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Category: blog (page 1 of 7)

Sports’ Day 2017- Mamina rants

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6th December, 2017 is my scariest day at Karkhana till date. I didn’t see a ghost, I didn’t get hit by a truck, I wasn’t ghosted by anyone. It wasn’t because I broke someone’s heart. It wasn’t because someone else broke my heart. It was because I was scared.

Starting off the day by going through the gallis of Ason and getting things ready for the Sports’ Day after coming at Karkhana, the day had a good start unlike most days. There we were prepping up for this and that and what not. Carrying tables on top of our heads, getting our hands covered with the white cement, making sure the riddles were ready and so were the treasures. It was a mixture- of rush, of excitement, of anxiousness, of memories, of challenge and  of determination.

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An inside story: From the classrooms

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If you even remember bits and pieces of your school days, you might certainly remember that one particular student in your class who would rarely say these things out loud, but always behave in certain ways that would hint at: “I don’t like to talk to anyone”, “I will just stare at the wall all day”, “ Why do we have group projects?” and so forth. Here, I am speaking of those particular students who found it difficult to ask for the teachers’ help even if they were having a lot of trouble understanding what was being taught. Here, I am also speaking of myself – a good decade old me.

I recently went to Olympia World School for a classroom observation. As our BC teacher Ms. Sangden began her class on “LED and Craft” with an interesting story, I was looking keenly at the students- watching their expressions change, listening as the room filled with a little laughter. I noticed a student sitting alone at a desk that could easily fit in 4 students. I did not wonder why. Seeing him like that made me nostalgic. The old picture of myself back at school became more vivid than ever before. A part of me was scared and another part of me was also curious to see how he would do the activities in the class as, in BC classes, students are split into teams where they have to come up with ideas, then work on them and then share their project at the end of the class.

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Celebrating end of cluster at Paragon Public School

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On November 4th, 2017, a report card distribution was scheduled at Paragon Public School, Tilganga. While the students and parents were definitely feeling jittery because of the usual “report card day blues”, there was also a lot of excitement and buzz at the school yesterday. Keeping up with the vibes and energy at the venue, a team from Karkhana was all set to make the day a memorable experience for everyone present.

Taking forward a new and interesting idea of organizing cluster based Design Challenge (DC), we prepared and planned out Design Challenges for the students of Grade 5 and 7, that were based on the clusters: “Structure and Stability”and “Fun With Electronics” respectively. Letting students figure out ways in which they could take learning outside their classrooms and think of finding out solutions adaptable to real-life scenarios was our main aim for doing this. Two Design Challenges: “Shake Table” and “Traffic Awareness” were run simultaneously, both of them starting at 10AM.

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A Session from the ongoing Teacher Development Session at Karkhana

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Karkhana started off as a team of 5-6 members. It had a few set of teachers and a limited number of students to work with. In the small team, it was easier to see the growth and keep track of the progress of all individuals. To see how a person was growing as an individual was easy which made it easier to see the growth of the team itself. But now the team has grown and expanded to a larger team of people. We have members from multiple backgrounds:

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Karkhana Mela – Where it all came together

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With the target of putting together a fun-filled day before the Dashain break actually kicked off, Karkhana came up with the idea of Karkhana Mela. After weeks and weeks of planning and bringing together a set of activities that could be done during the Mela, the big day eventually arrived. Read more

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Creating stories and memories at Kavre

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On September 15th, 2017, the Storytellers at Karkhana were headed towards Shree Indree Vidya Mandir at Panchkhal-3, Ziro Kilo, Kavre. With the primary goal of sharing learning experiences to the students of the school, we had taken with us a few of our lesson plans and presentations, which we had a really fun time sharing with the students. What did we do on that day? If this is a question running in your mind, I would like to walk you through what really happened there. Read more

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FACEBOOK: An opportunity to teach storytelling

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Recently I have had social media on my mind. Several thing in my life have conspired to put it there. First, with a spate of new Maker Mentors, many in their late teens, hanging around Karkhana I finally have some people to friend on Snapchat… so i decided to get myself on Snapchat. As someone who predominantly favors words, it has been interesting to try to craft narratives in a medium that is primary about images. It has also been interesting to learn a whole new set of norms while figuring out what kinds of narratives are considered native to the medium.

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John Dewey Students here at Karkhana

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On Saturday, 2nd September 2017, students of grade 7, 8 and 9 from John Dewey School came to Karkhana at 10:30 in the morning.

