Kate, Hanna and Julia
I was teaching Ruchi’s class today. We continued progressing through different types of words, this time working with ‘adverbs’. It took a while for them to understand the difference between ‘adjectives’ and ‘adverbs’, but once we got there, it worked well. We had lots of different exercises for them to work through. They are a very well behaved class, and a lot of fun to teach.
Today, I took assistant teacher session, for the reading day. I really enjoy this time with them. We are continuing to work through ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, they are learning lots of new words and working on their pronunciation. This did lead to all the teachers chanting ‘huze’ in an attempt to say ‘huge’, which was amusing for everyone. They seem to be enjoying the book.
On Friday’s, I am with Payal’s class. We are continuing our ‘Civil Rights’ project. Today they began finalising their ‘I had a dream’ speeches, typing them into the laptops. It is interesting to work through their ideas for how to improve society.
I love teaching Ruksar’s class, so was very happy to be back with them. This week we will be working on a synonym project, focused around increasing their vocabulary. I intend it to be a very visual project, so I will show you photos soon (hopefully!). It is centred around replacing words such as ‘good’, ‘fine’, ‘happy’, ‘said’ with more precise words. We will be exploring this concept through storytelling, so hopefully this will keep it fun. To begin with, we discussed the concept of ‘synonyms’.
Today we shared the Maya Angelou compilation video with the teachers. They seemed to really enjoy the message, and we decided to make them create their own ’10 rules for success’. It was nice to see them think through how to condense the things they believe in. We only had time to do the beginning of this writing task, so we will complete it tomorrow.
With Ruksar’s class, we began creating our project. Each pair was allocated an ‘over-used’ word, decorating a sheet of paper with this word and drawing to represent its meaning. We then had a think about the words we can use to replace them. I haven’t had a chance to do anything visual with this class before, so it was very fun.
With the teachers, we finished off the writing task on their rules for success. Once they had written their rules, and provided examples for when they have demonstrated them in their lives, they shared their rules with each other. This was really lovely to see. Following this, Hannah and I began our debate preparation. Our topic was ‘This side believes that live-in style relationships should be promoted as a basis for a healthy life’. The teachers suggested the topic. I worked on the opposition with Ruchi and Ruksar. Preparing the debates always proves very amusing. The debate will happen tomorrow!
With Ruksar’s class, we began to write stories using our new words. Whenever the students wanted to use a ‘boring word’, they came up to the wall and selected a new word. They really engaged with the project, which was incredibly lovely to see.
Debate day! We took 15 minutes at the beginning of the session to run through our ideas from yesterday, before beginning the debate. It is nice to see the teachers working on their presentation and tone, rather than solely recollecting the points we discussed. They really engaged with the topic, even though they are all adamantly against live-in relationships (despite recommending the topic). Hannah and I realised the massive cultural divide between our cultures, but it was nice to see them get so heated!
For my last day with Ruksar’s class this week, I decided to organise a laptop lesson. They worked in the pairs they have been in this week, and typed up their stories, embellishing them as they went. They always love working on laptops, so it was nice to finish the week with them using them! I am very happy with how the project went this week. It is very difficult to get a nice photo because of the lighting in Ruksar’s class, but it is looking lovely!
Monday 28th November
For first batch I was teaching Shalu’s class, and with them I did occupations. We revised family members, before using them to write sentences about what occupations their relatives did, before moving on to ‘I want to be a…’ It was good to see the improvement between their first sentence describing the job of a family member and their later ones as they began to spot the pattern of sentence construction. Shalu taught the same thing with second and third batches.
For second and third batches I was back with Sunflower Class, as Pooja had to leave early and, with the bigger batches especially, it would have been very difficult for Rahela to have managed the Book of Me on her own.
Tuesday 29th November
Working on the Book of Me with Sunflower Class, Rahela and I were really trying to encourage the children to practice the sentences rough a number of times to make sure they got it perfectly right for their proper books. Also, for those who were struggling with remembering spellings and word order, it is good practice and might help them remember better.
Indeed, this is the right way to teach the child the need to practice in order to do a good job.
Wednesday 30th November
Kate’s last day today – I’d be very sad to be saying goodbye to her.
Sunflower Class were keeping on going with the Book of Me, with some of the children starting to finish.
Ankita suggested that for those beginning with the new pages, if they were finishing they could start to move on with the pages for the older part of Sunflower, doing them in rough to make sure they were ready to do them for real. Palak and Tokeer are both great at writing and drawing so they should be putting some of them in their big black books.
Thank you for mentioning the students who are performing well, this helps us monitoring the children’s evolution.
It is important to notice that Palak is Ruksar’s niece, she has a good role model of an educated woman in her family which gives great her confidence.
Thursday 1st December
I did a role play with the teachers today which highlighted (at their suggestion too) a need to practice persuasive and formal language.
I am happy to know that the teachers express their needs to you volunteers and take “advantage” of your presence to improve.
Book of Me, again, and it is really nice to see the children helping each other out – suggesting drawings or improvements to their drawings.
Although I am really enjoying working on the Book of Me it can certainly be quite stressful because all the students work at different speeds, meaning I have many, many individual questions to field.
Good work demands a lot of involvement. I never thought that it would be easy to carry through such a fantastic project like the book of me. I would love to know what you are learning from it.
