third day by using all the grammar we had learned tried to put it to use by writing a pictorial composition. It was great to see the different interpretations about the same picture. I also made them read what they wrote and while reading told them to correct spelling or grammatical errors and they did. It was so nice to see them correct their own errors which also made them realize that reading what you write is extremely important. Which I had been trying to explain to them. On the fourth and fifth day we worked ‘Self’ which included their perception about themselves. The part which made them think a lot about themselves was ‘My unique qualities’. One of the girls, Nandita told me ‘Ma’am I have no qualities’.

We spoke about how we all are blessed with unique qualities and that’s what makes us different from one another. There is something that one of us has and the other doesn’t and its important for each one of us to embrace those factors. I also explained them that a certain quality can be taken positively by one person and negatively by another.  (I felt this activity was important for them as it bought out their inner beliefs).

 

Week 5, August 6th – 10th

Student session

Another week passed by with fun activities and enthusiasm. What surprises me is the level of eagerness and will to try doesn’t decrease in the students. Everyday whether tired or burdened with school work, the level remains the same. And the first batch always comes 20 minutes prior. This week I also had Firdous with me, who has been of great help to me.

Batch 1

With batch one we started the week off with phonetics as it was extremely important to do a revision of the sounds. Some of the students had confused a few sounds whereas the others remembered each sound. With actions coming in the picture I think it will be easier for them to remember. The next day we worked on ‘My world’ which started with meditation and then slowly making them imagine what their world would like if they had to create it. All of them put their wild imagination to work and captured a picture from their world and drew it in their notebooks. Also labelling what they had drawn. There were rivers of chocolate, Indian flag, animals and lots of trees. On Wednesday we worked on ‘My family’ which the children beautifully depicted. They also had to write the names of their family members along with the drawing, by trying to form words with the help of sounds. On Thursday we did ‘What I want to be when I grow up’ some of them said ‘Ma’am like you, a teacher’ Others said ‘engineer’ a few said ‘Doctor’. These being the most common ones. Sher khan wanted to be a pilot which was different, Deepak wanted to be a ‘Hero’ an actor. And Manish who asked me ‘Where do the children without parents go?’ As I replied to him he said, ‘I want an orphanage home too, so Ma’am when I grow up I will keep all those children and educate them’. I was deeply touched by this innocent gesture of his.   To have even a thought like from an eight-year-old boy means so much. This definitely made my day.This experience of just listening to their dreams and thoughts has been so overwhelming for me. On Friday we did a recap of phonetics sounds.

 

Level 2 and 3

We started the week with Oxford books focusing on reading as it is extremely important to read and understand how sounds form words. We read slowly, making each child read individually. What I told them was to cut the words they find difficult into half read the sound and then finally joining it which made it easy for them to read a big or difficult word. On Tuesday after a quick revision of phonetics. After doing the ‘My world’ activity with batch one I felt like it brings out the imaginative side of the children, so maybe we could do it with batch 2 & 3 as well. It went in the same process starting with meditation slowly making them imagine their world, what it would be if they had to build it. Only exception being they had to try and form sentences about what their world have. And after writing maybe draw a little part of their world too. Jyotshana described her world to be similar to the world we are in right now except it would have her parents in it, who are not there in this world. I was glad to see the emotions come out in the softest way possible.

The power of imagination can make us feel so much at peace. Zubeen had no people in his world, only animals. Few of them had houses made of ice cream and chocolates. On Wednesday we did ‘I am unique’ worksheet, it started with meditation and I explained them all the boxes and what each word meant. Some boxes took some time to understand and have them reflect on it and think about themselves and the appreciation they have received. At first, I felt it was little difficult for them, but the children never seem to surprise us and did their worksheet in the most honest and beautiful way possible. On Friday we did ‘What lifts us up’ and the activity that you provided was extremely helpful. We started with meditation and as you had mentioned when they were in the special state I slowly started to talk about the balloons attached to each of their finger, as I was mentioning the balloons attached to each finger I could see a lot of pick up the particular finger. Moving slowly to the wrist then to the elbow and finally to the shoulder.Jyotshana, Shabnam, Aaliya and Zubeen’s hands lifted as they were being lifted by the balloons tied up to their arms. It was a great activity to get them into the area of what we were going to do afterwards.

After this we spoke about our strength and motivation that we receive from any person or place or even thing. A lot of them wrote their parents, grandparents and teacher. Aashish’s answer gave me so much joy as he wrote ‘Education’ is something that lifts him up.The activity over all went extremely well. And how they saw what their strength is and how these things, people and places lift and help them in life to achieve their goals and dreams. Friday we first focused on oxford book, writing answers to the question from the chapter we had read. After that when we had some time left completed the ‘what lifts me up’ chart.

