Saturday, 6 October 2012

“Learning opportunities extend far beyond the classroom”

It has been truly said, “Learning opportunities extend far beyond the classroom”. At fountainhead, we strongly believe in this and leave no stone unturned in our quest for the same. Grade 5 learners, on 12th July had such an experience visiting “R. R. Industries”(click on the link), a unit involved in processing Pencils. Learners were quite excited and visited the place with great zeal. In addition they also discovered the process of the most important ingredient in a pencil i.e. graphite, which most people continue to call as “lead”. They were astonished and overwhelmed to see the processing of graphite into its finished state.
To make the wood casings for the pencils, square slats are formed, then grooves are cut into the slats, and graphite sticks are inserted into the grooves. Learners were immensely contented to see the process involved in making the wood casings, shaping the pencils and quality check process. They could easily identify the transformation of matter due to the various changes it undergoes.

The smiles and expressions on their faces were “priceless”. An amazing experience and worth travelling the long distance. Learners remained energetic throughout the trip.

And now, they are expected to exhibit their understanding with the help of  a flow chart using “” (ICT integration), followed by procedural writing focusing hypothesis, observation and conclusion (Language integration).



Mr Vardan Kabra was invited to our class as a guest speaker. The objective was to help the students understand their beliefs and its sources. They were even made to ponder over their own beliefs. Few of the questions raised to them are given below:

  • What qualities is God supposed to have?
  • What work is God supposed to do?
  • What is the reality of the world and our nation (good things co-exist with hunger, poverty, war, illiteracy, terrorism, crimes, corruption etc.)?
  • If God is all-powerful (omnipotent), all knowing (omniscient), and present everywhere (omnipresent), then why doesn’t he/she/they solve all the problems of the earth?
  • How can God be caring and yet tolerate so much suffering in the world? Is it because of freewill or because of sins of the past of that person? If indeed we have freewill then does God have a role in our lives?
  • Do people who claim that they can perform magic / miracles really possess some supernatural powers? If yes then why only them? And why are they unable to perform the magic / miracles under all conditions?
  • Does God really exist or not?
The learners were provoked to think and ask questions themselves. Of course the guest speaker mentioned that there is no right or wrong answer. The answers to these questions lie in what we believe in and each person is free to believe what they wish to. What’s important is to understand that we get influenced through a variety of sources (Human Societies) and ultimately we need to make conscious choice to believe something as true or not.

Our guest speaker also talked about the law of probability. Many times when things which have very low probability of happening occur, you feel as if you are blessed in some way. However, you mustn’t forget that however low the probability of an event occurring, they still happen sometime or the other.

So don’t just believe anything. Always think on the scale of probabilities. The thing which you think as illogical or meaningless, put under low probability and the thing that seems to be reasonable or possible, you may put under high probability. He also emphasized more on “questioning” and further added “believe things only after questioning” because once you believe anything you ultimately stop thinking about it. And you act from your beliefs – so your actions could be wrong if your beliefs are not well thought of.

All in all it was a stimulating discussion for our children and helped them clarify their understanding about the Unit’s central idea in a big way.

Ghost lights that dance on Banni grasslands

The Students had a debate on the "Existence of Ghost". A short discussion and various provoking questions were made to make them think and rethink on their belief.

You may also explore the information by typing “bannigrassland” on google and related videos on youtube.

It basically talks about the deserts of the Rann of Kutch, which melt into the arid Banni grasslands hold many unexplained mysteries apart from the varied species of birds. Spread across 3,846 sq km, this grassland is witness to a strange light phenomenon on any dark night.

Locals who have been seeing it since time immemorial, call it Chhir Batti in their Kutchhi-Sindhi language, with Chhir meaning ghost and Batti meaning light.

The light, which is as bright as a mercury lamp changes its colour to blue and sometimes red. It is like a moving ball of fire, which sometime stops or moves as fast as an arrow. On November 5, 2005 the research team found these lights at seven places. They have shown this phenomenon to several experts including well-known American ornithologist Bill Clark. He was amazed and had no explanation, He, however, said that he had not been able to capture this phenomenon on video or a film roll.