Friday 2nd December
Following on from yesterday’s teacher’s session, I selected an opinion piece article on identity (very much so!!!)– an interesting topic in itself, but mostly to look at the techniques of persuasion used, and the formal language included. We went through the article today and discussed the new vocabulary (mostly formal language vocab) and initial thoughts on the piece. Next week, I shall be continuing with the article, asking the teachers to try and identify persuasive methods used and then discussing how these are effective. We will also discuss the idea of target audience – i.e. the difference between situations where formal and informal language is appropriate.
Keeping on going with the Book of Me, which should take another week or so, but some of the children are already moving towards being finished.
Please take some pics of the books’ pages, or ask Ankita to do so, I would love to see the kid’s work and share it on facebook.
08/09/2016 – Shaloo’s Class – one syllable comparatives
Today was my first day of teaching and I taught Shaloo’s Class, also known as the middle class which are new to the foundation and their level of English quite low.
I taught both the first and second batch, then watched and helped Shaloo teach the same lesson to the third batch.
I taught the class very simple, one syllable comparatives – where the rule is ‘add ‘er’ to the end of the adjective. I began the class by getting the students to name all the animals they knew. I then picked two very different animals (elephant and rabbit) and asked them to describe them using adjectives. Using one syllable adjectives they picked I then encouraged the formation of comparative sentences ‘the elephant is bigger than the rabbit’. Repetition was key here and the class would read out the sentence together and then individually. Together we formed new comparative sentences and repeated. I then wrote out gap-fill sentences where the students picked they choice of adjectives and wrote it as a comparative. They then individually read out their answers to me and I corrected them if needed.
I believe the lessons were successful, while at the start the students where shy and did not talk much at the end they would confidently read out the sentences they wrote.
14/09/2016 – Payal’s Class – Atom and Elements ‘What is everything made of’
The format of my lesson was trying to ask questions to the class and coming together with the answers which I would then write up on the board for reference. Below is the listed format:
- What is everything made of? Atoms
- Definition of the atom: very small particle, too small to see even with a microscope
- What is the atom made of, and its structure? Protons, neutrons (form nucleus) and electrons move around nucleus, and there following charges
- Adding/ removing protons to an atom forms a different kind of atom called an element
- Definition of an element: all the same atoms are present
- What are the elements on earth? Handing out of the periodic table
- Interpretation of the periodic table
The first batch of the class had a prior knowledge to this area so followed the lesson well and were challenged by my later more obscure and extending questions. The second batch, however, were younger and struggled more as have not been taught this in school yet. For the second batch I think I will need to take longer with the topics and simplify particular areas.
19/09/2016 Payal’s Class – Five Kingdoms
Today I introduced what an organism, species and the five kingdoms. I then discussed the Animalia and Plantae Kingdom in the first and third batch and only had time for the Animalia Kingdom in the second batch. This first day involved juggling a lot of mixed abilities as some people did have a prior knowledge of this and others did not.
Today there was interestingly the reverse of speeds with the second batch actually covering more ground and on to the Fungi Kingdom than the others. The beginning on the lesson was a recap either through questions written down or said aloud and then moving on.
Today was a major success! After finishing all five kingdoms the students were given 10 minutes to read and revise before the books were taken away and I gave a test out in silent conditions. I was really impressed how much everyone cared for reading there work and everyone worked hard repeating it to themselves to remember or testing each other. When the actual test came I was even more impressed as the all three batches got the majority of the questions right and most ‘errors’ were just from forgetting some information. There was also one student who got everything completely right which I was really impressed with! It shows the students had learnt the five kingdoms!
23/09/2016 Shalu’s Class – comparatives
(Yesterday was parent’s day). Today the students in Shaloo’s class were a lot different to the ones I had first taught with only some children the same. This lesson was therefore majorly a repeat of what I had last covered for the new kids and revision for the kids that had already done it. It worked well but because of the major mixed abilities in the class more revision is needed to get all the students to the same level.
26/09/2016 Payal’s class – biodiversity
This week for Payal’s class I wanted to talk about biodiversity. Most people actually use the word biodiversity incorrectly but I was determined to give the correct definition that I actually learnt at uni! This made it a bit more challenging as it was quite complex area I was dealing with and quite a few new words they had not heard of before such as ‘distributed’. I realised by the third batch the best way to teach the topic and especially to describe the word ‘distributed’ in which I used a cake and icing analogy! The third batch and first seemed to understand the area very well, with a lot more confusion in the second batch.
27/09/2016 Payal’s class – biodiversity
Today was very much a review of yesterday to test understanding. For all the batches we went through what we had learnt yesterday and I introduced the cake analogy to batch two which helped them to understand the word distribution a lot more. We then did a lot of questions, where I then went around individually to see if everyone understood. By the end I felt pretty confident that the majority of people understood, but I decided to review it once more with second batch the next day to completely clarify it.
28/09/2016 Payal’s class – biodiversity
Once we went through what biodiversity was and what we had learnt from the previous lessons – we then moved on to why high biodiversity is important. Here some of the children were very accurate with their guesses and gave some great suggestions! Overall I felt confident that they had understood all the important areas by the end of the lesson.
29/09/2016 – Shalu comparatives
To begin the lesson I wanted to introduce the concept of syllables because this is vital to understanding the different rules for comparative (different rule depending on number of syllables). After this I tested the students knowledge on how well they remembered last weeks lesson in which I was very impressed that they did remember it. I then set some more challenging questions about one syllable comparatives to make sure they fully understood how they worked.