 

Teachers’ sessions

Prepositions continued for three days this week and I still don’t think we are quite thorough with them as there are quite a lot of prepositions to know.  Each day we did a new exercise for them. So, we will do a revision next week as well. The R.O.A.R activity when smoothly as the first day we all recognized our mistakes, struggles and failures. It required some time to think and write what their mistakes have been, downfalls and where they felt they struggled. Mithileshji wrote about how her mistake has been that she left studies at an early age and agreed to get married, it was not forced upon her, so she feels like if hadn’t agreed maybe she would have been at a better place today. Nehaji wrote her mistake was not listening to her parents about their advice on pursuing her career in music which she wanted to do. Then we moved on to ‘Own it’, owning those mistakes and struggles. Becoming the owner of our mistake and struggle. Accepting those mistakes, struggles and failure came clearly to everyone. Coming to finally reflecting on those mistakes and struggles. Everyone spoke about how supportive their family has been with their education and how they have realized a lot of things about themselves and are learning or even will learn from them. They said they have never taken their struggles, failures and mistakes positively until now and it gave them an insight about how much they have grown or still have to grown and most importantly that THEY CAN.

 

Week 6, August 13th – 17th

Students sessions

Level 1

On Tuesday the youngest members performed a short poem based on Independence Day. As they were performing in a group they all made sure not one was left behind or wasn’t able to cope up. Even while performing when the group was going out of coordination, Zara tried to put everyone into coordination by speaking a little louder, so her classmates could remember the line they had forgotten. There was no hesitation or nervousness from anyone of them, instead they felt comfortable and confident that they will be performing in front of older children. It was so wonderful to see how they remembered it throughout their weekend, not even forgetting a single word.

On Thursday we revised our phonetics sound with actions. All of them are fast at grasping the actions along with the sound. As its been a month to them over here they seem to have become comfortable not only with their environment but also with their peers. If one student doesn’t come the entire class not only mentions him or her, they also feel concerned as to why he or she did notcome to class. We also had 4 new students join our class(Jasmine to Marigold). One of them was Mehvisha who adapted quickly to what was happening in the class and picked up the phonetics sound with actions rapidly. When asked about a particular sound or action she was eager to answer.

 

Level 2 and 3

There was a lot of fear when they were initially asked if they would like to perform a short poem or a speak a few lines. But after giving them a little push they felt confident about themselves and wanted to be a part of the celebration. We divided the poems and speeches into pairs, so they would feel more at ease. Muskan who did not want to do anything spoke her poem smoothly without any hesitation. Along with her was Jiya who hardly speaks in the class but did not have any feeling of nervousness and had learnt her part in the poem by heart with correct pronunciation. They practised during the weekend and seemed to be getting a little excited about their performance. Meenakshi, Jaya, Rehnuma told me that they were hoping that their chance doesn’t come and that they would not have to perform. But after it did, and they performed they felt great about themselves. And also said they would like to speak if in future there are any functions. The same three girls who hid in the corner when I asked them two days ago if they would like to speak. They all practised it throughout the weekend and performed in front of so many children with confidence and comfort.

On Thursday we practised phonetics sound with actions followed by a little game after wards. The game was to spell a word by showing only actions of each alphabet. Leading to forming a word. The game was played with a lot of enthusiasm. Even after the bell rang all of them wanted to come and continue playing. Meenakshi who first was quiet and shy did not participate much in class a month ago when she joined, today she couldn’t wait to come back in front of the class and form a word through actions.

Friday, we did a chapter from the oxford book firstly by reading slowly. Understanding the chapter and meaning of the difficult words. Then trying to answer the questions given after the chapter. They all seem to be getting better at reading as we are clear with the sounds of each alphabet. When they try to read, for example Ruheen puts in a lot of effort to try and get the sound out of the word and then pronounce it correctly. We also wrote our answers, so we practise how to form a sentence and how an answer is to be written.

 

Teachers’ Sessions

On Tuesday we first had a discussion on Independence Day, followed by a pictorial composition. On Thursday we devoted 45 minutes to reading, in such little time, one can feel a small change in the way they speak and read. I was delighted to hear them read as not once did they stop and most importantly look at me for prompting them instead they tried on their own to read.  Towards the last day of the week we did an assessment on prepositions, articles and determines. And 15 minutes for reading. Which just helped us know if we have any doubts or any topic was not clear. These topics seem to be clear and we are getting better not only in writing but also speaking with practise.

 

Week 7, August 20th – 25th

Students’Sessions

Level 1

The first day we worked on ‘My favourite place’ where most of the students had drawn their houses and schools. Sher khan had drawn this garden which is in Amer and told me he likes it specially during the monsoon season as its very green and pleasant during that time. Suhaliya drew the foundation as she loves to come and wouldn’t mind staying here the whole day. Delhi also seemed like a popular place for the students as 3- 4 of them told me that Delhi is their favourite place. The next day we first discussed what animals are and their names in English. Every student was thrilled to see pictures of animals and write their names in English. Animals seemed like everyone’s favourite unless they had to draw it. It was a little difficult for them to draw their favourite animal. But they all drew so well and coloured it and felt proud about their drawings.