No, they are not ghosts as is believed by people in this area. It can be anything. Strangely enough, though this has been a part of life of Banni grasslands for centuries together, no one has been able to come up with a suitable explanation. As long as there is no sound explanation, people would assume these to be ghost lights, He said that these lights can only be seen after 8 pm on dark nights and are always 2-feet above the ground to about 8- to 10-feet in the air.
The lights had not harmed any one so far except that if one followed them one could be misled from the road into the thorny jungles. The lights playing hide and seek. Even if you decide not to follow them, they can creep up on you. It is something like the light following you.


Protect environment while immersing Ganesh idol

“Ganpati Bappa Morya”, the inseparable relationship between devotee and God. But how does it connect to the getting Ganesh idol immersed? Well, the immersion of the idols or statues in the ocean, or other bodies of water, and subsequent destruction of them serves as a reminder of their beliefs.

But aren’t they aware of the shocking pollution/destruction during the Ganesh festival? Thousands of idols made from harmful materials like plaster of paris and other toxic metals, coated with deadly paints containing mercury, carbon and lead enters our water bodies and affects the oxygen levels in it. They are not only dangerous to health but also can damage heart, kidney, liver and other circulatory system and central nervous system. Besides polluting the water, they reach humans through food chain, when they consume fish and other sea food.

The students, with the help of the teachers and Nature Club Team, exhibited their understanding and demonstrated great enthusiasm during the field trip. They also initiated and spoke to the people who came for Visarjan on the fifth day of Ganesh Festival, about the destruction caused to the environment. They even talked about the dangers to flora and fauna because the idols don’t dissolve, as they go to the river bed and affect the plant life.

The students initiated to understand the importance of celebrating festivals keeping in mind the need for environment protection and also prevention and control of Pollution. They extended their understanding that there are various laws in place concerning festivities, celebrations/environment protection etc. but they can be successful only if they are supported by people through successful implementation. The Students are determined to speak to their family members, relatives and friends about protecting the nature and spreading the awareness for the same.

Grade 5, would like to grab this opportunity to thank and appreciate all those people involved in promoting the making of idols made out of eco friendly materials. And also Nature Club Team in spreading the awareness and educating people for the same.

As, these polluting idols are a modern invention and nothing to do with religion.


Discovering Learning

Jerome Bruner rightly defines discovering learning as a method of inquiry based instructions, helping learners to discover facts and relationships.

“Quizzes don’t just tell us how well we’ve memorized something- they actually help us remember it”. Yes, it proved to be true when a session of quiz was conducted in the class. The students were asked some challenging questions related to their ongoing unit and were also introduced to some new words. The best part of the session was when some of the students were able to identify the new vocabulary. What a fun learning it was!

Before going to the Rajgiri, Students were asked to list down what they know about WETLAND. Once they finished writing, they were expected to think through all the aspects what they really want to know or discover about the topic.

After discussion and various provocations, they identified the various sources of information. The students were completely engrossed during the process. Next day, some of the students shared the piece of information that they discovered. Not only they presented the information with great confidence but even shared few of the facts related to it. And then, the term BIG 6 was introduced to them.

The students revised and revisited their understanding and concepts for the ongoing unit by watching a video. They even initiated and prepared the flash cards and played the game of “Playing Card” within a group. The 4 groups were made of 4 students each, where the leading team member with maximum cards would be the winner. There was absolutely great excitement and enthusiasm within a group. Who does not like to win? Once the game was over, there were 4 winners. The students decided to proceed further and a final game was conducted, and we got the winner with maximum cards, if I am not mistaken with maximum answers. An innovative and a different way to discover memorize and recheck the understanding.



The Students were given free choice in the homeroom period as part of their “Tuning in” activity of the new unit, and were asked to spend their time as per their wish.  They had complete freedom to do whatever they wanted as long as they were back in their classes at specified time.

Once they were back in their class, the provoking questions were made to make them think for the reason as to why they got a free choice? Why no one was there to question them? What did they do, during that time? Would they like to have the similar kind of free choice again?

The Students initiated by expressing  their happiness, joy and pleasure and even their curiosity for knowing the reason. They further added that they were not only amazed but confused as well. The most common thought which provoked everyone’s mind was- Is our teacher upset with us? Is she angry or sad? Are the procedures and routines being followed by all of us or not?

The Students discussed what freedom means to them and also the impact of freedom on their behavior and well-being.


Back to Basics

The students in context to what freedom means to them and its impact on their behavior and well being, came with the word “GOVERNANCE”. They started discussing their own issues and conflicts and provoked several questions related to it.
The list of issues were made to make them think as to whom to approach for problems/conflicts or resolutions. They studied the hierarchy of the people and their profile.