30/09/2016 — Shalu comparatives
Today I really wanted to get the students to do some role play for the comparatives to practise speaking as the majority struggle with pronunciation. Me and Shalu gave an example of the kind of questions and answers we wanted (asking who is taller, shorter, louder, quieter, longer hair) and the students then went in groups to ask each other. The first and second batch are a bit more shy so took some encouragement while the third batch leapt at the opportunity to speak!
03/10/2016 – Payal’s class food chains and webs
Today I taught about what a food chain and web is including all of the names given to each specific trophic level, carnivore, herbivore, omnivore and producer. What I found very interesting in this class (and the next two) is that some kids seemed to understand the concept very easily, while others because it was seemingly a very different way of seeing things and thinking about something that they would already know some struggled with the concept.
Revision of food chains, webs and terminology from yesterday revealed that the students did understand and know the concepts, so now it was time to learn about pyramids (numbers, biomass and energy) – which is again another way of representing a food chain with more information. All the students seem to take to this very well.
Now the question was why are these pyramids shaped as pyramids – and where does the energy go. For this I really wanted the students to have a go thinking of the answers even if they had never been taught it – and some were amazing at it! Rinku was supberb at really thinking about what I was asking and then giving very detailed and correct answers! As was Nazim! I have found that the girls just tend to be more shy and it is not that they do not know the answers but that they just need a lot more encouragement to have the courage to say them aloud – something I will definitely keep in mind and work on, I feel the more trust that is built and more encouragement the more they will speak there mind!
06/10/2016 – Shalu’s class adjectives
Today we have a clarification of what an adjective is and gave many examples of adjectives. To teach the next part of comparatives the students really needed to know what I was talking about when I said adjectives – which in most of the case they did not! So the next two days were a sort of detour of clarification before getting back to adjectives!
To make sure everyone fully understood what are adjectives I wrote a short story on the board and they had to individually pick out the adjectives. There were a few people that struggled on some new adjectives but really everyone did so well in the end. What I love about Shalu’s class is how determined and eager everyone is to learn, and as soon as they have finished the exercise that they want their worked checked and to be correct before moving on.
13/10/2016 – Shalu’s class back to comparatives
Before a quick revision on adjectives and syllables we were back to the comparatives. And I was so happy to see how well some of the students remembered the comparative sentences from 2 weeks ago! It meant that we moved fairly quickly and could get on with some difficult questions!
Seeing as we only had a two-day week I was determined to keep going full power ahead! We covered so much today in class going through all three of the rules for comparatives (depending on the number of syllables) and doing a lot of fill in the gaps to identify the differences between them. It went very well, but next week will have to be a lot of revision and further questions to make sure everyone in the class is at the same level before moving on! On a side note, I am really sad that we are no longer doing meditation with the teachers– I understand that it cuts into the teacher’s session but I just find it really hard to find a routine time to meditate here and doing it with the teacher was really amazing! And I know that the teachers also really enjoyed doing it with us!
17/10/2016 – Payal’s class five kingdoms field trip
On Monday it was prep for the field trip! The class started with a revision of the five kingdoms to make sure everyone understood and remembered key words that they would need for the field trip! Then the class drew up a table that they would fill in tomorrow during the trip. I then explained the necessity in science to make predictions before you do an experiment/ field work so the rest of the lesson consisted of the children making predictions of what they expected to find.
18/10/2016 — Payal’s class five kingdoms field trip
Today was the fieldtrip day! When we got to the gardens I explained one more time what they had to do (find as many species as possible, count the organisms of that species, write a description of the species to later identify and draw a sketch and label!). The students did amazingly well! All of them were so enthusiastic and immediately went of counting species. They all wanted to do very well and I spent all my time fully occupied going from student to student helping them to identify species, count and describe them. Something that I think the students really got from this was an appreciation of how many species there are! A few children would begin by writing ‘trees’ as one species, before I was then like well have a look does that tree and that tree look the same, and they would realise just how many different species there were! Another highlight was finding a lizard with a group of 6 students and how excited they were to find this! All in all I think this was a major success everyone seemed to get so much for it and everyone worked so hard!
19/10/ 2016 — Payal’s class five kingdoms field trip
Now it was time to write up results and conclusions. So to begin with the students had to put each of the species they found in to one of the five kingdoms and explain why it fitted there. Next was identification using my Indian wildlife book and the internet I taught the children the need to identify species and find the Latin name. Again here the appreciation of the number of species was a major learning point. The students would say okay I have an ant species and I would be like well which one, let’s search, well there are over 10,000 species of ant so which one is it? The wow and shocked looked on the children’s face was great to see them so engaged. After this conclusions, and how what was found differered to the predictions.
20/10/ 2016 – Shalu’s class all syllable comparatives
Today I decided we were going to cover a far bit of ground in class, we went through how comparatives change for all three syllables of adjectives and the rules for each one. Then did questions to test understanding. I was really pleasantly surprised to see how quick a few of the students grasped it and how their answers were all 100% correct! The large variation in ability in these classes means having to mix setting more questions for the ones that would finish and more explanation and help to the ones who still didn’t understand, another lesson on this will hopefully bring everyone to the same level!
21/10/2016 – Shalu’s class all syllable comparatives
I started the class with asking them what I taught yesterday and I was so happy to see that we managed to cover all of the essentials yesterdays lesson within the first 15 mins of the lesson! Today I set much harder questions to make sure everyone fully understood and was very happy with the result!