 

LEVEL 2 & 3

The first day we did a chapter from the Oxford book level 1, Abdul and Zarina. After each student reading we first wrote all the difficult words and their meanings in front of it. Then we learned how to write answers to question, firstly by learning what do ‘What, how, why, when, where’ mean and then how we frame an answer from the text given. Shoyeb picked up fast and wrote all the answers perfectly well. The reading seems to be getting better with practise. The next day we worked on an activity ‘I am’, as I asked them who they are? The first replies were ‘I am a boy’ and ‘I am a girl’. Which is very important to know as it’s a part of our identity. Then Jitendra said ‘human’. The activity was carried out smoothly by all the students, they wrote about their qualities.

 

Week 8th, August 27th – 31st

Teachers’ Sessions

I see a lot of change in the girls not only when they write but also when they speak. While doing present tense I had asked them to write what they did the entire day in present tense. When they came the next day and presented it in class I was filled with joy. There were no grammatical errors, the pronunciation was clear, and they presented it with confidence. I was extremely happy with Kaynat, as I can see the change in her writing and speaking. The growth is visible in her notebook as well, in her first week she did not want to even write a paragraph or speak in front of everyone. But this week she wrote two pages on her daily routine without any hesitation and presented it in front. Even with the debate it was so wonderful to see them express their views and most importantly question the opposition. First by stating facts like when did the uniform originally start, and how many schools do not follow the rule of uniform. This week has been thrilling for me as not only could I see the growth but feel it as well. And it makes me so happy to see that. Shalu and Jyoti have also joined our session, they knew their tenses well.

Students’ sessions

Level 1

This week we started with revising phonetics sound. The next day doing the names of fruits by first showing the pictures of the fruits and showing them the fruits. After all the names of the fruits were done we drew our favourite fruit in the notebook. The next day we did names of the vegetables, we also wrote the names of the vegetables in our notebooks and what they are called in hindi as well. We also showed vegetables to clear the doubts about some of them like bitter gourd and bottle gourd. On the last day we used the Oxford reading books which are specially for phonetics sounds. Learning how to speak and pronounce with the help of phonetics. Some of the students are on a higher level than the rest so we have decided to send some of them to sunflower and have an entirely new level one. Also, by taking a few of them from sunflower in marigold in level 1. The level 1 will be starting with how to form words and slowly moving to sentences.

Level 2 & 3

We started with ‘What is a sentence’ followed by the types of sentences. Practising each type by writing simple sentences. The next day we started with Nouns and their different types. We practised them by making simple sentences, like if the common noun is ‘boy’ then the most common sentence was ‘This is a boy’. If it was a Proper noun ‘Jaipur’, then the most common sentences were ‘I live in jaipur’ and ‘I like jaipur’. We also practised the use of common and proper noun together by making sentences like ‘Tehrin is a girl’, Tehrin being the proper noun and girl the common noun. We practised nouns for two days. The next day we played a game which was really exciting for the children. It made them think about new words and recall names of places and animals and even things which they see every day. Jiya was extremely fast at this activity she filled all the four columns within 5 minutes.

 

Week 9, September 4th -7th

Students’ sessions

Level 1

There are nine new students who joined marigold this week. They seemed excited about their new class. We started with sounds and slowly moved to forming words. Arbiya, Azmat and Sher khan were very eager to answer when they were asked about particular sound. On the next day when we did an activity where the students were divided into groups. It was great to see them work in a team and how they helped each other. Specially Arbiya made sure her teammates were following. Sabiya, Arslaan, Karan and Arish made a wonderful team, they were very organised and each of them made sure they were on the same level as other. Each group was given an alphabet and they had to each speak and write a word which starts with the alphabet. After that they had to write simple sentences consisting of the all words each group had.

 

Level 2 and 3

On the first day we discussed verbs. All the verbs that we use in our day to day life. Some verbs like play, walk, speak, read and write were easy for them to remember as compared to learn, wake, bake, mend and bath. We made a verb table in our copies which had the verbs on one side and the translation of them on the other side. On the second day after playing the game ‘Enact the verb’ the verbs became much clearer. Jitender was very shy and hesitant to come in front of everyone and act.  We also celebrated teacher’s day. Hisba became Lilima and told the children why we celebrate teachers. Tranuman became me and I was thrilled as she also has curly hair. She had also made the same hairstyle as me. There are a few things that the students observe about us which even we do not release about ourselves. From marigold class Sana and Aaliya became soomal and Alveera and Jaya became Firdous. They taught the class and how they have noticed us teach. It was a wonderful day.

