Wanted volunteers - saturday morning -

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

IDay at Bellur Nagasandra School

In this academic year, this was my first visit to the school. But the recognition and pleasure of the chlidren at seeing their dear "aunty" was instant.

The festivities began with the children walking the area carrying a Gandhiji photo and to the accompaniment of the drums beating.

The mood just got more festive when the children were back at school. They all danced to their hearts content to the beats of the solo drum.

Finally they settled down, wondering what all the fuss was about (especially the anganwadi kids - they were so lost that they looked cute... )

This was followed by ample poojas of Gandhiji and Nehru, a rendition of Vande Mataram (Akash still thinks its a torture to his kids, but my kids dont seem to think so ;-) ), the flag hoisting and finally the rendition of the national anthem.

Shekhar, one of the two teachers at the school for the last 13 years, has been transferred from school to the main BEO office in K.R. Puram. There was a tear-filled felicitation ceremony for Shekhar and it is sad to see him go..

The day ended with chocolates for the children, and that had the children overjoyed. But yesterday also got me thinking. Is this education going to improve the lives of these children in anyway? If not, what are we achieving from this whole drill of making them mug to pass exams? Are these children going to grow up to be daily-wage labourers with children studying in this very same school? Are their grand-children going to have a better standard of living, better food, better infrastructure?

60 years under the national flag, and we still have so many open questions. Is there anything we can do to answer any of them?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

6th std Math test

These tests were conducted by Nagrathna who has been predominantly handling the 6th std batch, and Chetna. Good info for us to follow up, as these kids move to 7th std soon.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

HAL Museum visit

These children have their home very close to the airport runway. They grow up with the sound & sights of all kind of flying machines. So, one saturday afternoon, after their classes, we decided to take the 7th std kids at Chalghatta school to the HAL museum. The kids were quite excited as usual. They wanted to skip their mid-day meal and start. I used that day to explain 'How airplanes & helicopters fly'......a quick read of the book HowStuffWorks early morning majorly helped. Simple concepts, how they move forward, upwards & turn were explained, 'Propeller, Engine, Wings, Rudder' were introduced. And soon, couple of students explained it to the class.

So, 22 of the students, 4 teaching staff, 7 volunteers landed at the museum soon. The museum authorities seemed to be very happy to see the children, and all thru they treated us warmly.

And for the next 2 hours the children looked at aeroplanes, touched them, heard about them, played simulator games, ran around joyusly and so on...

Mission accomplished.

As we went thru the place, a few things seem to attract the kids wildly.

1. The Fishes in the pond.

2. Mangoes on a tree: There was a wild run for it. (The Rose garden besides was majorly eyed, but we guyz were in sufficient force by then).

3. An Air Conditioned room we walked into, almost every one said 'AC...AC...'

As I watched the children running around & playing, some inevitable thoughts cropped up. Will they make it big ? Would they be an Engineer etc. What sort of jobs would they get into ?

Well, their learning levels have been a serious concern. Its quite bad, simply not comparable to others from private schools. They seem to belong to classes many rungs below. At times, the classes, resemble a creche, the kids simply come & go for years.

Government schools remain a challenge. How do we as volunteers transform the school. Get these children to fulfill their potential. How ??

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chalghatta 4th standard assesment

The following is the assesment for kannada and maths ( addition ) of 4th standard class chalgatta school. One poem in kannada was given to read and students were assessed based on their reading speed, word formation, fluency in kannada. Some students were not even able to frame words using kannada letters. The condition of few students is really bad, need to do lot of effort to improve thier kannada reading skills.

Maths (only addition) was assessed. Some students dont even know how to place commas for numbers. Some dont know units, tens, hundreds etc place. Addition without carry is done by almost all. Addition with carry some students had problems. But almost all students could not identify ten thousand and lakh numbers. Here is the assessment details. Next week will try to assess subtraction, multiplication, division and give final assessment of maths.

Name, Kannada assessment, Maths ( addition and general number concept)

Venkatesh A A
Vijay A A

Martin Luther B A
Swati B B

Vijayalakshmi C A
Triveni C B
Priyanka C C

Gopal D B
Manjunath D C
Deepika D C
Bagya D C
Preethi D D

A. Very Good.
B. Good.
C. Average.
D. Poor.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chalghata 3rd std assesment

The school continues to surprise me.

Narendra (new volunteer), Madhu & me landed to find the 5th, 6th & 7th occupied by teachers. So, we decided to check out the 3rd & 4th who sit in the same classroom taught by teacher X (Vandana/Muktha).

Initially Kannada assesment was done (read a para from their textbook) followed by Math assesment (addition & subtraction). The kids seemed to be surprisingly good in maths. The small class strength helps.

Name Kannada Math-add Math Subtract

Priyashakthi M G G
Dhanalakshmi M G G
Mary G G G
Suma M G G
Ajith B G ND
Joseph G M ND
Venkatesh B G ND

G - Good
M - Medium
B - Bad
ND - Test not done

Madhu looked at Kannada, while I looked at Math. Math was more of oral addition & subtraction, followed by paper problems. Didn't have much of carry etc.

Two Bad's in Kannada is a concern. Math skills seem to be good, need to test more. And this was the BIG surprise, the kids both 3rd & 4th seem to be real good with maths.

Narendra to update on his assesment of the 4th std.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

English B5

Most of the kids in the school are learning words by rote. When told to read, they guess the words instead of reading them. Except for Chetan who puts in some effort into really reading the words, all the others find it difficult. One possible cause is that these kids dont know the small case alphabet.

Also, Madhu is very restless and seems totally uninterested in learning or questioning about anything at all. :(

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Eng c4 Bellur

Bellur school, following kids in 4th std are bad at English alphabets - can't write -

- Vidya
- Lingaraju
- Suhaas

Shud teach them b4 schools close.