24/10/2016 – Payal’s class adaptations
New topic! I started the class with a catchy video song about adaptations before then explaining what it meant and all the different forms of the word (adapt, adapting, adapted). We then as a class went about discussing the adaptations that camels have to a desert environment. I drew a camel on the board and pointed at particular body parts when the students needed encouragement to think of the adaptation. Here I went student by student to make sure everyone was pushed and thought about it. Next was individual work asking about elephant adaptations before we came as a class to discuss it as a whole!
And just as a side note, I thought you would like to know Rosenda that I have found my nature Sanctuary ! I am sure you can gather from my lessons that I really love plants, animals and nature and while I love jaipur I have been really wanting to find a place of peace in the nature. And on Saturday me and my boyfriend Laurie (who is staying in jaipur while writing a book!) went to sagar lake in amer and it was perfect, a massive lake surrounded by mountains and completely in nature – in fact one of my students told me to go there to find peace in nature ! I was telling the teachers today and we want to go one Saturday morning before the foundation (but when it gets a bit cooler probably!) My teachers sessions tend to focus on environmental topics where I can share my passions with them and learn about their thoughts. I have enjoyed them so much and I think a highlight was the teachers telling me how much they enjoy them because they have never thought too much about the environment and they can see my passion for it! Also when rucksar said to me that after one of my sessions that night she was lying thinking about it and thought why when I want fun do I always go shopping or go into town why have I never just gone into nature to just relax there – hence our future trip to sagar!
Today was research and planning day. Each of the students had to pick a different species and give a presentation on how that species is adapted to its environment. I provided many different BBC nature magazines (that I had accumulated over the years!), Indian wildlife books, marine and desert species books and some animal encyclopaedias. The students practised their reading and understanding skills and would have to read through the material, looking for their particular species and pick out the useful info about its adaptations. Halfway through the lesson I then also provided a few laptops for students that wanted more information about their species.
Today was presentation day! Each of the students had to stand up and give their adaptation presentation. Raganie stood out during this presentation, she gave a fascinating and descriptive presentation on the Giant Indian Cobra – a species I knew very little about myself till after the presentation! It was also the range of species that the students picked which I really enjoyed very few went for the typical tiger or lion, but rather read the magazines first for inspiration so then picking barn owl, or eagle or sloth!
07/11/2016 – Payal’s class nutrient cycles (C and N cycle)
This week I introduced a new topic – nutrient cycles! Which was a great way to introduce new material whilst also bringing up key things we had previously learnt as revision! Today we focussed on the Carbon cycle, which might appear quite overwhelming when first looked at! To battle this I drew the cycle step by step on the board, and always eliciting the answers from the students in class rather than just drawing it up. Such as there is only one process that actually removes carbon dioxide from the environment? Most students got this and knew that it was photosynthesis. We then had a lengthy discussion about respiration, because interestingly while most students know about photosynthesis very few have heard of respiration. Therefore I used some very simple explanations to make sure everyone understood and wrote up the equation so they could see the similarities with photosynthesis.
We started the lesson with asking what we had learnt yesterday and together as a class drew up the carbon cycle again on the board. I was really impressed to see how much the students had retained and in all the batches this was done really quickly! So next we moved onto the nitrogen cycle which is the harder of the two and perhaps less applicable. To get around this I started the lesson with explaining the importance of nitrogen, using examples that we need it for protein and that it is desperately needed in farming to grow bigger plants – think this made it more applicable to most people. I also did a lot of repetition and getting them all to say aloud the hard new vocab that we were learning.
At the end of both lessons I would rub out the key words on the diagrams and one by one the children had to come fill it in, which I didn’t realise would bring such excitement but they loved standing up and writing on the board!
Today was test day! We started the lesson with some independent revision and asking of any questions. Then I set a test, one where they had to fill in the gaps in the diagram and the other some much harder questions to really test their knowledge. With these questions some of the them I had clearly spoken about in the past two lessons but the others were more asking them to think more deeply about the carbon and nitrogen cycle and use information that I would have only provided in snippets. These questions were ‘why is the carbon and nitrogen cycle important?’ and ‘what impact do humans have on the carbon and nitrogen cycle?’. Overall me and Payal were incredibly impressed with everyone. Particular highlights were Faizan, Raganie, and Rinku. Faizan had previously been in second batch and would get very distracted by the other boys in his class, was very shy and would not speak a lot of English to me. He has now moved into first batch, sits right in the front and listens attentively, when we did the revision part of the lesson he was completely focused reading through all his work. And as a result he got 100% on the test! I was so happy and proud of him! Raganie and Rinku also impressed me most with the harder questions I had set, writing very detailed and thoughtful answers.
10/11/2016 – Shalu’s class superlatives
After not being with this class for 2 weeks I was anxious to see how much they had retained especially because I wanted to bring in a new topic. So to begin with I got the students to tell me what I had last learnt and we went through all the key points. I was so, so impressed because they had remembered everything! Only a few struggling on a few areas but then later correcting themselves. I felt confident that we were ready to move onto the next section – superlatives. I introduced the topic by first giving an example of a simple, comparative and then superlative sentence – so that the distinction was clear. I then wrote up the rule on the board, explained it, and wrote up some fill in the blank questions. On going to each student getting them to read out their answers and marking it I was happy to see how many had understood the rule. We then spent the lesson doing some key repetition as a class because the ‘est’ sound is difficult and needed some practise!