Teacher session

On Tuesday we started with past tense and did an exercise on it. There seems to be a little confusion with the form of verb changing. On the next day we swapped roles, and everyone taught in the class with any topic they felt comfortable and confident. We also questioned the fellow teacher related to the topic she was teaching. After this we continued with reading the book which we have been reading from the past week ‘Story of my life’ by Helen Keller. Through which we also learnt new words. On Friday we had a discussion on the act passed for the ST/SC community. Which lead us to discuss the reservation system and that became the topic for our debate next week. We also discussed the repealing of the section 377 which states that homosexuality is not a crime in India anymore. We spoke about our opinions regarding the act and the LGBT community. I had first explained them the meaning of homosexuality/ heterosexuality and the full form of LGBTQ. As this is an open space for them to speak about their views and opinions nobody was shy or felt uncomfortable about this topic. And asked that the debate topic for the next to next week should be ‘If homosexuality should be acceptable in our society or not’. It was great to hear different viewpoints and beliefs regarding such issues. And how they all feel safe to discuss these topics in the foundation.

 

WEEK 10, September 10th -14th

Students’ sessions

Level 1

The week started with fresh energy and enthusiasm. The students and their families were extremely grateful about the water filters which they received. It was well organised and the specially the students were very cooperative.  With the first level I feel like the sounds are getting better with practise. This week we had focused on forming words with the help of sounds starting with three letter words moving on to four-five letter words. We also did a small activity where the students had to write 10 objects that they see around themselves. It was not only helpful for learning how to form words but also because it makes us aware about our surroundings. The dictation felt necessary and this week onwards we will devote 15 minutes each week and make it a weekly habit even if it’s just 5 words per week.

This week we had a dictation by using flashcards. First showing the flashcard which had the picture of the word then speaking the word two times also breaking the word and spelling out the sound. Arslaan was very quick to catch the sound, indeed he got all his fifteen words correctly spelled. Shahid and Fija are not entirely clear with their sounds, leading them to have a lot of confusion during the dictation. Some sounds seem a little tricky like ‘I’ and ‘E’, ‘O’ and ‘U’, ‘K’ and ‘C’. So, the coming week we will be focusing more on these sounds.

 

Level 2 & 3

This week we continued with verbs, mainly focusing on helping verbs. Through which we also learnt how to form a proper sentence. And using the verbs we had done last week formed new sentences. On the next day to revise the helping verbs we did an exercise in which we had to fill in the blanks with the correct helping verbs. This gave a clearer picture for the correct use of helping verbs like ‘is’ and ‘are’. As ‘is’ and ‘are’ took two days for all students to understand and the right use of them.  We were unable to cover up all the linking and helping verbs, so we will continue them next week. Alveera was very sure and clear about the helping verbs and how we use ‘are’ with ‘you’. Most importantly she knew the reason behind it. The ‘Happy Flower’ activity was a great success, while meditating we imagined ourselves as flowers who are blossoming in the garden. Which made it easier for us to imagine ourselves as flowers. Wet learnt the parts of a flower and most importantly realised how our support system like the roots of a flower help us grow and stand with pride always. Every time we fall it’s the roots that help us to stand again. Our hobbies were like a revision for the verbs we have been learning. The petals which had our qualities are something that surround us and make us feel happy about ourselves always, making us unique. I felt there was a little problem in writing their qualities as they don’t know the exact word that they want to write or did not know the translation of the word. Regardless of this, they asked us for the word they were looking for and the translation of a quality which they wanted. Sana after understanding the activity sat quietly made a beautiful flower which was extremely happy. Tehrin wrote ‘foundation’ as the external factors that makes her happy. Tanmay is progressing very rapidly and tries to speak in English, which helps him write better. Rahul is a very active student in the class, who spreads the positive energy around him to his fellow classmates.

 

Teachers’ sessions

This week we continued with tenses mainly focusing on past tense. We devoted two days to simple past tense and past progressive tense. We also practised the tenses with the help exercises. The ‘Happy flower’ activity was a much-needed activity as it not only makes us aware about ourselves but the most important factor being ‘self-appreciation’ which nobody can give us except us. The part which made all of them think was the petals which indicated our qualities. It is not easy to give ourselves self-appraisal as we are not aware of such a thing. And also, because self-appreciation does not come easy as compared to self-criticism.

Overall the activity was great, we also presented our flowers in front of everyone. Explaining our roots, hobbies, qualities and external factors which make us happy. I see and feel the level of confidence rising in each one of them. As while presenting the flowers there was no hesitation or any sort of nervousness. Nandita the girl who once said she has no qualities within the span of a month has not only changed her views but was able to fill up her petals with her qualities. It feels great to be a part of their progress and see them blossom as beautiful happy flowers.

 

Week 10, September 24th-28th

Student Session

Level 1

On Monday we did an activity where each student had to write what they observe and see in places like ‘Home’, ‘Foundation’, ‘School’ and ‘Playground’. It was interesting to see them write things like a name of a friend whom they only see at the foundation, one student Manish wrote ‘Fruit’ under ‘Foundation’. GREAT!

On the next day we did a chapter from the Oxford book and it was wonderful. All of them read perfectly well which shows that their sounds are clear. Except Fiza and Shahid, they are not entirely clear with their sounds and alphabets, so Jyoti sat with them in the corner and helped them come on the same level as the rest of the class.