 

After a brief introduction with the Storytelling Team, the students were split into two groups and taken for Karkhana Tours. Not only did they look around at our working spaces, but also asked a lot of questions regarding how Karkhana operates and how contents are designed and taken to schools. It was also really interesting to see the students analyze our working place in terms of its design and architecture. Having experienced a devastating earthquake two years ago, it was quite obvious for them to be concerned about what Karkhana had to go through during that phase. After a brief tour, the students moved to the Mural Room for their cluster-end preparation class where they worked in teams for certain projects and also prepared for the paper presentations. Read more

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DESIGN CHALLENGE AT NISARGA BATIKA

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Students of grade 6 and 7 from five competing schools had participated to create a Nepali Superhuman in the Design Challenge.

Introduction: Why Design Challenge?

  • Platform for engaging students in thinking, creating and applying new ideas and concepts  
  • Letting students think of ideas and create a collaborative environment for them to work in
  • Making and designing prototypes relating to a certain topic or idea
  • Creating real life scenarios for students to come up with creative, critical approaches
  • Moulding students to develop a critical, creative and collaborative perspective
  • Implanting and developing concepts of 4C’s (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication) in young minds

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School Environment

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One fine Monday morning I woke up, washed my face, prepared breakfast and around 9, I headed out for the office in my bicycle. On the way, I saw few boys waiting for a school bus. Another boy came rushing towards his friends. The boy looked very excited. The excitement in him made me think  how times have changed. When I was his age, I was never excited to go to school. And I can hardly remember any of my friends being that excited to go to school. Had there not been my friends at school, I guess I would have forced my parents to take me out of the school. The boy was in such a rush that I assumed he had something to share with his friends. I stopped my bicycle to listen to their conversation. The boy screamed that it was a holiday. And everyone was so happy. Some of them were literally dancing at the stop. I then, realized that time hasn’t changed much. Few seconds after, one of his friends asked why it was a holiday. The boy said that someone from their school had passed away. And the next question I heard from one of them was very hurtful. I couldn’t believe my ears. He asked how many days will their school remain closed? Was that supposed to be his next question? I then realized schools these days are even worse than in my time. I would at least show concern about such serious issues rather than focusing on holidays. What kind of environment are we creating inside our schools? At any cost, students just want to skip school. This made me realize that those students were going to the school just because they had to. They had no other options. How will students learn when they don’t enjoy going to school? If I had my own school, the following would be a few beginning steps to make school environment more friendly.

 

No school uniform:

We have a unique way of expressing love to our child. We try to provide them with their demand without any question. We don’t expect them to help us in the household work. This makes them feel that they are unique. And when they enter the professional world they realize that they are no longer different than their colleagues. They are all the same. People don’t treat them as the special one. Suddenly everything becomes so hard for them to cope in the professional world. I believe having school uniform will help students learn that everyone is same. But that is something that has to be changed at home rather than school. Having said that, school uniform leaves us with only disadvantages.

Birthdays used to be my best days at school. I could wear any dress I wanted while going to school. I remember how my teachers and friends praised my personality looking at my outfit on my birthdays. I didn’t want to look like hundreds of my other friends. I wanted to create my own identity. But my school rules only allowed me to live my dream once every year. During Dashain, my family used to take me out for shopping. And when they ask me to choose a dress I like, I used to request them to choose one for me. It took me a long time after I completed my school years to figure out it was OK to choose my own dresses. Letting students choose their own dress will help them become more independent. They will learn to express themselves. I agree that sometimes they might choose to wear  dresses that are inappropriate for the school. This is when we, as a teacher, have to intervene and tell them why that is inappropriate. And most of the time you don’t even have to tell them. They will feel that something is wrong with their dressing style. This is how children learn. They need to experience the things before they believe it.

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Modify assemblies:

School is a community with large number of people with all possible ages. It is quite rare to see all students in one place at the same time. The only time they are together is during morning assembly. Assemblies help students and teachers to give the sense of community inside the school. But the way assemblies are conducted in schools does not look like it’s a community. It looks like some military troops are standing in a line for their training. Morning prayers and marching are the only things students do during assemblies.

We can tweak few things to make morning assemblies more effective and interesting for students. This is the perfect time to mix different grades together and perform  group work. This is the time where students can learn from their elder or younger peers. This is also the opportunity for teachers from different grades to interact with students.

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No desk and benches facing teachers:

Each and everyone inside the class has different life experiences. Everyone inside the class has their own expertise and certain set of skills. Classroom definitely is not a place with only one skilled person, teacher. But the way desk and benches are arranged in class gives that notion. Here is the link to the blog I wrote few months ago on different classroom setting.

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Things I mentioned above are some basic steps that can be implemented in school without much preparation and additional infrastructure. Although there are other things that we need to change like the relation between teacher and students, teaching techniques to follow inside the classroom, these are the things that can be changed with very less effort. The above listed steps are not ideal. We might have to tweak these steps little bit to adjust it according the school and students.

– Roshan Bhatta

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