11/11/2016 – Music day!
15/11/2016 – Payal’s class – ecological niche
Because Monday was a Holiday, I only had two days of teaching science this week so I picked a short topic that could be covered in these two days, this was what an ecological niche is! (the area a species occupies and the role that species has). This term can seem quite hard and abstract to first understand which is why I had a lot of examples up my sleeve to make it more applicable and let the students see exactly what I meant. I used the tiger and lion mainly as both species live in India and so the students know both of them. This seemed to work very well and by getting the students involved in what the ecological niche is for both species it seemed to be clearer what the term refers to.
Today was a recap of what an ecological niche is and the testing of understanding. To do this I asked many questions so to make sure everyone understood. All the classes took to this very quickly which meant I could introduce another small fact about niches, which is that the more niches there are the higher the biodiversity (also meant great revision on past topics) Second batch seemed to catch on to the term incredibly quickly and were eager to learn more, which was so great! To demonstrate how many ecological niches there are in the world I drew a tree and together as a class we looked at all the different species that can live on or off the tree – in which there are a crazy amount!
17/11/2016 – Shalu’s class and the practical test of superlatives
Today I wanted to make sure that the class understood exactly what superlatives are. Because sometimes it is difficult to tell whether the students are just remembering and repeating something as opposed to understanding what it means, and so able to use it in their own context. To do this I took to the playground! We had many different shaped balls and the rings and I started the session in the shade asking which is the biggest and smallest ball, and explaining the sentence structure ‘the red ball is the biggest’. Then came the competition time! I split the class in half, one observing with me and the other taking part in the competition which was rolling balls, hula hoops and throwing the balls in the air. The observing group had to tell me who was the fastest, longest (at hulahoop) and the highest (at throwing the ball). Then each time one group had a go we swapped over! The students loved this so much and were learning quickly about the sentence structure of how to say the superlatives. I even mixed up comparative sentences into the mix, so the answer depended on the question I asked, which they all took to very well. The highlight for me though was when they were eating their oranges and one girl finished first and she said ‘Maam I am the fastest!’ I was so happy and it showed me that she completely understood the meaning by using it in her own context. And on sports day this kept happening!
Today we were back in the classroom and I was asking questions similar to yesterday, but with many different ones and the students had to write the answers then say them out loud. All the students were so incredible fast at this! I had drawn me and Shalu on the board with different heights and length hair, but students were then so fast that I had to keep adding things to me and Shalu to ask questions like, who has the biggest hat? Who had the longest scarf? Who has the smallest shoes? Which the students loved and in part I think they were so fast so they could see what I would draw next! All in all I was so happy. Which brings me on to one more thing I would like to share. There was a boy in Shalu’s class that started coming a month after I started at the foundation. He was so incredibly shy, he never smiled and spoke very little. When he did speak his pronunciation was quite poor and so he was obviously very self-conscious to speak. But after just a couple of weeks of teaching him I couldn’t be more happy with his improvement! He now smiles to me all the time, speaks confidently when I ask him to speak out loud and is always so eager, and after every lesson now he comes to give me a high five and say thank you. I am just so happy to see this!
21/11/2016 – Payal’s class evolution and natural selection
The topic of evolution and natural selection is perhaps an incredibly difficult one, for one it is quite abstract as you cannot see it happening right in front of you but more have to imagine and trust the data, for another it is a very developed topic with many confusing side topics – spent a whole year at university trying to understand it! But it is also so, so important and because I wanted to bring in environmental topics I felt I had to teach evolution so that the students can get an understanding of the world and why if a species goes extinct it is such a sad an irreversible thing. Monday I taught evolution, I decided that the best way to teach this topic is by going through a timeline of the history of the earth – right from the beginning of the big bang to present day. I was quite worried to teach this topic because I didn’t want to offend anyone’s religious views. However, all the students completely took it in their stride and had no problems with it. When I was talking to Payal about it later on we were also saying that it doesn’t have to be one or the other, and that it is completely okay to be religious and believe in evolution (which I also do!).
Revision of evolution and the timeline of the earth showed me that the students did understand the topic. Now we moved onto natural selection. Here I used the giraffe as an example to explain step by step what natural selection is and how it works.
Today we did a revision on both topics I had taught followed by a lot of questions and individual work. This was important because these are hard topic and I wanted to make sure that everyone completely understood it before moving on.
24/11/2016 – Shalu’s class superlatives and comparatives
Today I wanted to bring everything together on what I had taught Shalu’s class since I had arrived. I started by drawing a big table split into simple, comparative, superlative sentence, with the number of syllables the rules and examples. The table provided a complete picture to everything I had taught in a simple and easy way to refer to. After completing the table we moved on to some questions.
Today I wrote many questions on the board, where I interspersed comparative and superlative questions, so the students had to decide from the way the question was phrased which sentence was appropriate to use as an answer. At first this proved a little difficult but with some explanation and practise the students seemed to understand the difference.
29/11/2016 – Payal’s class presentation week!
Today I asked to students to write about their favourite science topic that I had taught them. For this they could write an article, a speech, a PowerPoint anything they wanted but they were told they would have to present to the class the next day. Today was spent writing up their presentations and me helping with the grammar and pronunciation of some words.