On Wednesday we first played a game called ‘Word Trivia’. Sher khan and Zara were fast at guessing the last alphabets of each words. After the game we had a dictation. On Thursday we made simple sentences on things we like. This time there were hardly any spelling mistakes as we have been practising how to form words with the help of sounds.

Level 2 and 3

First day of the week we wrote sentences by looking at pictures, the pictures depicted verbs being enacted. This activity helped us not only understand the verbs and the right use of helping verbs. We looked at verbs like ‘Skip’, ‘crawl’, ‘dry’, ‘dig’ etc. On Tuesday we did a chapter from the Oxford book and this week onwards we have started with the level 3 of the oxford books. The chapters were a little longer, but the students read with ease. There were a lot of new words that came up while reading which lead to learning new words. We continued with the chapter the next day as well and discussed the verbs which we noticed in the chapter. All of the students seem clear with their verbs. Especially Alveera, Kripa, Jyotsana, Aalia, and Tanmay are always the first ones to answer whenever asked about a verb. On Thursday we started ‘Adjectives’, we discussed what adjectives are and when we use adjectives. Harsh hardly speaks in the class but knew a lot of adjectives. He is attentive and whenever asked he answers correctly.

 

Teacher Session

This week we started with ‘Future tense’ and finished by Wednesday. On Wednesday after clearing doubts all the tenses we had an assessment on Tenses. Which also gave a lot of clarity on tenses.  A little bit confusion still seems to be there in ‘Past perfect’ and ‘Present perfect’. On Thursday instead of doing an activity Reflection on my Behaviour, we watched videos on verdict of section 377. In order to get ideas for our debate on the next day. We also learned new words like ‘discrimination’, ‘decriminalization’, ‘equality’, ‘supreme’.  We had our debate on ‘Whether LGBTQ community should be accepted in our society or not’ It feels great to be part of such a healthy argument with such strong facts. They spoke about equality and used phrases like ‘India is like a mirror of culture’. Jyoti was from the for team and being a science student, she used terms like ‘hormones’, ‘it is a biological preference’. Shalu was the last speaker from the against and spoke very smoothly, she also gave a conclusion to her entire debate. Arsheena is extremely confident, she speaks without hesitation. The delivery of her points was very clear. Overall the debate was very informative.

 

October 8th- 12th

Whenever we enjoy ourselves while working we always forget how fast time flies. This week passed like a blink of an eye, it was filled with laughter, discussions, work, positive vibes and fun. Thanks to Rosenda ma’am and Isabelle for filling this week with beautiful memories and positive energy. It goes without saying it is always wonderful to have you with us and share our thoughts and passion.  Natalia and Maggie added excitement and joy to the foundation. It was so great to have them.

On Saturday Victoria, Chantal and I were involved in the menstrual workshop for girls. The workshop was divided into four main segments, first the biological process, second the relation between the menstrual cycle and the moon, third was the changes which are normal and not normal during puberty and menstruation. And lastly the products and their usage with each of their pros and cons. When we started some of the girls were scared and nervous about what we were going to talk about, I could completely feel their situation as I was at that age too and specially for the ones who had no idea about it. For them to know that this is going to happen to their body was scary but important as this process is so important and helps us create life. As we started getting into details the girls seem to be more at ease, with a few jokes which were metaphorical made them relate to it and laugh. The most important part of the workshop was not only letting them know about the process but making them comfortable, so they could talk about it freely and clear their doubts.

Level 1

We started the week with oxford books and reading a chapter. Saurav is not only good at reading but also understanding the meaning of the words. He is often the first one to raise his hand up when asked the meaning of a word. On Tuesday we read with the help of the Readtome software. On Wednesday we learned how to stretch a sentence, with the help of questioning each sentence by using ‘why’, ‘when’ ‘how’. Zara, Arslaan and Azmat were quick to state their reasons about how they were feeling and why. On Thursday we did an activity called super powers, where we imagine ourselves to have super powers and why we would want that power. Saurav was one of the first to say he wanted to possess ‘Being able to fly’ as he wanted to travel and save people. Zara and Sabiya wanted to be princesses so with their magic wand they could spin and objects would appear as they wanted them to. Arish wanted to be a super hero who was so strong that he could save the earth. Azmat to exactly depict how he was going to use his super powers drew it in a series. He wanted to possess the power of making objects appear as and when he wanted them to, as he wanted to help people to get what they needed the most.