Monday, February 12, 2007

First computer lesson for Std 7th

"Just give us one week, and we will know computers" This was the sentiment in the 1.5 hours computer session I had for 5 students from the 7th standard.

Selecting the 5 students was a task in itself. Almost everyone wanted to go and try using the computer. :-) So we promised the remaining kids that we'd have a session for 5 kids each every week. That pacified them for a few mins.

Moved the 5 kids to the HMs room, and spent a lot of time trying to start up the computer. Finally two engineers got this one computer working!!!

I started with a brief description of the terminology of the computer - CPU / Monitor / Mouse / Keyboard. And then showed them how to open Paint and then let them paint. The purpose was to accustom them to using the mouse - both pointing and clicking. The paintings took different hues and different shapes - circles looked like eggs and the sun had rays going till the roots of the trees :-)

Could give two chances to each kid to use the computer and still the session went on for over 1.5 hrs! Would like to provide more time to each child in the coming few sessions. Would also like to go to some level of computer internals such as RAM, hard disk, motherboard - atleast teach them the terminology.

At the end of the session, they didnt want to leave the computer. And their words were "Just give us one week...."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

7th std English assesment

The idea is to do a crash course on English for the 7th. The focus will hopefully remain on their textbook. So, Madhu, Chethna & me went around assessing them last saturday. Asked them to read out a paragraph from their English book first chapter also asked them to copy & writedown a paragraph. And, based on these, we have catagorised them to Good, Average, and bad.

The idea is to handle the kids based on these groupings, and we would need atleast 3 volunteers for that!!!

The list more for records, is as follows, I seem to have misplaced the list prepared by Madhu. Need to extrapolate that data!


Rajesh, Prabhudev, Nagaraj, Manjula


Yellappa, Annapoorna, Kamala, Narayana, Chandrika, Geeta, Priyadarshini


Vinodraj, Umarani, Arun kumar, Sunil, Jyothi, Prabhavathi, Manjula

Yellapa is the restless kid around, looks quite sharp, need to channelise him.

Monday, January 29, 2007

An extraordinary experience...

I've been contemplating this idea of joining an NGO since long...am glad that I could finally move one step ahead & get associated with the Dream School Foundation...

There goes a saying, "The grass is always greener on the other side"...My experience at the school has only reinforced my realisation that I am one of those lucky ones to have my foot on the greener side...
I have read quite a few articles about the under-privileged sector of our society, but it's nothing close to experiencing the veracity in person...Come face to face with the kids & you sure will be left rapt !! It's amazing that even though they are deprived of the very essentials, that every child has a right to, they radiate so much of exuberance & are so eager to learn...These kids so convincingly portray all the rare qualities that maybe even I, as a child, might have been nervous about; then why must they be deprived of their right to chilhood ? Just a thought to ponder...

Am sure it's only the beginning...I hope to make a positive difference...

Saturday, January 27, 2007


India's Republic day means & doesn't mean a lot of things to people. But to school children, itz fun time again. Marchpasts, community processions, speeches, flag hoisting, songs, skit, dramas & chocolates!!! It was 9ish in the morning, when I reached the Chalghatta school. For a change, all the kids were neatly seated, and awaited the proceeding to start. The chief guest was to arrive, and there was no sign of him. And soon, there was these colorful distant objects in the sky that got the kids excited. Parachutes, balloons ? None of us cud make them out.

The 6th std kids rehearsing

Shivaji & a look-alike!
Awaiting the chief guest.

Finally, we decided to go ahead.
The culturals started, but we guyz had to move to the Bellur school.

Initial photshot with Chetna & Hena.

' Bharath Matha ki Jai'

The Anganwaadi kids.

The Vande matharam song. Chetna & Hena had trained these kids for it. One complicated version, with tounge twistors galore.......I regarded it as pain & torture to my kids.......but to my surprise they pulled it of with aplomb.

Loose control... One more time!

Man...now for THE skit. The 'Punyakoti' song. Chethan, who sang was running away with the song. I barely managed to click a few snaps.

We had wonderful masks for the cows & tiger, but the one for the calf wasn't available, and we had to make do with a rabbit mask!!! Here Punyakoti is talking with her calf....'bout her impending surrender to Mr. Tiger.

After sentimental scenes, Punyakoti goes to Mr. Tiger, who for reasons I haven't fathomed all my life, feels sorry for wanting to kill her and instead of sending her back & going home, jumps from a cliff, and ends life!!!!

Teaching with my 5th std kids goes like this....45 minutes of English...restlessness.....and suddenly they jump and say 'Uncle, we will dance'......and thats it...they have their 'n' dances...that includes Dhoom machale!!! Here, we have them as Gopika's cribbing 'bout Krishna!!!

Speech in English. Chetna came with a simple written speech, and thrust it in my hands. None of the 4th & 5th were ready to speak it out, for they can't read it in the first place. Shocked. Well, thats the way it is. And, as I loudly contemplated writing the English in Kannada, and getting it read. Manjunath, a 3rd std kid, jumped, and forcefully said, he wud do it, and did a wonderful job of it. Long way to go for us.

3rd std kids singing the poem 'Bannadha thagadina thuthuri'

Man...this song has climbed up to the top of my charts. Something like 'Jannadha pannadha mangagallee'......Monkeys... please don't see, speak & hear evil! A dance, that evokes lot of laughter amongst kids.
End of celebrations. Lots of volunteers missed. Sunand, Dharin & Ami joined. And, the best part was the culturals at the Bellur school. Last Independence day, the kids just watched as Pooja & speeches took the centre stage. But this time it was the otherway.
After we left the school, came across this injured Brahminy kite. It may have done well with some attention & care, we left it to nature & moved away. And, so are these govt. schools ?