Today everyone presented their topics! Everyone did incredibly well presenting clearly and correctly, one thing is that some of the students were quite nervous to go up and present – understandably so! This meant that I was keen to do more presentations in the future because really practise is essential to build confidence. At the end of the lesson Kajal said to me, ‘I was so scared to go up and present at the start but now that I have done it I am so happy’, which I feel is always the case, that we need to show that presenting is not as scary as first thought, and an incredibly useful skill to master!
01/12/2016 – Shalu’s class test time!
Ankita and I decided that we should do a test to determine how well everyone has understood the topics taught so far. So today I went through a complete revision of all the topics to help prepare everyone for tomorrow!
Test day! Everyone did incredibly well at the test and I was so pleased. There were quite a few children that got all the answers completely right! While others just struggled with a few of the harder question of sentence formation. But overall everyone did so well and I felt that they had understood comparatives and superlatives and were ready for the next topic!
05/12/2016 – Payal’s class studying week
For this week, we have decided to dedicate the time for the students to prepare for their upcoming exams. They will bring in their school books and homework and I will help them with any questions they might have.
06/12/2016 – Payal’s class studying week
Today I also helped the students the best I could with any questions that they had. They worked well and hard throughout the whole time.
07/12/2016 – Shalu’s class – nouns
New topic time with Shalu’s class! Having completed the test with comparatives and superlatives I felt confident to move onto with Shalu’s class. This week I wanted to make sure that they understood the fundamentals of nouns, as this is very important now and for them in the future when they are referred to! Today I began with just explaining what a noun is, also by trying to show the students that nouns go far further than just a pen or someone’s name but also such things as animals, months of the year etc. I also wrote down a short story on the board about me and Shalu and the children had to find the nouns in the story. They loved the story of me and Shalu and always find it so entertaining when I use us two to try and explain something! Megha was a particular star at this activity, I believe that she already had some practise with nouns before as was fast and eager to find all the nouns in the story – finding even the secret (non-obvious) ones I had put in!
08/12/2016 – Shalu’s class – proper and common nouns
To further their understanding on nouns and also to again show the extend of nouns I classified the difference between a proper and a common noun and got the class to think of some examples for me! For this I went round each individual student making sure everyone was tested and involved! Next another favourite of the class, another short story, but this time they had to find the common and proper nouns! Reading this out was also key to help them with their pronunciation, as still sometimes the students just assume the words rather than actually reading them so saying the work peacock when actually what is written is tiger! Making the students slowly and carefully read and then read aloud is therefore vital! Raj, one of the students who particularly struggles with pronunciation and could barely read aloud at the beginning, is now reading aloud far more confidently and every day his vocabulary expands and expands. This week he was particularly fond of the word ‘excellent’, telling me to write on everyone’s work that it was excellent and he too was excellent!
09/12/2016 – Shalu’s class – pronouns
Next was time for an important topic, pronouns. After defining, explaining and showing examples of pronouns I then constructed a table that included the most commonly used pronouns, their use, meaning and an example – again hopefully another key resource that the students can refer to when they need! Next was the testing time, where the students had to finish the sentence using the right pronoun. Zubia at first struggled a little with this but when I told her to look back at the table and went through it with her again she understood and picked the right pronouns!
13/12/2016 – Shalu’s class – telling the time
This week I had a full week with Shalu’s class so I wanted to teach them, first how to tell the time on a clock (as not all the students knew) and secondly how to say it so ‘it is ten past two’. I began the lesson just looking at a clock then talking about the hour minute hand and what it means depending on what the hand is pointing to. Then we began with the simplest rule ‘it is hour o’clock’. The first batch took to this very well, but with the second and third batch we didn’t have that much time because of Deepak’s ceremony we gave. And talking about this I just wanted to write down a word about Deepak both for me and for you. Deepak was such a lovely and enthusiastic boy, he always sat right at the front of the class, normally on the right-hand side and would eagerly give answers to questions. He was incredibly intelligent and always picked up what I had taught him extremely well, when he would get something right and I would praise him he would give this little giggle of happiness and would always be smiling. I know I had not taught him nearly as much as the teachers but he made a real impact on my life and I hope I did on his too, he will be missed so much and I will always remember him as that eager boy sitting at the front with a big smile on his face.
14/12/2016 – Shalu’s class
Today we did a big recap/ follow up from yesterday’s lesson and I then introduced the next rule ‘it is minute past hour’. Once I had explained the rule the students went eagerly to writing what the time was on all the questions that I did. And something that was so lovely that happened on Wednesday and Thursday was how eager all the children were to answer as many questions as they could! I would have just finished writing one question on the board and Shifa was suddenly ‘Mam I am done’ I was so impressed and gave her many more questions which she eaglery took about. This worked well me and Shalu going to each student and writing questions individually in their book when they had finished for two reasons. First it meant it was impossible for the children to copy their neighbours work as they had different question, thus proving to me that every student did understand the work and could do it! Secondly because sometimes writing many questions on the board can make all the students feel like they should finish it even if they take a little longer to do, this can cause them to rush and so make mistakes and not really understand, so this way everyone could go at their own pace!
15/12/2016 – Shalu’s class
Today I introduced the third rule that if the minute is 15 you say ‘it is quarter past the hour’. We then did a similar thing to yester of individually writing questions in students book which they eagerly filled!