Level 2 and 3

On Monday we did an activity called ‘Many pieces of me’, which is like a jigsaw puzzle and each puzzle represents a piece of us. And all together it becomes one, which makes us. One of pieces had ‘I want’ and Tanmay, Rahul and Shoyeb wanted ‘a car’ and ‘a house’, which were one of the common things to want in the class . The activity also made us realise what are the components or parts that make us. On Tuesday we read with the help of Readtome software and learned new words. On Wednesday we continued with Adjectives which helped us for our activity for the next day. We learned personality adjectives, it was fun to see them relate each adjective to a person either in the class or at their home. As we were learning ‘shy’ all of them gave an example of Archana, who is their classmate and suited the adjective perfectly. The next day the class was divided into pairs, and each of the pairs had to describe one another with the help of adjectives. Shoyeb and Alveera were a pair and described each other perfectly well. Harsh not only described his partner but also gave a reason why he likes his partner. As we were unable to do ‘I love me because’ activity this week we will be doing the activity on Monday.

Teacher session

This week we have been reading a story which is a folk tale orally recited by women. It is called ‘Flowering tree’, and the title of the story comes from the metaphor of a young girl becoming a woman. The story has lots of new words and is quite interesting as it keeps us involved and curious about what is going to happen next.

 

November 26th – 30th

Level 1

This week we completed our verbs which helped us to form sentences on Tuesday. We made our own sentences by using subjects, linking verbs and verbs. By looking at boxes on the board each student chose a subject then added the correct linking verb which lead to choosing any verb they had learnt recently. Even though they were asked to make five sentences, Arish and Arslaan made ten sentences each.They were very proud about their work. All the students made perfect sentences. On Wednesday we enjoyed ourselves in the playground. The children were thrilled to devote a day completely to the ground. It was great to exercise and run around in the fresh air. On Thursday we had a dictation which was important for a revision of sounds and formation of words. Arslaan like always had all his spellings correct. Karan only had a few mistakes other than that he has improved. Whereas it feels the opposite with Sourabh, he made quite a few mistakes. Which he does not make generally.

 

Level 2 and 3

We are taking our tenses slowly as it is important for each child to understand not only the time zone but the grammar rules that come along with them. This week we focused on Simple present tense. And we have understood when the verb becomes singular or plural with the help of an exercise. Neha was very quick to recognize the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person in a conversation, when asked through an example. On Wednesday we wrote letters to our present and future self. At first it was difficult for them to understand as to what we would write in the letter and what we would tell our future selves. So, we divided the letter into two major portions, first for our present self and the second half for our future self. In the present appreciating ourselves for who we are and being proud of that. And in the second portion what we expect from our future self. Most common expectations were ‘good marks’ and be able to go in the next grade. It was very rewarding for me to witness the students think and appreciate themselves even though it felt similar and repetitive, a few of them stood out. Jitender wrote ‘I want myself to help me to achieve my goals.’ Which was very original of him to think and write. Aaliya was the first to ask me how she can put into words that she hopes for her family and friends to be well. On Thursday we did a worksheet called ‘About me’. It required us to complete the sentences already given. Alfaiz who generally takes time in doing his work and asks for a lot of support was very spot on with his answers. While discussing the worksheet he was the only one who had his replies ready. Rehnuma mentioned that her family was very happy when she took the water filter home. Harsh is an introvert and always does his work without asking for any assistance or reassurance. He also mentioned in his worksheet that he is proud of his speed. The challenging moment for me has been to make them have their own originality and not to look for reassurance after each word that they write. I do understand it is quite difficult for this to happen as we are made to copy, but I hope for it to decrease and the level of confidence to rise in order to avoid reassurance at every step. By doing these activities which make us self-aware and form an identity which we present proudly.

 

Teacher session

On Tuesday we worked on a few grammar exercises and as it was only three students, I got time to work with them individually. The next day as requested by some of the girls for the first half of the session I focused on their college English syllabus. As they required some practise and help. So, in order to coordinate with my lesson plan, I started with informal and formal letter. As it would help us write the letter to myself. Meanwhile the rest of them were writing a letter to themselves. After following their college syllabus, all of them wrote a letter to themselves. Nandita wrote to her future self to continue to improve and work hard as she is now. And never to let go of the freedom she has had since she was a child. Bravo! As it was something, she was proud of and hoped for it to never go. Jyoti appreciated the improvement she has seen in herself in the past year and encouraged herself to continue pushing forward. On Thursday we started listening to ‘the magic shop’ podcast. Which has been interesting and different for them to listen and think about. The transcript is extremely helpful as we can understand the podcast much better with it. It even helps us learn new words. The reference of how we are always wearing a foggy glass was very relatable for each one of us. As we decrease our attention span by not being in the present and have regrets about the past or anxiety about the future. Personally, for me this podcast is very enriching as I do believe in our thoughts turning into reality.  The podcast has a lot of things through which we are learning in a very fascinating way. And teaches us more about something which is within us but we fail to recognize it.