The students were introduced with the term, ‘Judiciary’,'Legislature’,'and ‘Executive’. They considered the concept of the school as one organization and the government as another type of organization.Here basically they were trying to understand the concept ‘function’ and the related concept ‘structure’.

They discussed that the head of the school is ‘The Minister’ of the organization and he is the one who designs the structure of his organization under specified legislature. They went through the process, revisited and revised the attributes of the “Learner Profile” and “Attitudes”, and also the ‘Procedures’ and ‘Routines’ of the school. The students also reflected on their learning in regards to “The Leader in me” program. The discussions and provoking questions were made to make them think as to, Are they under the right ministry? What kind of knowledge and skills is our minister trying to inject in the students? What values does the school seeks to promote?

The students even visited their school mission statement. They went further and stated that, under that situation the teachers are acting as an S.M.C. The first face for the students and parents. They visited the ‘Classroom mission statement’ and its purpose.


Words are everywhere!..

The word and the world around the word”.

The students as part of their learning engagements played a game of word search in a very different style.

They were asked to omit any 2 letters from the list of alphabets and then the word was given by the teacher to start a game. The students sitting in a circle need to add any new word in regards to its meaning or connections. If by any means they articulate a word initiating with the letters omitted or repetition of the words, they would be disqualified from the game. The Students had limited time and they need to be quick in adding the word.

They enjoyed thoroughly and came with different words and its meaning. They were also able to make connections between two words. The students acknowledged the idea of having such game and enjoyed the circle time.

Thanks to Mr Chris Boreham for suggesting a wonderful, innovative and a fun loving game.


Author's Visit


The learners were very excited on "Anushka's" visit and gave her a warm welcome. In regards to her visit, learners tried making their own "Rhyming" Poem. Absolutely remarkable poems. They discovered their own ideas and thoughts and were amazed to see their own creations. Indeed, splendid performance by all of them.
Embellishing the wall with full of their own creation was no doubt the surprise element of their way to express regards and welcome "Anushka"


Celebrating Characters


“Characters” the word simply reminds me of ” Tom Sawyer”,”Huckleberry finn”,”Jim”,”Widow Douglas and Miss Watson” from “Adventure of Huckleberyy finn” by “Mark Twain” ,or, “Charles Darney”,”Sydney Cartoon”,”Doctor Manette”,Lucie Manette” from “A Tale of Two Cities” by “Charles Dicken”, etc..the list goes on and onAmazing stories and beautiful characters…

But is it the character or Ms Chandra’s innovative style of narrating a story? Well, in my opinion its the combination of both. There are several meanings of the word “Character” in the dictionary. Right from the “Fictional Character” to “the inherent complexity of attributes that determine a person’s moral and ethical actions and reactions” to ” the characteristics property that defines the apparent individual nature of something”. But for the learners, characters are entertaining, imaginary, hilarious, humorous, makes you laugh and cry, with whom you fall in love, etc..

Fountainhead, truly gives the meaning and an opportunity to the learners to capture the moments of truth. Today the Learners grab the opportunity and dressed up as their favourite characters and read aloud some exciting stories with theirs friends. What an innovative style of giving honours to all the wonderful authors,writers or if I am not mistaken, the creator’s of those beautiful characters!. Indeed, an excellent way to enjoy reading different minds, understanding and enjoying their perspectives.
“Fountainhead tujhe Salaam”!


Read, Read, Read .....

It is rightly said by "MEM FOX", that if we're able to raise happier, brighter children by reading aloud to them, the well-being of the entire country will ramp up a notch.So let us all get together and follow some of the commandments, to make the BOOK WEEK a real success.
1. Let's promise to read at least thirty happy minutes daily.
2. Let's read stories that we'd really love to read.
3. Let's read out with full excitement, joy and great enthusiasm.
4. Let's read and dramatize the story and enjoy to the fullest.
5. Let's read aloud to our parents and siblings.
6. Let's read aloud with animation to our grandparents.
7. Let's read aloud to our friends and with friends too, and capture some sweet memories.
8. Let's read thinking the end in mind.
9. Let's read to move a step ahead to reach our goals.
Last but not the least, Let's Read, Read and Read, as if its just the beginning..........