16/12/2016 –Shalu’s class
After a good weeks hard work of telling the time Shalu and I thought it was time for arts and crafts today, which everyone enjoyed! Another really lovely thing that happened today was that Karuna (girl from Payal’s class) told me that one of her exam questions was about adaptations (a topic I had taught her) and that she answered it really well because of me, she proceeded to thank me repeatedly saying that without me she wouldn’t have been able to do the question and she was reading it at home and even taught her sister about the topic so that she too answered the exam question very well! This made me so incredible happy because Karuna is perhaps one of the weaker students that I teach, she lacks a lot of confidence with her English and Science and takes a little longer to pick up things. Meaning that when the other students are doing questions I tend to go and help her a bit more and explain the concepts again. So the fact that she was going home reading her notes, teaching her sister and then that it all paid off – what can I say, amazing!
06/01/2016 – Shalu’s class
My first day back after a two-week break! I was so excited to see the students and teachers again as I had really missed them! And it was so nice! There weren’t many students back because it was new year so we just did an arts and crafts day with them. But when the two girls in Shalu’s glass Munegza and Zubia they hid behind the door and jumped on me when I came inside – and I was just excited to see them!
09/ 01/ 2017 – Payal’s class – extinction
I was really excited to start teaching Payal’s class as I hadn’t taught them for such a long time, especially because they also had exams! And on Friday they were asking when I was teaching them and saying how they were excited to learn science again, which I was very happy about. And so from now until I finish I am going to teach the environmental science topics that I believe are so important and that I am also so interested in. I decided to begin on extinction, because the increased extinction rate and biodiversity loss is arguable one of our main environmental problems, it also links to all other environmental problems so seemed to be a good starting point. First I define what extinction was and then extinction rate. I then drew a graph for how the extinction rate has changed over time, staying constant over long periods of time and then spiking suddenly close to present day. I asked the students ‘what do you think happened here, what could have caused this massive rise?’. In first batch everyone was very quiet, with some more probing, still nothing. But I was determined for them to come to the conclusion themselves so I kept on asking and then waiting as they were thinking. Then Prachi said nervously, mam I think it might be when humans came. And oh how right she was! I was so happy because Prachi has a lower level of English compared to the others and is just much younger and for her to realise this on her own was really amazing!
10/01/2017 – Payal’s class
To carry on with extinction I wanted to tell the class about a particular extinction story to make the idea more personal and not just random facts. So I did a lot of research and then wrote this story/ poem about the Baiji dolphin – I have attached it to the email if you are interested! I broke the story up into these lines you see and it has a slight rhythm, because sometimes the kids just read so quickly and with no pause so I hoped this would make them slow down. And it really worked, with some kids even getting into the rhythm of the poem/story. Each student read a paragraph and we went around discussing what had happened, any hard words and how they felt about it. All of the students seemed to be really taken back with the story. At the end I told them all to write bullet points to summarise the story and they all did such a great job showing they were interested and understood!
11/01/2017 – Raksha came to the foundation!
12/01/2017 – Shalu’s class – what is the time?
After a long time since I had seen this class I wasn’t sure how much they would remember from what I had taught them before Christmas… So I started off slowly recapping the knowledge from before, and wow how I was amazed, the whole class seemed to remember the key rules and points incredible well! I went round to each student in the class asking specific questions so I knew it wasn’t only the strongest students who had remembered, and they all did incredibly well!
13/01/2017 – Shalu’s class
After yesterday’s success I felt confident that it was time to introduce the next rule, ‘half past’. After a lot of repetition and pronunciation of half and quarter past (because they are hard words to say) it was on to some exercises. I had set each student different questions, to avoid copying so I could know for sure how well they each understood. Raj still struggled with the pronunciation but sounding out each syllable seemed to help a lot and he got it in the end! Shalu, Perry and I were very busy going to each student, checking the answers getting them to read it out and then setting new question. The highlight however had to Shifa, she was so speedy and grasped the concepts so quickly, we would literally turn our back after setting five more questions and she would be like ‘I am finished, more questions please!’
16/01/2017 – Payal’s class – confusing mix of science and English
After the confusions of the weekend, I decided to try and do a lesson that would focus on the English but would have a science theme to it. In first batch it was only Faizan and Adil so it was easy to work through the article I had prepared for them and explain the concepts which they took to very well, at the end Faizan even came up to me to tell me how much he enjoyed the lesson and how much he had learnt. However with second batch it was not a success, there were too many of them to give this kind of book group feel and being teenagers they were not willing to wait for others to read the passages when they just wanted to read it. On top of this the incredible mixed ability meant I was having to explain the definitions and pronunciations to the weaker students while trying to explain the science to the stronger students. The lesson ended with me wanting to re-think things and this is when I talked to Payal and she said one week English one week science makes more sense, which I completely agreed with and felt a lot better deciding I would do prepositions for the rest of the week.
17/01/2017 – Payal’s class – prepositions
Today I taught location prepositions, I started the lesson using props and asking each student where the ball is, while I moved it from place to place. I then drew diagrams and explanations of each different preposition type. The good thing here was even with the stronger students there were still some prepositions they were unsure about ‘going up/ down and below/under’ so there was something for everyone to learn. After some written exercises I put the students into pairs where they had to do some role play in front of the whole class, one person being a seller in a supermarket and the other a buyer and there being a table full of random items. Interestingly even though the students seem so confident in class they all become quite shy when asked to perform, so this was also great confidence building skills!
