In Isai Ambalam school 2nd graders had a difficulty in finding the pattern. When I use Dienes blocks and jodo cubes to identify the patterns. I asked the children to arrange the cubes in different orders that they have seen it in real life. I split them into two groups and asked them to arrange th cubes in patterns. They started doing that and then shared how they arranged the numbers from 1 – 10. When I used the Dienes block it was difficult for them to tell how many blocks are used visually. Then I used Jodo blocks it was big and they were in different colors. Children were able to tell the different patterns. They were able to see it visually and they were able to draw it on a paper. They helped each other to identify the pattern. They were able to tell the different patterns that they saw in their house.
During Maths class children were having difficulty in telling tables quickly. Our children were able to tell tables in order but it was difficult when it was random. So we started using Vaughn cube. Vaughn cube is a set of videos which help children to tell tables quickly. We started using the it with 3rd and 4th graders. At first children felt interesting. It middle they felt it was boring because the videos were so long. Then we started to use cards that has been taken from the video. when they started with 3 table they couldn’t tell the number or answer in 3 table. Later when they started noticing the pattern. They when i asked some question they use to tell the object that is present between two number. Once they know all the object they use to jump here and there to tell the answer. They really felt happy that they were tell all the tables from 1 – 10. To tell the tables they need to know 28 objects. Next they need to know between which number certain object should come . Once they knew that they were able to tell tables. If we follow the instruction in the video it will be boring. Vaughn cube should be used in short time and if extended for long time children feels boring. Children wont wait for the teacher to ask the tables. They them self pair together and ask tables in random order.
The Roof was built with slabs that were attached together with bindings, and sealed off with some material that had become torn and corroded. Thus making rain water seep in. The solution was covering the cracks with tar sheets. Naveen had got the excess sheets from the repair works at Aura Auro Design’s Lab. He also got a Flame thrower that was antique 😉 (We along with the children had a time figuring out how to light it up) It was a manual tool we had to compress air and it would send out a mixture of kerosene and air that would burn. eventually 🙂 . The children started to measure and cut out the tar sheets from a roll. Naveen and the children placed the sheets and heated them to stick on the roof with the flame thrower.
We hope this will prevent rain water from seeping in. The roof was then painted with a bright yellow oil paint. We bought 6 liters of oil paint. Children started painting during their sleepover. It took two evenings to paint 2 coat of painting on the roof.
The room was now ready to be inaugurated on Sri Aurobindo’s birthday. We had as our chief guest, Swami Sarvasahananda from Ramakrishna Mission, Chengalpattu. He graced our space with his blessings, talk and music. That morning the school was abuzz with activity. Children had stayed over the previous night to participate in the dawnfire meditation. When we came from there, we were working on decorating the clay room. Garlands were made, photos of Sri Aurobindo, Mother, Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda were decorated. Lamps were kept ready for the opening. Children with help from their teachers got the PA system ready. The harmonium and tabla were arranged. Gopal from Mantra pottery joined us that morning to do clay work. It was a session that children and adults enjoyed. The Swamiji lit the lamp and invited the teachers to do the same. Once the lamps were lit, we all connected with the Divine Mother through songs that the Swamiji and children sang. For those who could remember how forlorn the room had been, it was touching to see how the same little room was shining with all of us invoking the Divine.
As one of the facilitators in creating our clay room, I witnessed the transformation of a space we had neglected over the years into a bright space that we look at every day. That we can transform our environment with one-pointed concentration, team-work, openness to learn, consecration of our work to the Divine are learnings that will stay with us and reveal themselves to us as and when we are ready to understand them.
When I was working with the children in the clay room I learnt to be patient. Involved all the children and gave equal opportunities to all the children. Learnt team work from the children. I saw sharing and caring from the children while working as a team for my self and for others.
Third graders took responsibility to paint outside. This being a room for clay and woodwork, we wanted to paint it with a natural brownish red-soil color. We inquired with a few painters and once they understood our idea, they all suggested extracting the color from red-soil and binding it with Fevicol. Children in 5,6 and 7 stay over in school on Wednesdays. One Thursday morning, we went with pands and mumpties and collected red soil.
Once the soil was on hand, the third graders sieved it. Water was added to the soil and mixed well. This had to be filtered to extract the color. For the filter, we used some of the cloth bags we receive in grocery stores that don’t use plastic any more. We tool 4 liters of the red-soil water and mixed it with 2 liter of Fevicol. Fevicol made the paint thick. We painted the wall and as it dried up, the wall looked beautiful with hues of orange, red and yellow. We wanted a darker shade since we planned to paint patterns on the wall inspired by Warli art. So for the next coat, we added some brown water color that was on hand. A lovely dark shade was the result. The room is hexagonal giving us six panels to paint on. Over a few evenings after school, teachers and students painted patterns on the wall. We have a panel with a tree and a deer on a full moon night. One more with the Matrimandir, Banyan tree and children visiting there. Some of the paintings did not come well and we painted over them to create a fresh new wall to paint over.
We had a serious water problem in isai Ambalam school. We built a pond as a EBD project with the children. Then we realized that water is very precious. From that day we are aware of water. Then one day children noticed that the tank was over flowing. They came and asked how to turn off the motor automatically. I told them that I don’t know how to do that. Then they asked me that I studied Electronics and became an engineer couldn’t solve this problem. Then finally I wanted it to be automated. Through this process I learnt about relay. I was afraid to work with 230 volts and it was the first time for me to work with direct 230 volt.