While our school is cloaked in scaffolding and work on Phase Two of our new building continues upstairs, our classrooms, library, computer lab, corridors, and playground are filled with the sounds of learning. Every day I see and hear interesting and engaging conversations, watch students work at solving problems, read samples of really insightful writing, and witness the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growing process. What follows is a brief summary of highlights from the past couple of months.
In mid January we held our first set of student led conferences. These are a bit of departure from the traditional parent teacher interview as they are initiated and led by the students themselves. With the onus on them to explain their academic highs and lows with their parents, students took time to carefully review their work from the past term. This reflection process allowed them to think critically about their areas of strength and areas for improvement. The parents loved seeing their children proudly exhibit and discuss their portfolios, test and quiz papers, artwork, project books, rough drafts, and final copies.
Also in January we held our school wide Sports Day. Events included field events like high jump, shot put, javelin, and discus and track events like 100, 200, 400, and 1500 M races as well as relays. Also, there were fun races for the little ones as well as a Yoga competition. PT Master Maruthamuthu, his wife Malar, PT assistant Suresh, and their band of dedicated student volunteers did a fantastic job organizing the events, prizes, and certificates. All the teachers had roles as officials and timekeepers, and a special thank you goes out to Mr. Gardner and Ms. Rosaline who provided running commentary as PA announcers throughout the day. Our student athletes conducted themselves extremely well, achieved personal bests, and upheld the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship throughout the day.
The other day I had the opportunity to sit in on the grade five class’s reflection on the topics they have covered in their units of investigation this year. I heard about games played during the Middle Ages; the voyages of explorers such as Vasco de Gama, Columbus, John Franklin and Henry Hudson; ways of finding location using latitude, longitude and a variety of mapping techniques; the solar system; and the space programs of the USA, Russia, and India. As they shared their thoughts about what they have learned, many students not only demonstrated an ability to recall facts, but were able to demonstrate a deeper level of understanding about the topics.
Here are three pieces of writing done by students in grade eight recently. The assignment: Write a short essay saying what you would like to be in your next life. I think you will agree that the writing is imaginative, well constructed, funny, and insightful.
I believe that there is a next life for me. In my next life I have to be born like a parrot. A parrot is the only bird which can talk. Parrots like to eat carrots. Me also like to eat carrots. There is many variety of parrots in the world. If I am a parrot in my next life, I will be Panjvarnan Parrot. “Panj’ means five and ‘varnan’ means color. I don’t want to be a tame parrot because tame parrot will be locked in cage. Wild parrot will be free roaming so that is the kind of parrot I will like to be.
In my next life I like to be a dove because, I like to fly and doves look beautiful. I like to be a dove because it is the symbol of peace and it is a free bird. I like the white color of the dove because it is bright. As I am living on earth, I want to be able to fly above it and see how beautiful and colorful it is.
In my next life, I like my friends to be there because friends are kind and will always be there to help with problems. I would play with my friends forever and enjoy my life.
In my next life I will have a huge and beautiful house. It should have a swimming pool, a playground, and a forest.
As a dove, I would not have any enemies, I would never get in to any trouble, and I would be always happy. I would live a peaceful life.
If I have a next life, I would like to be a cat. Cats are the most wonderful animal in the world for me. It will be wonderful to be a cat. I also like dogs, dogs are similar to cats but cats don’t have to do any work. Cats only work is to sleep and eat, two of my favorite things. Tigers are also members of the cat family and I like tigers too. I also love kittens.
Cats are able to see in the night clearly. I like to see clearly too. Cats are kind. Cats have sharp nails. I also like to grow my nails long. Cats have big whiskers. Cats are only able to see in black and white. Their eyes cannot see colors. That’s okay with me. Cats come in many different colors. I would like to be in white and sandal color.
I have two cats in my home named Puzzy and Meenu. Meenu is male and Puzzy is female. They are very cute. Meenu is a big cat. Old people will tell if you are going out and a cat crosses before you, it is bad luck. For me, I think it is good luck.