After a recap on location prepositions I felt everyone understood so moved on to time prepositions. Here I drew a table to show the differences of when you use at, on, and in to make it clear to everyone. This was followed by more questions and another role play, this time one person trying to sell a holiday to the other. Here one great thing that Ragine and Karuna kept doing was correcting themselves. So while they would make mistakes they would recognise them and then correct themselves which was really good!
19/01/2017 – Shalu’s class
It was time to teach the hardest part of time, the ‘it is 10 to 8’ this required both English skills and maths skills, as some addition and subtraction was needed! While this was perhaps the hardest lesson I had taught the children took to it very well. I realised quickly that each student needed a different method (probably because of the age difference and if they had done maths at school yet). So while some like Sabiya needed the clock to look at like a graph and then just count up to 00, Muneza preferred having to fill in the blank of the number needed to reach a total of 60. Practise here was the most important so that the two-part rule made sense. The best part of the lesson, was Arshi. Arshi is a very young girl who gets distracted easily but with a bit of encouragement and reminding her to do her work she gets of with it to some amazing results. For example I hadn’t taught ‘quarter to’ yet only ‘quarter past’ but when one of her questions was 9.45 she recognised that the minutes were 15 and so the quarter rule should be applied, saying is it ‘quarter to the ten’ and how right she was! I was incredible impressed!
20/01/2017 – Shalu’s class – test time
After a quick revision of everything we had learnt about telling the time, it was time for a test! I gave the students a range of times and they had to write down what the time was in words. The highlight for me here? Was a girl named Reynuma, she is one of the shyest girls in class, never speaking up to answer questions and always being very poliete. What’s more she always sits next to her more confident friend who has the right answers, as such she is even quieter. But she was the only student out of all the classes to score 100% in the test! It was amazing, every answer was completely and perfectly correct and I was so happy to see that although she was quiet she was absorbing all the information and understanding it! In general all the clases also did very well in the test, making me feel happy that it was time for a new topic!
23/01/2017 – Payal’s class – experiment with rubbish
For today I designed an experiment where the students could think for themselves about the global rubbish problem. I began the lesson by just explaining what the word degrade meant as this was vital for the experiment. Then the students had to find one piece of rubbish that they thought would degrade it one week, and one that would not. They then had the option to add water to their rubbish, depending on if they wanted it to degrade or not. Next the students dug a small hole in the playground, put their small bit of rubbish, the potential water, then covered it back up with a flag and their name. All the students seemed very excited about this, Faizan at the end said to me ‘Mam I am so excited to see for next week!’. After the experiment I then got the children to write a table and their predictions, so that they could refer to it next week.
24/01/2017 – Payal’s class – rubbish
Today I felt was a major success. I gave a short presentation about our rubbish problem, stating how much waste is produced and what happens to it. I then gave the students the option to write this down only if they wanted (to ease of the pressure they have from their exams) but all the students were so interested they all wrote it down! Next was a class mind map trying to think of solutions to the rubbish problem. Here I stayed quiet encouraging the students to think of their own solutions, and how many they did think of! Rinku even had the most amazing idea of creating a compost heap in the playground, which we can then use for the vegetables we grow there! Lalit had the sophisticated view that we should not stop all plastic bags around but rather stop their production, otherwise it would be a waste if we had to put them all in the bin. After the mind map I told each of the students that they had to spend the rest of the lesson actually proactively doing something to help rubbish, so taking one of the solutions and putting it into actions. Here I recommended signs for around the foundation and letters to Veenaji and the Prime Minister asking for specific things. And this was a major success as it meant each student could work to their own ability. The letters to the Prime Minister and Veenaji were completely inspiring and I was so proud, you can read them when you come! The students were so into their letters/ signs that the majority stayed into third batch (there is no third batch normally) to be able to do more of them, which I was so happy to see how keen they were!
30/01/2017 – Payal’s class – rubbish
It was time to dig up the rubbish and see if it was still there! The main problem here is that no one had anticipated the rain that came last week! It was torrential and sadly a few of the flags were washed away. Even so, the majority of the students managed to find their rubbish! Some of it we believe was completely degraded and other biodegradable rubbish you could see on the edges how it was beginning to degrade. After collecting, analysing and writing up the results, I told the students to put the rubbish in the bin and wash their hands thoroughly. They then wrote up their results and conclusions. I wrote on the board a list of rubbish that did degrade and a list that did not. I then asked them to notice a pattern, of which they did! The rubbish that did degrade was all organisms (orange, paper, leaves) whilst the rubbish that did not degrade was all plastic! Second batch was able to take this a step further as we discussed how the degradable rubbish is because fungi and bacteria can break it down, while they cannot break down plastic. For the rest of the lesson I got the children to finish of their signs/ letters. And it was in this class that I got the first ever compliment from Lalit! I am sure you have heard a lot about him from past volunteers as he is one of the oldest students who has been at the foundation the longest, he also had one of the highest levels of English and science. As such he is very over confident and can sometimes be one of the most difficult students to handle. But at the end of today after telling him how good his lesson is he said to me “Well you taught me to write amazing letters, so I write amazing letters”. It really is a comment that will always stay with me because it was so unexpected and out of character from him which really just increased the meaning! Kunal, Ranganie and Lalit all stayed longer into third batch to also complete their letters and write them in neat all very keen to make theirs amazing!