 

December, 10th – 14th

Level 1

Towards the end of this week we understand the time zone and a few basic differences which are followed by the time zone. Being the youngest it took more time, but the concepts seem to be clearas we can confidently change the sentence from one time zone to another. Arbiya took great interest while understanding this lesson as she was always spot on with her answers and even helped her peers when they were unable to understand it or were absent the day before. When asked to make a certain number of sentences she even made a couple of extra ones. This was one of the rewarding moments for me to see her take so much of interest during a lesson. While playing the memory game instead of showing a tray full objects and then remembering the objects, each student added a verb to their name. Everyone had to remember the verbs which were attached to each name. Mariyam was the only student to write down fourteen out of fifteen of the names of her classmates and their verbs. Whereas Zara and Arslaan only missed out three and did not have any spelling mistakes.

 

Level 2 and 3

The time zone had been clear with this batch and we only had to move forward with it. With the help of tables and exercises we practised to clear doubts and be thorough. Ayesha who is generally not respondent in class was quite active during this lesson as she is on the same topic in school and she feels confident to answer because she knows the concepts. Another rewarding moment for me has been to see the originality and enthusiasm for each student to show while doing the sentence completion worksheet. They seem to understand how different we are and how things affect us differently and remembered to make their answers as original as possible. I was so content to see their answers with lesser hesitation and copying. Alveera and Zubeen finished their worksheet within minutes and started to help their classmates with spellings and a few meanings. Alveera wrote she gains strength from her father. Whereas most common answers to this sentence were fruits, vegetables and milk. Jyotsana wrote Tushita Foundation as something or place she really enjoys. Rahul feared Lalit but also enjoyed his company. He feared him as he scolds him like an elder brother and makes him have fun too. Jiya was the only one in her class to say she really enjoyed studying. Archana seems to be opening up and becoming more confident in class. I can see a lot of change in her as compared to her initial month in class.

 

Teacher session

We continued with the podcast this week. The summary has been immensely helpful, it not only made us understand the key points in the podcast but also to be able to explain certain lines was so much easier with the summary. It kept the interest of the everyone, as I could feel a few losing their interest due to difficult words and language. A few parts were comparatively more challenging for me to explain to a few of them. That is when I switched to Hindi in order to explain them the intensity and depth of it.

As it was not the language that was difficult it was the intensity which was challenging to explain. By giving examples it became easier for them to understand as they could relate to such a thing. ‘When we go inward, and our heart is open, we connect with the heart, and the heart compels us to go outward and connect with others’. I am re quoting this line because it has been put so beautifully, it is so simple, yet we never think of it in this order. The role compassion can play in a person’s life can make him/her empathetic and compassionate to others. And that can make a lot of difference.

 

January 15th– 18th

It is always overwhelming to be back at the foundation. The atmosphere makes you forget about all your worries and gives a feeling of comfort. I was very excited to be in Lily as I knew only a few of them personally and this would help me have a special bond with each of them. On Tuesday we only had one student in lily and three in Rose, so we combined both the classes and did the ‘magic box’ activity. When each of them opened the box to look at ‘the most special person’, a wide smile lightened their faces. The reactions were so pure and precious. The activity done last week ‘I am’ helped them know their qualities and strengths. Ruksar helped the students identify and match the quality adjective they were looking for in English. What I learnt from this week was to make the students self-aware they needed to appreciate themselves more. Hence instead of doing a reflection on their behaviour the next day we did the ‘I am unique and special’ worksheet (initially planned for last week) as the worksheet would reflect on their qualities they recently learnt. As for most of us it is easier to criticize ourselves than to appreciate.

I was so amused with the reactions I received after doing the ‘What lifts you up’ activity. Starting with the meditation which gave all the students a better understanding of the psychological meaning behind the ‘lift’. Mayank’s hand ‘lifted’ while doing the meditation as he felt lifted. He felt lifted by his soul as he practises positive self-talk and motivates himself by saying ‘You can do it’. When asked how his body and mind feels, his response was his soul feels lighter and his body feels relaxed. He also forgets about all the tension. Farha feels like dancing and her heart feels lighter. Karan feels lifted by his sir as he motivates and appreciates him for doing well in class. And he walks with his chest wide open as he feels confident about himself. Shifa walks with her head up higher. Bilal forgets about everything and dances with joy when his friends cheer for him while he plays cricket. Keshav walks like a ‘boss’ when he feels lifted. The most rewarding moment for me this week has been to see all students express their feelings and put them into words. I was so glad to see them become self-aware and not only understand the activity but also express their feelings without hesitation. It has been a delight watching them come out of their shells and open up.

 

January 28th – February 1st

Last week

I have been surprised each day with a new exciting answer which has made my day. I love how all the students express their feelings and thoughts into words without any hesitation or doubts. They have a stronger sense of self and are easily able to identify their emotions. While doing the ‘I love me because’ activity Yuvraj wrote he loves himself because he is not greedy. Muniya wrote she values herself and her feelings that way giving herself importance and love. Prachi loves herself because she never hurts her own feelings and gives her feelings importance. The next day we appreciated our classmates by making positive posters. The students were so eager to get their posters back they wanted to see what their classmates had written for them. After receiving the posters back all their faces had bright smiles. They were so happy with their posters. When asked how they felt after receiving their posters,Kashish replied she felt proud of herself as her classmates could see her qualities and appreciated them. During the empathy building activity a few of them felt high level of empathy during some situations as compared to the rest, and understood this is extremely normal. One of the situations was how we would react when we heard about our friend’s grandparent’s death, Dikshant felt highly empathetic and explained by saying, my friend’s grandparent is like my grandparent. Inderjeet who has a very high level of empathy when asked how she felt while hearing the news of natural disasters wrote, she thought about the people for days and would worry for each of them. And specially think about the children affected. Towards the end of the week we gave ourselves a ‘well done pat’ for talking about the things we take pride in or times we have been proud of ourselves. The highlight of this activity was all of students were proud of themselves when they could speak in English without hesitation.

Teacher session

I have a new set women who have joined me this week. Farheen has completed her B.A degree and wants to focus on improving her English. Shabnam is currently in her final year of her B.A degree and would like to pursue LLB. Reshmaji has completed her Bachelor of Education and has teaching experience of 2 years. Rehnuma is completing her masters in Urdu. We would be starting our classes from the coming week.Great news!

Reflection over the past six months

The Foundation has never been a strange place for me. I always connected with the place, but this time it was different as I eased into its daily life. The past six months have not only given me a clearer perspective on myself but on my future as well. I always felt I never had the patience to work with children but to my surprise I can, and I did. Looking through my journal I feel the change not only in my writing style but in my confidence of going into the helping profession as well. At first, I struggled to balance out my lesson plans in order not to bore the children with grammar lessons. Giving grammar two days a week and the rest focusing on different activities related to self-esteem and identity. And by making two different lesson plans for the same class and having double the energy as compared to the students. The Marigold class being new was excited to be a part of the well known ‘Foundation’. Their curiosity only increased day by day and irregularity was never a problem. What has been a great learning experience for me personally was to put my theoretical knowledge into practical. Applying the theories into real life with different fun activities in order to make all of them understand and gain the most from it. It made me also have a better understanding of my subject as I tried to apply it into real life.  In the short span of six months I had the opportunity to work with a seven-year-old and in the same day a 35-year-old. In the upcoming six months I hope to work with the same energy and make the most of the time I have here left.

 

March 4th – 8th

Being the last week with Rose and Lily, the students were working on their final project. We started with the ‘Life line’, remembering all the memories and reliving them by sharing it with each other. As the students started to write it down they remembered more and kept asking Ruksar and Payal, about when did they go to ‘Chand bawari’, ‘Samode’, ‘City palace’ and the ‘Birla auditorium’. The life lines helped them write their life stories, as the important dates and memories were already pinned down. Most of them at first dreaded the fact that they had to write a story of two – three pages minimum, but to my surprise as they started writing they did not want to cut it short. They remembered an incident and wanted to share it with us, a lot of them even wanted to take their notebooks home as they could ask their parents about certain events or the time when it occurred. I was amazed to see Sohail, as he was one of the few students who did not want to write a lot, but until Thursday he had written 4 pages and said to me ‘Ma’am, I am still in the past I have present and future left’.

Shifa in her story mentioned that the first time she ever danced was at the foundation and has loved it since then. Dikshant mentioned the first time he walked, and he learnt how to ride a cycle. Farha in 2019 has started to acknowledge how special and unique she is. It was such a rewarding moment to see them so devoted towards their stories, and the excitement with which they wanted to share their incidents as they remembered. I was also impressed by the fact how effortlessly they can put those incidents into words that too in a second language.

It has been a joyous week, with lots of stories to share and see how much they’ve grown.

 

Teacher session

We completed the story this week and tried to write a summary of it by using a few of the words recently learnt. All of them thoroughly enjoyed the story as it kept us excited to know what’s going to happen next. They also wrote a character sketch on the protagonist, Mary Malone. Shabnam loved the character and found her to be very strong and brave to be able to deal with such a situation. Whereas Faujiya ji and Farheen found her insensitive but also pitied her situation.

 

April 12th

The year has been successful in many ways, from having personal gains to witnessing overall growth. Starting with sending journals and lesson plans every week, has made each of us more professional and motivated towards our work. It also helps us have a record to see our growth. Secondly creating personal dictionaries and reading day. It has not only created an atmosphere of reading but helped revise the words the students learn. Thirdly, seeing a little change in a few of the students, and Jyoti and Shalu has been the highest peak of success for me. Jyoti and Shalu became less self conscious and more confident, within the span of six months. Hearing them speak their opinions and trusting their ideas to be worth mentioning was rewarding for each one of us. Among the students, I have witnessed a great change in Nazar who joined us in February, and dreaded the idea of having to sit in the class as he would get anxious and wasn’t able to breathe. But slowly he eased into the atmosphere and began to trust himself more. Though Manisha can improve more, she did open up a little bit and watching her dance with a big smile without hesitation was a joyride for us.

Self assurance and self love would be how I would sum up the past year.